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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Top Ten Money Saving Tips to Keep Meals tight and on BUDGET!

When I first got married our weekly grocery 

budget was...wait for it...

you best sit down!! 

$25/week!! YIKES!! Totally TRUE! 


Awww... How cute were we? Circa 1994


We made about $850/month GROSS between the both of us!! NO lie. 

We didn't have a phone or cable, our furniture was from some excellent "DUMPSTER DIVING" and "CURB-SIDE SHOPPING" on Trash night:
  • our second hand TV was a 10" model relic from the 1970's with rabbit ears attached, 
  • VCR was an original model weighing like 50Lbs or so with remote attached... 
  • I could go on about our dinning room table with missing glass panel inserts or the twin bed we shared...& on & on!!!

Fast forward 20 years later... 
WE have updated the electronics, still don't have land line (Who does these days?) and even the kids have iPods and iPads

That cable we didn't have for the first 5 years of marriage--we are in the process of getting rid off too, in the desire to save $!! In it's place we are relying on ROKU, Hulu Plus, & Amazon Prime. We have also have 2 more mouths to feed these days and only one pay check we can depend on... Times are tough not only for our family~  nearly all of us want to save buck or 2...So our budget is pretty tight.

(UPdate3/18/15: 3 months cable free...and we LOVE it!!)

We try to keep the entire groceries, toiletries, & dog care needs on that $150/week!

Below I have compiled my BEST tips that have helped us save $$ during these tough times!
pic credit

Top Ten Tips to Keep Meals tight and on BUDGET!

1.) PLAN YOUR MEALS...and FOLLOW-THROUGH w/that PLAN!!- I plan the best menus, with loads of GREAT ideas but I have an issue of follow through these days!! Adjust when life hits you a curve ball, but stay as close as to that plan as possible.

2.) Buy your proteins when they are sale & in BULK:
For instance we purchase about 20-30 LBS of BSCB when we can get it @ $1.99/LB or less, Ground Beef $2.99/Lb or less, Round Steak-Roast $3.29/Lb or less and so on...

3.)  Adjust for the week you bulk purchase proteins. AND always try to keep under $150-save whatever $$ you are under & save the difference. Keep it tucked away for a protein sale later and stock up when you do!

4.) Frequent Unclaimed Freight or Discount Grocery Stores. KEEP a CLOSE eye on the expiration date!! Some of these types of stores will get nearly expired dates, write the date on the front so you don't allow it to expire in your pantry! We get gourmet, gluten-free, organic, side dish mixes for under $1 that feed 4.

5.) Open your eyes to possibilities in the discount stores, sometimes you find a ton of rice side dishes & other times, you will find a steal in the yogurt and dairy aisle and so on...Go in with an open mind!

6.) Keep a PRICE JOURNAL with an idea of the staples you purchase on a regular basis so if you go into a DISCOUNT store you have a better idea if that box of Organic Quinoa Pilaf is a "steal" @ $1.79 and so on...

7.)  Have a "Snack" area designated in the pantry and fridge, then set a rule on usage. In my house only 2/day: one refrigerator & one pantry/day rest of the day we "eat the rainbow".  It must come from the ground or tree- not man made snacks after that. Saves $ and is healthier!!

8.) Make a-head meals & snacks for travel days: Sundays are a BUDGET killer for us! If we don't have something ready we will purchase fast-food or restaurant chain of some kind and blow $40 or more FAST! 
  • Snacks ready in the a cooler in the car for those trips home  PLUS-
  • Have something thawed and ready to cook that is "heat & eat" OR
  • Main dish simmering in the crock pot

9.)  PLAN ALL the MEALS...not just supper, but breakfast, lunch, and snacks too! Making a meal after you have scoured the sale adds is a HUGE budget saver. Then bring that meal plan with you to the grocery store, though you may have to adjust the list if there is a "manager's sale" or when hitting the discount stores, but having a plan always help save $$.

10.) Increase your Recipe Repertoire! Most times not only will you save $ making most convenient items from scratch you will be healthier.

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