That box of macaroni and cheese just won’t cut it anymore. You are tired of making sandwiches. You don’t have $100 to spare for a restaurant meal, but is delicious food on a budget really too much to ask for?
You can watch Melanie make Easy Ginger Pork Pot Stickers with Scallion Lime Long Grain Rice here:
Save Money Through Couponing and Planning
“Usually the way to maximize coupon savings is to combine your coupons with the best sales, and if possible at stores that double the coupon value,” said Jenn of SuperJenn.
“Pairing sales with coupons is vital,” agreed Angie of My Four Monkeys. “You’ll save WAY more that way. I almost never buy generic or store brand anymore and pay way less a month in grocery bills.”
“I love planning my meals about what is on sale. It keeps our menus fresh at home – and saves me money!” added Michelle of Honest and Truly.
To avoid getting stuck with no food in the house and being forced to order takeout, Sarah at In the Trenches of Mommyhood does “a weekly meal plan on a white marker board on my fridge, taking into account basketball games, meetings, etc. It definitely helps during hectic evenings … and for grocery shopping!”
Melanie of The Coupon Goddess added, “I will cook extras to freeze if I have the time. I figure if I’m cooking anyway, I might as well double the batch for a future meal.”
Budgeting and Creative Cooking
For those who use grocery store rewards cards, a great money saver, “do you have the KeyRing app?” asked Angie of My Four Monkeys. “Much better way to keep track of those loyalty cards if you have a smartphone! I had a whole keyring dedicated to cards, now they are all on my phone.”
And when you already have food in the house, “one of the best ways to save money is to think outside the box … Use what you have, find ways to use items differently than you normally would!” said Jenn of SuperJenn.
To help find ways to combine ingredients in new ways, Sarah of In the Trenches of Mommyhood recommended AllRecipes.com.
Michelle of Honest and Truly also uses AllRecipes, because “you can narrow it down by type of food (e.g., dinner, brunch) and what you want to use (e.g., chicken, beef) and then start using the ingredient finder where you can say I want X or Y but not Z.”
“Last night I made a fresh boule (bread) and a chicken soup with a carrot/onion base. Super easy and so healthy! (And cheap!)” said Michelle at Honest and Truly.
Jenn of SuperJenn recently made “homemade pizza! A staple for us,” she said. And “I’ve got a chicken sausage soup in the works for tonight. I bulked it up with extra veggies (leftover odds and ends) to help stretch the servings a little further!”
“Soups are great for using up odds and ends,” agreed Becki. “And try to get familiar with things that can be substituted–if a recipe calls for broccoli and you don’t have any, depending on the recipe you might be able to throw in that half-bag of [leftover] spinach.”
Cooking and Storage Tricks
Have you ever let a rarely used ingredient sit in the fridge for too long – and kicked yourself for buying too much when most of it ended up moldy? Some of those items can be stored in the freezer, where they last longer.
Meat is an obvious one. Less commonly known, “ginger lasts forEVER in the freezer,” said Michelle of Honest and Truly. “Just wrap the ginger in plastic to keep it from getting freezer burn, and it will last for months. It’s a lot easier to grate when it’s already frozen, too.”
To get the most out of the ingredients you use, Melanie of The Coupon Goddess suggested one neat trick: “In order to get all the juice out of a lime, break the fibers up with a fork before you squeeze it.”
And for those picky eaters, Melanie also recommended cooking broccoli in chicken stock. “Maybe that’ll get my kiddos to eat it,” said Angie of My Four Monkeys.
“Purée zucchini and toss it in sauces and soups if you’re trying to be sneaky,” Jenn of SuperJenn suggested.
“As far as organization goes, I use a binder with baseball card sheets to organize my coupons,” she added.
Thanks to our host and co-hosts!!
Melanie, The Coupon Goddess
Angie, My Four Monkeys
Michelle, Honest and Truly
Sarah, In the Trenches of Mommyhood