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Blunders in Frugality

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We are always on the lookout for ways to save money. Lately, we have been trying to buy things that we use a lot in larger quantities. For the most part, the bigger the package, the lower the price (although there are exceptions – always check!).

One thing that is heavily used in our household is ketchup. I personally don’t use it a lot (maybe only on fries), but my husband puts it on everything fried or fake-fried in the oven – steak, chicken, pork, fish, french fries. My son takes after his father. With two ketchup-loving people in our house, we go through a lot of it.

When you look at ketchup on a per bottle basis, it can get a little expensive. Since we go through so much, we decided to buy a large Heinz container of ketchup as well as a $2.00 pump to go with it. Instead of buying bottle after bottle of ketchup, we would buy large containers of ketchup (any brand) to refill the Heinz container.

During our last trip to Walmart, my husband grabbed a can of Hunt’s ketchup. He was excited at how much ketchup you could get for a low cost. As he placed it in our cart, I took a look and gave him a smile that showed my approval. When the both of us are on board with saving money – it’s a very happy feeling.

Tonight, my husband fried some chicken wings we bought on special and some french fries. Our Heinz ketchup container was empty, so my husband grabbed the new can of Hunts and opened it. He noted that it was a bit runny, and we both at first shrugged it off since we haven’t had Hunt’s brand in a while. I grabbed a spoon to dish out some ketchup for my son. As my spoon swirled around the can, I started getting that feeling in my stomach that something was terribly wrong.

“Look!” I told my husband.

“What?”

“Look at the can!”

“What?”

“Look!”

My husband smiled as he finally realized that in bigger wording in the middle of the can it stated, “Tomato Sauce.”

Now we have 6 lbs, 9 ounces of tomato sauce. I’ve already placed it in containers and put it in the fridge. It’s not a complete waste because we do use tomato sauce to make our own pizza sauce. Although…I’m not sure we could get through the whole can before it goes bad. I have a feeling we’ll be searching the net for other things we can make with the sauce before it goes bad.

Lesson learned – if you think you are getting a great deal by purchasing a can of ketchup, make sure it is a can of ketchup! 🙂


22 Comments

  • Reply Patti |

    Freeze it in smaller containers instead of larger ones – that way you can thaw as needed and you may only need a small amount for some recipes, but you can absolutely preserve it in the freezer.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Patti – thanks for the suggestion of freezing it! I wasn’t sure if you could do it, and we only have the freezer on top of our fridge (we unplugged our old big freezer a while ago). But I bet we could fit at least two or three pizza making serving in the freezer.

    Jen – with the cold weather, chili sounds good! I’ve never made it from scratch, though..so it could be interesting 🙂

  • Reply jaye |

    When I’m inspired to cook for the future, I like to make chili and spaghetti sauce at the same time as they both need many of the same ingredients (garlic, onions, tomato sauce, ground meat, etc.) If you set aside a few hours, you could make a ton of meals with that sauce. You can use the spaghetti sauce for your pizza, too, if you like.

    Both can be frozen for a good, long time. Can you make room in the freezer?

    Here’s an easy idea. Put the chili, spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce into gallon-sized zip-locs. If you freeze them flat (lying down), they’ll barely take up any room! You can just stack them up and pull them out when you need a quick dinner! Don’t forget to label them, though.

    Do you need a good, easy recipe for chili?

  • Reply Kim L. |

    I was going to suggest spaghetti sauce too. Weight Watchers has a great recipe for it and I always end up freezing the leftovers. We use it as pizza sauce too.

  • Reply tlange |

    I did not think that ketchup was sold by the can?

    You can buy ketchup by the case. Years ago, when I was much younger and used ketchup a lot, my dad purchased it by the case, much cheaper that way.

  • Reply Mar |

    Chili isn’t hard. My favorite is vegetarian where you sautee any veggies you have that you like in a little bit of oil (I use celery, green pepper, onions, red pepper, and carrots, but you could add squash, left-over green beans, corn, etc.) Toss in some chili spice, some hot peppers (if you like them – our chili is usually milder), and other seasonings that you like (some garlic, salt, pepper, whatever), add tomato sauce and beans, and heat until it’s thickened and cooked to your liking.

    You can also make beef vegetable soup with the tomato sauce in the base. I made it a couple weeks ago in the crock pot. I first browned some relatively cheap beef on the stove just to get rid of most of the fat and then tossed everything in the crock pot – the meat, beef broth, water, tomato sauce, corn, barley, carrots, celery, and green beans. A few hours on low and it was fabulous. You can use whatever pasta or grain you have on hand and it’s a good way to use up small amounts of this and that. It doesn’t take that much beef since it’s soup and you could even leave it out if you wanted to do so.

    Six pounds of tomato sauce will make a lot of whatever you want to make – good luck!

  • Reply Jen |

    Hehe… I did something similar. A while back I bought a large jar of spaghetti sauce. I was on a pasta kick and figured it’d be economical to buy a larger jar. Well, I ended up not eating pasta for a while, until this weekend. I pulled down the jar, opened it, warmed up some sauce. Then, I noticed the expiration date: 1/24/2008! Doh! I’ve got a lot of pasta to eat before next Thursday…. Although, after reading the comments here, I can try to freeze it.

  • Reply dcsmith |

    I second the suggestion to make ketchup. Type “homemade ketchup” into google and you’ll get more recipes than you could ever want. You can even healthify it if you want because you can control the type and quantity of sweetener (ketchup normally contains tons of processed sweetener like corn syrup).

  • Reply Matt |

    Oh I’ve done that before though never with something that large. I guess there will be a lot of pizza over the next little while.

    Maybe you can sell some Pizza’s during your next garage sale?

  • Reply stacey |

    I make soups and stews frequently from scratch. Tomato sauce is one of my “wonder” ingredients: “Wonder how I can make it thicker”, etc. It helps thicken a little, helps the spices disperse more evenly and adds a bit of tastiness. Or so my family and I think.

  • Reply Canadian Saver |

    That is too funny!

    I once bought 20 bottles of ketchen when it was on sale for 99cents each… Thought I’d have enough for years (well a few months) but it turns out we ran out before they put it back on sale at that price……………… big ketchup eaters here too!

    I’ve also successfully frozen tomato sauce in the past.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Brooke (Dollar Frugal) |

    These types of “I Love Lucy” follies always happen to me! Just when I think I’ve got the “perfect plan” to fix a problem…WHAM! I get the smack-down.

    It looks like your readers have given you lots of good ideas. I’m sure you’ll use one of them!

  • Reply Coupon Fetcher |

    Funny story. Although ketchup in a can should have been your first clue. 😉

    Makes great speghetti sauce though, add some fresh mushrooms, italian seasoning and cut up some chuck roast and you are good to go!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Hehe…ketchup in a can may seem weird, but both my husband and I have worked in food service. Ketchup came in bulk in cans, so we never questioned it. Now I’m curious if Walmart sells ketchup in a can at all, so I’ll have to look next time we go 😉

  • Reply JvW |

    If you are short on room in the freezer, you can freeze it flat in baggies and save space that way. I freeze my liquids like that so I can fit a bunch more in my freezer.

So, what do you think ?