I went shopping with a friend the other day and about midway through our trip I realized that there are so many ways I go about saving money on groceries/meals other than simply couponing! After a little thought…I decided I would love to share with you all a few of my “little secrets”
- Grow your own produce! I try my hardest to grow at least 60% of the produce we will use for the summer…as well as the ingredients for the items I like to can. Seeds only cost about $1-3 a packet and each packet lasts about 2 years! That is total money saving madness right there!!! Plus you don’t even have to buy your soil…simply make a compose pile and by next summer you will have awesome soil to start your garden! If you live in a rural enough area you can also ask a local “farmer” or “horse/cow” owner if they would allow you to take some manure. But make sure you sow in the manure a few months before you want to actually grow in it…because it can be really harsh…it needs to “rest” and nurture the soil in and around it with its amazing nutrients!
- Make your own jam! This is a super easy little secret that for my family saves us about $50/year. (we used to spend about $4 a jar once a month!) I use the berries I grow in my own garden to cut down on the cost of berries…and usually in the summer there are Awesome coupons that come out for “FREE Sugar” when you buy Gelatin. Which usually makes my total cost for all of the ingredients anywhere from FREE to $10 (for about 10 jars of jam!) The best part is I always have some in my freezer for PB&J’s
- Make your own sauces! I can not guarantee that this method will ALWAYS be cheaper than buying jarred pasta sauces..but it will be healthier and more delicious! I like to stock up on Italian tomatoes and tomato sauce in the fall when they hit rock bottom prices. I then in return can make fresh homemade pasta sauces the rest of the year! You can also grow your own tomatoes in the summer and “can” them yourself if you want to be even more frugal!!! (someday I want to have the time to do this myself!)
- Grow your own herbs! This kind of goes along with growing your own produce…however the nice thing is you can grow your herbs indoors and outside year round!
- Freeze your produce for winter! This is something I have started doing more and more. I have found that I prefer to eat fresh produce, however in the winter in my area the produce really isn’t that great and it is REALLY EXPENSIVE! My solution has been to freeze them myself. Again I take produce I have grown in my garden or produce I have bought at rock bought prices and blanch them off in boiling water and then separate them into bags and freeze them! One of my favorites to freeze is corn on the cob! I LOVE buying them when they are at the end of the season and are CRAZY CHEAP and cutting the kernels off the cob and freezing them. My family eats a lot of corn so this one is definitely always a must!
- MAKE A MEAL PLAN! The key to making a meal plan is…plan your meals around the current weekly ads. Plan your meats and produce around what is on sale! Fortunately, here on my website I write up a weekly meal plan with a shopping list and recipes included!!!