Going into 2019, I’ve had a huge focus on saving money. A few years ago, we were pretty much dirt poor, which gave us a huge opportunity to learn how to save money, but after we got out of our farming failure, and got back on our feet again, it was nice to breathe a little and not pinch every penny.
We took a few trips – even one to Argentina – had fun, and were blessed to be able to replace one of our vehicles that had broken down (even though it was still somewhat of a beater car, it was a great car!), and still managed to put money in the bank.
But this year? This year, I really want to pad that retirement account, and to do that, we need to save more money than ever.
You all know I’m not a huge fan of – literally – eating up everything we earn.
I hate it. You make money, you buy food, and then, both the money and the food are gone, and that’s why one of my primary focuses is saving money on groceries.
Yes, you get a few moments of tasty food, and yes, of course food is a necessary expense.
But y’all the more I spend on food, the less I have left to spend on other things that are important to me. So while you obviously have to stop spending money on things you don’t need, knowing how to eat healthy on a budget is key.
So… I did a Facebook Live talking about what’s working for us right now.
How To Save Money: What’s Working For Us Right Now
Here’s the summary:
Shopping in the morning
I’ve found that if I get to the nearest grocery store (HEB) just about as early as they open, I find a lot more markdowns. This has been particularly handy because meat packages marked “25% off” don’t last very long! Shopping in the morning has definitely turned into one of my top ways to save money on meat.
Wednesday Specials at Aldi
There’s almost always a deeply discounted price on a cut of meat available Wednesday-only at Aldi. It’s not always something I want, but when it is, it definitely saves money on that week’s groceries, and it’s why I offer a weekly meal plan largely based on Aldi’s Sales.
I don’t know about you, but I never used to look for meat in the frozen section. It just never occurred to me! But that changed when I say ground turkey on sale for a dollar a pound in a sales flyer one day. Since then, I’m always careful to look for meat in the frozen section. To be honest, that ground turkey is still my number one frozen meat purchase. Its price varies from that dollar sale price, all the way up to $1.65/lb. Still far cheaper than ground beef, and a fantastic mix in to stretch it!
10# bag of chicken legs
I’ve said probably more times than I should that I’m not a fan of dark meat chicken, but truthfully, you can’t beat the price! And luckily, my husband prefers it. Every store I shop at (primarily Aldi, HEB, and Walmart) carries a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters priced between $0.49 and $0.69 per pound. I buy a bag and split them up into 3-4 packages to freeze. Using chicken leg quarters like this is a HUGE grocery savings for us!
Big Bags of Kale
You don’t realize how big two pounds of kale is until you see it!. But I buy those big bags anyway – especially if I’m lucky enough to find them marked down. I like to blend 50-60 grams of kale into a green smoothie every morning, and it doesn’t matter if the kale is fresh or frozen – my blender will blend it either way. So before the kale starts wilting, I just pop it in the freezer, right in the bag, and continue with my smoothie habit until it’s gone. While I’m really looking forward to harvesting my own kale in a few weeks, these large bags are our most economical option in the meantime.
Frozen Fruits and Veggies
This is one of my favorites! Buying frozen produce is a fantastic way to save money, because not only is is cheaper to buy broccoli frozen, it saves me time preparing it, and it’s likely healthier, because it was harvested and frozen at peak ripeness, before it had time to sit on a store shelf and lose micronutrient content. The only fruit I don’t like to buy frozen is bananas because I feel they are frozen too green. I like them super ripe! So I freeze my own bananas for smoothies.
To be honest, I don’t go to Big Lots very often, and it can be a bit of a hit or miss store – you never can tell exactly what they’ll have. But I often do find some gems there, especially for gluten-free baking supplies, or healthier sweeteners, and things like that. I do have to be careful going to big lots, because I’m always tempted to try out novelty treats like flavored meringues, but if I stay sharp and only by the things I need, you can find some great deals and save a lot of money.
Ordering Cashews and Almonds form Amazon
A couple years ago when we did our first whole30 as a family, we had to replace our peanut products, and even some of our dairy products with almonds and cashews. And naturally, we had to find the cheapest place to buy them. Enter Amazon. Turns out we love making homemade almond butter, and dairy-free ranch dressing is amazing! We do use these things sparingly, because they still aren’t the cheapest foods, but definitely order them from Amazon when we do!
You’ve probably heard me talk about Ibotta before, because It’s Awesome. Of course not all the deals will be for you – probably not even a lot of them. Of course it’s not going to make you rich, but it will save you money. Just keep an eye on it, and sometimes, a deal you don’t want to miss will show up.
Sometimes it will be $0.50 back on any item, or a quarter back on any brand of milk or loaf of bread. Other times it will be $3.00 back on vitamin C you were already going to buy, or $1.00 back on your favorite brand of toothpaste. It all adds up, and when you hit the $20 mark, you can withdraw it to your paypal or Venmo account – because yes, you get real money back! I often find myself getting $2-6.00 back on a grocery shopping trip, and let me tell you, that adds up fast!
Amazon Subscribe and Save
This one isn’t really groceries, but so many of us lump household supplies and grocery budgets together this probably still applies. I’ve found that i can get toilet paper, paper towels, and Kleenex slightly cheaper on Amazon than at our local stores. This is a small savings, but more importantly for me, I don’t have to pore over the best toilet paper deals at the store, and then figure out how to stuff them in my cart with the rest of the groceries. If I can save a little money by having something delivered straight to my door, that’s a win!
So there you go. Ten things that we’re finding really helpful to keep our grocery budget low right now.