Blissful and Domestic is about saving money and living a frugal happy life. One way I do that is by going homemade. Going Homemade means less money spent at the store and more time and money saved. I get to spend more time with those red heads of mine, because less time is spent running errands for things I really don't need. Part of me being homemade is making things from scratch like my homemade garlic bread sticks and my homemade cleaners (full video tutorials).
By going homemade we have saved our family a ton of money. Since the beginning of this year, we have cut our grocery bill in half! That's right folks. In the past 2 months we have saved over $600 on groceries! Want to know our secret? Well I am sharing it with you today:)
Alright let's dive in with a little background info first.
Hubby served 5 years in the army. In 2010 we knew he would be coming home from Iraq, getting out of the army, and we would be decreasing our monthly income immensely. Hubby told me about this book he had heard about and suggested I read it. Let me just tell you that this book literally change my life. America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams was the book. I requested it from the library and read it cover to cover. I loved all the money saving tips they talked about. They addressed everything we wanted to work on. We weren't in debt and had even saved $30,000, while the Hubbs was in Iraq. We knew we wanted to buy a house eventually and saved the cash for it. We were doing pretty good, but could do better. I was an avid Target shopper and actually wasn't re-purposing at that time. I had no clue what it was. I would soon find out a few months later.
This book started my family on a journey. A journey leading us to today. I have learned so much because of that book and I want to share it with all of you. You too can save money on groceries and still make yummy, healthy meals for your family. Meals that they will love and actually request. So here is how I shop for a months worth of groceries. Now just like the Economides talk about in the book, you should work up to a month. Try a week first and then continue to increase it. Remember the more trips we take to the store, the more money we spend. Who just "runs" into the store and comes out with only the one thing they needed? We rarely do. Those impulse purchases are what add up. Shopping once a month saves us from those "splurge purchases".
When I am getting ready to start a new month I prepare and plan. I literally PLAN and PREPARE. It is a big venture to shop for my family of four for 1 whole month. That is 31 days folks! I take inventory of what we have on hand. We have 1 big pantry, 1 fridge/freezer combo, and a freezer chest. I literally write down everything we have. I then meal plan for the month. You can find my meal plans here. I post weekly meal plans for all your lovelies
I have a shelf in my kitchen, which holds all my favorite cook books.Some meals make it to our menu every month. These are our family favorites, like Homemade Pizza, BBQ Hamburgers, Chicken Tacos, and Spaghetti with Homemade Sauce. I always ask my kids and Hubby what they would like to see on the menu. Usually these meals always make the list. Sometimes they will request new items we haven't had in a while. Then I fill in the blanks with new recipes I want to try and old ones that will use up what I already have on hand in my pantry and freezer.
Go to old cookbooks, Pinterest, blogs, etc for inspiration.
I even request cookbooks from the library or borrow cookbooks from my friends. I am always on the lookout for simple yummy recipes.
I literally write it all down on a piece of paper. A month full of meals. Now we won't actually eat all 31 meals, but I plan for them. We usually end up having left over nights and breakfast for dinner a few times a month. These are done on days when I am too tired or lazy to cook. Remember it is cheaper and quicker to just scramble some eggs with sausage, then to drive down to get fast food and it is better for you!
Once my meal plan is ready to go, I look at the grocery store adds. I shop at Costco, Winco, and Wal-Mart. These stores all have THE BEST prices, in my opinion. I use Costco for all my baking supplies. They are very affordable when buying yeast, seasonings, flour and sugar. I go through so much flour, since I bake all our bread, buns, and rolls. Places like Costco only get expensive when you start buying their prepackaged frozen foods and snacks. I stay clear of these sections. They are way to tempting and always cost me way too much dinero. You can see here how I do Costco on a budget. I do cut coupons and use them along with sale prices, when they apply. I also use the lds cannery, when I purchase my dry beans. We purchase them in 25 lb. bags.
Once I have gone through the adds, I make my list. I look at what needs to be replaced in our pantry, freezer, and fridge. I stick to basics. I want to make sure that my canned goods can go in a lot of recipes. I have even started making a lot of my own canned foods. We are trying to get away from all those nasty preservatives, which are found in store bought things.I always shop my pantry first, before venturing out on my shopping trip. I want to make sure everything gets used in my pantry. I have great meal plans here for you to try out. Makes meal planning a whole lot easier.
Throughout the month I have this chalkboard on my fridge. I write down an item when we run out of it and then I know it needs to be replaced. This system works very well for my family and I. Hubby knows to write stuff down also. He is a great help when it comes to keeping our grocery bill down.
Also I do not buy prepackaged snacks. No fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, or anything like that. I do buy some crackers for the month and pretzels. My kids love them. We stay clear of all those "typical kid snacks". Not only are they unhealthy, but they cost a ton too. Taking these off of your grocery list will save you money like crazy. I promise! Also the less your kids snack, the better they will eat at meals. I try to keep snacks in between meals simple. Cut up fruit and veggies or yogurt with crackers. Remember we want our kids to actually be hungry for their meals, so they are filling up on good healthy meals, rather then sugar filled "kid snacks". Now the Hubbs and I have taught our kids this since they were little. Obviously toddlers and stuff need those little snacks in between meals, but I have a 8 year old and a 6 year old. They don't need all those little snacks. So go with what is best for your littles, but if your kids aren't eating their meals, they may be full on snacks. Just something to think about.
Once all the planning is done, I go shopping. I go by myself. This is the BIGGEST part to saving money. Those dang redheads are too hard to say no to, so I plan to go shopping when the Hubbs can be home with them. I can take my time and not worry about the begging and whining, which littles sometimes do. When I shop for a month I usually do it in one day. It usually takes about 4 hours. That may seem like a lot, but when you think about all the time saved it is so worth it. 4 hours a month spent on grocery shopping. Yes sign me up! That is way better than all those random trips to the store to just pick up a "few items".
Once the shopping is done, everything is brought in.
It basically takes over the house. We have the kitchen table covered, counters, etc.
See how we save on produce all month long
I begin putting freezer food away first, while Hubby and the kids bring in everything else. Next I do the fridge. I always do the pantry stuff last. If I am tired, I save the pantry stuff for later. My kids love looking through and seeing everything. It is always fun for them to see if I found any "special treats" on sale. I always try to get them something fun. Love seeing those freckled smiles when I get home from shopping.
While putting away the food, I always divide things like tortillas into freezer bags. I separate them into stacks of 6. This is how many tortillas my family would use for 1 meal. It helps our food stay longer. I only thaw out what we will use that week. The rest stay in the freezer until I need it.
I also don't buy canned beans. I buy dried beans and then cook them in my pressure cooker. I cut up some veggies, so I can have fresh fruits and veggies all month long. I freeze butter, yogurt, cream cheese, bread, shredded cheese, milk and lunch meat. Freezing these is essential to our month of shopping. I am able to freeze about 8 gallons of milk each month. They sit at the bottom of my freezer and we thaw them out when we need them. I also bake muffins, breads, cupcakes, cookies in big batches and freeze them. Then we have yummy baked goods, even when I don't feel like baking:)
I also use bountiful basket, so we have fresh produce each week. This is also how I am able to can our own fruits and veggies. This is also how I make purees, to give our recipes an extra nutritional boost.
The day I go grocery shopping we usually have a simple meal, like deli sandwiches and potato salad. Simple and still a crowd favorite. Making a sandwich is so much EASIER, QUICKER, and HEALTHIER then fast food. Can you tell I really don't like fast food? Every month I purchase a few boxes of Raisin Bran and Cheerios to have for breakfast. I buy the generic brand. We also make our own oatmeal. You can find some great breakfast and lunch ideas here.
I know this post was lengthy. Probably the longest post I have ever written, but there was just too much good stuff here. I still have loads to share on how we save money each month, but groceries is usually the biggest bill for most families. Over a year ago we would spend over $600-$700 on groceries every month. I used to go every week and spend about $125. Once I started implementing these tips I shared today, our grocery bill reduced. We now spend $400 dollars on groceries a month. I pay in cash, so I am more accountable for the money. I am quite proud of this number. It is a challenge, but one I welcome. I love finding those deals, I love cutting out coupons, I love making homemade, delicious recipes for my family. I am a mother and a wife and I love it!! This is the best job ever. Helping my family save money is something I enjoy doing. I hope you can use these tips to help your family. Pick one or two and try them out. You can't do it all at once. Baby steps.
I started out doing a little bit and now I can do a lot. I promise you that if you start to use these tips I suggested, your grocery bill can be cut in half. I can't wait to hear how your grocery shopping goes this month!
Want to learn how to we have fresh produce all month long? click HERE
See how my family lives on $14,000 a year! Click HERE
Don't forget to check out my How To videos on Youtube too!
I have a great section of my blog, dedicated to showing you how to start saving with baby steps. Be sure to check that out after reading this post.
** Update 10/7/2012 **
I am now using Bountiful Baskets and we are buying less meat and eating more veggies. We are still saving money and eating healthier than ever!
Want to find out more ways to save money?
Check out some of my thrifty living section.
I also love these books for great money saving inspiration