Hello everyone! Let’s talk money-saving!
David and I will celebrate our 3rd anniversary this week. Wow. Three years of a whole lotta love and even more learning — about David, myself, adult responsibilities, relationship and cohabitation stuff, etc.
A few things come to mind:
Listening is VERY important.
Socks all over the house. It happens sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world. Same goes for all other small and unexpected stresses.
Long walks and long talks are good for the body, soul, and relationship.
When you buy a house, expect anything (even gross flying mammals).
Crankiness breeds more crankiness.
There is always more to learn about your spouse.
David knows the words to every single old song… never ceases to amaze me.
And finally…Grocery shopping and cooking for two takes a lot of work.
Except for lazy days, I really enjoy the cooking part of the equation….otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about it!
I actually don’t mind the grocery budgeting part but it’s a process, and I am still working through it. Because of my novice budgeting status, I will just share what I’ve learned and what I hope to accomplish.
Best place to start:
Meal planning! This is the money-saving tip that everyone gives….because it really works! I like to use weekends for looking up recipes, taking stock of my kitchen, and jotting down a grocery list. I also have a nice meal planning notepad that lets me write down meals for each day of the week.
(My grocery list decoded:
Avocado? Only buy if on sale.
Fruit on sale: buy whatever looks good and is on sale.
Cereal: don’t forget the coupon.)
Grocery store tips from my new cookbook:
At the grocery store, keep an eye on the highest and lowest shelves — some of the better deals are hiding out of your sight line!
Skip your “danger” aisle, where tempting treats may drawn you in. (I almost always skip the ice cream aisle!)
Other tips to consider:
Not sure you need a whole onion? Buy a couple shallots for your dish, and you’ll get the same flavor without the possibility of a moldy half-onion. (Thanks for the tip, Lori!) You can also freeze diced onions and then defrost when needed.
Use chicken bullion instead of cans of chicken broth.
(Cautiously) swap ingredients for what you already have in the kitchen.
Amp up meals with more veggies and beans rather than more meat.
Keep a running list (in your head or on paper) of the lowest prices of items you frequently buy.
Stay open as you shop the produce aisle. Adjust your list to what’s on sale.
Use coupons mostly for items you already buy or really want to try. I follow the blog Deal Seeking Mom to catch all the good coupons and deals in different stores.
Hang onto those coupons until that item goes on sale.
Recreate leftovers so that you can use them up without getting sick of them. Or you can portion leftovers into single servings and freeze for an easy grab-and-go lunch.
Go homemade! Just make sure that it’s actually worth it. I decide by making sure something will be cheaper, and it’s not a crazy time investment. Some of my favorite things to make myself are peanut butter, taco seasoning, applesauce, ice cream, and salsa. (Ice cream recipe coming soon!)
Tips I need to start using for myself:
When there’s a really good sale, don’t be afraid to spend a little more to stock up.
Shop no more than once a week.
Cook your beans instead of buying them canned.
Freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays for later use.
I would love to hear any budget secrets you have!
I think the biggest part of working to save money on groceries is to plan ahead, make small changes here and there, play around with different strategies, and make it workable for you.
Even though planning, budgeting, shopping, cooking can be a lot of work, a big bonus is that I can make my husband’s day a little better with food on the table and meals that makes him happy. He does his part to make my days happier — with his smile, hugs, silliness, oldies singing in the car, and caring/strong/steady support in my life. It’s been an amazing three years. Happy anniversary, David…love you mucho.