Save on Groceries without Coupons
I’ve really been thinking about how to save money on groceries, food in general really! It is one of my 2014 goals! I even asked my Facebook readers for their best tip on how I could do this. I received lots of great comments, of course many about coupons.
THANK YOU to those who responded.
After evaluating our meals, grocery budget and my past coupon experiences I had a light bulb moment. The kind that makes you think really, you’re just now thinking of that. That’s when it hit me…you can save on groceries without coupons.
I knew I had to do something besides using coupons. I have tried that route many times and it’s just not for me. Then I realized it’s not so much that I needed to save money on more food but instead I needed to be responsible with what I was already buying. Which in the long run will save me money.
Here goes…I’m a waster! I’m not proud of it but I toss out a lot of food every week! I plan to eat things for left overs but I end up throwing it out because I leave it in the refrigerator too long. I also buy way too much food for the pantry. I think because my husband and I both have 4 siblings each, we think lots of food is normal. So now I plan to make enough to always have left overs for our staple meals like spaghetti, taco soup, chili, etc. but I will freeze it right away.
Also, as I told you in my New Years Resolutions post that one of my goals for the new year is to plan my weekly meals. Part of this plan will include my leftovers. The other part of the plan will include grocery store sales. Although I will not be clipping coupons, I will pay attention to what is on sale. Then I can stock up on something that we use often.
So here’s what I have…
- No coupons
- Planned meals
- Buy what is on sale
- No more wasting food
I’m excited to think of having this under control. This is an area in my homemaking that I have given lots of thought to but never quite like this.
By the way…that is my pantry in the picture! It will be getting an organizational makeover very soon 😉
How do you keep your grocery and food bills under control? I’d love for you to share!
When you fry it, add in diced onion and drain it well. You can also add pepper. I try not to add extra salt. When I make hamburgers, I add onion And some BBQ sauce to add flavor. Then, freeze in patties.
What recipe do you use for laundry detergent?
that was an amazing thing to read thank-you
You are so welcome!! It is always a learning process to save money. Glad this helped you. ~Sonya
thanks so much for so many awesome tips and advice on all your experiences. We don’t have coupons here in South Africa so a lot of what you all have shared is very very helpful. 🙂 thank you.
Use those sales at Walmart Sonya, you don’t need to run all over town! They price match! They will also accept any grocer sale ad within a 50 mile radius!
Every Wednesday, all the new weekly ads come out for every grocery store and end Tuesday at midnite… Walmart will be glad to accept any price match, usually without a fuss, but most cashiers will now ask for actual ad when price matching meat. You can go online to walmart and search coupon and price match rules, I have recently printed them and carry them with me so I don’t get any flack from the cashiers, some will test you to your limits! I try to only use coupons with the sale items to save a better buck and I usually save over $60.00 a visit depending on what I am buying for that week. For those of you who buy in bulk and have these grocers available to you: Fiesta, Terry’s, Jerry’s, Vallarta, Aldi’s, Super 1 and El Rio Grande, they have the best sales EVERY week on fresh produce. I ALWAYS get Japs, Onions, and Tomatoes @ 3#/1! Grapes usually 79-99c/#. Of course if you can visit these Mexican grocers DO! Their produce is so much better and more variety than you have ever imagined. If its too far, just use the price match at your local Walmart! If these stores are not in your area, I would suggest finding of the like online and seeking the weekly ads they offer, it helps in the long run. Happy shopping! Thank you for all these great tips!
Whenever I look at a recipe that looks good, I first sit down and examine the ingredients. If they are not something that I use regularly or that keeps, I usually just ditch the recipe. I also look at how much it would cost to make it and how many servings it makes. This saves me from buying a lot stuff that just takes up room in my pantry. I also plan my meals. I start by looking at what is in my cupboards, freezer and fridge and plan meals that will use it up. Then I plan the rest around what is on sale for that week at the grocery store. Because I hate to shop, I have a computerized list that is laid out in the same order as the grocery store. I keep it on my fridge. When I run out of something, I circle it on the list. When shopping day comes around, the only thing I need circle is what I need for meals. The actual shopping trip could count as a cardio event. I follow my list, not stopping to shop or browse (unless I am planning on stocking up on certain sale items), and get my groceries as quickly as possible. This saves me from buying things not on my list. I also have my menu plan on my grocery list, so if I see meat on sale, I can substitute items on my list without buying extra things I don’t need.
That’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard! Thanks for sharing.
My mother always kept a foil covered cupcake pan in the freezer. Whenever there were just a smidge of leftovers she would fill a space or two. Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, spinach..etc. when it was full she would heat it for one of the sides and put it on the table on a pot holder with the rest of the meal. All of us loved that night of the week. Kids get so excited over little things.. 🙂
I get all my vegetables from bountiful baskets and deli meat you can get for at least half off at walmart after at 10pm. Cut out expensive foods like snacks, cookies, meat and dairy and replace them with healthier and cheaper alternatives like rices, beans, hemp products, nut products, etc. instead of snacks we do rice and veggie scraps with whatever sauce goes well like dressing, salsa, siracha, soy sauce, etc. we only buy ground turkey never beef bc it’s much cheaper and healthier. And buy in bulk, but run your numbers for price per ounce bc bulk isn’t ALWAYS cheaper. Also, things like rice, beans, and hemp seeds are usually cheaper online, by the 5 lbs or 5 gallons, etc. it takes a lot of time to find the best prices and sources for your food so put in the work and you will save, but the #1 tip I can give is cut out dairy and meats and snacks as much as possible those foods are very expensive per ounce. I look to incorporate foods in our groceries that are about 10-15 cents per ounce or less. Also, set a budget for dining out. I use mint.com to track my finances and It helps me see how much is going where and I can see what I need to work on.
Good for you. Hope it’s going well this year.
Will you be doing a follow up on this blog? I was wondering how things have gone and any tips you may have!!
I don’t use many coupons. Several times a year I go through our pantry and discard any items I haven’t use by tossing or donating. As to generic, I will buy but there are certain items we just don’t like so it is no savings. It will sit, take u space or be thrown out when the I don’t like this happens. Adjusting to a smaller household after older kids have moved on is taking me some time. We just don’t eat as much wiht 2 girls instead of 2 girls adn 2 guys. Even so that alone has been a big saving but we can;t chuck our kids out before it’s time!! Meat is a big ticket item. Rarely do I buy any meat that is not on sale or with the yellow sticker (day old, not sold) Family packs when on sale can be a good buy. Like my mom who was a careful shopper, I have picked a grocery store and stuck with it. I know the cycles for sales and use the “card” for discounts and gas points. Driving around to save a few pennies is not saving me gas or time so I don’t. My husband and I figure it works out about the same.
I’M SORRY I AM SO SLOW BUT I AM USING A 550 NOW AND I GET IT FROM FOOD SAVER WHICH I RECOMMEND FOR THEIR DEALS.
a few simple tricks that really help me save on money and food:
I shop 4-5 times a month. I plan for the whole month with 8 flex days (2 each week because we always have leftovers). I look at what is on special in the ads for extra savings.
When I shop, I carry a small pad of paper with me (if I’m alone) and note the price of my most used items (I also use my receipt if I’m not alone at the store and track it later) so that way when I’m at another store, I can see if I am getting the best value. I could use a smart device, but I like pen and paper better 🙂
I plan on Wednesday or Thursday and shop on Friday morning that way my pantry is full for the weekend whatever it may hold (guests, parties, spontaneous lunch after church, etc…)
I make one huge shopping trip for ingredients that will last the whole month (dried goods, grains, cereals, etc…) then my subsequent trips look like ONLY what I need for that week.
This is the kicker for me: whatever produce I buy like peppers, cucumbers, grapes, anything that won’t brown, no matter how pooped I am from the day’s errands, I chop up or separate from the vines and put the food into ready to grab containers. If it is readily available I will use it in almost anything and it also helps me snack healthier because those are easy to eat.
I would definitely like to grow a garden,not too big…as there is just two of us. I was once told by a next door neighbor who grows a garden without weeding…that I should,as I grow a huge lawn and I water and feed it,so why not take some of the lawn and turn it into a garden? I work as a Cook on a large Ranch,and we are told by the Health Authorities to not save the leftovers,which there is a bit,but I do save them and use them in soups and casseroles. Freezing food in the Food Saver Bags is very helpful for me as well,as it takes all the air out,and freezer burn is non existent.We buy all our meat except Beef as that is supplied by the Ranch,and when pork or poultry is purchased I like to divide it up and freeze for future meals. Purchasing food for a huge amount of people to feed takes a lot of practice to get it from the store to home,and be able to turn it all into delicious meals without having to repeat them over and over. We have no processed foods,or quick mixes other than cake mixes to use. All the food we cook is all by scratch…needless to say,planning by menus comes in handy big time. If I need mixes I make them up before hand and freeze them or keep them in the cooler. It’s a lot of work,but healthy in the long run. I cook for anywhere from 6-12 people at a time depending on what time of year it maybe. There is also a person or two who may stick their head in the door and want a meal at the last minute. The one appliance that I like to use is the Slow Cooker,that is a life saver…if you have one it is essential to learn how to cook with it,it can cook most anything. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas I sure loved your site!
LOL…sorry! I should have connected the two!
Sorry, Sonya. The previous comment (from EileenA) said she had a source where she got multiple packs of coupon books. I was wondering what the source was. Maybe it was a local source. I was thinking it was a mail source.
Sorry..not sure what source you are asking for…
Could you possibly share that source?
I really want to grow more herbs. I have rosemary but would love to grow Cilantro…any advice?
I have a source to get multiple packs of coupon books ,was exited using them until my husband got food intolerance for some of the products I bought so I had to stop cuponing, sadly I have to buy without coupons now, had to take another strategy what is on sale works( organic stuff) , I have not tried planned meals but ill try. I often buy what we like to eat most and that is easy to make .
Also I save on veggies and herbs planting them in my garden.you must try that to !
Can you tell me what model you use? Wal-Mart has a few different ones of that brand.
I MAKE A LARGE RECIPE OF MEAT LOAF & PLACE IN DISPOSABLE FOIL PANS , WHICH I DO USE OVER, I WRAP IN FOIL AND FREEZE. KEEP ONE FOR DINNER. WHEN READY TO BAKE I CAN PUT IN FRIG THE NIGHT BEFORE OR POP FROM FREEZER TO OVEN. IF I DON’T REMEMBER TO GET OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE.
FOR MEAT BALLS I ALSO MAKE A DOUBLE BATCH, BAKE IN OVEN, LET COOL AND FREEZE ON COOKIE SHEETS WHEN FROZEN I PLACE IN BAGS. I CAN GET OUT JUST THE AMOUNT I NEED FOR MY MEAL.
HOPE THIS HELPS. I COULD SUPPLY THE RECIPES AS I AM STARTING A BLOG AND WILL HAVE ON THERE.
Thanks Kim! I’d love more details about freezing as well!
I am interested in freezing meatloafs and meat balls… can you tell the process you use, what you freeze it in, and how long is it good for…. I know doing this will save lots of time… thanks, Kim
I have enjoyed reading all the blogs… so many good ideas here. I would like to know more about freezing food and using later. .onions , bell peppers , meats and how to do it. is there a web site for that info or can someone on here help me, please. and keep on blogging Sonya, I love reading it… thank , Kim
Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for sharing!
Amazon’s subscribe & save has been phenomenal for us. We buy Costco type things (bulk, staples and large) and when you “subscribe” to get them on a preset schedule, which you set, you get 5% off. If you set up 5 items to deliver the same month, they knock 20% off! Case in point, we have diapers come every other month, toothpaste pack of 4 every 6 mos, paper plates ever few months, paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap refills, sponges, tissues, all that stuff. Most months we have one or two things coming, but on the months we hit 20% off, it’s awesome. You can cancel at any time so there’s no harm in subscribing. We get an email each month to confirm our shipment that we way we can stop and say “wow, enough paper towels, let’s delay that shipment.”
My family defines me as above and beyond, but now I have a few new tricks to try out Thanks to you!
Good to know! Thank you for sharing. Have a great weekend ~Sonya
Great idea for splitting the 2 categories up for the budget! Thanks!
Walmart has the price match… If u have the right coupon and a great sale from another local market your in business… Even without a coupon u can save a ton… Also discount grocery stores are amazing! I found pre-packaged snacks for free and gluten free pancake mix that was 4.50 at Walmart but I got it for .50 cents
My husband and I were the same way with food and leftovers, lots of waste. Actually we would go to the store at least once a day to pick up groceries leaving us with a $500+ monthly grocery bill for two people. Since October we have been planning our weekly meals and use a $400 budget (food only). So every week when we go we spend $100 on the meals. We have a separate budget for stuff like toothpaste and dog food since we can’t “eat” those things. Honestly this has helped out so much by doing this and the bright side is we are never sitting at the house wondering whats for dinner!
I have been planning weekly menus around my grocery store’s sale ads and what I already had on hand for a few years now and it really does work – on occasion things get crazy and I end up going shopping without a menu and I spend 2 to 3 times more than I do with a menu – we have a large family of 5 with number 6 on the way, and our weekly grocery bill averages $75. – $100. depending on what’s on sale, what I am planning and what we have on hand, but for a family of 5 I think that’s pretty good!
Also to help save penny’s, I take advantage of my grocery store’s gasoline points promo’s and have gotten as much as $.90 cents off per gallon of gas!
I also find in the long run it does save money if I buy a roast and cook it then plan menu’s eating off of it several nights in a week – the roast may cost $20 or $30. but when you divide that by 5 people and 3, 4 or sometimes 5 nights worth of dinners, it breaks down to being pretty cheap meals!!
Awesome, I will check into that! Thanks!
I love what you wrote on how to save money. You are right. Many people save money by just stop throwing food away. I separate all our leftovers into lunch portions and my husband takes them to work for his lunch instead of going out to eat. Its healthier and convenient for him.
Also the last few months I have discovered a great company called Zaycon Foods.They sell fresh meat for a great price. You have to buy 40 lbs at a time but it’s so worth it. They basically take out the grocery store step and take the meat from the farm to a location and we go pick it up. Its similar to Bountiful Baskets but better! Its higher quality meat for the same price as cheaper quality at the store. Hope this helps!
Great tip about ethnic wholesale! Thanks for sharing ~Sonya
Great Ideas guys – One thing that makes a difference to my budget is that by shopping in some of the ethnic wholesale grocers I can get products for sometimes a quarter of the price of the “supermarket”. Bulk items like nuts flour sugar and rice are unbelievably cheap. Because they supply a lot of restaurants their turnover is high so everything is very fresh. They also get cheaper the bigger quantities you buy. So I will go with a friend and split the bag if it is something we both want.
Another simple money saver for summer is the lettuce bowl a big pot with fancy lettuces in it. Snip off the leaves you want and let the plant grow on to provide tomorrows salad. I got about 6 weeks worth of salad for about the the price of 2 supermarket packs. I don’t have a green thumb but the lettuce survived long enough to make a lot of salad.
I love that blog! I’ll check out the post, thanks! Stay warm!
I’m sharing a link to a blog posting I just read. It has some good tips on saving money on groceries. There is only a small part referring to using coupons, but she says her tips will still save money even without the use of coupons.
Laurel in MN. 🙂 (Very cold here in MN the last few days… in the -20s!)
Thanks so much for all of the great info! I will be checking frugal girl out!
I’m new to your blog but this caught my eye. You may want to check out thefrugalgirl.com–she has done an amazing job of posting ways to save money on your food budget. She also has a “food waste Fridays” post which she does every other week documenting food she inadvertently wasted as a way to motivate her not to do that any more. In the past 2 years, I have tried different methods to manage my food budget better and I have found (like the Frugal Girl) that couponing is time-consuming and doesn’t really save me a lot. I think it’s a gradual process to reduce your food budget and you need to do it in realistic steps or all your good intentions will go by the wayside. What I have found that has helped me:
shopping at Aldi (if you have one) for many items saves me hundreds yearly
being better aware of what is in my fridge/pantry and not duplicating items
not over-buying (I must have a fear of starvation!)
avoiding buying “junk” items–you know what I mean!
I have a “loose” meal plan each week but mostly I keep things that make quick, easy, inexpensive meals (pasta–you can go whole-grain on this if you want, rice, potatoes, kidney beans, cream of mushroom soup–hey, I’m a midwesterner!, buns, taco shells …). This will vary based on your family’s food preferences but you get the idea–take the meat of your choice, add a few ingredients, include a veggie/salad/fruit, and ta-da! A meal! BTW, over the years I have tried to build up my repertoire of easy-peasy, quick meals. And I save my sanity where I can–many frugal food bloggers completely avoid cereal but it helps me get the kids out to the school bus in a timely manner!
You are so welcome!
I just want you to know I apreciate the information you sent I am wanting to cut down my food bill this year and this will also help me !
Just want to throw this thought in on generic foods… this used to be all we would buy in my family because there was no difference in taste etc and why waste the money. Until my mom had to watch her diet due to severe cardiac problems — now we rarely buy generic due to the fact that they usually have more sodium and sometimes other chemicals or ingredients that we are trying to avoid (like high fructose corn syrup). If you’re trying to eat healthier watch your labels some generic foods are great buys and some are not depending on your situation and needs. For example we buy generic basics like pasta and rices but not soup bases or dressings.
Also this probably goes with planning ahead with meals but I try to have plans how to use ‘leftovers’ the next day. Extra meat and veggies from pasties was used to make a casserole the next day and the fajita meat from another day was used to make pizza then quesadillas.
Thanks so much for the tips, I will be checking into that! Now I have 2 teenagers to feed 😉
I too went through the same exact thing with planning meals. It was at a point that I dreaded cooking, mostly because I wanted our family to eat healthy. By eating healthy requires not eating processed foods, which means that MOST if not all couponing is processed foods. Also, I found with couponing is for hoarders, it’s not about eating healthy or planning meals. Here’s what has worked for us these last few months. Now, keep in mind, we’re a family of 3 and little one that’s not eating out the house! lol I started out with Pillsbury.com planning my meals, even my grocery list for the store. However, I skipped over to Pauladeen.com for planning my meals. I was finding that Pillsbury’s recipe were too much bread in their recipes and so what tasty. They were quick and easy though. Now, paula deen’s recipe has been great and more healthy (watch the butter 😉 though) BUT easy recipes that are delish!~ I can post several of my favorites if you like. The only think about Paula’s site, that I do not care for her shopping list. You’re not able to add or delete from the recipe you add to the shopping list. You can Pillsbury though. However, there’s several these types of sites from foodnetworks chefs to products that have the meal planning. Actually, Rachael Ray has it where you can get her monthly magazine that has weekly planners for your meals. It will list the ingredients for the week’s meal where you’ll can repeating use the one ingredient several times (savings there). Downside with Rachael Ray’s planner, she tends to have some exotic ingredients that’s hard to find and when you do, they’re pricey 🙁 Other than that, they seem to be yummy though.
Also, the other thing that I am doing to save money and time on busy nights is to prepare meals that’s for two nights in a row. That’s been a savings for us.
Thanks for great blog idea~ I will be following 🙂
I love coupons! I do not buy processed food so the bulk of the coupons are used for personal and household supplies. I match the coupons to sales and stock up – that saves me at least 60% on those items. I purchase canned fruit and veggies on sale and again I buy extra to get me through to the next sale. When I buy meat on sale I try to prep it before going in the freezer so it doesn’t take so long each evening – for example, I will go ahead and add marinade to the chicken breast, or cook a bunch of ground meat with minced carrots celery and onion, then divide and freeze. I also make meatballs and meatloaf in bulk – it saves time and electricity because you are cooking 3 meatloaves at one time instead of one and only having to make a mess and wash a big bowl one time instead of three.
I found an app called Favado. It will show you all the sales at major stores in your area. You can compile a grocery list from it and even add items to a favorites list. It will show you sale items that have coupons as well that you can email to yourself and print. I am very excited to use it this week! We are so wasteful! This is a big one for us in 2014.
I am a coupon clipper, mother of twins and have done or are doing a lot of what you guys are doing…… Now let me just say I am not one of those couponers who buy 300 packs of gum or anything like that. I am one who only shops sales flyers and gets what’s on sale. It took me about 12 months to really get a good stock of food we actually eat. I only have one 5 shelf unit. My couponing has saved me on average of 250.00 a month on groceries.
I only buy what’s in season as far as fruits and veggies go, I froze/ canned fruits from this past summer and we are enjoying them now when the prices are higher.
I seriously DONT know what or how I could save money without couponing.
Planning meals ahead makes a big difference in groceries bill: when our children were small, I was tired to hear “what’s for dinner?” questions and made a plan for 6 weeks and put it on frigde door. After that it was easy to see, what is need to buy and finally we done two weeks groceries at one trip and during those weeks we only had to buy some fresh milk and fruits. Because we didn’t go groceries that often, we also avoid buying staff we didn’t really needed. Chips and snacks weren’t found in house, as well we had soda only in special occasion, cookies etc were made by self as well bread also -it became whole lot cheaper. But of course I had more time to do it all, because I was stay at home mom. I wish you best of luck to your goal – I should do some checking to our way to buy and use food nowadays, too!
Using a vacuum sealer makes a lot of sense and I’m sure makes a big difference. I think I will have to invest in one of those! THANKS!
I MAKE WHAT I CALL HAMBURGER MIX TO USE FOR JUST ABOUT ANY HAMBURGER RECIPE AND ADD FILLERS, CARROTS, CELERY , ONIONS ETC.
I ALSO HAVE A FOOD SAVER VACUUM SEALER SYSTEM THAT I HAVE HAD FOR YEARS, ON MY THIRD ONE. I FIND THEM WELL WORTH THE MONEY. NO FREEZER BURN FOOD KEEPS LONGER AND HAS MANY OTHER USES. SORRY I SOUND LIKE A SALES PERSON. IT IS JUST THAT THEY DO WHAT THEY ADVERTISE.
Found your post from pintrest. This is my goal in 2014 too. My son has a life threatening allergy to all nuts and we have to read labels like crazy. Things can’t even be made in the same facility as nuts. I found it easier to make things from scratch for him and in return also found out that not buying prepackaged processed foods cut my grocery total way down. We also use cloth napkins (I just sewed some using scrap material I had) and we use vinegar to clean with, really saves a lot. I loved reading this post and comments and got several tips and tons of motivation to keep at my goal for 2014! Thanks!!
I will have to check it out…I have the same issue. I like to stick to the same meals but my husband would love to try new things.
Sonya, one of my biggelst issues is deciding what to cook. But if I have a recipe or idea of what i want i tend to enjoy cooking and even get a little creative. But I ran across this deal on one of the living social type sites a while back it is a site called emeals.com and it is wonderful! You can choose what type meals you want to cook such as classic, low carb, low calorie, paleo, crock pot etc. and if you want it for 2 ppl. or 3-6 ppl. they send you a menu w/ grocery list every wed. and mosr of the meals take under 45min. start to finish. I love it! Just thought I’d share. God Bless. Happy cooking.
My daughter graduated from culinary school and showed me how to debone a whole chicken breast and make it skinless and boneless. Its very easy and sometimes they go on sale for .99 a pound so i purchase alot and do it myself, that saves alot of money!!!
Great tip about the ready to go crock pot meal when tempted! Thanks for sharing!
I have gotten in the habit of buying a whole chicken instead of way more expensive breasts. Once I roast the chicken we have 4 meals out of it. Chicken salad for lunch, chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice….I also switched to cloth napkins a few years ago for 2 reasons, a lot less garbage and so much cheaper. Another huge money saver is homemade laundry detergent, my husband works for the water company (and not the clean stuff, the waste water) and it works to clean his clothes. For about $20 I have detergent for a few months. And some people cant believe I do this, but I wash ziploc bags and reuse them (if it had meat in it, I reuse for meat only) why do they have to go in the trash after one use???
My husband and I have made a meal plan every week for years, it really works for us! My tip is to always make a crockpot meal on the night you will be most temped to go out! So, that is every Friday night for us and nights where we have lots of running around to do. I believe it had saved us hundreds in dining out!
Thank you so much! I’m glad you did too 🙂
I, like you, came to pretty much the same realization. It’s just my husband and me now, kids are grown and gone. So why was I buying so much? My pantry and freezer were packed. So I started planning meals carefully with what I had. I honestly can’t remember the last time I really went to shop for the week. It’s been about 9 months and we’ve made a serious dent but there’s still a ways to go.
Also wanted to say that I am so glad to have discovered your blog!
I do shop with coupons sometimes, but not like crazy amounts. We have started a small garden this year to hopefully save (but we are in Southern CA so we are able to – we have a small backyard but we hope to grow a nice winter/spring garden – we already have an orange tree) – we are trying to grow as much as possible this year. We use generic baking soda & vinegar to clean just about everything and it works perfectly. I buy the bulk sized containers whenever possible. We also use cloth napkins and the kids have reusable bags and small tupperware for school lunches. We have reusable water bottles and dont do juice/soda. We use regular nonfat milk and raw sugar in homemade coffee or tea – no silly overpriced flavored creamers in our house. I always check the Target end caps – especially after back to school/holidays/etc – there are almost always cool things as much as 50% off! Ask your grocery store what day/time they do markdowns on bread / meat / dairy / produce – I freeze meat & bread – I also make smoothies regularly and I like to put fruit & veg in them (i will freeze produce that is ripe and on close out and use in smoothies later =)) – we make our own pancakes and freeze them ahead of time – we put in banana or pumpkin or applesauce and freeze them (I don’t even get why anyone would buy frozen waffles – so much money!). My husband also LOVES making meatless burger patties – he made up an awesome (and very freezer friendly) black bean & quinoa burger that costs next to nothing – he usually makes 30 at a time & the kids LOVE them – they are super healthy & super inexpensive! We usually have bean burgers once a week – less than $5 for the whole family =) I also make my own ”cheesy noodles” – the standard stuff isn’t expensive, but it isn’t very healthy – I can usually find organic packages of noodles at Grocery Outlet for 99 cents (A LOT more noodles than in a mac & cheese box and less money) – I make the pasta and then mix with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a little salt & oregano – I also add in whatever frozen or fresh veggies we have (tomatoes, carrots, peas, whatever) for homeschool days lunch – the kids think it is ‘fancy’ and it is cheaper than sandwiches! LOL
Great plan!! I did a blog post on this very thing several months ago. It is amazing how much food we throw out each week. Freezing is an awesome way to not do this. It really works for us!!
I enjoy your blog so much! This is one of my resolutions too, to get a grip on money spent on food. I cannot coupon either! To me, it just seems like a huge time investment and I just stink at it! I can’t tell you the coupons I’ve thrown away because I’ve let them expire. I’m just not good at it AT ALL ! One thing that I am guilty of is spending a LOT of money on packaged cookies, crackers, chips, etc (snack type foods) instead of spending the bulk of money on food for MEALS!! I am hoping to spend more money and energy on preparing MEALS and hopefully we can “fill up” on that more and lesson some of the need for feeling like we need a bunch of snacks in the house!
A trick I learned from my grandmother is to keep a quart freeze container in the freezer for the left over veggies that aren’t enough to use again like single serving or less. When the container is filled, add tomatoes and meat if desired for veggie soup. I have even added left over roast to my container if I had any left so meat was already included!
I’m with you, ladies! I cut coupons, but forget to use them. Plus I feel that most generic or store brands are still cheaper than name brand w/coupons anyways. We eat a lot of processed foods in our house, pizza, Hamburger Helper, etc. I’m sick of it! My biggest problem is planning ahead. Another difficulty for me is not being home at meal time. My kids have various activities during the week that conflict with meal time and we end up eating fast food. :(. Suggestions on that? Sometimes I have something in the crockpot for when we get home, but who wants to eat supper at 8:00?
We waste A LOT of food here too.
We an do this! 😉
I’ve tried freezing cooked hamburger in the past, but I always feel it has an unusual taste. You don’t find this with yours?
Laurel in MN 🙂
I do not…I don’t love to cook so if I have to do too much I’m afraid I will not stick to it. I think I just need a good recipe but I really don’t know where to start with baking from scratch!
DO YOU MAKE YOUR OWN MIXES LIKE BISCUIT MIN CORNBREAD MIX? THESE ARE HELPFUL. I ALSO MAKE UP CAKE MIXES WHILE I AM AT IT SO ALL I HAVE TO DO WHEN I NEED IT IS AD EGGS AND LIQUID. I USE LESS NOW AND HAVE MORE LEFTOVERS SINCE WE ARE DOWN TO 2. AM LEARNING HOW TO COOK LESS, THIS WILL TAKE TIME.
Same here…time is money to me!!
I think those are all great ideas! I spend about 5 minutes looking at coupons a week. I especially use them for hair/makeup/cleaning products but don’t really find that they usually save me a lot of money on food. Although if you are really hardcore I’ve heard that shopping at multiple stores and buying only what’s on sale at each helps. I don’t have that sort of time! Thanks for the tips!
Yes, planning is key! I think we are forming a support group here 😉
Yes, lots of junk in that pantry…I will admit, there is a bit extra right now because the kids are out of school for 2 weeks and I have a teenage son who brings home friends ALL the time!
THANK YOU, this is a wealth of information for me and my readers! I can already think of a few places I’m wasting money! Happy New Year ~Sonya
Great Tips!! Thanks for sharing.
I will definitely keep up with this. rosco not good with leftovers. sure I will get good ideas
You know I probley do the extreme version if this. I believe it is also how I stay on track with eating healthy… If it’s not in my house we (I) don’t eat it! Plus I know when I come to your house I can always get a cookie! Lol
Great tips! I used to clip coupons all of the time but rarely do so now since we don’t get the paper. I do use the ones that Kroger sends me in the mail and love that they are personalized for the Kroger brands that I buy. Meal planning is key for me and also keeping a stock of ingredients for an easy pasta for nights when I need an emergency meal. We also buy a quarter of beef each year from my friend at school and I love that I have that on hand at all times. I’m going to take your challenge to look on-line at the sale circular on Sunday to catch items on sale for meal planning and to also stock up on essentials when they are cheaper.
Around 6 months or so ago I started doing a lot of cooking one day and then freezing it. It gives me some nights where dinner is just easy. I also buy green peppers and onions in bulk and then run them through a food processor, spread them on a cookie sheet, put then in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, then move them to a bag, this way your peppers and onions don’t stick together. I brown all my hamburger meat at once, rinse well with warm water, drain well and then onto the cookie sheet, then when it is just frozen enough I bag it, shake the bag every so often while it finishes freezing and you will have crumbles you can just take out and cook with. I precook meatloaf and freeze it as well.
We are a teacher and a construction worker with four kids, including a couple of hungry teenage boys! I usually buy generic (although there a few things where name brand matters, but most generics are made by the name brand companies so there is literally no difference). I shop in season (so no grapes or berries in January for example) and sometimes buy extras when things are freshest and cheapest and we have a small garden, so I can freeze or otherwise preserve produce. We live in a rural area, so some things are cheaper from the neighbors or the farmers’ market than the grocery store. In fact, the cheapest milk in our town is hormone free and at the local gas station, so take some time to research and shop around. Also, things like whole chickens and chicken thighs or other parts are cheaper than boneless, skinless chicken breasts and you can use the bones and other bits to make broth. Pork is cheaper than beef usually, so I make spaghetti and chili, etc. with pork sausage. We do meatless meals as much as we can (and often stretch our proteins with cheaper staples like rice in the taco meat, or meatballs with bread crumbs). Beans and eggs are filling and cheap. On the weekends, I take all the leftovers out of the fridge and everyone gets a little of everything or whatever they like best for lunch (and if there isn’t enough for six whole meals, I add some fruits or veggies). I don’t buy processed stuff, it s so much cheaper to make cookie dough, bake a few for dessert or whatever and freeze the rest of the dough for next time someone needs a cookie fix. And by not having chips, soda, etc in the house, it cuts down on mindless snacking. It is a little more work to measure out flour and sugar, etc. to make cake or muffins, but you have to add things to the prepared mixes anyway and you still have to wait for the oven to preheat! Plus, when snacking is more work (popcorn kernels are way cheaper than microwave popcorn, but you have to measure and add your own flavor), you really have to decide if it is worth the effort! Finally, we cut down on our non-food items. We only use trash bags in the kitchen, the other cans either use shopping bags or just don’t need liners since the things in them are not messy or smelly. We use mostly homemade cleaners (vinegar is way cheaper than Scrubbing Bubbles!) We use cloth napkins and newspaper to wash mirrors and glass. I use Tupperware (with lids!) as much as I can and avoid Ziplock bags, plastic wrap, etc. I am sorry to write a novel, but this has been my goal for a long time and I have learned a lot!
Yes….I’m right ther with you and adding one thing.
I noticed your pantry, like mine, has a lot of packaged processed food. My 2014 goal is to buy less of that and try to cook and bake using better quality ingredients. In doing so, I figure I should have a nicer looking pantry…not so stuffed with bags and boxes and also have a better temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in. I know busy mom’s still need to rely on the help of these quick helpers but I am at a point in life that I can take a little extra time if I just do a better job of planning. Thank you for the no coupon approach….I haven’t been terribly successful using them either!
This is an area I’m planning to work on seriously too. I do clip coupons but use them haphazardly. My goal is to shop sales more carefully and menu plan using what is on hand. We usually have lots of groceries here but we are still guilty of eating out too much. So….planning and following through is probably the key for us.