Showing posts with label saving on groceries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saving on groceries. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Filling the Freezer/Saving on Groceries

saving on frozen foods
Frozen Foods Can Add Up
Avoiding the frozen food section of the super market is vital to saving money on groceries. We shop the frozen food section last, not just because we live in Arizona where everything melts fast but because frozen foods are convenience foods and they fill up the cart and empty the bank account. For every box of frozen foods you put in the cart you can count on adding another $5 to $10 to your bill. That doesn't mean that we don't buy an occasional pack of pizza rolls or a box of Breakfast on a Stick, but we have found that it is quite easy to make some of these foods ahead in bulk and save money.

Use Gallon Zip Locks

I like to use my Food Saver for packaging meats and a few other things but for convenience foods I buy gallon size Zip Lock freezer bags. Sometimes we will make chicken nuggets ahead and freeze them in these bulk re sealable bags and other times it might be fresh fruits. This week I am making a double recipe of egg rolls by request. They are healthy and ready to go for any night of the week and you can snatch the recipe below.

Plan Ahead

I also like to buy bulk berries and freeze them for smoothies. I can buy a case of strawberries for under $10 and usually get three gallon bags full for the freezer. These bags of fruit run $12 per gallon for organic frozen berries at the store so by taking a little extra time to do it myself I am saving approximately $26. If you can just knock a few things off your frozen foods list you can save quickly and you will be eating healthier to boot. Other ways we like to fill the freezer are by making double batches of pancakes or enchiladas.

Home Style Egg Rolls
1 package large Won ton Wrappers
1/2 head of cabbage
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 peeled carrots
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 stalks celery
1 egg
The trick to a great egg roll is in chopping the vegetables evenly and preferable a good chop that will wrap well. I like to precook my mixture to control the moisture content but we actually had some egg rolls at the local Asian festival that were made with uncooked cabbage and they tasted great. My point is this is kind of a no fail recipe in that you can try it and it will taste good and then you can adjust it to taste for the next time. Once I have chopped my veggies I cook them down in a little oil and let them cool. In a small bowl I mix a little bit of water with the egg and set aside. As you stuff and roll each egg roll you will want to seal them shut with the egg mixture. I oil a cookie sheet and place the egg rolls about 2 inches apart as I get the rolled. Don't put them too close to each other or they will steam instead of crisp. Once you have a pan full, brush each egg roll with the egg mixture and then back until slightly crispy turning once; 375 degree oven. I freeze them in gallon Zip Locks in one row and then reheat in the oven at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Sometimes in the summer we will reheat on the grill and they are great that way too. If you would like a variation you can add cooked organic sausage or chicken and we have also tried them with shredded cheese and they were yummy.

Read how to Make Your Own Organic Chicken Nuggets and how to make pizza crust.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Save $4360.88 a Year on Groceries

saving on groceries
Saving Money on Groceries
When my family began to suffer from random pollution related allergies and stomach problems we began making some lifestyle changes that resulted in dropping several items from our grocery list and miscellaneous spending. As it turns out, we not only began to make greener lifestyle choices but we realized we were saving money too. We didn’t completely cut out all of these items, some of them we found alternatives to and others we cut back on. The savings is astonishing either way! As I sat down to write this post I realized just how much money we have started saving and I hope you can benefit from making some changes too.

Disposable Razor Blades

Use a rechargeable electric razor. I have to admit I didn’t use an electric razor until my second child was born because back in the day they didn’t shave that close, but I was pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the new model electric rechargeable which I purchased at Target for under $30. My hubby uses an electric shaver too on his beard and to touch up in between haircuts. You can save an average of $162.88 per year by cutting razors and razor blade refills off your grocery list.

Water bottles and Soda Cans

Buy a refillable water bottle of any kind for $5 to $10 and stop buying bottled water at the store for $5 per 24 packs and save $240 per year. Cut soda out of your diet all together and opt for water or herbal tea, save yet another $240 assuming your buying 12 packs on sale. If you can’t kick the soda habit, switch from cans to two liter bottles.

OTC Medications

Over the course of adding local honey to our diet we found we were quickly able to eliminate OTC medications like Claritin and Pepcid. We still need an occasional dose of Benadryl for a random reaction, maybe a week of Flonase during high peak times but overall we have been able to save a large amount of money over what we used to have to spend on OTCs. We have saved approximately $960 per year over antacids and OTC allergy medicines.

Laundry Soaps

Many people save by making their own laundry soap or switching from using a dry cleaner to using dry cleaner sheets. We are still working on this one because most homemade laundry soaps are either powder or complicated to use. However, if you are willing to try one of these very popular options, you could save upwards of $168 per year. I do have a new recipe I am getting ready to try and if it is great, I will be posting about it, so check back for updates.

Cleaning Products and Air Fresheners

We do make some of our own air fresheners, cleaning products and candles saving at least $160 per year. This isn’t complicated to do, by simply mixing baking soda, vinegar and Dr. Bonner’s soaps you can make fragrant lavender scented cleaning solution. We also purchase beeswax from the honey farmer for $3 per pound and use an old crockpot to make inexpensive jar candles.


I suffered from severe acne and rosacea for years until I found Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Soap. Believe me, I know how much you can spend on expensive skincare and until I found this soap I needed those expensive skincare lines just to curb the painful breakouts. I don’t have perfect skin now, but I can go without makeup without embarrassment and I have saved over $360 a year on skincare. Dr. Bonners, Alba and Burt’s Bees offer organic, money saving alternatives.


Cut back on your meat; buy your meat in bulk and package it in a Food saver just under a pound. So if you normally use 2 pounds of hamburger and two pounds of chicken each week then you will save about a pound a week roughly $60 and then go meatless with one meal a week that is another $60 producing a total yearly savings of $120 per year.


Stop buying disposable products like cups and plates. We were spending $5 every two weeks on disposable cups, which comes to $120 per year. Paper plates are another $5 per stack every two weeks for another $120. That is a total of $240 a year on paper! I was shocked how much paper products added up to. Save paper products for special occasions. Keep your old towels for cleaning instead of using paper towels and use washable napkins.

Frozen Foods

Learn to make your own frozen convenience foods and avoid the frozen food isle all together. Waffles and pancakes can be made ahead and frozen in gallon size freezer bags for quick reheating. You can do the same thing with chicken nuggets and they are healthier too. We figured out that for every item we bought in bulk in the frozen food isle we could add on average $7.50 to our grocery bill that week. So if you can make your own frozen foods and eliminate two items per week that will save you $15 per week totaling $390 a year.

Carry Out Pizza

Save $1560 a year on carryout pizza by keeping a ready crust in the refrigerator. If you don’t cook that much, then you can pick up a Pillsbury crust on sale for under $3. I prefer to make my own in the bread maker and then I wrap it in plastic. It is ready for whatever night we crave a pizza. We keep shredded cheese and pepperoni on hand, but pizza is versatile so don’t be afraid to use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry. However you choose to do it, kicking the weekly pizza habit and saving it for a special occasion can save you over a thousand dollars a year.

Finally, if it isn’t on sale don’t buy it. Sales are cyclical that means that if it isn’t on sale this month chances are it will be on sale next month or even next week. You can save upwards of 25% just by waiting until next week and making sure your grocery card is up to date.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Find Coupons and Save Money

finding coupons
How to Find Coupons and Save
It's another day at the grocery store check out and my hubby gives me "the look." The "where have all the coupons gone?" look. I've taken home my fair share of free products, free trials, free with purchase and just free because I took the time to clip the paper, but I don't seem to be able to find as many coupons and when I do, the sales aren't timed just right like they used to be. I even checked some links on my blog to find that the coupon organizing site that was once so popular her in Arizona is now  up for sale. So where have all the coupons gone? You can still save money with coupons but you have to be a little more persistent in looking for them.
The Newspaper

The number one best place to find coupons is still your local newspaper although you may receive weekly inserts in the mail depending on your neighborhood. You can look for a deal a subscription through the school system.  If you can wait until Monday morning, visit your local newspaper office and they will usually sell you a back issue for a discounted rate. Just because a retailer prints coupons don't neglect their website. We found a coupon the other day for double Fry's fuel rewards that said you could download a permenant version on the website. 


The newspaper is no longer the only way to get manufacturers coupons.  There are websites popping up such as Grocery Smarts where you can download coupons directly to your grocery card.  Find free manufacturers coupons at  This web site will only let you print one set per household per month so make sure your printer is working before you hit print or you won't get your coupons.

Valpak and Merchant Circle are great places to find coupons in your local neighborhood.  They have coupons for anything from eating out to household services.  Just plug in your zip code or the zip code you wish to shop in, and print coupons.   

At the Grocery Store

Shop with your eyes wide-open because people toss coupons everywhere.  You can look for special coupons posted with new products, and the employees handing out samples are probably going to shove a coupon in your hand as well.

Most grocery stores print out coupons with your receipt.  Often times an advertisement will print and if you buy a certain amount of product within a certain time frame they will give you a dollar amount off of your total bill or a free product like milk or baby formula.  Read the details carefully and you can save big.   

On Products

Look for coupons attached to every item you purchase.  Many times coupons are printed on the inside of cereal and cracker boxes and on the bottom of yogurt container lids.  Thoroughly examine every product package before it is discarded and train your family to do so as well.

On Your Store Card

Make sure you register with every local grocery store they will send money saving coupons based on your purchasing record.  If you have children you will also want to register with the diaper and formula companies. These companies will send you valuable coupons and occasionally you may get to try a new product for free.  Many grocery store chains now have websites that will download extra coupons to your grocery store card, including coupons for extra savings on store brands so check your grocery store website carefully. 

Download Apps

Make sure you download at least one shopping app so you can compare prices in the store. You should also check to see if you grocery has an app and load it for special deals. You can also use an app to surf for coupons on the web while in the grocery. I downloaded an app that lets me search for sale items by grocery store to my Android smart phone.

How to Use Coupons

If you shop at a grocer that doubles, pair your coupons with a sale, and you will start getting everything from cake mix to toothbrushes for free.  Grocery stores that double coupons are becoming scarce, watch your grocery ads carefully for special double coupon days. Make a grocery list and then go online or visit the store in person to pick up a weekly sale add.  Compare the coupons you have clipped with the items on sale.  Make sure you pay attention to details such as purchase limits or minimums and sale dates.

There are also some new websites popping up that will do this work for you. The only thing to watch out for with these websites is to carefully compare the membership fees and cost of newspaper with the actual savings.  If you work full time then this may be a good way for you to save with coupons.  It is also important to have a good filing system because statistics show that coupons are now expiring on average every two months. Keep coupons well organized so you can be ready to pair them up with a sale.

You will also want to read Saving On Groceries for more money saving coupon tips.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green grocery list

Coupons go high tech and green with mobile apps.

Grocery iQ is just one of the free mobile apps available for smart phones. These mobile grocery apps are a great way to store your grocery list and find the best prices. Most apps also download coupons to your local grocery card and can even scan a bar code.

I have to admit my husband and kids were the first to get me started with these savvy programs because they were all having so much fun scanning the pantry. Switching to a mobile grocery list is both frugal and green saving money and paper.

Other handy shopping apps include Foursquare and Out of Milk.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Buying at Farmer's Markets Saves Money

Buying from Farmers Markets
Buying From Farmer's Markets Saves
Buying your produce from local farmers markets is a great way to save money while buying organic produce and it promotes green living.  Not only does buying local reduce the amount of transportation and packaging it also supports the local farmers which is a key to sustainable living.  Buying local organic produce sends a message to the government and local economists by upping the demand for local organic produce in your area.  There are several ways to buy local organic produce.

***Farmers Markets are one.  Find a farmers market in your area and patronize it regularly.

***Pick Your Own.  There are also Pick your own farms throughout the country.  Find a Pick your own farm in your area.

***Buy from a local coop.  Food coops are a great way to buy local and they often come right to your doorstep.

***Grow your own.  Growing your own produce is another way to save on organic produce and who knows you may even start your own farmers market.  If you are in the part of the country that is undergoing the changes of fall you may want to consider indoor gardening.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Buy Local Produce at Farmer’s Markets

Buy Local Produce
Buying Local Saves
Farmers markets, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall festivals can be cheap fall fun for the whole family as well as a great way to purchase local produce. Buying local promotes sustainable living for the whole community.

Vertuccio Farms in Mesa offers a great group rate of $5 per person if you schedule a group of at least 20 ahead of time. They have a corn maze just for kids, a pumpkin patch and a train ride too. Mother Nature’s Farm at 16th Street and Baseline Road offers a pumpkin patch, farmers market, hayrides and child size corn maze all under $7.

Talmachoff Farms offers great pumpkin patch fun including a petting zoo, farmers market, pumpkin patch, corn maze and train ride all at Bethany Home and 75th Avenue. This farm is a little more expensive at $15 but if you are close you will probably make it up in the gas savings.

Apple Annie’s Orchard offers a huge ‘one of a kind’ corn maze, farmers market, pumpkin patch and hayrides for a very reasonable price of $7 for adults and $5 for children; children 2 and under are free and they offer a combo hayride/corn maze ticket for just $9.

If you enjoy picking your own fruits and vegetables then you can check out a website that lists U Pick Farms. Bountiful Baskets is a local food coop and for a contribution of roughly $15 -25 dollars they will bring a laundry basket full of locally grown fruits and vegetables to a location near you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Free groceries using coupons

You can take home groceries for free with coupons.  I have bought everything from free hot dogs to baby formula, you just have to match your coupons with the sales.  As you start doing this you will quickly learn the pattern of sales and coupons so that you can plan your needs around them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Easy steak for a family of four around $3.97

saving on steak
Buy Steak on Sale and Serve it in a Dish
Steak is a luxury we all crave and in this tough economy it is often a menu item cut in lu of it's less expensive counterpart the ground beef.  Steak however can be a flavorful and affordable option when prepared at home.  The trick is knowing what cut of steak to buy and how to prepare it.

Don't let price shy you away from the better cuts of meat.  Fry's food and drug often has Boneless Rib eye, New York Strip and T-Bones on sale.  This week Boneless Rib eye is on sale for $3.97 per pound.  Purchase the higher quality meat in smaller portions.

Do take the time to marinate and grill your meat purchase properly.  I like to keep my marinate simple, seasoned salt and olive oil over night in the back of the fridge.  I grill my steak to medium rare and then let the meat rest for five minutes to retain the juices.  Once the steak is ready, I slice it against the grain so it will be tender. 
Steak Alfredo Pasta

1 box Alfredo noodles
1 envelope Knorr Alfredo sauce mix
1 pound sliced steak

Steak Fajitas

1 bag frozen fajita mix veggies
1 package fajita seasoning mix
1 pound sliced steak
12 flour tortillas

Purchasing a higher quality of meat in smaller portion is not only a great way to save money it is also a good way to afford organic, grass fed beefSliced steak will make just about any recipe where you normally use ground beef more rich and satisfying.  You will be saving money and still eating like a king.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Saving with Farmers Markets and Coops

saving with farmers markets
Save with Farmer's Markets and Coops
Many people have had great success purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from a farmers market or coop. You don’t have to have a large family for a coop to be worth while; if you love fruits and vegetables or want to add more to your diet then a farmers market or coop may be for you.

Purchasing from coops:

• When you purchase from a coop you pay a weekly or biweekly fee and the coop brings you enough fresh fruits and vegetables for that period of time. You will usually be asked to bring a laundry basket to a designated pick up location in your area and the basket is usually stocked with a variety of seasonal produce and it is locally grown to boot. Locally grown produce is fresh and contains more nutrients and requires fewer chemicals. The coop will usually email care and cooking instructions along with tasty recipes shortly after the produce is delivered.

• There are several different types of coops; some specialize in only organics, and some offer meat and dairy. There is even one valley coop that offers a selection of fresh granola and home baked bread. What ever you choose, a coop is usually a good deal, and the vegetables are fresh enough to keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

Purchasing from farmers markets:
Farmer’s markets are also a great way to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables as well as local food specialties. There is a variety of famer’s markets through out the Phoenix area. Downtown Phoenix Public Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays; they take all kinds of payment including food stamps. Tolmachoff Farms offers locally grown seasonal produce as well as home canned jams and jellies; they are located at 75th Ave and Bethany Home Road.

12 Best Farmers Markets in America according to Delish...
More Arizona Community Farmer’s Markets….

Even more Arizona Farmer’s Markets….

Monday, September 27, 2010

Save on Groceries with Indoor Gardening

Indoor Gardening
Saving with Indoor Gardening
Fall is upon us and most of the country is looking at closing up their outdoor gardens and living off their canned and frozen produce, but you don't have too.  Consider indoor gardening as an alternative to giving up your garden.  With indoor gardening you can continue to save money on your produce bill while you enjoy fresh produce all year long.  Indoor plants also purify the air in your home while providing you with more oxygen.  It is estimated that one houseplant will clean up to 10 feet of space.

Indoor gardens are becoming very popular and they are nothing new.  People have been successfully indoor gardening for decades. Many people have successfully grown cooking and naturopathic herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, dill and lavender. Some gardeners have even grown garlic, cherry tomatoes and green beans indoors.

Green bean and tomato plants can be grown indoors using hanging planters when hung in a south to southeast facing window. The trick is making sure the plant is kept away from any draft and is exposed to 6 – 8 hours of natural sunlight every day.

Many people have made very creative indoor window gardens with hanging planters while still others have re purposed old aquariums into new terrariums.  There are several new herb gardening kits available on the market that take up less space while providing you with wonderful kitchen herbs.  There is at least one herb gardening kit in my Amazon store.  Some other indoor gardening ideas include using wash tubs or cat litter boxes.  Choose the proper light, use your imagination and you too can make a successful indoor garden in just about any room of your home.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saving Money on Groceries

saving money on groceries
Tips for Saving Money on Groceries
Using up leftovers and clipping coupons are practical ways to save on groceries but here are a few more tips you may want to try.

Serve Breakfast for Dinner

Serving breakfast for dinner one night a week can put a small dent in your grocery bill.  On the average breakfast cost $1 - $3 per head while dinner is closer to $4 - $ 12.  Bacon and eggs, fried potatoes, grits, pancakes and sausage or waffles are all low cost alternatives to dinner and serving breakfast for dinner can be a lot of fun too.

Soup Supper

Serve Soup once a week for supper or even once every two weeks.  Soup is a great alternative year round and there are some really yummy ones such as Chicken Tortilla, or Clam Chowder.  Having a chili supper with fresh corn bread on the side will do the trick too.

Try the Pantry Challenge

There is a new trend called the Pantry Challenge.  People who have stocked their pantry pretty well are seeing how long they can eat off what is in the pantry without going to the grocery.  Some go so far as to use powdered milk while others make exceptions for fresh milk and produce but what ever the case I have heard that it does work for some.


Learn to make casseroles and you will stretch your groceries and save money.  Casseroles in general are usually very filling, use less expensive ingredients as well as less meat per serving.  Casseroles are a great way to save money.

More Tips

  1. Always shop with a list.
  2. Don't shop around too much.  If you stick to one low cost store you will learn their sales.
  3. Try Coops and U Pick Farms to save on Produce.
  4. Pair Coupons with Store Ads for the lowest price.
  5. Buy in bulk but price check first, bulk isn't always best.

Monday, August 23, 2010

News in coupons!

Yes, late breaking news in coupons!  There are several late breaking news stories in the world of coupons.

This just in....Fry's Grocery Stores are now taking competitors coupons!  Yes, you heard me right, even the competitors coupons that print off at the register.  They are also reading all manufacturers coupons under a dollar as if they are a $1.

This just in...are you tired of getting the newspaper just for the coupons?  There is a new website where you can print off the coupons you want or even load them to your grocery card!

And one final late breaking story....there is a new website called Groupon where you can purchase with others and save 50% to 75%.  You simply bid on a purchase, whatever you are willing to pay and if enough other people bid on that item you all get it for the same price.  If no one else bids you will not be charged.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Surviving on Freebies

Surviving On Freebies
Survining a recession is easy if you take advantage of freebies. Become a freeloader! I am not suggesting that you free load off your friends and family or even the government. Businesses give away free stuff everyday. Free cosmetics, free kids meals, free meat, even free money!

Yes free money! My husband and I opened a new Chase personal bank account this weekend. Before we opened it we just happened to get these change of address packets at our local post office; you know those coupons and advertisements that you usually toss in the trash, don't through them away!!! Think of them as free money, sometimes lots of free money! Anyway, we had two coupons that came out of those packets. The coupons were for $125.00 a piece. That is $250.00 for opening a bank account that we had to open anyway!!! Chase deposited $250.00 in our bank account, no questions asked, no stipulations on how we spend it!

As if that were not enough that is not the only thing we freeloaded this weekend! Just so happens the windshield on our Jeep cracked, its ok, we have complete glass coverage. Sence we had to get the windshield replaced anyway, my husband shopped around town for the best deal. We had the insurance company fix our windshield at Speedy Glass and they gave us a gift certificate for Omaha Steaks! We are having a box of gourmet steaks and burgers delivered to our doorstep, for free!

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8