Mark and I have been enjoying our house thoroughly, the extra room, the time we are able to invest in others because we finally can fit more than our family in one space. While our home is wonderful and we are grateful for it we are having to pinch our pennies tighter. Our energy bill is WAY more than what we paid for at our apartment. Usually two months out of the year we had a credit to us from the energy company, not this year.
One area we are able to save is groceries! It's one area we can reduce while eating nutritiously. How do we accomplish this. One we have a grocery store literally down the street from us and they have a bin with reduced priced meat in it. Meat that is almost out dated but still good so long as you use it right away or freeze it. This can save us tons of money, while eating some yummy stuff. I've bought brats from this bin and just today I bought some stakes from this same bin. I also buy veggies that are on sale this week and cater my menu planning to the meats and veggies I bought. This can reduce our grocery bill down to $20 or $30, at times this will last us two weeks!
Roll over meals. A roll over meal is any meal that you made once, that can be made into other meals later in the week. Some examples. Have Taco night one night, then the next day for lunch or supper have taco salad. A beef roast can be roasted in a crock pot with yummy veggies and turned into a hot beef sandwich, beef and veggie stew, or BBQ beef. A roasted whole chicken can make tons of different meals through our the week. The bones can be added to veggies you've chopped over the week and made into broth. The skins can be made into yummy crunchy good for you baked skins. The chicken can be divided up for soups, chicken and rice, chicken salad, chicken burritos, chicken enchiladas. Brats can be had with sauerkraut one night and the extras cooked brats can be chopped up for spaghetti, soups, we've used them in omelets in the morning or egg baked. Chopped up in bits they work in pizza. Leftover Ham can go lots of ways! Scalloped potatoes and ham, fried ham and eggs, ground into ham salad, ham sandwiches. There is lots of room for creativity with one meal that can be mad into many meals for the coming week.
Almost any meal can be turned into a soup. Last night we had stir fry with pork and a variety of veggies I had on hand. I two cans of tomatoes, some beef broth, and some veggie juice. This super will feed us tonight as well as provide for lunches this week! Soups are so nutritious for you in so many ways. The broth is amazing for you! It doesn't have to be digested so nutrients, vitamins, and minerals gets absorbed right into your body without giving your body the workout of digestion. Broth is a super protein.
Another grocery frugality is putting more effort and time into the kitchen. This is going to take a bit more of your time preparing, freezing, and making meals. However more time in the kitchen does two things. One, it saves you money because are are not buying prepackage meals that are full of preservatives and things you cannot pronounce. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn't eat it!
Another thing I have started to do is buy generic diapers. I have been Leary of generic diapers, it is not worth it to me to buy a cheaper diaper that my child will leak through and destroy their clothes, thus actually costing me more money than what I saved. I prefer Target brand diapers, but we don't have a Target in our town so it's not very cost effect. Walgreen diapers fall in second, they are absorbent, the tabs are hard to pull off so toddlers who are suppose to be napping but aren't can't take their diapers off. Walgreen's also often has buy one get one free on their company brand products, when that's the case I stock up on the Walgreen diapers and wipes. Walgreen thick wipes are also my wipe of choice. They keep the poop on the wipe, not on my hand, and they handle multiple swipes of little bottoms!
Keeping my needs to absolute needs. Crackers, chips, ice cream, fruit or veggies not on sale are not needs. A new shirt or new shoes are not always needs. Planning ahead and having menu plan and list of grocery's I need for that meal plan are crucial. Training yourself not to buy something that isn't on your list often takes diligence but can be done.
Mark and I are determined to allow me to be able to stay home with our children. There are going to have to be sacrifices made in order for us to accomplish this. We have sacrificed vacations, junk food, new clothes for ourselves and our kids. We shop at thrift stores and the salvation army. Honestly, to spend $20 on a pair of jeans makes my stomach sink like the drops on a roller coaster. However, to spend $20 on a bag of clothes from a thrift store makes me giddy and excited!
These are just some of the things that Mark and I do for frugality. What are some of the things you do to save you money?