For the last few years, I’ve been the one responsible for meals and groceries. This wasn’t the case when I first got married. Being fresh from college graduation, I really wasn’t prepared for budgeting or legit meal prep. I mean I could eat takeout every night however that should not be encouraged for long periods of time. I didn’t really start to enjoy it until we bought our first house 3 years later. Even then, I struggled each week when it came to being a smart shopper. But, we didn’t have a real need to watch our money like a hawk because it was just the two of us. Then came our joyful little boy and we needed to crack down to afford to raise a child on our single income.
I searched Pinterest like a crazy person about healthy eating and budgets but nothing really clicked. I think it takes some time to figure out what works for your family. We’ve been married for 5.5 years and I am just now feeling confident and happy when I go grocery shopping. Here are a few pointers that I have realized in my effort to be a smart grocery shopper.
- Buy whole birds on sale.
- Around Thanksgiving, turkeys are on sale for $1 per pound or less. Buy extra and put in a freezer. The nice thing about this is the versatility of the leftovers. Cut up the extra meat and use it in pot pies, strifry, shredded tacos or salads. The ideas are endless. Plus if you are super motivated, you could use the carcass to make your own stock with vegetables.
- Buy “bulk” veggies.
- The main example of this is carrrots vs. baby carrots. Regular raw carrots are a great buy. Even though the weight between baby and regular might be the same, the portions are way off. I can get more carrots sticks that I’ve cut up than the bag of baby carrots. Added bonus, the disregarded stuff that would normally be trashed can be used to make stock (with other veggies) or even to be put in a garden for composting.
- Make your own seasonings.
- This has to be the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Yeah, taco seasoning is all of a dollar but have you looked recently at all the junk in it? I can’t even pronounce some of it. Making your own spices is so ridiculously effortless and if you like to cook, you probably have the majority of stuff already in your pantry. Here is my go-to taco seasoning mixture.
- Have go-to easy recipes.
- When we lived in Iowa, we were often on the run. We helped with youth group at our church, the hubs played softball and we were in a small group. Currently in Wisconsin, we don’t have the same responsibilities yet. However we do know that we want a bigger family and that means juggling schedules. I’ve got a few good recipes that are quick and easy that I use when I realize I haven’t planned a meal or we need to be quick. Here is a small collection of my favorites that are quick and easy:
- Have a plan and stick to it except for legit deals.
- I mean it. I get looking for great deals but at some point you actually need to think through it. Yes, these pork chops are dirt cheap but will we actually eat them? I’m not a big red meat eater so I steer clear of those deals unless the steaks are on sale then I will pick a few up for the hubs. You don’t need as much as you think. Think about it as a week at a time. The times when I don’t have a plan, we end up spending more because I have stocked up and we end up unsatisfied snacking on all things available.
I’m always willing to try out new ideas so if you have anything that you do, drop me a comment. Enjoy your weekend!