(See how we enjoyed this frugal feast last summer for just $1.49)
Over the last few months while I’ve had some anxiety about our upcoming move, I’ve really buckled down on how I spend every penny each week. As I’ve shared before, we take out a certain amount of money every two weeks for groceries, miscellaneous expenses and eating out, and for the fourth time in a row, I think I’ll come out this week ahead of the game. Success!
(Here’s when we spent $3.49 on dinner - love that!)
Here are a few things have worked for our family and might work for you too:
Eat at home. I can’t tell you how many nights in the past few weeks I’ve wanted to skip cooking and pick up dinner on the run, but determining to use what I already have on hand has saved us anywhere from $25-$50. Last night when we had a last minute showing of our house I really (really!) wanted to skip cooking (my menu plan flew right on out the window), but instead glanced in the freezer and found salad, ravioli, and garlic bread. My kids were thrilled (they love ravioli night), it took me less time to prepare than a trip through the drive thru would, and easily saved us $20.
Take advantage of the leftovers. So often I pop our leftovers in the fridge, and then let them hang out there until they turn green enough for me to throw them out. I’ve really been trying to make myself eat the leftovers while I’m at home for lunch (you would think I’d be doing that already, right?), so that we’re not wasting any of the food that’s been cooked at home. This has easily saved me $10 each week , and I’ve felt so much better not letting all that food go to waste!
Use what you already have. Last week after making breakfast for dinner our home reeked of bacon. I wanted to bake a batch of brownies so our home would smell a little sweeter when people came to look at the house (I’ve heard brownies work wonders for home sales), but when I got to the pantry we were all out of brownie mixes (eek!) Instead of heading to the store and paying full price for a box mix, I remembered the fourteen bags of chocolate chips I stocked up on at Dollar General a few weeks ago. Then I found this recipe on All Recipes, and just used what we already had on hand. Do that a few times a week, and you could easily save $10 if not more!
Plan ahead. My kids seem to always have some kind of school project lurking around the corner, so the last time I was at the Dollar Tree and found their project boards for $1 (and poster boards for even less), I stocked up and bought 6 sheets of poster board and 4 project display boards. (I typically only buy what they need, but it drives me nuts to have to pay full price!) Since those boards can cost up to $8 a pop at the local office supply store, this was such an easy way to save $10 simply by purchasing the things I knew they would use at the very best price I could find them.
Now, I know none of these ideas are earth-shattering, but they WORK, and really can help you reach your financial goals. If you’re in a place where you need to scale things back financially, consider coming up with ways to use what you already have, and really trim out excess things you can live without each week. Ultimately, we’re in charge of every dollar we spend, so let’s choose wisely where it goes!
Are you working on your 2013 taxes? Be sure to read this post on How To Save On Your Taxes Today ~ it will save you money and time (promise!) Also easily save hundreds each year just by making sure you’re getting the best price on Homeowner’s Insurance ~ it worked for us, and can definitely work for you too.