Dollar Stretcher Tips For Grocery Budgets

I’m always looking for great dollar stretcher tips for our grocery budget and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. These are great ways to make simple grocery items go further, therefore saving you money on your grocery budget. I love being able to feed my family great meals they love, but still stay on budget and meet our financial goals. 🙂

Dollar Stretcher Tips For Grocery Budgets

Dollar Stretcher Tips for Grocery Budgets. Grocery saving tips. Grocery budget tips.

Add powdered milk to your milk.

If you’re feeling more adventurous this idea may be for you! (However, you may find you get used to the taste pretty quickly.) Split your 4L jug of milk into two cartons. Prepare a gallon of powdered milk and divide between the two now half gallons of milk. Mix together and use as normal. Powdered milk is much less expensive and mixing like this will still taste the same while saving you money on one of the most often purchased and used items for a family budget.

Add beans to more than just soups and chili.

Dry beans are always super cheap and easy to cook in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. I love making large batches of pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans then putting them in 2-cup portion bags to use in everything from soups and chili, to mashing into my ground meat for spaghetti, tacos or casseroles. They take on most flavors they are seasoned with, and their texture is great for all kinds of dishes. This can make one pound of ground meat go twice as far in a casserole or soup!

Don’t fear using carbohydrates.

Starches and carbohydrates tend to have a bad reputation, but as long as you are including a lot of great nutrient-dense vegetables into your diet as well it’s not a bad thing to include things like rice and potatoes as a base for casseroles. Rice and potatoes are a great dollar stretcher for almost any meal. In fact, roasted potatoes, green beans, and roasted chicken is one of the easiest and cheapest meals you can make for your family. It’s healthy, satisfying and easy to manage. The potatoes add bulk to the meal without being high fat or unhealthy, and they are so cheap it makes your meal very affordable.

Batch cook your meals.

You may wonder how or why this can be considered a dollar stretcher for your grocery budget, but it really is a great way to save. When you buy larger quantities of meats and produce, you often save a significant amount of money. Next time you find chicken, pork or beef on sale in large “family sized” packages don’t hesitate to grab them, then cook in simple ways and portion to freeze. Chicken can be roasted and cubed for everything from salads and soups to casseroles or fajitas. Pork shoulders can be roasted and pulled for use in BBQ, casseroles or tacos. Batch cooking meats, produce and even whole meals and freezing for future use saves you time, money and tons of frustration each evening when you need to throw a simple meal together fast.

These are great dollar stretcher ideas for your grocery budget. Just a few simple changes can save you hundreds of dollars in grocery expenses over the course of a year.

How do you make ordinary grocery items stretch further? Let us know in the comments below!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Under $5

As the saying goes, ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’.  So while this is true, it can also be the least expensive and easiest meal to make of the day. With using items like sausage, veggies, eggs, and other ingredients that are easily accessible, you can easily make breakfast for the whole family for under $5.

9 Healthy breakfast ideas for under $5

Here are my favourite Healthy Breakfast Ideas for under $5:

  1. Greek Yogurt and Fruit – You can usually pick up a tub of Greek Yogurt for under $4. Use some frozen fruit and maple syrup for a topping and you have a delicious breakfast.
  2. French Toast – One of my family’s favorite meals is French toast… for breakfast or dinner ;). For some reason, we can’t get enough of it. I don’t mind because using whole wheat, I can make the French toast semi-healthy! We add fruit topping or peanut butter instead of real maple syrup sometimes.
  3. Banana with Peanut Butter – Is there anything more delicious than bananas and peanut butter? I think not! It also makes for a very filling breakfast for little ones. If your child doesn’t like bananas, try cutting up an apple for them. Delicious, healthy, and simple!
  4. Breakfast burritos – Using low carb or whole wheat tortillas, mix up eggs, salsa, and cheese to make a yummy breakfast concoction.
  5. Oatmeal – The lovely thing about oatmeal is that you can make it simple and healthy. Oatmeal is cheap and can feed a lot of people at one time. I’ve got three great recipes for oatmeal: Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal, Chunky Monkey Oatmeal or Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets.
  6. Fruit salad – One of my favorite healthy meals for under $5 is taking all the leftover fruit in the fridge and mixing it together to create a fruit salad. Sometimes I add a bit of yogurt on top. Yum!
  7. Veggie omelet – A dozen eggs can be bought for a little over $2. Make a yummy veggie omelet to feed your family a healthy meal for under $5.
  8. Sausage and Eggs – Keep breakfast simple by making sausage and eggs for your breakfast of choice. My family never complains about this meal.
  9. Homemade banana muffins – If you have old bananas in your possession, make some muffins out of them. A simple breakfast that will save you money! These are my most favourite Banana Chocolate Chip muffins.

These 9 healthy breakfast ideas for under $5 will help you stay on budget and keep you feeling great all day long. It’s easy to swing through the drive thru and get caught up in a $20 breakfast for the family. But instead, it’s just as easy to make your own breakfast at home for $5 (and stay in your pajamas!).

What healthy breakfast ideas do you have for under $5?

How to Make an Inexpensive Healthy Meal Plan

Are you trying to ensure your family is eating healthy? A meal plan is the best way to plan your meals and keep everything as healthy as possible. Many people can attest to the fact that healthy meals can seem way more expensive to make than regular meals. Today, I’d love to show you how to make an inexpensive healthy meal plan.

How to Make an Inexpensive Healthy Meal Plan

How to make a healthy meal plan

Buy or make a cheap calendar

First of all, the best plan of action is to write your meal plan down. It’s nearly impossible to stick with a plan unless it’s written down. I like to use a traditional calendar to write out what we will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once you have a place to write down what you will make, you can move on to the next step.

Make a list of healthy foods your family likes

I have learned (by trial and error :)) that you will save money by buying what you know your family will eat. If your family loves bananas, apples and carrots, then spend your money buying those delicious fruits and vegetables. You can always try adding one new fruit or vegetable a week in small quantities.

Create a list of healthy meals that are inexpensive

The only way to create an inexpensive healthy meal plan is to make a list. Make a list of all the healthy meals you can think of that keep you on a budget. You may want to put google or Pinterest to use helping you find ideas. I also really like Budget Bytes for recipes! In my household, we try to stick to a main dish, veggie side, and rice/potato side. This helps keep things on budget and simple. For example, barbecued chicken with a side of mixed veggies and baked potato.

Make a shopping list

When you are meal planning healthy meals, you need a shopping list. You don’t want to forget what you need to buy and it helps keep you accountable to eat the healthy meals that you’re planning. A shopping list will help you save your sanity. Write a note in your phone or jot it down on a piece of paper. Depending on the store you shop at, you can even make a shopping list in the store app.

Stay on budget

When you’re planning an inexpensive healthy meal, try to stay on budget. You can do the math of what a meal will cost before you even head to the store. This will help you know how much you need to spend before you even spend it. For example, chicken is $3.99 a pound and you need 3 pounds to make this week’s meals. That’s rounded to $12, which can make about 2 meals for a family of 4.

There you have it, the steps to making an inexpensive healthy meal plan for your family. Take your time, create a budget, and plan each meal out. The most important part is sticking to the meal plan that you took the time to create.

If you really struggle with the idea of creating a meal plan, try out $5 Meal Plan. It happens to be my favorite meal planning service. It’s just $5 a month (the first two weeks are free!), and you get menu plans sent straight to your email along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This service allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.

Do you have any tips to add? Let me know all your inexpensive meal plan secrets in the comments below!

6 Dinner Classics Perfect For Preparing in an Instant Pot

Not only is owning an Instant Pot going to save you money, you should know that some well-loved dinner classics are perfect for whipping up in a jiffy in the machine. Not all Instant Pot recipes need to be fancy, in fact some of the best Instant Pot recipes are comfort food classics that will soon become family favorites. Look at these 6 dinner classics perfect for preparing in an Instant Pot, and be prepared to wow your family and their taste buds!

6 Dinner Classics Perfect For Preparing in an Instant Pot

6 Dinner Classics Perfect For Preparing in an Instant Pot

1. Instant Pot Beef Stew.

What is more comforting than beef stew? Your Instant Pot is perfect for beef stew with all the fixings, including tender beef and fresh vegetables. You can even freeze your beef stew for later or keep it for several days worth of meals. No matter what time of year it is, Instant Pot beef stew can fit the bill when you need some savory and filling comfort food.

2. Instant Pot Spaghetti

Kids love spaghetti, and your Instant Pot can whip it up in no time. Consider using an assortment of fresh herbs, various pastas, and even fresh meat. With your Instant Pot you can experiment with ingredients to create your own unique spaghetti dish. Spaghetti will never be boring again, and you might just create a famous family recipe!

3. Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs make the perfect side dish or appetizer. Having a party? Consider making Swedish Meatballs in your Instant Pot! You can whip up this comfort food classic fast, and in no time have an appetizer or side dish everyone will love. Just grab the toothpicks!

4. Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Ready for some Asian flare? Then Instant Pot Orange Chicken it is! Forget paying big bucks to get this dish via carry out. Instead, make your own in  your Instant Pot. Orange Chicken can be whipped up quickly, and all you need to do is add a side of rice. Delish!

5. Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Do you think you need to spend all afternoon at the grill to get yummy BBQ ribs? Not with an Instant Pot! You can make your own BBQ ribs in your Instant Pot in no time, using a savory, spicy, or sweet sauce of your choice to get the perfect rib flavor.

6. Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

What kid doesn’t like mac and cheese? There are hundreds of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipes out there perfect for your evening meal. You can experiment with various kinds of pasta, and even use an assortment of cheeses for a rich, cheesy flavor.

Are you ready to get dinner on the table fast? Then consider these 6 dinner classics perfect for preparing in an Instant Pot and get a tasty dinner classic on the table fast. You will find that the internet is full of tried and true recipes (especially Pinterest!), perfect for a newbie or even the most experienced Instant Pot user to explore. So go ahead and grab an Instant Potand give these classics a try!

11 Ways to Reduce Food Waste at Home

With a little creativity and some smart shopping, it’s possible to reduce food waste at home quite easily.  If you find yourself  throwing out rotten food on a regular basis, you’re also throwing away the money you used to purchase the food.  And that’s not good for the grocery budget!

Here are 11 ways to Reduce Food Waste and save money:

11 Ways to reduce food waste at home. Grocery saving tips.

 

Create a Meal Plan

Creating a meal plan is a crucial step to help you spend less and waste less. When you know what you’re going to eat every day of the week, you ideally will only purchase the foods you need at the grocery store.  Without a meal plan and a grocery list based on your plan, you’ll most likely find yourself wandering the aisles grabbing whatever looks good to you.  That’s fun, but you’ll most likely end up with not enough or not the right groceries for a week’s worth of meals.

If you really struggle with menu planning, then try out $5 Meal Plan. It happens to be my favorite meal planning service. It’s just $5 a month (the first two weeks are free!), and you get menu plans sent straight to your email along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This service allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well! If you are interested in joining for free, click here.

Account for Leftovers

If you find you usually have quite a few leftovers, account for the leftovers in your meal plan.  Maybe set aside one or two nights that you devote to eating up those leftovers.  Or, turn those leftovers into another meal.  Perhaps all that leftover spaghetti sauce will create a wonderful chili, as an example.

Buy Less

If your pantry and freezer are quite well stocked, start your “shopping” there.  By using what you have on hand already, will ensure you don’t buy more than you need and will help prevent food waste on the products you’ve already purchased.

Also, something I’ve learned about our family is, while buying a big package of celery (for example) may be cheaper in the long run than buying individual stalks, most of it goes to waste!  We’re not big celery eaters so purchasing individual stalks is actually cheaper for us because I only buy what we will use.  This same principle can apply to many different items in the grocery store.

Buy What you Love

You may have had some moments where you think you should eat more quinoa/fish/whatever, as you’re strolling through the grocery store.  I’ve had plenty of those nutritional guilt trips, but this inevitably leads to unplanned purchases for items your family may not be too excited about yet.  Focus on the foods your family enjoys, and add new ones gradually, after you’ve found recipes worth trying.

Buy Local

In all honesty, I never understood how buying local produce could save you money since the price I was looking at paying was more expensive than something I could purchase from a regular grocery store.  But then I realized that local produce travels way less than anything purchased from most grocery stores.  Because local produce travels less, you’re paying for a fresher item that will have a much longer life span!  Makes sense, right?  An obvious reason to support our local farmers.

Take Smaller Portions

Before you dish out another big portion, ask yourself if you really will finish what’s on your plate. Since it’s not likely you’ll save that little piece of chicken you couldn’t finish, stick to smaller portions. You can always get seconds!

Freeze Leftovers

Rather than scraping your leftovers into the garbage or if you don’t feel like eating them before they go to waste, put them in the freezer!  This makes for a great way to reduce waste and creates an easy meal for a busy night.

Store Produce Properly

Not all produce should be stored the same way.  Here’s a great guide on Design Mom with 6 Secrets to Properly Washed & Stored Produce.

Learn to read the labels

Take some time to learn what “Sell-by” or “use-by” dates actually mean.  The sell-by date is the last recommended day you should buy a product from the store, but you can still eat it several days to a week after. “Use-by” is the date through which the item will be top-quality.  But, if stored properly, most foods will stay fresh a few days longer than the use-by date!  Of course, if you note any weird odors, textures, or colors, throw it out.

Overlook Imperfections

Whether it’s soft spots in apples, bruises on bananas or dark spots on potatoes, all produce will develop imperfections. With produce that is past its prime, simply cut around the “bad” parts before you eat or throw veggies into a stock pot for soup, or make a smoothie with the less pristine fruits.  Just because something isn’t in perfect condition doesn’t mean it’s inedible!

If you’re dealing with mold, though, it’s time for the garbage.  Unless it’s cheese.  You can cut around the mold to salvage the rest.

Save it for the compost

Some food waste is unavoidable, so why not set up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable pieces and peelings? In a few months you’ll end up with nutrient-rich compost for your garden!

How do you reduce food waste in your home?