How to Save Money on Whole Foods

I’ve had quite a few people mention that they struggle with knowing how too afford healthful, whole foods. I’m here to give you some useful tips today that should have you knowing how to save money on whole foods in no time!

How to Save Money on Whole Foods

grocery saving tips, how to save money on whole foods, money saving tips

When you’re looking to feed your family a healthy diet, the cost of fresh, whole foods can be a bit scary and perhaps a big turn off. Despite what some people tell you, real food is NOT cheaper than junk food. That puts a huge strain on families trying to survive on a budget.

Here are some tips you can put to use right away to help you save money on whole foods:

Visit the Farmer’s Market.

Take a visit to your local farmer’s market for amazing produce deals. Visiting closer to closing time will get you extra discounts as vendors work to clear out stock so they don’t have to pack it up. The local Farmers Market will be packed with locally grown, in season produce.

Start a garden.

Even if you live in the city you can grow some vegetables in pots! If you’re lucky you can grow an entire garden to cut the costs of feeding your family whole foods.

Here are some ideas to get you started gardening in small spaces.

Eat In Season.

Eat foods that are in season to save money all the while eating whole foods on a budget. Foods that are in season tend to be a great deal cheaper. Preserve foods as they are in season so you can enjoy them all year round.

Here’s a handy printable PDF to help you buy in-season produce.

Look for a CSA

Look for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or co-op in your local area for great deals on produce, eggs, and even pasture fed meats. A quick google search or asking around with friends should reveal a few options. Most require you to sign up in the winter for the following season.

U-Pick

Do a google search for u-pick farms near you. By picking produce yourself you get a workout, quality family time, and a steep discount on amazing produce to feed your family. Bring the whole family and pick enough to store away for the rest of the year.

Shop in bulk.

Shop the bulk bins at the grocery store for things like grains, nuts, and seeds at a discount compared to buying prepackaged goods. These bins often have sales as well so you can stock up a bit more if the budget allows. In this case, air-tight containers are your friend for storage.

Manager Specials.

Keep an eye out for manager specials on produce, meats, and dairy. These usually need to be frozen or used right away but with the price, but it’s worth the work. When putting your groceries away place all of your clearance finds in one spot and deal with them that night so you won’t forget about them.

Learn the art of food preservation.

You can take advantage of deals on whole foods by learning how to store them long term. You have several options and doing a combination of them will yield the best results. Great options include freezing, canning, and dehydrating fresh foods for later use.

By implementing these tips, you should start seeing significant savings when you’re eating whole foods. I’d love to know your tips for saving money on healthful real foods in the comments below!

Want to learn how to take advantage of whole foods in your diet? The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is packed with great resources to help you keep your family healthy, save money, and live better. This year’s bundle includes 5 free physical products that ship to Canada! Grab your copy now before it’s gone.

Reader Question: Frugal Meals for One?

im wondering

Here’s a question that a reader of Simply Frugal would love some help with:

I am a single person, trying to live frugally.  I have it down in every other area of my life, but when it comes to meal planning and buying food, I seem to waste a lot.  How do you eat healthy and frugally when you are single?

Can you help her out with some awesome suggestions?

Buy This, Not That at the Grocery Store

Buy this, not that! Here are 8 grocery items you can buy to replace their costly, less healthful counterparts.

So, you’re looking to save some more money at the grocery store without compromising your health. Sometimes it can be as simple as replacing one item with another similar item! Today, I’d love to tell you about 8 items you can buy to replace their costly, less healthful counterparts.

Oatmeal instead of cereal

Do away with the expensive boxes of cereal full of sugar and buy oatmeal! You could purchase those convenient packs of pre-made oatmeal, but I’d encourage you to buy a bag of oats instead. I find it so easy to create my own instant oatmeal packs, plus I can control the sugar content by adding various delicious toppings. Oatmeal will also help keep you feeling full so you may need less snacks 😉

Frozen fruit instead of fresh

Purchasing fresh fruit in season is an inexpensive way to get them, but frozen vegetables are a good option too. Especially because  they’re picked at the peak of their flavour and aren’t any less healthful than fresh. So if you find yourself in the dead of winter wanting fruit, try grabbing a bag of frozen fruit to save yourself some cash and disappointment with the lack of flavour.

Yogurt tub instead of cups

Sure, yogurt cups are really convenient for packing in lunches, but you could spend a little extra time once a week filling up reusable containers with yogurt from a tub instead. Buying yogurt in larger quantities (tubs or those pour bags) will save you big time.

Make dressing instead of bottled

Making salad dressings from scratch has got to be one of the most simple kitchen tasks you could do. Believe me because I don’t do complicated in the kitchen. If you’re used to buying those expensive bottles of organic/natural salad dressings, you’ll be saving yourself a bundle at the grocery store by making your own with simple inexpensive ingredients you may already have on hand! Here are some of my recipes:

Head of lettuce instead of bagged salad

Not only is a head of lettuce much cheaper than the bags or containers of salad, they last longer too! I understand the convenience of buying a bag or container, but really it doesn’t take much effort to tear up some lettuce leaves for a salad. Especially when you have to sort through the slimy pieces in the bags or containers anyways.

Rotisserie chicken instead of deli meats

Go for the whole rotisserie chicken instead of the deli meats for sandwiches. Your boring ol’ sandwiches will taste so much better! Plus, you’ll be feeding yourself something a bit healthier. But don’t stop at sandwiches, hang onto the bones and extra meat to make a delicious chicken noodle soup for another meal or two.

Dried beans instead of canned beans

I’ll be honest and say that we don’t eat a lot of beans in our house so I do tend to purchase the cans of beans. But, if you use beans a lot in your cooking, purchasing dried beans is the way to go if you want to save yourself a bundle! Cooking up a batch of dried beans is simple if you put your slow cooker to use or the new Instant Pot.

Brown Rice instead of white rice

There may not be much of a price difference between white rice and brown rice, but if you look at the nutritional value, you’ll win with buying the brown rice. The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are some of the benefits, but one of the biggest pluses may be that the high amount of fiber in brown rice helps fill you up longer than white rice would. In turn, cutting down on the amount of snacks you may need between meals. Or even the amount you pile on your plate in the first place.

A you can see, there may be no need to stop buying some items completely to save money, but a simple replacement should help you out. How many of these replacements do you buy already? What are some other things that you buy to save money? 

16 Ways to Treat Yourself for Free

Just because you are frugal, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to treat yourself once in a while! Here are 16 ways that you can treat yourself for free today!

Just because you are frugal, doesn't mean you don't deserve to treat yourself once in a while! Here are 16 ways that you can treat yourself for free today!

Rewarding yourself for little (or big) accomplishments and treating yourself to a little pick-me-up to help you get through the week, is important (and fun) and I’d say a necessity to not fall victim to frugal fatigue.  However, it’s not always a good idea to spend money every time you feel like doing something special for yourself.

But, don’t let that discourage you. There are quite a few ways that you can feel like you did something nice for yourself without paying a cent.

The next time you feel like treating yourself, try any of these 16 Ways to Treat Yourself for Free:

Bubble Bath:

Every once in a while, a warm bubble bath sounds really, really nice and relaxing. It’s a great way to put that bubble bath to use that was given to you as a gift.

Take a Nap: 

Now this one sounds like a fantastic treat to me right now! I’m working on very limited sleep during the night because the baby is waking up far too often for my liking. Grabbing a mid day nap sounds wonderful. 🙂

Go for a Walk: 

Get out and get some fresh air. Walk around the neighborhood or find a nice wooded trail. Go by yourself or bring the family or a friend. Enjoy the scenery and focus on all the details surrounding you.

Read at the beach:

This is something my husband and I would do regularly before we had kids. We would make a day of going to the beach with a book or magazine and just sit and read. People watching is also fun. Once the baby is old enough to be left for a longer period of time, this is one of the first things I want to do when we go on a date.

DIY Manicure or Pedicure:

I’m sure you can do an almost salon like manicure or pedicure at home after watching or reading an online tutorial. You could even get in some girlfriend/daughter time by doing each others nails.

Netflix marathon:

If you have a Netflix subscription, you could binge watch a popular series, with popcorn, of course.

Visit a Pet Shelter: 

Head to your nearest pet shelter to give some animals a few cuddles, pets or a walk!

Head to a free community event:

I’m fairly certain that all communities offer some sort of free event. For example, our city offers a free summer music concert in a local park once a week. There are also regular events going on for major holidays. Take a look in the newspaper and you should find something of interest!

Swap some clothes with a friend 

Are your clothes feeling a bit boring to wear over and over again? Why not try swapping a few pieces of clothing with a friend? You’ll have brand new wardrobe possibilities without spending a dime.

Grab a notebook and start journaling:

Journaling can be quite cathartic. Especially if you’re in a stressful season of your life. Take the time for yourself to write down all your thoughts and dreams. Allow yourself to vent.

Find that hidden chocolate bar that someone gave you and savor it:

I’ll be honest in saying that all my hidden chocolate is gone now, but for a while I was working on some Christmas chocolate that was given to me! It tastes best when I eat a piece hidden from my daughter 😉

Bake a treat:

Craving a piece of cake? Why not bake an entire cake and invite some friends over? (So you don’t accidentally eat the whole thing yourself.) You probably have most of the ingredients on hand already in your pantry.

Picnic outside in the yard or park:

Why not pack up a rotisserie chicken, some buns, fruit and veggies and have an outdoor picnic? This is another favourite thing our family likes to do. We have to eat anyways, so why not enjoy eating outdoors?

Do something nice for someone else:

Doing something nice for someone else will surely put a smile on your face for the entire day. It just feels good to show someone else some kindness. Some cheap ideas are:

  • Bake someone a batch of muffins to make their mornings a bit smoother
  • Double up one of your dinners and bring a friend in need the second dinner
  • A “thinking of you” card to someone who’s been on your mind
  • Give a compliment to a stranger
  • Let someone else go in front of you in line at the grocery store
  • Gift your talents to someone (photography, a knitting project, baking, art work…etc.)

Learn something new:

I have a whole post dedicated to skills and hobbies you can learn for free. Check it out.

Say no to something that you are dreading that is not essential:

Sometimes our lives can fill up with things that we should do, because they’re “good things”.  Why not say “no” to that thing that is completely not essential. Saying “no” can feel really good!

I’d love to know your ideas for treating yourself for free or cheaply! Let me know in the comments.

7 Household Items Every Penny Pincher Owns

There are certain household items that every penny pincher owns, because they know that these items will help them stay on their frugal path.  How many of these items do you own?

There are certain household items that every penny pincher owns, because they know that these items will help them stay on their frugal path. So what are these items exactly? Take a look below at 7 household items every penny pincher owns. Penny pinchers hold onto these items tight so they can stretch their budget and live well below their means daily. Here are the items you need to know about so you can live a more frugal lifestyle too.

1. A Slow Cooker.

Penny pinchers know that a slow cooker is a staple in any frugal household. It’s an easy way to make home cooked meals with very little energy and even when crunched on time. You can make everything from appetizers to desserts in your slow cooker, which is why they are so popular with penny pinchers who hate to spend money on eating out.

Check out these unique ways to use your slow cooker.

2. Cloth towels and napkins.

Why pay for paper products that you just toss away after one use? Penny pinchers love to use cloth napkins, towels, and other cloth products instead of paper. This way the items can be used multiple times before being washed and used all over again.

3. A change jar.

Every devout penny pincher has a change jar. The change jar is where all of the change leftover in purses and pockets is tossed into at the end of the day. Over time it adds up and can be cashed in for more than you may realize! A change jar is a simple way to let those pennies you pinch add up for you.

4. A clothes line.

This depression era staple is still used in many households as a way to save money. A clothesline can help you dry your clothing in the fresh air while saving you money on gas, electricity, and dryer sheets. Consider a clothes line for your drying needs and see if it makes a difference for you. Nothing beats the smell of sun dried clothing anyways!

5. Vinegar.

Vinegar costs about a buck a bottle and has so many practical uses. It makes a powerful household cleaner and can get glass sparkling. Instead of buying pricey cleaning products, penny pinchers love vinegar for getting their cleaning jobs done.

6. A bicycle.

Penny pinchers love using bikes to run quick errands as it helps them save on gas and car repairs. It also gives them the chance to exercise and can also be used as a hobby. Invest in a bike so you can use it for quick trips and to perhaps enjoy a fun evening bike ride with the family.

Related: 5 Ways Living on a Budget Improves Your Health

7. A ceiling fan.

Ceiling fans have been replaced by light fixtures over the years, but penny pinchers will never give theirs up. They can cool the air during the hot summer months, and can be reversed to push down warm air during the cold winter months. Ceiling fans are a cost effective way to keep your home comfortable without cranking up the heat or the AC.

How many of these items are used in your household? What items would you add to the list?

There are certain household items that every penny pincher owns, because they know that these items will help them stay on their frugal path.  How many of these items do you own?

How to Make Groceries Last Longer

Does it ever feel like your groceries just don’t last? There are probably even times when you look in the pantry only to find it bare, even though you just went shopping. Groceries just don’t seem to last long enough, but there are ways to make them last much longer!

How to Make Groceries Last Longer

Groceries just don't seem to last long enough, but there are ways to make them last much longer! Read this for some great tips.

 

Only Buy What You Need

Buying only what you need will ensure you are not wasting food. Knowing what you need and what your family will use will help to ensure you only have fresh groceries in the house that everyone will enjoy. Buying food items that your family doesn’t use will only waste money and leave you with wasted food.

Freeze What You Don’t Use

We don’t always need all the food we buy and that can mean wasting food. Make sure to freeze any food you are not going to use before the expiration date. Freezing food that you are not going to use by the expiration date will keep the food from going bad and will help you keep a stocked freezer.

Freeze Herbs

Herbs typically come in large bunches and we don’t always need all the herbs at once. People tend to throw away herbs because they only use a few and the rest of the bunch goes bad. Next time you bring herbs home from the store chop them up, put them in ice-cube trays, pour in some olive oil and then freeze. Your herbs will stay fresh and you will end up with infused olive oil next time you go to cook.

Store Produce Properly

Produce is one of the number one wasted food items. Produce can last longer than you might think but you need to store it properly. Do not cut up produce until you are ready to use it! Keep in mind that each fruit and vegetable has a different way it needs to be stored. Knowing how to store your produce properly will keep it from going bad to quick. There is a complete guide on storage techniques here.

Stock Up

When you come across a good deal make sure to stock up! Having a fully stocked pantry at rock bottom prices is always a great way to ensure you have plenty of food. Watch the store flyers closely to look for sale prices on your family’s favorite items. Remember to store all food properly!

Create Snack Baskets

Sometime it doesn’t matter how well you store your food, it still goes quickly! This isn’t due to waste or improper storage but more so to hungry little kids. Children love looking through the pantry to find all of the yummy snacks! Before you know it that box of cookies you just bought yesterday is already gone.

Start creating snack baskets for each child in your family. Everyday put items in the snack basket that the child can have. If he or she eats all the snacks at one sitting that is it for the day, they will have to wait till breakfast, lunch or dinner to eat again. Creating snack baskets allows you to set out what the kids can and can’t eat that day and help your groceries last a little bit longer.

How do you make your groceries last longer? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Avoid a Bad Financial Deal

Are you easily enticed by sales? A “good” deal can actually turn out to be a bad deal, especially if you go overboard or don’t have a financial plan in place. Here’s how you can avoid a bad financial deal.

Are you easily enticed by sales? A "good" deal can actually turn out to be a bad deal, especially if you you go overboard or don't have a financial plan in place. Here's how you can avoid a bad financial deal.

It happens to the best of us. Getting into a financial pickle that is hard to get out of. Before you even get into a bad financial deal, it’s important that you know how to avoid it.

Here’s How to Avoid a Bad Financial Deal:

Stay Out of Debt

Although most people consider some debt okay, it can really be debilitating. Debt has a way of overshadowing your family and making you feel broken. If you want to avoid a bad financial deal, then try and stay out of debt altogether.

Plan Out Your Spending

If we are being honest, it can be hard to avoid a bad financial deal if you’re not prepared. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to plan out your spending. This is also known as budgeting. When you get paid, make sure your money is going to specific destinations like a your checking account and a savings/emergency funds account.

Learn from the Mistakes of Others

Want to really avoid a bad financial deal? Listen to what others have to say on this topic. It’s easy to join a budgeting group on Facebook. You’ll never believe the financial issues people have due to the lack of knowledge of being able to handle their money correctly. Learn from other people’s mistakes so you don’t make the same mistakes. It’s much more expensive to learn from your own mistakes than from someone else.

Live within Your Means

Trying to buy the newest vehicle or the fanciest house, when you can’t afford it, will lead you down a bad financial path in no time flat. You can avoid a bad financial deal by living within your means. Know what you make and know what you have to spend. If you want something, pay cash and avoid credit cards (like the plague).

Talk to a Financial Advisor

Let’s say you come across a large sum of money. You are used to living on x amount of dollars, you don’t know what to do with all of this money. Instead of blowing through the cash, talk to an advisor about how you can invest it. If you don’t want to talk to a financial advisor, read up on what some of the top financial experts have to say. Dave Ramsey is a popular one with good advice! He has tons of good information for those who are seeking it.

Think About It

Finances are tough because there are so many emotions involved. When it comes to avoiding a bad financial deal, always think about things first. You don’t have to jump into anything without thinking about it first. Settle down, think through your emotions, and then make your decision. You’ll save yourself from financial heart ache again and again when you actually take the time to think things through.

Know How to Manage Your Money

Last, but not least, learn how to manage your money. Don’t just throw it all away on McDonald’s and designer shoes. Instead, know how to spend your money accordingly. Instead of looking at your money like it’s the enemy, learn how to manage it. Managing your money can be one of the best tools in helping you avoid a bad financial deal.

 

What if you have already gotten into a bad financial deal?

You may be reading this because you already got yourself into a bad financial deal. It’s not too late to think things through. Sit down and create a plan to help you work things out. What tips do you have for someone trying to avoid a bad financial deal?

Are you Terrible at Saving Money? Get Creative!

Unfortunately, the fast majority of people in the world are terrible at saving money. Have no fear because even if you are terrible at saving money, there are small ways you can get creative in order to start saving!

Money. It’s one thing that makes the world go ‘round, even if no one wants to admit it. Unfortunately, the fast majority of people in the world are terrible at saving money. Have no fear because even if you are terrible at saving money, there are small ways you can get creative in order to save. Maybe you have plenty of money to save, you just don’t know how to get it done. I’m going to show you how!

Are You Terrible at Saving Money? Get Creative!

Put your money in separate savings account.

Basically, I’m telling you to trick yourself. Whether you have direct deposit or a check, you can easily trick yourself into saving. Have part of your check direct deposited into a specific account OR take $20 each week and put it into the “secret” account (it’s not really secret, but you’re terrible at saving money, so you have to tell yourself that).

Save that spare change up.

No one likes change (coins), but there is one truth behind all those nickels and dimes, they really do add up. If you can save your change, you are saving money. Just the other day, I took a handful of change rolls into the bank and I exchanged it for a $20 bill! It actually paid for our lunch. So, even if you think you’re not saving money when you save that change, you are!

Sell old items and put back the money.

If we can all agree with something, no one is leaving earth with their possessions in hand. In the meantime, put a hold on buying things and sell the extra items that you do have. When you sell an item, don’t put the cash in your pocket, put it in your savings account. This is great for many people because they don’t have to try and save money out of their paycheck (yes, this is a struggle for many people).

Use what you have around the house.

So many people are terrible at saving money. They just do not have a money saving bone in their body. With that being said, you don’t have to go to great lengths to save money all of the time. Something simple that you can do around your house is to use what you have. I bet if you were to look in your cabinets, you’d be surprised as to what you may find. You may find things that you currently need and because of that, you won’t need to go to the store to buy that item. While this may be a small way to save money, it really does help.

Have someone else control your savings.

If you are that person that can’t save a nickel to save their life, you need help. This is the route to go only if you have tried saving money in every other way. It may be time to put your spouse in charge of saving money. If your spouse isn’t great at it, you may need to seek help from a financial advisor or a trusted friend. There are people out there who can help you save money; you just have to give it a chance.

Ask for a raise.

If all else fails and you can’t possibly save any money, it may be time to ask for a raise from work. Only do this is you’re serious about saving this money. Most workplaces are more than happy to accommodate their hardworking employees. If you’re late and careless though, you might want to get these things under control before you seek a raise from your employer.

What are some creative ways in which you have been able to save money? Sometimes increasing your income is the only way to start saving. My best advice is to not squander money, though. Put it away, so you have the cash you need for the things you want later in life.

I’m Wondering: What Are your Best Back To School Savings Tips?

im wondering

Well, it’s getting harder to avoid the truth. Back to school time is right around the corner. 🙁 While this might be a happy time for you, it can also be an expensive time of year. School supplies and new clothes can really add up!

So for today’s question, I’d love to know:

I’m Wondering: What Are your Best Back To School Savings Tips?

Have you got something you’ve been wondering about that I could feature in a future I’m Wondering post?  Submit your question to us here!

16 Ways to Be Happier at Home

Staying home is one of the simplest ways to have more time, spend less money, accumulate less clutter, and to simply live a less busy lifestyle! Here are 16 ways to be happier at home.

Staying home is one of the simplest ways to have more time, spend less money, accumulate less clutter, and to simply live a less busy lifestyle!

Staying home used to be so hard for me. I’d go out to the mall or even drive over to the next city over for some ‘better shopping’, way more than I needed to. These trips would always result in money spent on lunch out, deals I may have thought I needed, and probably takeout for dinner because I was too tired to cook! Totally not worth it.

However, I don’t cut out every activity because I do value time spent with our family and friends. But even these times can be held at home if necessary. I love to cook dinner for my parents as I feel it gives them a much needed break once in a while.

I’m amazed at how much I can get done at home when I limit my time out on the town. I actually enjoy my once a week grocery shopping trip because I have had time to plan ahead and look forward to the meals I picked to prepare. Some days, I seem to be out more than I am at home.  That’s okay because then I plan a day to stay home to catch up!

Staying home more really works for me!

Here are some ideas to be happier at home:

  • Invite friends or family over for a movie/dinner night
  • Buy/pick some inexpensive flowers such as daffodils
  • Read a good book
  • Take a nice bath
  • Enjoy a dinner by candlelight
  • Clear out as much clutter as possible, clean off the kitchen counter tops, get rid of at least one pile of papers
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Listen to your favorite music LOUD when you’re cleaning
  • Surround yourself with the things you love, allow no room for things that don’t make you feel happy
  • Take time to enjoy your favorite hot or cold beverage in the mornings (or evenings)
  • Keep your favorite candle burning
  • Bake: it tastes great and smells wonderful
  • Work at wanting what you have rather than having what you want
  • Play board games with family or friends
  • Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is.
  • Display family photos

What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your ideas!