When my husband and I made the decision to build our next home we knew that we needed to start getting our debt paid off so we would be able to do so. One area I knew we needed to start saving in was our grocery bill. We are a family of five and right now I am spending about $150 a month of groceries.
Some of the ways we are saving are:
1. Meal planning:
I sit down and make a menu for two weeks at a time. Not only does it save me time when it comes to deciding what I want to make for dinner that evening but it also saves me money because I know what I need to buy for the meals I am making that week.
2. Bring a calculator and cash to the store with you:
Bringing a calculator will help you keep track of what you have spent. Figuring out taxes and extra savings will be a lot easier and more accurate with this tool. Also, if you only take the allotted amount of cash with you then you will not be able to spend more then you had planned. This is a great way to keep yourself from spending money that you really don’t have!
3. Clip coupons:
I live in an area where they hardly ever do double coupon days so I am not saving tons of money but every little bit helps. Between coupons and price matching I save around $15 every trip.
4. Stay away from boxed meals:
Not only does cooking from scratch taste better but generally speaking it saves you money.
5. Stop wasting food:
Freeze the portions you do not use and save them for when you need a quick and easy meal.
6. Buy extras when there is a sale:
If an item is on sale that is shelf stable or you can freeze buy extras. Recently we had a major sale on strawberries. I bought two extra packages, sliced them in half and froze them for later use.
7. Grow a garden if you can:
If you have the room, grow a garden. Even if you have to do container gardening it really is worth it. Not only will the vegetables and fruits be fresh but you can save tons of money doing this. We grow a very large garden every year with my parents. We freeze and can so our vegetables will last through out the year.
8. If you can not grow a garden try going to a local farmers market. You can always buy the veggies there and take them home to freeze or can for later use.
Most of us have kids that love snacks. I have three kids ages five and under and snack time is of the highlights of their day It can be challenging to provide snacks that are healthy, appealing, and most of all-thrifty.
I used to buy prepackaged crackers and cookies (my kids ate fishy crackers by the gallon!). But I’ve discovered that snacks don’t have to be boring or expensive! Here’s some thrifty snack ideas:
Fresh fruit and vegetables are perfect snack time choices. They are healthy and have almost no preparation time. However fresh produce can be expensive so I only buy what is in season or on sale. I also have learned ways to use produce in creative new ways-for instance making homemade applesauce in your crock pot is a great way to use apples. Put peanut butter and raisins on a celery stick and you’ve got a fun and nutritious snack. Or how about homemade fruit leather!
Baking your own sweet treats is another a great way to save money. Cookies, muffins, granola bars, sweet breads-the possibilities are endless! And don’t forget home made yogurt in your crock pot I always make double batches when I bake goodies and keep some hidden in the freezer-this cuts back on your prep time and you’ll never get hit with the temptation to run out to the store and pick up something prepackaged and costly. One of our favorites is chocolate chip muffins and they’re so easy to make! They freeze nicely and can be used as a breakfast option too.
Eggs and cheese can be your new snack time favorites. Boiled eggs, deviled eggs, and egg salad on crackers are all great and frugal snack ideas. Use cheese to make quesidillas and cheesy roll ups. How about a small plate of chips and cheese (this one is my husbands favorite snack).
And don’t forget crackers! Why pay premium prices when you can make your own! Graham crackers, saltine crackers, and vanilla wafers all can be made in your kitchen. Not only will making them save you money but you’ll be able to pronounce all the ingredients too
Incorporating new options into your snack time will not only save you money but it will also get you away from unhealthy, prepackaged items. I encourage you to take snack time to the ‘next’ level and see what frugal and fabulous goodies you can come up with!