Family Friendly Food Week! Today's guest post is all about how to save money on groceries. But first a reminder to stop by the week-long party and link up! We're sharing all kinds of recipes, tips on meal planning, couponing strategies, snack ideas, and more. If you link up a post and link back to me within your post(s) you'll earn an automatic entry in this week's Giveaway from Planner Perfect! Be sure to check it out--you can enter to win an eBook on Organization.
Today, I'd like to welcome Ann Marie from white house, black shutters. I can't wait to read her tips and tricks for saving money on food, and eating healthier at the same time!
Hi, Serenity Now readers! I’m so excited (and flattered, really) that Amanda has asked me to guest post during Family Friendly Food Week! My name is Ann Marie and I blog over at white house, black shutters.
I’m a mom of two, and will have three children under age three in January! My blog covers a whole mess of topics: home décor, green living, cooking, DIY, repurposing, garage sailing, vintage decorating, enjoying a simple life, but it all really centers around one thing:
Like most of you, things are tight and we’re looking to cut costs anywhere we can. Some months are harder than others. Some months I can go thrifting and buy fabric, other months that money has to go towards food and diapers and I have to use only what I have on hand.
If you don’t have money, you can’t spend it. Plain and simple. You cut out the fun shopping trips, cable, new shoes, Starbucks, new fabric, that Craigslist steal, and all that, buuuuut…
When Amanda posed a question on her facebook page,
I commented that we try to stay under $200 a month and shop mostly at Trader Joe’s and Aldi. When I started to think about it, it’s probably closer to $200-300. I don’t have a set budget. Some months I spend more than others, but there are a handful of tips that I use to keep the grocery bill low:
These include fruits, veggies, beans, oats, potatoes, bread, rice, noodles, yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, butter, oil, spices, condiments.
Even if you are shopping organic for some of these items, you'll find that sticking to the basics will save you money overall. Try to shop mostly in the perimeter of the grocery store; it's where the majority of these pantry and fridge staples are found.
We buy meat only when it’s on sale. I usually try to spend under $4 for a meal’s worth of meat; which for our family, is about one pound. If the price is more than that, I don’t buy it or I’ll stretch it for more than one meal. A whole chicken will give us enough for two meals, a roast will give us leftovers for lunch, and adding a can of black beans to a pound of ground beef stretches it in a delicious way!
If you have a deep freezer look into buying a portion of a cow, pig, or chickens. Since you are buying in bulk, the price per pound is cheaper than the store. Fall is usually the time to do this, you can check out localharvest.org to find a source near you.
Well, not only is the regular bone-in chicken way cheaper, it tastes better too. The bone and everything else will give you a better flavor than any pre-packaged piece of chicken ever could.
I still do use boneless, skinless breasts, but I don’t use them all the time. If I do use them, I buy them frozen, without breading, and in bulk to save money.
Italian meals, casseroles, soups, appetizers as dinner, one-pot meals, and big salads are good for this. Use plenty of spices and add eggs, beans, cheese, and/or hearty veggies and you won’t notice the difference!
Invest in good knives and maybe a food processor to save time. Cut all of your veggies at once and freeze them to save time the day of a meal, maybe even cook meals ahead of time or make double and freeze meals.
Fall is a great time to buy fruits and vegetables in season! Go apple picking, go to a pumpkin patch, pick up a few extra squash everytime you go to the store and use them throughout the winter. Last year I used only squash and edible pumpkins in my fall decor and once it was time to switch to Christmas decorations, we ate them!
Find a place to pick your own fruits and veggies here!
And we’ve been saving money! It is hard work, but it’s a great family bonding experience. My 2 year old, Lily, gets just as excited to go to the garden as she does to go to the park.
And it’s not too late for you to start your garden! September is the perfect time for planting fall crops such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, garlic, and more. These plants prefer the cold weather and actually taste better if you plant them during this time of year rather than in the spring.
Plant some seeds in an empty spot in your landscaping, clear out your summer annuals, skip a mum and plant something you can eat. Don’t have a spot? Find a pot, rubbermaid container, whatever, and PLANT SOMETHING!!!! You have a spot, I can promise you that.
My favorite sources for seeds (cheap and quick shipping!) include:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and The D. Landreth Seed Company. I know it’s not “grocery shopping” but I think it’s related.
I said “try,” because it’s hard. It’s SO hard. Maybe it’s harder for me than it is for you. I swear Starbucks and all those other places have a whistle that only I can hear. Salted Caramel Mocha? What the crap?! That sounds amazing...But forking over $4.55 for a grande (not including tax) every day really adds up, that's over $30 a week!
Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll be eating better. I still stop here or there (It’s hard not to), but now we go out to eat only a handful of times a year. If you’re going out, check to see if you can find a local place with a coupon, or a restaurant.com gift certificate and try a new place!
Whew! I'm hoping you're still reading. As you can probably tell, this is a topic that I really feel passionate about! Healthy eating is really important to me, and it's hard to budget when it comes to something that impacts your life SO much. Challenge yourself to think of thrifty grocery shopping as a game, cooking from scratch as a new adventure, and the task will be a lot easier to take on!
If you get a chance, come visit white house, black shutters, we’d love to see you! Thanks so much, Amanda, for inviting me over!
Big thanks to Ann Marie for taking the time to put all of this together! I know I learned a lot today...it's time to start perusing the meat section at the grocery and look for sales.
Please do stop by the link party and share a few posts of your own. I'll be featuring some of the posts along with a few other resources tomorrow to open up this weekend's Weekend Bloggy Reading party.
I hope you'll come back tomorrow to link up YOUR best post of the week to Weekend Bloggy Reading. Recipes, crafts, home decor, book reviews, funny stories, you name it. Come prepared to showcase your blog and find some great weekend reads.
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