Top 10 Grocery Budgeting Tips of 2014

Best Grocery Budget Tips 2014

Contributor Post by: Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs

One of my favorite parts of December is taking a look back at the year and seeing our progress. With the alarm clock going off each morning, and every day being filled with busy to-do’s, it’s easy to get swept up in day-to-day tasks of life. And all too quickly, we forget all the hard work we’re doing and progress we’ve been making!

This year, I’ve been honored to share some of my best tips on how to eat real food on a budget, so I thought it would be helpful to revisit the top 10 tips from the year as a whole. From budgeting to shopping to cooking from scratch, there’s something here for everyone.

From my heart to yours, cheers to a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and a frugal grocery budget!
Blessings, Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs

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Top 10 Grocery Budgeting Tips of 2014
from Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs

#1. Get a Grocery Budget!

Ha! You didn’t think I’d give you a list of budgeting tips and not tell you to get a budget, did you?

Hands down, creating a frugal grocery budget is the absolute best way to save money on real food. Now I know this isn’t a topic that many families like to discuss, so I create a short series walking you through the simple steps on creating a grocery budget that will work for you and your family.

If saving money, eating well and/or reducing your food budget is one of your goals for 2015, you need a grocery budget. This is so important, that I’m offering my eBook “22 Days to a Fresh Start” and 5 pages worth of grocery budgeting printables for FREE when you subscribe to the Crumbs weekly newsletter.

The grocery budget series starts here, and you can get your free printables here. Take care of these foundational elements of saving money, and you’re set for the rest of the top 10 list below …

#2 – Keep Your Receipts

As ordinary and mundane as it sounds, keeping your receipts will completely revolutionize the way you view your grocery spending.

Learn the 6 reasons why you should keep your grocery receipts (besides the fact that it’ll save you money), plus practical advice for reviewing them on a regular basis and suggestions on what to do with them all once you’re done going through them!

Receipts Paperclipped in Envie

#3 – Evaluate Your Food in Terms of Time

You’ll find foodies all across the web encouraging you to make as many foods as you can from scratch, but is it really worth your time and effort? After all, there’s only 24 hours in each day and we all have busy schedules. Is it absolutely necessary to make everything we eat from scratch?

This simple 3-step approach will help you evaluate the food you eat in terms of the time you spend preparing it, and help you determine which foods are really worth the extra time to make them from scratch versus selecting healthy store-bought options.

#4 – Simple Ways to Save on Groceries Without Using a Calculator

Despite having a formal education in math, I’ve been known to make errors in my calculations. That’s why these simple tips for saving on groceries WITHOUT a calculator are near and dear to my math-challenged heart.

Start using these practical ideas, and you’ll immediately notice changes in your grocery budget. I haven’t bought cooking spray in over two years thanks to tip #1, and tip #5 is how we keep our food waste to an absolute minimum!

Strategies for Saving

#5 – Learn how to Save Money at Farmers Markets

Although written at the start of the farmers market season, these 8 strategies for saving money at the farmers market actually contains timeless money saving strategies that are helpful year-round and can be applied to practically any shopping venue out there.

My two personal favorites from this list are #4 and #7. The former is how we know whether or not what we’re buying is truly a good deal, and the latter shares how to stock-up on staples for just a few bucks!

Bonus! When farmer’s market season is in full swing, use these 6 tips to balance farmer’s market prices with teeny tiny budgets.

#6 – Substitute Foods Before Buying New Ones

There’s nothing worse than getting mid-way through a recipe only to realize that you’ve run out of a vital ingredient.

While I can’t promise that these 25 frugal food substitutions will prevent this from ever happening again, I can promise that using this list before you leave the grocery store will save a few bucks from your grocery budget. From rare spices to eggs to butter to cheese: This substitution list should be printed and given a permanent home on the inside of your spice cabinet!

Butter_No Words

#7 – Stretch Protein to the Fullest

Quality protein is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget, so it’s important to stretch it whenever possible to make each dollar go as far as it possibly can.

#8 – Realize that little savings add up to BIG savings.

While each individual idea among this awesome list of 20 ways to save on real food in the kitchen aren’t earth shattering, and they certainly won’t shave hundreds off your bill each month, when you add them all up, they’ll easily save you hundreds off your grocery budget each year.

Tip #2 alone is how we didn’t spend any money on groceries for 30 days, and #18 is now our favorite way to cook vegetables (not to mention it help us trim our spending on expensive quality fats). And, Tip #20 is a great one too – between you and me, it’s my personal secret weapon!

Real Food Cover_plain

#9 – Know How to Save at Your Favorite Store

If you’re a fan of health food stores, knowing the intricacies of how the store is laid out, as well as their marketing techniques, will really pay off. Knowing which store has the best deal on the foods you regularly buy will not only save you money, but it will save you time too. Here are a few of the top frugal finds at the most commonly shopped spots for real foodies:

#10 – Don’t just go with the flow. Find a Meal Plan that works for you!

The moment you lackadaisically throw items in your grocery cart without a plan for how you’ll use them is when you become your grocery budget’s own worst enemy.

Regardless of what your meal plan looks like, get one. And never leave home without it!

It can be scratched on a post-it note, typed in Excel or part of a meal plan subscription. Just be sure to find a method that works for you and stick with it.

And it’s important to know that when it comes to meal planning, Kelly and I both have your back! As you know, Kelly provides FREE Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Meal Plans to subscribers of The Nourishing Home. And for those of you who enjoy a whole grain lifestyle, I’m thrilled to announce that I have a brand new whole grain meal planning system rolling out at the end of the month. (See details below.)

Don’t give up! Eating real food on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s the ministry of The Nourishing Home and Don’t Waste the Crumbs to help you eat well and nourish your family. We’re honored to serve you for His glory!

Are you following a whole grain diet?

Final Cover_300pxIf so, Tiffany’s Frugal Real Food Meal Plans can help!

Starting December 29, Tiffany’s site, Don’t Waste the Crumbs, will be launching an all-inclusive Whole Grain Meal Plan created with a frugal budget in mind. To learn more about Tiffany’s new meal planning system, be sure to register here. Not only will you receive information about her Frugal Real Food Meal Plans, but you’ll also gain instant access to her free tools for trimming your grocery budget.

Again, Tiffany’s meal plans are whole grain based, so for those of you who are living gluten-free and/or grain-free, please remember that you can gain instant access to Kelly’s free Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Meal Plans by subscribing to The Nourishing Home.

Either way, we’ve got you covered! So don’t wait for the New Year – get started now with meal planning! It’s truly one of the best ways to save time, money and stress!

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Delicious Homemade GF Holiday Gifts in a Jar

Holiday Gift-in-a-Jar

One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is to make homemade gifts in a jar. And the wonderful thing is, they’re as much fun to make together, as they are to give to others! Simply layer the ingredients of a favorite recipe in a jar, then add a festive ribbon and tag, and there you have it – a thoughtful gift made with love.

There are certainly a ton of gifts-in-a-jar recipes out there, but unfortunately, many rely on unhealthy ingredients. So I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my favorites with the hope that this may help you to create some healthy homemade gifts of your own!

My Favorite GF Whole Food Gifts-in-Jar Recipes

Fruit & Nut Bars-in-a-Jar1. Fruit-in-Nut Bars in a Jar – These mock KIND Fruit-n-Nut Bars have been one of the most popular recipes I’ve posted this year. I modified the recipe a bit so it makes a beautiful and delicious gift-in-a-jar.

2. Slow Cooker Spiced Holiday Nuts – This year, we’ll be spreading holiday cheer with this delightful Spiced Holiday Nuts Gift-in-a-Jar recipe. These tasty nuts capture the aroma and flavor of the holiday season with just a hint of cayenne, giving them an extra kick of flavor. Honestly, it’s almost impossible to stop eating them!

3. “Season’s Greetings” in a Jar – This savory all-purpose seasoning mix makes a wonderful gift, especially when paired with my free recipe card printables.

4.  Raw Cookie Dough Bites Mix in a Jar – My popular Raw Cookie Dough Bites recipe also works beautifully as a gift in a jar. Bet you can’t eat just one!

5.  Pumpkin Pie Muffins Mix in a Jar  – A much requested favorite, my GF pumpkin muffin recipe makes a beautiful and tasty gift in a jar!

6. Jumbleberry Jam in a Jar –  You can use any whole food jam recipe to create a delicious holiday gift. I especially love to give my family’s favorite  – Jumbleberry Jam – it’s secret ingredient allows the jam to set without the use of pectin powders!

7. Slow Cooker Apple Butter in a Jar – This traditional fall-inspired spread is so easy to make! And it’s so delicious – your friends and family will love it!

8. Healthy Homemade Granola Gifts-in-a-Jar – whether it’s my soaked oat granola or grain-free granola – the delicious versatility of homemade granola makes it a thoughtful and welcomed gift!

BONUSLooking for even more great grain-free gift in a jar ideas? Check out “The Best Homemade Holiday Gifts-in-a-Jar” – my special guest post at Keeper of the Home.

Vertical Seasonings in a Jar KOTHTips for Creating Your Own Homemade Gifts from the Heart!
When thinking about which of your favorite recipes will work well as a gift-in-the-jar, it’s important to consider the following:
• Will the recipe ingredients fit in a standard size mason jar, such as a half-pint, pint or quart?
• How easy is the recipe to assemble? Are the additional items needed to complete the recipe standard ingredients that most people have on hand?
• How will you include instructions for making the recipe? (My preferred option is to include the instructions inside a card and place the card and gift jar into a recycled gift bag.)
• What are the storage requirements for the gift jar – should it be refrigerated or stored at room temp? And for how long? (Be sure these are explained to the recipient.) 

I hope these ideas inspire you to create some healthy homemade holiday gifts of your own! Wishing you and your family many blessings for a joyful and Merry Christmas!

Joyfully Serving Him, Kelly

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GF Baking Christmas Stocking Stuffer Giveaway!

Giveaway Stocking

This giveaway has ended, but be sure to Subscribe to The Nourishing Home, so you’re the first to know about awesome future giveaways like this one. Congratulations to Amber for winning!

In celebration of the Christmas season, and the release of my beautiful new grain-free baking cookbook, I’ve put together an awesome gluten-free, grain-free Christmas Stocking Stuffer Giveaway for you!

As you well know, I love to bake! So when my friend Polly at Thriving Home asked if I would participate in a Christmas Giveaway Blog Hop, I immediately jumped (or should I say, hopped) at the opportunity to put together a terrific ensemble of some of my favorite baking products!

In fact, each of the GF baking-related goodies in this fun giveaway were hand-selected by me because they’re perfect for making so many of the recipes in my new cookbook.

EverydayGrainFreeBakingWith more than 100 irresistible recipes, Everyday Grain-Free Baking teaches you how easy it is to create gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free versions of all your family’s favorite baked goods.

Click here to get a SNEAK PEEK of the book!

From breads, biscuits and muffins to savory snacks and decadent treats, in Everyday Grain-Free Baking, you’ll find step-by-step instructions, beautiful color photographs and helpful tips & tidbits to make all of your GF baking adventures a delicious success!

And what could be better to accompany my beautiful new cookbook than some awesome gluten-free, grain-free baking products and bakeware? How about the opportunity to get them for free! I can’t wait to give away this fun gift to one lucky reader-friend … maybe it will be YOU?

Giveaway2   Giveaway3

What’s included:  One lucky winner will receive the following prize package (approximately a $125 value): 1 five-pound bag of Blanched Almond Flour, 1 one-pound bag of Coconut Flour, 1 package of Almond Flour Muffin Mix, 1 container of fun muffin liners, 1 box of parchment baking sheets, 1 six-cup muffin tin, 1 10-inch pie dish, 1 rubber spatula, 1 balloon whisk, 1 pastry blender, and 1 set of measuring cups and spoons.

(Please note: My cookbook and the adorable snowman stocking aren’t included in this giveaway – sorry. But you can find my book here and the festive stocking at Pottery Barn.)

How to Enter:
• Check out the photo collage below featuring the 12 other awesome bloggers participating in “Our Favorite Things Stocking Stuffer Giveaway”
• Enter my Grain-Free Baking Christmas Stocking Stuffer Giveaway using the entry form below. (Please note: Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends at 11:59pm EST on December 16,2014. See official entry rules for details.)
• Then, hop over to all of the other sites (see links below) and enter for a chance to win their stocking stuffers too!

And please take a minute while you’re entering their giveaways to check out these awesome bloggers’ sites. Each of these sweet women love the Lord, and their sites and content reflect that. So I know you’ll be encouraged and inspired by each and every one of them.

Giveaway collage

Be sure to enter my giveaway below (US residents only) and then click on each of the
following links to 
enter for a chance to win even more fun Christmas Stocking Stuffer Giveaways.
Remember, the giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 16, 2014.

1. Thriving Home 2. Happy Home Fairy 3. The Nourishing Home 4. Heavenly Homemakers
5. Meaningful Mama 6. Slugs and Bugs 7. Seeds Family Worship 8. Jennifer Ebehack
9. The Generous Wife 10. The Modest Mom Blog 11. My Humble Kitchen
12. Kara Chupp 13. Motherhood on a Dime

Be sure to share this giveaway with your friends
and earn extra entries! yay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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