Tag Archives: food

Saving money, hating coupons and an important tip!

Couponing is the worst. Yup, I said it. More on this later!

Instead of trying and failing to document every cent I spend, I decided to work on reducing our grocery and food expenses for the month of September. This decision came after several days of not blogging and thinking about chucking the whole “No Spend September” challenge. But then I remembered that being on #teambroke is not fun and that I really need to get the spending under control. The challenge is now going to focus on a few key areas including reducing our monthly spending on food and groceries.

First, I decided to change my grocery buying habits. I normally pick up the majority of my groceries at a small grocery franchise called Fresh and Easy. It’s the cutest, most convenient store by my house! However, they seem to be a little more expensive than others and do not take coupons at all. Then I’d head over to Whole Foods for my son food since he is on a ridiculous vegan, gluten-free and soy-free diet due to allergies. Afterwards, I finish off at either Sprouts or/and Trader Joe’s for mostly the meat products we like. This month, I am trying to get most of my groceries from Target. As a red card member, I get an automatic 5% discount on all purchases. Target takes manufacture’s coupons, offers its own coupons, has a savings app called Cartwheel and can be used with several online saving apps. I also love shopping at Target. Channeling my overwhelming desire to shop at Target to food purchases makes perfect sense!

Second, I am going to try to earn cash through apps including Ibotta, Saving Start, Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon. Bloggers seem to rave about these apps and review them highly (with affiliated links of course!). If I can make $20 or so this month from these apps, I’ll proclaim success in this area.

Third, I am going to eat leftovers and random items that have been sitting in my pantry/freezer for months. Although I wish to take my family along with me into the kingdom of leftovers, I fear I will be on this journey alone. I promise not to eat anything that has gone bad or expired.

Lastly, I am trying my hand again at couponing. I hate it. Honestly using coupons stresses me out. I always feel like I am spending more money just to get a few cents off. I am terrible at matching store coupons and manufacture’s coupons. I get personally insulted when the cashiers scrutinize my printed coupons. But, I am going to do it for September and see what happens. My first attempt was yesterday. Trying to organize all my coupons and saving apps and managing my 5 year’s son mini-melt down apparently was more than I could handle. When I returned home and started scanning my receipts, I noticed that gum was not an item on my list. I had a strong recollection of picking up gum to buy, but figured that I had left it in the shopping cart. This morning as I prepared to tackle Whole Foods, I noticed a pack of gum in my purse. I reviewed my receipts again. No gum on my receipt. Great! In my attempts to use all of the correct coupons, manage my son and check out, I must have inadvertently put the gum in my purse! Because my mom raised me right, I went back to Target this morning and paid for the gum. I think the cashier thought I was a bit crazy as she said, “You owe a whole $.93!” Whatever, I can enjoy my gum with a clear conscious!

Tip for the day: Don’t accidentally steal!

For real, what are your money saving tips for groceries because I clearly need it?


Why I refused to cook and grocery shop this week!

I started out this month with grand plans to meal plan, cook and budget. Since groceries and eating out consume so much of our budget, I thought this would be the easiest way to cut back. The plan was simple enough: inventory food in house, create meals, buy food within budget and cook lovely meals for the week. Everyone should be happy.

The reality was quite different. No one ate the food I made last week! Well, they ate it once and didn’t want to eat any more. My husband said he enjoyed my meatloaf and creamy shrimp. My son always eats my quinoa, but not this week (in hindsight, I added cumin for the first time). For some reason, I ended up eating most of the meatloaf on my own for every meal until it was gone. Gross! And a day after I slaved in the kitchen, I found my husband cooking chicken despite all the food that was in the refrigerator.  Even though I carefully shopped within our budget for week, my husband went out 2 days later and brought $66.21 worth of food! I felt defeated and discouraged.

This week I refused to grocery shop! We had plenty of groceries. I also had a feeling my husband would find himself at a grocery store in his days off (Monday and Tuesday). I decided that instead of double shopping, I would let him have at it. I cooked 2 smaller portion meals: chicken parmesan (well, we had no parmesan)  and baked some stewed beef. I was simply over it!  My family decided they liked my cooking this week. Since there wasn’t much for leftovers, my husband cooked some baked chicken and shrimp pasta on Monday and then made us chicken fried rice yesterday. On top of it all, he didn’t go grocery shopping either! The results have been wonderful; great food and zero spending!

When I decided to meal plan, I forgot that my husband enjoys cooking and has been doing most of the cooking for the family for the last 10 years. My goal moving forward is to come up with a good way to share the responsibility. I think I’ll make a plan to cook Wednesdays and Friday-Sunday when I am off, and let him have at it on Mondays and Tuesdays. Thursdays will be leftover days since we both work and are busy with kid activities. I also need to stop trying to feed an army and make smaller portion sizes! I don’t mind eating leftovers, but I am finding my family to be pretty picky!

2/10 – Zero spending Day #6

So Much for Planning!

I decided to start out slow by creating a wonderful meal plan (see below) that focused on my son’s lunches and family dinners. Sunday was spent cooking the meals for the day as well as the next day. When I returned from work on Monday, the kids were eating french fries, my husband had decided to pick up a few things and had also cooked chicken drumsticks (yes, just chicken and nothing else to go with it). I still don’t know how much he spent because my credit card is being glitchy and no longer showing me pending transactions. This morning I woke up and thought, “Might as well treat myself to Starbucks!”  Its not looking good people!

On the bright side, I am really working on my family’s nutrition. I have been offering a vegetable or fruit at every meal. I have been hiding pureed vegetables in my son’s favorite meals. I also purchased some vegan protein power that I have been sprinkling on everything my son eats. As for myself, I have increased my daily intake of vegetables and fruit tremendously. As always, you have to take the good with the bad. I am also doing a free 30 day trial of the meal planning software Plan to Eat. I’ll probably write a review after trying it for a week or two.

Meal plan for January 11-17

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Son’s Lunch Southwest Quinoa quinoa with rice and green beans Southwest Quinoa Pasta with “beef” Southwest Quinoa quinoa with rice and green beans Mac N’ Cheese w/ peas
Dinner Turkey Spaghetti w/ broccoli Leftovers Asian stirfry turkey burgers w side salad Leftovers Jambalaya – crockpot leftovers
Son’s Dinner Mac N’ “Cheese” w/ peas Pasta with “beef” quinoa with rice and green beans Lentils and rice Mac N’ “Cheese” w/ peas Pasta with “beef” quinoa with rice and green beans