NOTE FROM KELLY: Happy news! … My dear friend Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs is joining The Nourishing Home as an official monthly contributor. Each month, she’ll be sharing some of her favorite frugal tips for Real Food on a Budget. Many of you already know Tiffany via her terrific blog and the many guest posts she’s shared here, such as my personal favorite “Small Steps in the Right Direction.” It’s a joy to have her join me in this ministry to help you and your family live a more nourished life in service to the King. Welcome aboard, Tiffany!
As 2013 draws to a close, many of us are considering how we can “do better” in 2014. This short series on creating a frugal grocery budget inspired quite a few families to hunker down and reign in their food expenses for the New Year. But, if the idea of crunching numbers makes you cringe, here are five super simple, frugal ways to save on groceries – any time of year – without using a calculator.
- Save butter wrappers for greasing pans. Grass-fed butter is full of health benefits like weight management and gastrointestinal health, but it also costs a pretty penny. So instead of throwing away the wrappers, we save them for greasing baking sheets and cooking pans. It allows us to stretch one can of cooking spray to last nearly six months!
- Count bananas sold in bunches. Bananas are one of the most frugal fruits available year round, and are often sold in bagged bunches. The typical bunch includes seven bananas. In some cases, you can find a bag with eight or even nine bananas. Intentionally seek out a bag with ten bananas and you’ve essentially gotten three bananas for free!
- Weigh fixed-price, pre-bagged produce. Produce is usually sold in one of two ways: Either you bag it and pay per pound, or it’s pre-bagged and you pay a fixed price for the bag. If you weigh the pre-bagged produce, you’ll often find it’s heavier than the 3lb or 5lbs stated. Choose three to five “heavy” bags and weigh each, purchasing the heaviest bag out of the bunch. You can end up with up to two pounds of additional produce for the same price!
- Save overripe produce (and scraps) for smoothies. Got overripe produce? Don’t toss it. Chop and freeze it for use in smoothies. Likewise, when you’re chopping fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks and meals, don’t toss the scraps – save them to make smoothies! Strawberry tops, apple cores (minus the seeds), the ends of carrots, etc. all make excellent additions to smoothies. By saving overripe produce and scraps, you’ll reduce your waste, stretch your food AND enjoy the health benefits of real food smoothies.
- Eat like you’re going on vacation. No one likes to come home to moldy leftovers, or expired food, after being out of town. So we make a practice of pretending we’re about to go on vacation to ensure we’re making use of all the food we’ve purchased to eliminate any wasted, expired food. If you incorporate “pre-vacation eating” into your meal plan (planning meals around what you have left in your fridge and pantry), you’ll most certainly rack up the savings in your grocery budget. Plus, you just might devise a few new recipes in the process!
Can these 5 simple tips really save you money?
I know I told you that you wouldn’t need a calculator, and you don’t! I’ve done the math for you just to demonstrate how little tips like these can really add up to big savings …
- A can of olive oil cooking spray is approximately $1.99. If you buy one can every two months (on average), you would save $8 a year by using butter wrappers instead to grease your pans.
- In my area, Costco sells bananas for $1.39 per bag. By seeking out bags with ten bananas, you can save 60¢ each week. This doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of a year that equates to saving more than $31 on just bananas!
- $1 per pound for fresh seasonal produce is a pretty common price. By weighing pre-bagged produce and choosing the heaviest bag, you can save anywhere from $1 to $2 each time. Over the course of a year, that’s nearly a $104 savings on produce!
- We spend good money on food, so throwing food away is really a waste of money. By turning food scraps into smoothies you’re creating extra meals without spending extra money. So if you blend a high protein smoothie using your produce scraps, instead of buying a smoothie from a local shop, you could save $4 with each smoothie you make at home, or $208 in savings per year! (Note from Kelly: Tiffany is being a little humble here in not tooting her own horn loud and proud … so I’ll let you in on the good news – she has a completely awesome new eBook launching in January full of terrific real food high protein smoothie and bar recipes. I’ll be posting a review on her book and sharing one of her delicious recipes next week! So stay tuned.)
- In the Crumbs household, our grocery budget is $330 per month, or $82 each week. By making it a habit of eating like we’re about to go on vacation every so often, we saved nearly $250 in one year!
Total savings for these five simple tips? $601!
Looking for more ways to save money in 2014? Subscribe to Don’t Waste The Crumbs weekly newsletter. It’s free, filled with exclusive content not found elsewhere on my site and it always includes tips to help you eat real food, on a real budget!
And while you’re at it, be sure to sign-up for Kelly’s new weekly The Nourishing Home newsletter, which launches in January 2014. She’s got some great budget-saving tips and other real food resources and recipes in store for you in the New Year as well!