In episode 367, Megan chats to Jessica Fisher about rising grocery prices and how to do food shopping for your blog in an economical way without sacrificing quality or taste.

We cover information about the Good Cheap Eats 7 steps to save money with groceries, how to incorporate inventories of contents in your freezer and fridge, how to be frugal with cooking meals, building meal plans around what’s affordable and how to scout out the most economical stores for food.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Guest Details

Connect with Good Cheap Eats
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Jessica Fisher is a cookbook author and food writer. At Good Cheap Eats she enjoys people who want to save time and money so they can enjoy stress-free meals. She and her husband paid off 60K in debt in the last recession while keeping their six kids fed and clothed.


  • Stock up on basics that can be used a variety of budget friendly meals.
  • Pay attention to prices and even look them up before you go.
  • Get to know your market and know where to get the most of each dollar you spend.
  • Get used to cooking with what you have on hand.
  • Do an inventory of what you have before you go shopping to avoid buying duplicates.
  • Keep a running list of what’s in your freezer on a wipe board.
  • Get to know if your grocery has a clearance section or sales day things get marked down.
  • Watch what you end up throwing out and start buying less or moving where you store it or making less of it to help reduce waste.
  • Buy items in a smaller container or open a jar and freeze a portion you know you won’t use within the week.
  • Get used to tidying your fridge every 3 days.

Resources Mentioned

 GCE Pantry Challenge in January

Join Jessica’s Master Class


Click for full script.

EBT367 – Jessica Fisher

Jessica Fisher: Hi, this is Jessica Fisher from Good Cheap Eats, and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. 

Megan Porta: Hey, food bloggers. Are you ready to accomplish your 2023 goals faster than you ever thought possible? If you are nodding your head yes right now, the Eat Blog Talk Mastermind program might be a great fit for you. We are now accepting applications for 2023, and I will let you in on a little secret. If you sign up before the end of November, 2022, you can lock in at the current pricing. Go to for more information and to apply. Here is a current mastermind member, Carrie from, telling you why you should consider joining the Mastermind in 2023.

I just would tell people to take the leap because the motivation and the support that I’ve gotten from the women in the group has been invaluable and has just re-energized me. But run the numbers, because I think if anybody actually took the time to just take the price tag outta their head, but put it on paper and look at when they could get a return on that investment, they would see that it’s not such a crazy number. At least if that was their hold back. If their hold back was just, the fear factor of it then again, it’s that if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re never gonna grow. You have to get uncomfortable. If we stay comfortable, then we’re never gonna change. 

Hey food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 367. I have Jessica Fisher with me today. She is going to talk about an amazing topic, which is how to beat the grocery market. Jessica is a cookbook author and food writer at Good Cheap Eats. She enjoys helping people who want to save time and money so they can enjoy stress free meals. She and her husband paid off 60K in debt in the last recession while keeping their six kids fed and clothed. Wow, that’s amazing. So clearly we have a lot to learn from you, Jessica . But before we get into all of that, do you have a fun fact to share? 

Jessica Fisher: I would say one of the funnest memories is that after we paid off our debt, we started to save, to take our kids on extended vacations, trips, and so we spent a month in France with six kids back in 2014. Then in 2017 we went to the UK again with all six kids. Some have moved away now. So it was just a really wonderful experience to be able to do those when they were young enough and we were all together. 

Megan Porta: Oh, and I bet that provided such great memories for them that they will carry with them forever.

Jessica Fisher: Yeah, it’s been really fun to reminisce and we’re planning Ireland in the spring.

Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love that you do that. I think it’s so hard to prioritize that, especially when you’ve got little kids, but when you do it, it’s so worthwhile. It’s so fun. Like you said, yeah, the memories last forever.

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. It’s just been a really great family adventure type thing to just get us all away and together and explore new things. We just have so much fun inside jokes and memories of it. It’s been really great. 

Megan Porta: I think the words away and together are so important because it’s great to be together at home, but there’s something so unique and awesome about being away together.

Jessica Fisher: Yeah, it really, it did. My teenagers grumbled a little bit. 

Megan Porta: I like grumbled. That’s a nice way to put that. But it’s worth it. And they do thank you. I’m sure they’re grateful in the back of their minds, right? 

Jessica Fisher: Everybody is now. At the time there were some growing pains that we experienced together.

Megan Porta: Yes. Oh gosh. I can totally relate to all of that. I love knowing that about you guys and this ties into our topic because you saved, you saved money so that you were able to do that, I’m sure. So let’s talk about groceries right now because they’re insane. Like the other day I was buying, I think it was shredded lettuce and I was like, wait a second. It was almost $5 or something for shredded lettuce. I put it back down. I’m like, wait, this is so weird. So you have some insights for us about how to make the most of every dollar we have, because we’re food bloggers, we spend a lot of money on groceries, and now it’s even more money. So why is this topic important to you? I guess we can start with that, Jessica. 

Jessica Fisher: My husband and I were always very frugal. We came from mostly blue collar backgrounds, but we got ourselves in a mess back in 2006, 2007, right before the last quote downturn. We just realized that we had been living beyond our means, and we were in debt. We had two houses, a rental property as well as the house that we lived in. We just had to get serious and just go, you know what? We need to be smarter about this. We don’t wanna live like this forever worrying paycheck to paycheck, how to do things. So I was a stay-at-home homeschool mom with five kids and during that process, we added a sixth child to our family. We moved across the country. What I could do at the time, the blog was very young. But what I could do was adjust how I fed our family. So I developed what I now call the Good Cheap Eats System. That is basically how I picked myself up off the floor and said, okay, we are gonna make the most of what we have and really stretch our dollar.

We were able to eat incredibly well once I reformed some of my habits because I am not a woman who collects shoes, but I love to go to grocery stores and I love to buy food. So I had to retrain myself to think about my grocery shopping habits and feeding my family. We were able to really save a ton of money and pay off debt a lot based on what I did in the kitchen.

Megan Porta: I think you said a word a couple of times. That I think is key and that’s habits. We get into habits with everything, but especially with groceries in the way that we buy groceries, whether it’s through Instacart and just buying the same brands, not looking at the price or doing the easy thing. So you really were intentional about looking at what you were doing and changing your habits. So you’re gonna impart some of that to us. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. What I’ve developed. What I teach my readers and the people in my online membership is what we call the Good Cheap Eat System. It’s seven steps. You don’t have to do ’em all, but if you do them all, you will definitely just get the most out of every grocery dollar. It’s something that I’ve just developed since we first got married. I was that person who went to the grocery store when I was hungry and bought whatever I wanted and didn’t even pay attention to what was already in the kitchen. So that first step, just taking an assessment, taking an inventory, what do I already have that I don’t need to go buy again at the store? I have been guilty of having three jars of cumin in the pantry when you only need one. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I’m so guilty of this. So tell me that I’m not a terrible person, but I do this all the time. The other day I needed Cayenne pepper and I was certain that I had none, and I went into my cupboard and I found three giant containers of cayenne pepper. I’m never gonna use all this, but I do that so often because it’s not convenient to walk over and search through and make sure you have the ingredients. But taking that time is going to pay off in the end. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah, it does. Because when you think about it, you’re spending time going to the store, traipsing through the store, hauling it all out to the car and hauling it back into the house and putting it away. So that quick scan of what’s in the spice shelf is gonna save you a lot of time, but it’s also gonna save you money. You can preserve freshness and that kind of thing by not feeling obligated to use up those three jars before they go bad.

Megan Porta: Right? Now I need to find something that requires a lot of cayenne pepper. 

Jessica Fisher: The steps work back and forth. You can freeze those and that will help preserve their freshness a little bit so that you don’t have to feel like, oh, I’m gonna use this all up right away. 

Megan Porta: I never think to freeze spices. I never thought that. So that’s such a great tip. Awesome. I was gonna ask you about meat, because this is something that we’ll do. We’ll just be like, we need ground beef and we don’t go look in our freezer in the basement because it’s so far away. So we’ll buy it from the store. Do you have some sort of log or do you just keep a mental log of what’s in the freezer?

Jessica Fisher: About once a month I go and do an inventory. Obviously in a perfect life you take your inventory and you cross things off as you use them, but not all of us are that methodical. I’m not. So every month or every couple weeks, I’ll just go scan and see what we have. I have a reminder on the fridge, because while we don’t have a basement in California, we do have the garage freezer and the garage fridge. I have that same little traipse out. Okay. What’s here? But I just made an inventory. But there are apps out there depending on what kind of products you keep on hand on a regular basis. Some of them will scan the barcode and automatically just keep that inventory for you, and then you can scan ’em as you use ’em and it’ll take ’em off. So there’s lots of different pantry apps out there that can help you with this. Since I use a lot of just plain ingredients, not a box of frozen, whatever, it’s usually just gonna be packages of ground meat or chicken or things like that, it’s just easier for me to keep a handwritten list.

Megan Porta: One of my favorite bloggers, Chelsea, from A Duck’s Oven, she has this spreadsheet that she’s shared about, I think we were like on Clubhouse talking about this or something, but she, I think it’s AirTable. She has all of her meat inventoried for her freezer and her fridge, and she actually keeps track of what she uses. 

Jessica Fisher: That’s awesome. 

Megan Porta: I know, it’s such a goal for me. One day I will be like that. Every time I’m digging through my freezer, I think of her. I’m like, oh, if I were Chelsea, I wouldn’t have to be doing this. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. Some people I’ve heard tell me that they use something like a sharpie or a dry erase or a wet erase, and they write straight on the freezer what’s in there and then erase it. 

Megan Porta: Oh, that’s a good idea. 

Jessica Fisher: Erase it as they use it. You could use a magnetic dry erase board. There’s lots of different options. I have a worksheet that I’ve laminated and so you can use Sharpie or Wet Erase or all those markers. So I made my own, and that helps to just start to train my teenagers, check off this little box right here.

Megan Porta: That’s not hard. I feel like going and finding my laptop and opening it and taking it out of a spreadsheet is a barrier that I wouldn’t necessarily do all the time. I wouldn’t be consistent with that, but that Sharpie with a whiteboard, or not Sharpie, but a whiteboard, I could easily do that and get into that habit. 

Jessica Fisher: A great book, we’re talking about habits, is called Atomic Habit. 

Megan Porta: Oh, my favorite book, I love that book. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. It’s required reading for all my teenagers. He talks about how teens make it easy. So that’s the thing is really figuring out what is this hard thing? Where am I stumbling? I encourage people to look at the system. Which of these things is really hard for you? Maybe that’s the leftovers and avoiding waste. It’s like, how can you make that easy for yourself. So sometimes that’s, changing to all clear containers so that you can see what you have in your fridge. You’re not like, oh, there’s something mysterious in this yogurt container. I don’t know what I put in there. So it’s always, whether it’s an inventory or how you shop or how you store stuff is how you make it easy on yourself to do your future self a favor.

Megan Porta: Yeah. I’m so glad you brought Atomic Habits into the mix because this totally plays into our topic. Just my issue with the spreadsheet and computer. Okay, how is this gonna be easy? So finding your pain point, what is the part of your process where we get hung up and just making it really super simple, right? That’s your message. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. I think it’s getting outside of yourself and figuring, okay, how do I outsmart myself?

Megan Porta: Yeah. Exactly. Okay, so you talked about shopping your kitchen, making sure you have everything you need, and then what is your next step? 

Jessica Fisher: I would say, obviously there’s so much that we, I think in maybe North America we say, oh, there’s nothing to eat. But then we go to the fridge and it’s full, right? So it’s. Thinking through, okay, what exactly is there? What we mean is there’s nothing easy to make. So often we feel like, okay, I’m gonna start cooking frugal meals, and then we go to the grocery store. You don’t need to leave your house. Go see what you have. Then after you’ve assessed what you have and you make a plan to use what you have, obviously eventually you’re gonna have to buy more, but it’s focusing on what are the affordable ingredients that are out there right now. We’re seeing a massive change in the market, in the grocery market, in terms of how prices, obviously your example of the shredded lettuce. It’s crazy. We’re seeing a reset. I went to Costco yesterday for the first time in a while and previously I had downsized whatever I bought at Costco, because Aldi was so much cheaper. But I was going through the aisles with my calculator, realizing, oh, Costco’s prices are now beating Aldi on some foods. There’s also a general rule of. Of beans, rice and eggs. These are gonna be your cheaper ingredients. Oats, vegetables, you know that we have a list on Good Cheap Eats. If folks wanna search a budget grocery list and it’s 75 ingredients, if all else fails, focus on buying these things because they are gonna be generally a bigger bang for your buck than filet mignon and shrimp. Unless you find those at a really great price. So planning your meals and I would say for food bloggers, as you’re planning your recipes, think about, do your readers a favor. Think about what are those ingredients that people can readily find and that are readily affordable. If there are some caveats to that, explain that. Hey, buy the head of iceberg lettuce and shred it yourself. It will be a little bit cheaper. It’ll take you five minutes, but it’ll be a lot cheaper, and offer those options. But focusing on building your meal plans around things that are already generally affordable. This changes with the circumstances in the food industry. But there are some general foods that are always cheap. Yeah. 

Megan Porta: Okay. I have a few things I wanna ask you about. Costco versus Aldi right now. You’re finding that Costco is generally more affordable. 

Jessica Fisher: And this is step five in the system. Visit the store with the best prices for the things that you buy. So this is gonna vary from family to family, household to household. What I buy might not be the same thing you buy. I’ve got kids with peanut allergies and gluten issues so we’re having to buy some specialty items. But I am personally seeing a shift in my local stores. But the trick with these chains is that I have three Aldi’s that I could go to depending on how far I wanted to drive, and they have different prices. Because they’re in three different cities, about 15-20 miles apart, and they have different prices at those stores based on the demographic of the neighborhood that they’re in. The same applies to Walmart, Costco, et cetera. So to say Costco is better than Aldi is not necessarily true depending on where that Costco is located and where that Aldi is located.

So I call it a grocery store Showdown. To do a canvas of, what are the basics that you buy on a regular basis. Now with online ordering and grocery pickup, you can just sit at your computer and do a search for those 12 to 20 items that you normally buy and get a better idea of what’s the best store for what I’m getting right now. Before Aldi moved to California Costco was the cheapest for most of the things I bought. But that shifted. When Aldi moved in, Walmart shifted their prices as well. So you really just wanna assess what’s in your route, yeah. I live in north San Diego County and I have 20 different stores within a five mile radius that I could go to. So I have lots and lots of options, but not everybody has that. So it’s taking a look at what are the options out there and how do they compare? Because each store wants you to come to them, and so they’re gonna adjust based on their competition. 

Megan Porta: So do your research a little bit, whatever that means, and whatever bandwidth you have to do that.

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. It’s a good thing to assign to a kid. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. 

Jessica Fisher: Just, Hey, look these up on the internet and write down the prices. It’s a good life skill to be teaching if you have children, but it’s also, you could pay them five bucks to do the research for you. 

Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. I should do that. I think I have one kid who would actually enjoy that. I do, occasionally, I will open up Instacart and I’ll do just what you said. If I’m curious, I’ll put a handful of ingredients in an Aldi order and then the same with Costco and I’ll compare and be like, okay, clearly I need to go here. Sometimes it’s very similar, so it’s not like a clear yes or no, but just to see, just to scope it out. I’m a little bit lazier than you, it sounds. I don’t go to various locations. I don’t know. I should, another goal. 

Jessica Fisher: No, I think it’s finding your groove. Like my in-laws for years, I lived in a very affluent part of Central California and they basically had two grocery stores. When we went, if I went to that store, to buy whatever I was gonna make for the family, I had to approach it differently. It wasn’t, Hey, I’m gonna buy whatever we feel like eating. It’s, oh, hey, what do they have on sale? So there’s a way to make it work, even if you just choose one store. Even if you only had a Whole Foods at your disposal, you could save money by working through the system and just approaching it just a little bit differently and looking at what kind of sales they have? What kind of clearance? What can I stock up extra on and save for later? So you don’t have to shop in lots of different places. I don’t go to 20 different stores. I go to four. Costco is very infrequent for me cuz. I just feel like it’s a black hole and I do Walmart pickup, so I’m very lazy about that. So I think it’s just finding what fits the season of life that you’re in, and that can change from time to time. It’s definitely easier to do, if I’m gonna do a big photo shoot, then I’m just gonna put it all in a Walmart pickup, and then I know that the entire shop is just business and they did it and I can move on. So I think it’s just finding what works for the time. If things are really tight then it’s just figuring out how to be creative and make the most of every minute as well as every dollar. Sometimes time savings is more important than saving a couple bucks. 

Megan Porta: Oh gosh. Yeah. That’s so true. That was such a great way to think through all of that. Can I just say, Walmart is the best for cheap canned goods and typically produce? Every time I go there I’m like, whoa, that was really affordable. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. Do you have an Aldi? 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Jessica Fisher: Okay. Before we had Aldi, Walmart was not a cheap place in comparison. Walmart did not win on any.

Megan Porta: It’s by far the cheapest in our area. So you really wanna just, I think generally speaking, where there’s a Walmart and an Aldi, those are gonna be more affordable, but not necessarily. So it was just very eye opening because I had always assumed Walmart’s cheapest everywhere you go.

Jessica Fisher: And it wasn’t until the competition changed. 

Megan Porta: That’s really interesting. Yeah. We have a Walmart and just maybe a mile down the road is in Aldi, so maybe that affects. 

Jessica Fisher: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. 

Megan Porta: But Aldi is very affordable as well. It’s a toss up for me when I’m just getting canned goods or staples and produce. Just depends on do I wanna order Instacart or am I out and about? But yeah, they’re very comparable. But interesting to hear you in a big area, like you said, you have 20 options nearby, so it’s interesting to hear how one store being in the same area affects another store.

Jessica Fisher: Yeah, and Costco has told me straight out that they base their prices on the stores within a certain mile radius. It’s really interesting. Now Instacart does mark it up over what you would buy in the, what you would pay in the store. You just have to factor that in when you’re shopping.

Megan Porta: And factor in like, how convenient do you want this to be? Most of the time I’d rather pay a few extra dollars and have that convenience. Sometimes it’s not the case, but sometimes I’m like, yeah, I don’t wanna go out. Or I don’t have the time or capacity to go out to the store, so I’m willing to pay that extra. But that’s kinda what you were saying earlier is just, what is going to work the best for you?

Jessica Fisher: I think it’s just assessing, sometimes investing that hour to go in, that’s where you’re gonna find the clearance or the unadvertised specials that can really make a difference. That’s where I’m gonna find the really gourmet, high end items marked down because they’re so expensive now that the store can’t move them fast enough, so they’re marking them down really cheap. So then I get this treasure trove of something that I might not have ever considered buying because the price on the app was beyond what I wanted to pay.

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Megan Porta: So clearance. I never think to look for clearance in grocery, but do most groceries have, I know Walmart does, have a very distinguished aisle for that, but does all grocery?

Jessica Fisher: It just depends. I think it’s very location specific, but nationwide, what I hear most from people is that the Kroger family of stores is the one that has the killer clearance sections, and that has been my experience. Our Kroger affiliate is called Ralph’s. I find so much that is well within its Best Buy dates that they bought, they got sent too much, it’s not moving fast enough. They wanna move it on. Packaging has changed. It’s been discontinued, whatever. We’re not talking scratch and dent. We’re talking about the same item, the exact same item. They just wanna move it faster. So that applies to meat, fish, alcohol, dairy products. Coffee, protein bars, produce. Some days it’s like my whole cart is just the clearance items and it really has been a way, especially since I have four sons and they all are into bodybuilding. They need their pros, right? They want protein. I was like, oh my gosh, if I was paying meat prices, they would become vegetarians. But clearance has really, the clearance meat, and like I said, I’m very picky about food safety and that kind of stuff. It’s within its dates, it looks beautiful. It looks just like the thing that’s not marked clearance, but it’s half the price. So going into the store does have its advantages financially, because you were not gonna see that on the app. 

Megan Porta: That right there is a tip worth, like everyone listening’s okay, I can put this episode down now. That was a great tip.

Jessica Fisher: I think, people always ask, where do you find it? How do you know? I can’t stress it enough, especially food bloggers, we’re in the grocery store a lot. Get to know the people at your store. It doesn’t take much to learn some names. If you go the same day and time each week or kind of regular you get to recognize faces. You know their names and they will go out of their way to help you. The meat manager now knows me by site. Hello? Hi Robert. 

Megan Porta: That’s hilarious. 

Jessica Fisher: We chat and he gives me a heads up, Hey, go down to the deli section. I marked down a lot of stuff over there. Then ask, Hey, when you do your markdowns? Or do you have any manager specials today that might be worth looking at. Usually they do this earlier in the morning, but every store is different. But getting to know your store and their employees can really save you a lot of money. Build those relationships. Another good reason to get to know people.

Megan Porta: Yep. Exactly. All right, so we talked about shopping your kitchen, planning around more frugal meals and ingredients. We talked about visiting the store at the best prices and scoping that out. Checking sales and clearance. Now what about leftovers and making sure those don’t go to waste? How do you go about that? 

Jessica Fisher: So I think for us, what was a real game changer a few years ago was something I mentioned earlier when we were talking, was about making it easy, and realizing where your weakness is in terms of leftovers and food waste. So one thing you know, if you’re not sure where that is, take a picture every time you clean out the fridge. What are you chucking? If you wanna get a little more detailed, you could write it down and keep a log. What am I throwing away every week? That can be very eye-opening. I put that meat in the meat drawer and forgot about it, instead of just putting it in the freezer. Because how many times have we bought something with good intentions? It gets shoved to the back, we forget it’s there and we end up throwing it away because it’s past its date. So you know, just getting to know yourself and just being honest oh, I tend to throw away a lot of fresh produce because I go with good intentions and then I don’t use it. So maybe I should dial back how much I’m buying. Sometimes it has to do with how I’m storing it when I get it home. If you prepped a lot of food, whether that’s for a household meal or for a photo shoot, what are you gonna do with the leftovers? Are you packaging it within the two hour timeframe and putting it in the fridge, or is it sitting out because somebody forgot to clean up after dinner and they got distracted or whatever. Putting things in clear containers so you can see exactly what’s in it. Labeling it. Prepped food is good in the refrigerator for up to four days per the USDA, but it’s good much longer if you’re able to freeze it. I wrote a cookbook called Not Mothers Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. It’s like the 411 on what you can freeze and how to freeze prepared meals. Even if you never made a recipe, you probably have a casserole that’s like this, or a stew that’s like that one, and the freezing process is gonna be the same. So you can learn a lot about how to freeze things properly, even if you don’t make that exact recipe. Y’all are smart enough. You can make the connections there. 

Megan Porta: They’re all smart people. We can figure this out, right? 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. But there’s just so much that you can freeze to avoid wasting and having a list of leftovers. We have a lot of kids coming and going. My kids that are at home are aged 14 to 21, so there’s a lot of movement in my kitchen as well as my house. So we’ve started putting a list of, Hey, there’s enchiladas in the fridge. There’s this in the fridge, so that everybody’s mindful of, oh, I could take that for lunch tomorrow, or, oh, I could have that for a snack right now. Again, just outsmarting yourself and figuring out where am I weak? How can I make this easier for myself? 

Megan Porta: As you’re talking, thinking through my fridge and my weak spots, it’s not something I normally think about, if ever, but my weak spots are like olives. I’ll buy a whole jar of olives and then it gets pushed to the back. Pickles, sauces, salsas, those would be the top things that I’m throwing out constantly. So how do I go about that issue, Jessica? 

Jessica Fisher: So not sure about the olives, because I think when I’ve frozen olives before, they do soften a little bit. But salsas you could freeze. Yeah, so say you buy the jar, but it’s oh, we’re only gonna use you just think when you open it, am I gonna use all of this in the next week or two or should I put it in a smaller container and freeze part of it? Super cubes. Do you know what Supercubes are? 

Megan Porta: Yes. 

Jessica Fisher: Yeah. So they come in lots of different sizes from two tablespoons to two cups, and those are really awesome for just portioning things out. One of the famous things you should always freeze when you open a can is those Chipotle peppers. Nobody is going to the 10 peppers that come in a can. Think about how you can repackage those different items and sometimes it’s buying the smaller container, even if it is not the best price. You’re not gonna waste it. So my girls love to have pineapple on their pizza on Fridays, but we’re not gonna use a whole can of pineapple so I buy those little fruit cups of pineapple instead. So it’s a much smaller portion. They even sell olives in those smaller cans.

Megan Porta: I never thought of that.

Jessica Fisher: So if that is something that you’re checking, then it does make more sense to buy the smaller portion. Again, look for sales and clearance and have those same items because then you can save a little bit more. But anytime you can repackage it and either freeze it or share it with someone else or buy it in a smaller container to begin with, that’s gonna help you. 

Megan Porta: I love all of that, and I think just being self-aware, like you’ve mentioned. Knowing what our weaknesses are. So go to your fridge right now if you’re listening, if you’re at home, wander over there and just kinda peruse, like what is pushed to the back and is that normal? If so, make a plan. That’s what I’m doing right now, just with the salsa. Oh my gosh. There are probably five jars of salsa pushed to the back of my fridge right now. 

Jessica Fisher: Another thing too is that if you, again, all the steps kind of work together. If you tidy your fridge every three days. Obviously in a perfect world, it’s always tidy and it doesn’t need to be tidy, but let’s be real. But if you go in and you clean things up every three days, you’re gonna be within that four day window of prepped food and it’s gonna give you a mental inventory to help you shop your kitchen first because you’ve already oh, I know what we have. I’m not gonna buy another jar of salsa or open another jar of salsa because I had a jar of salsa in my hand today when I cleaned up the fridge. So if you can just twice a week give your fridge a good tidy. Repackage sometimes. You have that nine by 13 that it was half full of lasagna. Then as the day goes by, you know it dwindles, but you still have this nine by 13 inch pan for one slice of lasagna to repackage it. Somebody’s more likely to eat it if it’s in a single serve package than if it’s in that big nine by 13. It’s all the psychology to think about the fridge and how can I store this so that we’re gonna use it best.

Megan Porta: Yeah. Okay. Every three days. I’m gonna put it on my calendar and try it for a while and I will report back to you, Jessica. 

Jessica Fisher: I would love to hear, yes.

Megan Porta: Yeah. You’ve inspired me. Okay. Any other tips about avoiding waste? I think it’s just being honest with yourself and not feeling guilt. We all do it. So don’t get on the guilt trip but just go, okay what should I stop buying? 

Jessica Fisher: Especially if you have a household with growing children, their tastes change, their habits change, it seems overnight. The thing that you bought all the time that they were gobbling down, dwindles. That’s okay. Just go, okay we’ve changed our habits right now. This season is different. So just being willing to pivot and shop differently based on how the habits of your household are changing.

Megan Porta: Great advice. We have two more points. So talk about from scratch cooking. How does that help us? 

Jessica Fisher: Okay. So it’s not necessarily cooking. But you gave a great example with shredded lettuce, right? $5 for the bag. My guess is that the lettuce was probably two bucks, right? So just prepping that item yourself takes a couple minutes, but it saves you money. Typically making something yourself, you get to control the ingredients and typically you get to save money when you’re making it yourself. So whether that’s cooking it from scratch, baking it yourself, or just chopping it yourself can save you a lot of money and sometimes give you better quality. I much prefer to cut my own carrot sticks versus buying the baby carrots. It takes some time, but I find that the taste is better and I save some money by doing it. So again, we go back to what’s your bigger priority. Saving time or saving money, but it’s trial and error, figuring out what things make a difference. So it’s cooking from scratch when it matters, and that’s gonna vary based on household, season of life, what your current priorities are. 

Megan Porta: This reminds me of something I was gonna say earlier and I forgot, but I looked at my notes when you started talking. It’s so easy to shred your own lettuce, and this is a way that food bloggers can serve their readers in a really great way right now because everything is so expensive. Readers certainly are experiencing the same things we are with food and groceries. So by offering those little tips. Hey, I noticed shredded lettuce was a million dollars the other day and put the bag down. So here’s something that if you don’t wanna buy shredded lettuce, here’s what you can do. Offering that as a tip within the blog post, or even within social media, highlighting your nacho platter and then mentioning the shredded lettuce tip. So this is a great way to serve people right now.

Jessica Fisher: That’s something, especially on social media, if you put it in a Reel, right, it’s surprising. I think some of it is just stuff our grandmothers never would’ve bought a bag of shredded lettuce. So some of it’s just thinking, okay, what’s, what did grandma do? Is it better? Is it cheaper? Does it matter to me? I can go to In and Out around the corner and I can wait in line, the line is A half hour every time I go, or I could probably make hamburgers in half an hour myself. Are they the same? No. Are they cheaper? Yes. Did it save me time? Yes. It’s gonna vary by situation, just doing an assessment. Does it make more sense for me to do this from scratch?

Megan Porta: Yeah. Sometimes that burger is worth the wait. Sometimes you’re just willing to do that. Yeah. 

Jessica Fisher: Again, It just depends.

Megan Porta: Depends on the day and a lot of other factors. But yeah, good to think through all of that, not just for us, but who we’re serving and what is going to benefit them as well. So this is such great stuff. Okay. Anything else about cooking from scratch? I know you have one more point to touch on. 

Jessica Fisher: I think it’s just being willing to try something new. My husband and I both grew up in Southern California and we lived in the Midwest for a while, and it was really hard to find Mexican food that we are used to. So I tried new things and started making my own enchilada sauce. Hey, I learned something new. Yeah, I don’t do it all the time anymore, but because I can go to a Mexican market and find everything I want, now that we’re back home. But having that experience of making something from scratch can give you perspective. Definitely something that you can share with your readers, right? Go, oh I did this and I tried it. We did a taste test. That can be a great way to just show what the options are out there and provide new experiences for everybody. 

Megan Porta: Yeah, I love the taste test option. That’s a really good idea. And it’s fun too. People like that kind of thing. Ooh, which one tasted better? Okay. What is your last point, Jessica? 

Jessica Fisher: So last point, we’ve touched on it a few times already. It’s just to freeze extra for later. And that can be leftovers. Those can often be frozen, but it can also be ingredients or it can be food that you freeze on purpose, right? One of the easiest ways to buy yourself some time is to double dinner once a week. If you double dinner once a week and you freeze half, then at the end of the month you’ve got four extra meals that you’ve bought yourself some time to make it easier for home. We’re all busy. We all have stuff. More stuff than we want to do probably. So having that extra on hand, but obviously if you’re doing a photo shoot and you can’t eat all of these cookies because it’s time for Christmas. To freeze it for later. I love it that people share with neighbors and things like that, but at the same time, if you know that a month from now your kid’s gonna need cookies for some party that he is going to stash him away for later is gonna save your household some money. 

Megan Porta: Something, I think it was a guest on the podcast who recommended that they did, which I thought was great, especially for cookies and baked goods, like cupcakes maybe too, to stash them away for photo shoots. So if you’re maybe photographing a drink, that would look really good with a cookie to pull it out as a prop for a photo shoot. So just having those on hand, not just for eating or parties, but also for your business props. 

Jessica Fisher: Yes. Some great ones that I’ve used before are like biscuits, rolls. The little bruschetta toasts. That I’m blanking on what we really call the little toast. Crostini! Those kinds of things. 

Megan Porta: That can be like a perfect side for any dish really, that you could just pop in there. Yep. 

Jessica Fisher: So you can do double duty, maybe you’re not gonna be able to do all four meals or courses. Say you wanted to like a Thanksgiving dinner shot and you just don’t have the time to do all of those things in one day. You could do them at different times, freeze them, and then shoot it all at once. 

Megan Porta: Yes, that is a very efficient way to go about saving your food. I feel so inspired, Jessica. I’m like, I wanna ditch the rest of my day and just go upstairs and go through my freezer, and I’m totally doing this because I am just done. I waste food. There you go. I’m Megan. I confess that I waste food and I need to stop. 

Jessica Fisher: We all do, and we all have seasons where we do better than other times. So it’s just recognizing, okay, how can I outsmart myself? What kind of systems can I set up so that I can do better in this area? I think that’s kind of life really.

Megan Porta: Having grace, like realizing that this is a theme for a lot of people and not beating myself up about it. Something you said that’s been really enlightening is just see where my personal weaknesses are. Looking at my fridge a couple times a week just to see okay, I probably don’t need that many olives. Clearly we don’t eat them. Just being more aware of what our struggles are with food.

Jessica Fisher: I think it’s the same with clothing. People often buy clothing because they want to be that type of person, but they don’t actually wear those clothes. So I think sometimes we can get into those food ruts where I’m gonna buy this food because I think I should be eating these things. Or I think I should be making these for my kids, but honestly we don’t really like lentils, so I should just not buy lentils. 

Megan Porta: Yeah. Okay. This has been so great. Is there anything we missed before we start saying goodbye, Jessica?

Jessica Fisher: No, I think we covered a lot. It was a lot of good. It was fun. I love talking about this and you’re very fun to talk to. 

Megan Porta: Oh, you as well. This was an amazing chat and I think it’ll be, not just helpful for us as food bloggers, but it’ll be helpful for us to know how to add value to our readers and their lives and improve this grocery, crazy grocery expenses that we are all facing right now. So thank you for joining me. It’s been such a pleasure. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with Jessica? 

Jessica Fisher: I would just say be yourself. I don’t know who to attribute it to, but it said everyone else is taken and I think that, don’t worry about cooking the way someone else cooks, cook the way you like to cook. Shop the way you like to shop and do what works best for you and the people that you love and try to be someone you’re not. 

Megan Porta: I love that. Perfect way to end. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Jessica. If anyone wants to go peek at those, you can go to Tell everyone where they can find you online and social media. Then I know you mentioned a grocery list, frugal grocery list. You wanna mention that again? 

Jessica Fisher: Sure. That’s the main website. If you just search in the box budget grocery list, there’s 70 different ingredients that you can build your meal plans around and your recipes that will help you save money and help your readers save money too. On Instagram, I can be found at the Cheap Eats blog. 

Megan Porta: Awesome. Go check Jessica out. And thanks again, Jessica, for being here, and thank you for listening so much today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.

Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.

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