Some helpful tips to save money & eat healthier:
*how I go shopping: I make a list of every item I need for my weekly meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.) My list isn’t in order of the grocery store, but it’s in order of the weekly meals. Then I go shopping according to the all the meals. Whatever is left, I use for extra fruits & veggies, as well as ingredients I need for snacks, and snacky foods. This way has helped me save tons, as well as having my weekly meals all planned out, so there isn’t a need to splurge shopping. I do save $20 or so for fresh fruits, veggies, or whatever we need during the week to get us by. I also do $10 stockpile twice a month not every week. I use coupons for the stockpile or anything else that I get at drug stores, Target, or Walmat, but I don’t use coupons for my food shopping anymore, unless its a great deal on the items I use regularly. . I am saving more not using coupons.
*eat before you go shopping
*divide the week into different themes such as: pizza, pasta, beef, chicken, veggie etc
*mark down any activities that would affect your dinner or the time you have to cook it. Don’t forget to write down days when you will have company
*only shop on the outside of the stores- don’t buy anything in the middle of the grocery stores. If you can help it.
*don’t buy anything that you don’t know what an ingredient is
*shop in the am for great meat and produce deals
*stock up on great deals if possible and freeze it
*get an additional freezer- There are so many things that can be frozen, you would be surprised on how many items there are. Start using you freezer more (included in the handouts)
*use a slow cooker to help with days you don’t have time to cook dinner (look here for some recipes http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/)
*make freezer meal once a month, once every week-however you decide to do it
*freezer cooking saves you time, money, & stress I recommend this at least once a month. We do this for our weekly snacks 2 times per month. Snacks are so expensive; this literally cut half of our grocery budget and puts more money towards veggies, fruits, & proteins.
*double a recipe
*plan meals around the seasons
*cut out snacks unless homemade (if possible)
*use healthy fats in your diet-eliminate all the others
*eat three meals a day-all with half of their meal with proteins
*shop locally helps you know where your food is coming from and you get to help a local business stay in business
*grow your own garden during the spring, summer, fall, & winter- you can have a few plants indoors that would work well in any room that had sunlight and wasn’t freezing cold. Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and some lettuce are a few that can do well indoors.
*learn how to read labels & take the time to look at each product you want to buy
*go meatless 3-4 days per week & use meats as an accompaniment
*base meals around veggies, grains, & source of protein
*make more items to all items from scratch-this will save you money, tons if you make all your snacks
*Buy in Bulk- Costco, Sam’s club, and target (which has a bunch of bulk item-snacks)
*allow yourself & your family to have a cheat item, every so often. This will prevent any break downs in your diet.
*cut out as much processed foods as you can (this was the hardest for thing for me since I was raised on frozen dinners)- this is an instant savings. The way I got through junk food withdrawals is that I was able to find a quick homemade snack to replace the junk food with. We actually found about 10 different snack foods that are homemade, takes less than 20 minutes to make, and satisfy my cravings whether it was junk food or sweets.
*eliminate shopping in the middle of the store where all the processed foods are, but if you do need to shop in the middle, my rule of thumb is that I don’t by anything unless I know all the ingredients on the label.
*eat more veggies and fruits
*know what fruits & veggies to eat in order (from going bad quickly to stays fresh the longest) this list is helpful to help reduce wastes in your home. (I just listed some produce, not all)
- Goes bad the quickest-berries, bananas, cherries, grapes, kiwis, avocados, spinach, lettuce (all kinds), and other greens
- Tomatoes, mangos, peaches, pears, melons, apricots, and squashes
- Cucumbers, pineapples, pomegranate, oranges
- Stay freshest the longest- carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, grapefruits
*Some freezable items are: milk, bakery items, butter, yogurt, cream cheese, shredded cheese, fruit, veggies (most things in item 1 of the perishable list can be frozen), and lunch meats to name a few.
*come up with or create new unique recipes- to keep it fresh- otherwise you may be more tempted to eat something you really didn’t want to eat.
* make your own baked goods- do this when you have time, freeze some for later when you have no time. Making your own is a lot cheaper and a lot healthier than the premade snacks.
* start doing a $10.00 stockpile (which I do twice a month)- I picked 10 since it was an amount I could always do. You have to set a realistic amount in order for this to work. You spend the amount on items you house hold regular uses that are non-perishable. You then see how much you can stretch your 10 to get the most you can. This is an easy way to start working up your stockpile or to actually start a stockpile without breaking the bank. This can take a little time but a lot of saving sites are doing this, go to momsbyheart.com and she helps you match up deals to get the most for your money. And she does the stockpile 10 every week, so go see how she does.
*have fun with it- I can’t stress this enough
Internet– The sites I use are: moneysavingmom.com, frualiving.com, momsbyheart.net (which is a great site for everything including free printable and holiday things), and Healthy Life Deals.com (coupons for healthy foods). Just a side note- some of these sites are from down south so sometimes the deals and coupons are different.
Blog sites that I are my favorite are: Love and Olive Oil, Annie Eats, Fabulously frugal, Moneysavingmom, Momsbyheart, GoodCheapEats & Skinnytaste.com. And don’t forget Localharvest.org is the best place to find CSA information as well as farmer’s markets and event going on year round.- where I found my CSA for this year-my 1st CSA.
*remember most site are from down south so items and lists might be a little different sometimes
Accessing local foods: days when food is reduced, consider travel costs, local resources & where to look
There are numerous ways to get healthy foods locally just in Peterborough. In the Monadnock area there are so many more opportunities you can choose from. It just depends what you are looking for and whether you want to get it locally or travel to stores for it. Since gas is so high, this is something you need to think about because your gas money to the grocery store out of town comes out of your grocery budget. You need to make sure it is worth it.
I put together a simple list of different options in the Monadnock region that offer healthier yet affordable foods:
*Grocery stores- Shaw’s & Roy’s, Delay’s, Antrim grocery, Nature’s Green Grocer,
*CSA- Check on localharvest.com to look at all the ones in your area & what is included in their CSA program- about 10 or so in the monadnock region
*Farmer’s markets- happen year round now. In our area alone there are farmer’s markets every day of the week. Peterborough, Keene, Rindge, Milford, and Hancock are a few.
*Farm stands- Marlborough farmers John Plot(Dublin), Rosaly’s, New Ipswitchßhas a big one
*Pick your own farms- Rosaly’s, and Tenny’s Farm
*Community gardens- most bigger towns have on- Peterborough also has one
*Bulk Stores- Amherst, Keene
*Co-ops- Keene, Amherst, and Concord
*Plant your own garden- spend any amount that you can afford
*Community dinners- Mon,Tues,Wed in Peterborough
What are some of your frugal resources that have helped you?