Preparing fresh, healthy, and delicious meals for your family can be time-consuming, but even more than that, it can seem to be very financially consuming as well. Our family is on a tight grocery budget each month, but we don’t let that keep us from always being fully stocked on fresh fruits/veggies, quality meats, organic baking supplies, and more!
Here are a few of the ways that I save MONEY while still preparing awesome meals for my family & friends –
- Shop Sales – it will take a little time up front, but learn what stores around you offer which products at the best prices and then be sure to keep up to date each week on what they have on sale. This is especially important when shopping for fresh fruits/veggies and meats. Even if you only buy organic, you can save a lot of money just by knowing your local market & paying attention to the sales.
- Use Coupons – yes, I use coupons … a lot! I am far from a toilet-paper-under-the-bed extreme couponer, but I definitely browse my Sunday newspaper and print coupons online to help offset the cost of my grocery lists. Be sure to know your stores’ coupon policies and use your coupons to their fullest extent (stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons, combine coupons with sales, use mobile coupons with printed coupons and cash back opportunities. Here are a few of my favorite ways to obtain coupons –
- Local Newspaper
- Ibotta (mobile app)
- SavingStar (coupon rebate program)
- Grow Your Own – while the “seed to table” craze is awesome for several reasons (including quality, health, and environmental), one of the biggest reasons to start your own herb box or garden is the financial aspect! You can save a ton of money just by growing your own fresh herbs, basic veggies, and even a few fruits. Don’t let space keep you from gardening! Add a little green to your indoor areas with potted herbs, build a small garden box in your yard, or join a community garden to enjoy a larger variety without any of the space restrictions or anti-green-thumb excuses.
- Freeze It – whether you have a dedicated deep-freezer in your garage or a tiny box above the refrigerated section in your kitchen appliance, you can always save money by stocking up, planning ahead, and freezing! Here are a few quick tips for how freezing can save you money –
- Buy items in season & freeze them – this included fruits, veggies, and herbs! Be sure to “google” how to freeze each item you have before you do it. Many veggies need to be cut & blanched prior to freezing, some fruits are not appropriate for freezing at all, and some herbs are better dried instead of frozen.
- Bake it & freeze it – we make breads, rolls, tortillas, muffins, pancakes, waffles, donuts, cupcakes, buns, and so much more in large batches and then toss them in baggies once cooled & freeze them! Just pull out what you need, pop it in the microwave on defrost for about 1 min, 30 sec and enjoy.
- Prepare it & freeze it – this is a great plan for meals & doughs. Prep and assemble them, but do not bake them. Freeze them first. Then all you have to do it remove from the freezer, possibly defrost, and bake for a fresh-made meal in a portion of the time! We do this with lots of yummy meals, pizza & bread doughs, and even cookie dough! Be sure to properly label each item to cut down on freezer-confusion.
- Buy meats in bulk & portion freeze – we stock up on all kinds of meats when they go on sale, portion them into serving-sized or meal-sized baggies and then freeze them. This will save you money by buying at the sale price or discounted bulk price, without having to worry about hurrying to use them before they spoil in the fridge. Pull out & thaw in the fridge a day in advance or defrost them for same-day use.
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