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- Used 2 $1.00/2 coupons from newspaper
- Final Cost: $.99 each
- Trail mix for snacks: Peanuts, cranberries, sunflower kernels, coconut, and chocolate chips
- Hidden Valley fiesta ranch dip made with Greek yogurt, and carrots/snap peas for MOPS
This may be a problem that not many of you have… but have you ever completed your menu and grocery list for the next week and found that you have extra money left over? Maybe you planned some really cheap meals, or made meals based on what’s in your pantry. It’s quite nice when you see you’re under budget on groceries! I have a checklist in my head of things I can buy with that leftover money every week, and I’m sharing them today to help give you ideas. Once you start stocking up on items with that money, soon you’ll find that you’ll have cumulative weeks of extra money and it’s an endless cycle of keeping your house stocked!
The best part about buying meat is that you can easily freeze it for future use; either throw it in the freezer raw or cook it first for simpler dinners! I like to keep chicken breasts in the freezer at all times (I’m a big chicken person), so whenever I see it for less than $1.89/lb, I try to buy some whenever I have leftover money.
Non-perishables can include food, like cans, jars, and boxes; or even non-food items like toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. My favorites to keep an eye out for are salsa, canned pumpkin, pasta, chocolate chips (do those count as non-perishable?), and Suave shampoo. I have a phobia of running out of shampoo, so when I’m under my grocery budget, I check the ads to see if it’s on sale.
I’m totally guilty of doing this, as you’ve probably seen from my Big Lots/Ollie’s shopping trips! If I have any money left over, you can bet I’ll be at either one of those stores buying protein bars or other snack bars. If you’re the same way, just make sure to take advantage of sales so you can get them at the lowest price. Big Lots has been sending me coupons for $5.00 off a $15.00 purchase, so I’ve been taking advantage of it. Sign up for Buzz Rewards here and get $5.00 off as well!
Does anyone else get really excited about checking the clearance section? Kroger is my favorite, because they usually have some quality items in there. It’s also the only store in my area (that I know of) that has a separate stand for clearance produce, so I make sure to check there too for anything I can freeze. I’ve found Starbucks coffee, slightly dented cans, and other nice things; and coupons will still work on clearance items, so you can get a pretty good deal!
If you truly can’t think of anything to buy, there’s no harm in holding on to your money! Decide in advance what you’ll do with leftover grocery money: will you keep it for any great sales next week? Or put any extra money into debt, or your savings account? There have been times I’ve held onto an extra ten dollars, and realized the next week that we needed, say, toilet paper from Sam’s Club. That extra money can really help when you need to make a bulk purchase!
It may not happen every week for you, but now hopefully you have a pretty good idea of what to do with your leftover grocery money! Being under budget on groceries is awesome and gives you the freedom to buy those little extra things. What else do you typically buy? Leave a comment and give us ideas!
Be sure to check out the other posts in my ABCs of Frugal Living series!
Did you have a great weekend? Mine was absolutely amazing. We had some quality time at the museum Saturday, all three of us, and celebrated my birthday Sunday night at Golden Corral, where I ate way too much. I may have bugged John all week and waved my free buffet coupon in his face until he relented. Today I’m celebrating with a free smoothie from Tropical Smoothie!
This week is a light dinner week, because we’re taking a trip to Cedar Point over the weekend and won’t need dinner Saturday! I tried to find cheap dinners that didn’t make a lot, because I don’t want any leftovers hanging around when we leave. Since we’ll be coming home Monday, there won’t be a grocery post next week because I’ll be doing all my shopping Monday night! That should be interesting. Since I didn’t have to spend a lot on dinners, I had leftover money to enjoy at Ollie’s and bought some snacks and treats.
Toilet paper: $18.46
Baking soda: $5.58. I’ve been cleaning a lot with baking soda, so I figured an industrial sized bag is best!
Greek yogurt: $5.62
Total: $6.00 thanks to a gift card from Swagbucks!
Pure Protein bars: $1.99
Fruit snacks: $.99
Cadbury chocolates: $1.99
Wyler’s tea drink mix: $.79
2 boxes Balance Bars: $2.49 each
2 boxes Fiber One bars: $.99 each
Arizona tea drink mix: $1.49
Coconut flakes: $2.19
Sugarsnap peas: $2.69
Danimals yogurt: $1.88
4 packages Crystal Light: $1.49 each
Hidden Valley dressing mix: $1.50
Frozen chicken breasts: $5.49
Splenda packets: $1.29
2 packages zucchini: $1.49 each
3 containers strawberries: $1.49 each
2 cans sweetened condensed milk: $1.49 each
Cottage cheese: $1.99
Baking soda: $.49
Baby carrots: $.99
Canned mandarins: $.79
Dried cranberries: $1.59
Canned pineapple chunks: $.89
Sunflower kernels: $1.99
Weekly Total: $72.55
Lunch is always leftovers. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were purchased in previous weeks.
Hawaiian baked chicken, rice*, frozen broccoli*
Pasta* with sauce from freezer*
Black bean* and corn* quesadillas, roasted zucchini
Cheeseburger wraps* (meat in freezer), zucchini
Bagels* and sausage patties*
Chocolate covered strawberry overnight oats (Recipe coming soon!)
What’s on your menu this week? Share with us in the comments below!
With my birthday being on Monday, I thought I’d take a break from all my saving money posts and do something fun! Last year I listed 30 random facts about me, and this year I’m featuring 31 of my favorite things. I feel like I’m getting so old so fast; didn’t I just turn 30? Here’s hoping 31 will last a little bit longer. The following list is some of my absolute favorite things, in no particular order; do we share any of these?
1.) Starbucks coffee
2.) Harry Potter
3.) The Final Fantasy series- I’m sad that I don’t get as much time to play games anymore, and with the games in this series taking 40+ hours to beat, you can see how it would take forever to play through!
4.) Kings Island
6.) Cheesecake- But not just any cheesecake. Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Preferably Chris’ Outrageous or the Reeses one; and it’s all mine. I have no qualms about devouring a 1,300 calorie cheesecake in one sitting!
7.) Waking up early- Blasphemous but true! If I don’t get a quiet morning to myself before Allison wakes up, my day just kind of falls apart.
8.) Captain America
9.) Shopping by myself
10.) Buying Allison gifts
12.) Action movies- John just laughs at me when he asks what kind of movie I want to watch, and I say, “Something with explosions!”
13.) Big chocolate chip cookies
14.) Grocery shopping
15.) My hair- Although I have a love/hate relationship with it. I’m growing it out because I love long hair, but can’t stand to have it down for periods of time. Plus it’s so thick, I break a hair clip at least once a week.
16.) Browsing the #mealprep hashtag on Instagram
17.) Pinning 50 thousand recipes on Pinterest and not making a single one
18.) My husband
19.) Cross stitch
21.) Italian subs
22.) Teaching Allison 80s rock songs- There’s nothing like hearing your 3 year-old randomly sing, “I love rock and roll! So put another dime in the jukebox, baby!”
24.) Mason jars- I don’t understand why they’re so awesome, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. I now use a 32-ounce jar for my homemade coffee creamer, and I’m about to use my two 16-ounce ones for overnight oats. Eating out of a jar makes us feel cool, I guess? That’s what Pinterest says, anyway.
25.) Bedtime desserts- I look forward to bedtime every night because it means I get to enjoy dessert without a toddler asking to share.
26.) The color purple
27.) Markiplier– This man is my hero. He’s a Youtube star that records himself playing video games and does lots of charity livestreams. He’s also from Cincinnati, so it’s cool knowing he was part of my home state!
28.) Going to stores just to “look around”
29.) Long car rides
30.) Taking ridiculous selfies with Allison
31.) Late night date nights
Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be enjoying all the free stuff that comes with birthdays and hoping I don’t go into a sugar coma.
Have you ever bought a huge roll of ground beef and had no idea how to handle it? Or how about a bag of chicken breasts? You could always separate and freeze them raw, but why not try cooking your meat first before freezing it? It saves you a ton of time when it comes to cooking dinner; just thaw your meat in the fridge overnight, and add it to sauce or soups for a quick meal! Here’s what I do to freeze cooked meat.
First of all, I cook ground beef/turkey in a large pot until fully browned, then drain the grease. In the picture above, I added about 2 cups of shredded carrots and zucchini to help bulk up the meat and stretch it longer. Once everything is fully cooked, I fill quart-sized freezer bags with 2 cups each of the mixture. I let it sit and cool for about an hour before sealing the bags, laying them flat on a cookie sheet, and putting them in the freezer to completely freeze.
To cook chicken breasts, I put 3-4 of them in my slow cooker with a little water and cook them on LOW for about 6 hours until they’re fully cooked. You can put them in fresh or frozen; it doesn’t matter. Frozen chicken breasts still work great! I then shred the chicken in my KitchenAid mixer (I love this hack!) and add 2 cups into each quart-sized freezer bag. Then same as the ground beef, I lay the bags flat and freeze them on a cookie sheet.
You can add seasonings to your meat if you want; when I cooked my ground beef, I added taco seasoning to half and left the other half plain. I kind of like having the plain meat though, because then you can add them to just about anything: spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, salad… how cool is it to have most of the hard work done already? Do you freeze cooked meat to save time in the kitchen? Post in the comments and give us other ideas!