How are we doing? Well, we’re definitely not exceeding our budget in the areas of food, entertainment, etc. It’s the bills like Hydro that took us by shock this past month.
Week 2’s Family Financial Challenge was all about FOOD! Saving money on food has become second nature to me. Because I now live in the rural North and am married to a frugal farmer, I have had to learn how to tighten the drawstrings and save as much as I can.
When it comes to food, it’s been not too difficult. Firstly, there are no fast food restaurants or take-out places where we can order delivery. You either have to drive a long way to get food that’s cooked for you or you have to make it yourself. I make 99% of our meals because it’s easier and faster than driving to a restaurant or store.
Saving on Food
Check out the sales
Here’s a funny little tidbit not too many people know about me! I love leafing through the flyers! I go through all the flyers and check out the sales. I make a list and stick to it. Making sure you stick to your budget is key. It’s sometimes tempting to pick up some extra things that are not on your list, but sure enough, the prices add up! Also, (this mistake has been one I’ve made before) do no go shopping when you’re hungry! You’re apt to pick up extras and things you probably didn’t need!
One of my best tips is to buy cheese when it’s on sale and buy the limit per person. On the Island, cheese is regularly almost $9 a brick. Whenever I see it go for sale for $4.99, I pick up 4 bricks (the max limit per person). This is a fact I was not aware of before I married a farmer — Cheese freezes very well! Just store it in the freezer and pull out a brick of cheese to thaw when you need it. We always have cheese in our freezer.
Another thing that freezes well and can be bought when on sale is bread. I suppose I could make our bread too (I do occasionally), but Hubby’s the only one who really eats bread in this household. He buys a few loaves and freezes them.
Make use of your leftovers and be creative
Most people think leftovers are boring, but you can make meals stretch by being inventive with your leftovers. Veggies can be incorporated into soups or stir-fry dishes. Leftover chicken can be made into chicken pot pies or fajitas! The sky’s the limit!
Litterless Lunches for school and work
Some may think leftovers are boring, but not in this house! I use all our leftovers for creating another meal. Whether it be soup or a chili, stir-fry or chicken pot pie…or lunch the next day, all our food gets used. Little One’s lunches for school are often made from…you guessed it! Leftovers! It saves me money and we’re not wasting food. Win-Win!
Grow Your Own
Living on the farm, though we raise beef, we also keep a garden and have lots of fruit trees. We grow cucumbers, zucchini, beans, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, peppers, garlic, kale, Swiss chard, strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, apples, plums, and more. For the most part, we eat what’s in season. In the Summer and Fall months, we eat fresh (from the garden to the table) and in the Winter, we eat the produce from our garden that I prep and freeze for Winter use. Of course, I sometimes have to supplement that with fresh veggies bought at the grocery store, but growing our own does save us money on food.
Big Batch Cooking & Freezer Meals
We’re only a family of three, but we do have lots of dinner guests at any given moment. I love to entertain and feed people! Sundays are my big cooking days. Making big batch chilis, soups, and freezer meals really help us with saving money on food.
To save on food, I tend to make HUGE batches of spaghetti sauce, cabbage rolls, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, casseroles and freeze them for when we need a meal and I don’t have time to cook.
A few other handy tips for saving money? Ultra Dawn helps us with doing dishes effectively and economically. We don’t need to use too much to wash our dishes. We definitely use less to get the job done! Also, in our household, with a little one, there are always messes and spills to clean up after. Bounty Basic paper towels are strong but affordable (and the “quicker picker upper”).
What are some ways YOU save on food?
I’d love to hear some of your tips on saving! Join the convo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and see tips on #savingmadesimple.
P.S. Now that we’re into Week 3 of the challenge, we’re talking about Family Fun!
It’s not difficult to do things on a budget when you’ve got the great outdoors as your playground! Tobogganing, skating, snowshoeing, and just playing out in the snow are all activities we enjoy as a family. The best part is that it’s FREE! That, and the memories are priceless.
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.