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- Used $.75/2 coupon (No longer available)
- Final Cost: $.67 each, submitted for a $.75 Ibotta rebate
- Used 2 $1.00/1 coupons
- Final Cost: Free for both
- Got $.75 off mPerk coupon when I spent $10.00 in frozen vegetables
- 11th bag was free
- Final Cost: $9.25 for all 11 bags
What if I told you that there was one thing you could look at every week that could set the basis for your entire weekly meal plan? You could cut your grocery bill because of it and use that money for other things, like stockpiling. No, it’s not magic, although it’s not something you may notice if I don’t point it out. One of the biggest ways I save money on groceries is: Checking the front page of the grocery ad.
For the most part, every grocery store will put their best sale items right on the front page to make them the first thing you see. These items are called “loss leaders”; they’re marked down to a super low price, low enough that the store barely makes profit from it, to get you to come in the store. The hope is that you come in, buy the loss leaders, and then browse the store to buy other items at full cost. Pretty genius, huh? Let me show you an example.
Aldi has a section on their front page for the produce deals of the week. Anything that’s really marked down will be listed here. This is where I look every single week to figure out how I can take advantage of these low prices and use this food throughout the week. So since the green beans are $.99 for a one-pound package, I’d probably buy 3 or 4 and use them as side dishes or in casseroles all week. On top you can see a couple of the meat specials; I also look there to see if chicken breasts go on sale, and when they do, I buy quite a bit to stick in the freezer. Buying food at rock-bottom prices like this means that not only do we save money, but I know I’m filling my family with good, healthy food.
Now, will all the great deals only be on the first page? Nope! In fact, I find specials scattered all across the ad. For example, if I only checked the front page of the Kroger ad this week, I would have missed the Kroger brand peanut butter on sale for $1.00 (Time to fill my pantry!). So don’t disregard the inside of the ad, but just remember that usually the loss leaders are right on the front page.
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’ll never look at a grocery ad the same way again! Always, always check the front page of your ads before you start your meal plan, because you’re bound to save money. Do you have any other tips for looking at your grocery ad? Be sure to share below in the comments!
Bread for breakfast is my dream meal! I’m kind of a carb-o-holic, and a sucker for anything pumpkin. I found this recipe for pumpkin zucchini bread last summer, and I instantly became hooked; especially since I figured out it’s freezer-friendly! I modified the recipe to fit my tastes; specifically, first switching out the sugar for equal amounts of Stevia, and then honey instead. I found honey to be a much tastier alternative!
I use white whole wheat flour, which is similar to wheat flour but is soft like all-purpose flour. That, mixed with a whole can of pumpkin, makes this pumpkin zucchini bread so soft and delicious! One thing to note is that I had a little trouble mixing the batter, apparently; the pumpkin didn’t get mixed in fully, so I have random lumps of pumpkin in the bread and areas where there’s no pumpkin at all! So don’t make my mistake.
Enjoy this bread with a little butter or cream cheese and a cup of coffee for breakfast! You can even freeze this bread for later; either freeze the loaf whole, or cut into eight pieces first, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Just take out what you need the night before and enjoy the next morning! Excuse me while I think about making more.
Have you ever stopped to think about how much you spend on work lunches? Whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home mom (we work too!), lunch can be one of those expenses that seem insignificant until you look at the big picture. If you’re looking for ideas to save money on work lunches, I have a few tips below, but first I want to do a little math to see how much you might be spending.
Let’s say you eat out for lunch 3 days a week. Each time you average $10.00, whether it’s fast food or something a little more expensive like Panera or Chipotle.
$10.00 x 3 days a week = $30.00
$30.00 x 48 weeks: $1,440
That’s quite a bit of money in the grand scheme of things! Here are some ways you can stop some of that spending and enjoy cheaper lunches:
Budget money to eat out
Completely cutting out your restaurant lunches may not be an option, or even something that you want to do! If you still want to enjoy lunch out, give yourself a set budget of how much you can spend per week, and how often. Even cutting back to 2 days a week instead of 5 can save you some big money. When I was working, I told myself I could only use the cash I received as tips to buy lunch; I couldn’t touch my debit card. If it helps, put some money in an envelope, just like in Dave Ramsey’s envelope system, to keep you accountable.
Eating leftovers is the biggest way we save money on work lunches. The dinners I make produce a lot of leftovers, so we always have a hot, home-cooked meal available for lunch. Now, we’re a family of 3 so my dinners guarantee leftovers; if you have a larger family, this may not be an option.
Make a large recipe to eat throughout the week
If leftovers aren’t your thing, or you simply can’t get any from your dinners, then bulk-cooking lunches for the week may be your best option. It may seem like a lot of work preparing a week’s worth of lunches in one day, but trust me, this saves you so much money. You can make your recipes as simple or as complicated as you want. Here are some examples:
Chili- This recipe makes 8 servings, and it’s so easy to throw everything in the slow cooker Sunday morning and package them individually that evening.
Santa Fe beans and rice with chicken- This is a recipe I’ve shared before, but I can’t stop talking about it! Cook the chicken in the slow cooker, shred it with your Kitchen Aid mixer if you have one, and assemble everything together. I’ve frozen these before and they’re perfect for a quick take-and-go lunch.
Wraps- Some wraps may not keep very well if you prepare every single one on a Sunday evening, especially if you put sauce on them. One option would be to cook the required ingredients ahead of time (chicken, bacon, etc.) and assemble everything but the sauce in a large container. That way, you can make each wrap the morning before work and just add the sauce then to keep them fresh. Here are some of my favorites:
Salads- I’m a big fan of salads for lunch. Usually it’s because I sometimes have random meats and vegetables laying around that need used up, so I grab a large mixing bowl and just go to town. Salads might take a little longer to prepare in bulk, but it’s worth it to have something healthy ready for lunch! I like this post by Barefeet in the Kitchen; she shows you how to eat a salad every day and like it!
Bento boxes- Oh my gosh, have you seen Bento box lunches? They’re segmented containers that you can put pretty much whatever you want in, and there are so many combinations on Pinterest! Bento boxes are popular with kids’ lunches, but adults can enjoy a healthy lunch, too. One section can be for your protein (meat, cheese, peanut butter), one for cut-up vegetables like carrot sticks, another for fruit… the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to get you started:
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on lunches! These tips will help put money back in your pocket and let you enjoy your work lunches every day. Do you have any other tips on saving money on lunches? Be sure to share below in the comments!
Aldi was my favorite store this week! Their produce was super cheap and I based a few of my meals around that to save money. I bought two heads of cabbage, which was probably way too much, but it’ll bulk up our dinners nicely! I don’t know about you, but when I eat meals, I like to have a LOT of food. I can’t just eat a small portion and declare myself done; I want my plate filled with food that’ll keep me full for a long time, and I do that by adding a ton of vegetables. That’s why you see me buying an entire freezer’s worth of frozen vegetables (like you’ll see below)!
I’m trying to take advantage of Ibotta this month, too. You can get a $10.00 bonus in March when you redeem 15 rebates, and another $2.00 bonus this weekend only (ends Tuesday). I had my list all planned out, but when I got to Meijer Friday night, one of the rebates had disappeared (too many redemptions), and some of the items weren’t available at my store. So I missed my $2.00 bonus by one item; I had to head to Wal Mart to get my last item for the bonus! If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here to start earning money on your next shopping trip.
2 cans Parmesan cheese: $1.99 each, on clearance
2 jars pizza sauce: $.29 each, on clearance
Kroger 2-liter: $.99 (Not pictured)
Pumice stone: $4.99 (Not pictured)
Drink Chobani smoothie: $1.79, submitted for a $1.00 Ibotta rebate
Milk: $1.89, submitted for a $.25 Ibotta rebate
Hot sauce: $1.89
Kids Clif bars: $4.39, submitted for a $1.00 Ibotta rebate. Allison was begging for “protein bars” because she keeps seeing me eat them. =)
Tazo tea: $2.99
2 packages Tic Tacs: $1.00 each, submitted for 2 $.50 Ibotta rebates
3 packages Trident gum: $1.00 each. I was supposed to get Ibotta rebates for them, but they didn’t work.
2 Kraft trios: $1.00 each
Dannon Triple Zero yogurt: $1.00, submitted for a $.25 Ibotta rebate
Tomatoes: Free from the 10 for $10, got the 11th item free
2 cans Old Orchard frozen juice: $1.00 each
2 jars salsa: $1.00 each
11 bags frozen vegetables: $1.00 each
Total: $31.44, plus $5.70 back from Ibotta
Kleenex tissues: $12.98
2 heads cabbage: $.59 each
Green peppers: $.69
Red potatoes: $1.59
2 packages strawberries: $1.99 each
Ground turkey: $1.89
2 cans tomato paste: $.39 each
Veggie straws: $1.89
Weekly total: $73.32
Lunch is always leftovers. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were purchased in previous weeks.
Stuffed cabbage casserole
Kielbasa and cabbage, red potatoes
Quesadillas with refried beans*
Marinated chicken, Alton Brown’s mac and cheese* (Never made it a couple weeks ago), Parmesan Peas
Spaghetti* tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, chicken*, frozen broccoli
Freezer breakfasts* (Includes breakfast burritos, egg and cheese sandwiches, blueberry baked oatmeal, and pumpkin bread)
What’s on your menu this week? Share below in the comments!