Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tips and Tricks on how to save money from someone who CANNOT coupon.

I'm jealous of my friends who go to the grocery store, walk out with a cart full of groceries, and end up spending $5.00. I just can't do it, I've tried, I'm not nearly organized enough. I usually lose my coupons in the grocery store before I get to check out.
I am the least organized person in the world I have 2 children under 4 and have never owned a diaper bag. I am NOT the mom with a sippy cup and snacks.
I work from home and that requires a certain level of organization, I think every ounce I have is devoted to that.
I'm passionate about healthy, quality food for my family and myself, but also can't afford to spend $200/week on food.

So without further adieu, how I (an unorganized, non-couponer) saves money:

I plan meals in advance and buy enough food for the week. We are literally out of food on Saturday, but there's no waste.

I cook in batches
I make large portions and we eat the same dinner for 2 days.
We go meat free most of the week, beans are way cheaper than meat.
I make lunch. For instance I buy whole wheat pizza dough and saute spinach and onion wrap in the dough and bake. I get 10 "pies" (we call 'em spinach pies) for each 1 pound of dough, I buy 2 doughs and that's lunch for all 4 of us for the entire week, for like $10 worth of ingredients.
I buy some things in bulk. Like my 3.5 lb bag of organic spinach, it's $7.00, but that equals like 5 bags of regular size spinach and it's organic. I use it for the spinach pies, salad every night, and in my smoothies. Grains (oatmeal, bulgur, rice, quinoa), nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts), dried fruit (cranberries), and beans are all in bulk. Not like huge portions but from the bulk section at a whole foods like store (I get mine from Dekalb Farmer's Market, but that's only local).
Also, you know those bagel thins? Just buy regular whole wheat bagels, they're pre sliced, take a half and slice it in half. You have double the bagels for like half the price. Plus, it's easier for and better portioned for the littles.
I plan our dinner's around vegetables. Whatever is in season and was the best price that week.
Right now were eating lots of zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, asparagus, and broccoli.
In the winter we'll eat sweet potatos, squash, and turnips (my fave).
We eat lots of fruit, but stick 100% to only what is in season, plus bananas. I've got 3 lbs of plums and 3 lbs of peaches in my fruit basket, mangoes ripening on the counter, and grapes in the fridge.
I buy very few prepackaged items and the snacks that I do buy are whatever is bogo at Publix.
I also don't spend money on drinks. We drink water. I never buy soda. I used to buy a bottle of 100% juice for the kids and add a touch to their water, but I got lazy and don't do that anymore.
They don't care.

Latley, we've been eating a lot of fish, and it ain't cheap, so if you know how to save money there please let me know! I've tried frozen fish but it changes the texture and it's expensive too.
Oh well, I'm thinking about making the switch and just going vegetarian. I don't think vegan because my kids eat a lot of dairy, but I could definitely do meat-free.
I just ordered peasandthankyou the cookbook and I can't wait to get it!

I've got new running shoes coming too! Hopefully tomorrow!

Tell me! What are your budgeting secrets?
The more money I save the more running related things I can do!


  1. I am just starting to pay more attention to budgeting for food. Luckily a lot of what I like to eat is pretty cheap--I am happy with fruit/veggies in season, frozen chicken or tilapia, and lots of pasta. I would say 90% of my meals are vegetarian, but I won't make the official "switch" because a lot of my protein is from lean meats/fish.

  2. i am terrible about spending money on food. but i made a deal with myself that i need to get better. it looks like i am shopping for a family of 5 and i live alone. yeah...gotta work on that ;) These are great tips. I think a good place for me to start would be meal planning. That way I don't waste so much!

  3. Whenever I leave the house I always pack my meals. That way I avoid having to pay 14 bucks for a meal out. Pathetic, but it works!!