Tag Archive for frugal living

Save Time and Money with Pantry Cooking

I love being able to make just about anything we want to eat with what we have in the pantry. It took me many years to learn how to cook without having to run to the store for every recipe. One thing that saves me tons of time and money is using my daycare menu, planning out meals for the fam, and only shopping once a month for staple items.

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Shop Local

I shop with Oklahoma Food Co-op once a month for my beef, wheat berries, yogurt when I don’t make it, and cheese. I also buy any pork products I may use from them as well. I try to buy local fruits and veggies when they have them available. Other products I may buy include garden plants, peanuts, peanut butter, and pasta. I love the Co-op because I know the food they sell comes from Oklahoma producers. I love to shop local.


I go to a local fruit company to buy produce in between my monthly shopping trip. I can get in and out of the small store with some local products and it doesn’t take me as long as going into a big supermarket. We also, during the gardening season, eat from what we grow, so I don’t usually go to the fruit store during summer.

I also shop for dairy products at Braum’s each week. I use Braum’s because there are not hormones in their milk. I get milk, cottage cheese, and butter there. I will also pick up bananas if I don’t need anything else from the fruit store to save a trip.

When planning our monthly shopping trip, I make a detailed list of what I would buy from the store we shop at. If I send my husband to the store, we save money because he only gets what is on the list and doesn’t do a lot of impulse buying like I do. He’s willing to go, so that’s a good way for us to save money.

Menus help cut down on waste

I have a shopping list that corresponds with my daycare menu, and I go through that and write down on our shopping list what we need. A great way to save money would be to use the grocery store ads to plan your family’s meals for the month. Use whatever is on the front page of the ads that is actually healthy, whole, real food, to plan them out.

Another great way to save time and money is by buying in bulk. I love to order bulk grains online and have them delivered in 25 or 50 pound bags so I don’t have to buy that for months and I don’t have a ton of tiny packages that get wasted in the landfill or have to be recycled. I get as much of my food in bulk as possible. Also, if you have 25 pounds of several products, if something happened to interrupt your food supply, you are prepared. I like knowing I have something to feed everyone no matter what.

I order these items in bulk:

Beans

Brown Rice

Wheat Berries

Raw Sugar

Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Pasta

Spices

pantry-cooking-bulk-food

Now let’s talk about what items I always have on hand:

Wheat berries to grind whole wheat flour (Soft and hard wheat)

Organic, unbleached white flour

Raw sugar

Salt

Baking Soda and Powder

Spices

Chocolate chips

Cocoa powder

Cream of Tartar

A couple of kinds of cereal

A couple of kinds of crackers

Tortilla chips

Tortillas

Olive oil

Coconut oil

Beans

Tuna

Pasta

Rice

Oatmeal

Bulk assorted meats frozen

A few bags of frozen vegetables or multiple packages of veggies frozen from the garden

Sour cream

Cream cheese

Butter

Cheeses (I always have cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, but like lots of kinds of cheeses.)

Cottage cheese

Eggs

Milk

Rice milk for those of us who cannot tolerate cow’s milk

Peanuts

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Sesame seeds

Dried herbs

Fresh fruits and veggies including lemons and limes plus whatever is in season

Onions

Garlic

Tomato products (usually frozen from garden produce, but some canned for when we run out)

Jars of pickles

Raisins (sometimes homemade)

White vinegar for cleaning and cooking

Balsamic vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Honey

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Buying monthly cuts down on travel time and impulse buying

I can pretty much make anything I want to make with these items. I rarely have to go out and buy something to cook with and I cook an average of 4 meals a day including snack for the kids. If we want any sweet treats, I make those here, they are much healthier than store bought. They taste better too.

It’s so much easier to come up with a plan for dinner when you have food on hand and don’t have to run to the store every day to come up with a meal. I love knowing if we got snowed in or anything like that, we could still find something to make to eat. If you buy your food in bulk to cut down on packaging and well as wasting gas and time running to the store every night.

I have everything I need for tons of different meals made from scratch. I cook inexpensively using lots of oats, rice, pasta, and beans for our meals. These items are nutritious and very inexpensive.

Here are 23 things I could make from what I have:

Oatmeal

Granola or granola bars

Tacos/Burritos/Nachos

Taco soup

Vegetable soup

Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast

Bread

Muffins

Pancakes

Pizza

Spaghetti

Broccoli rice casserole

Cucumber salad

Chili

Roast with potatoes and carrots

Omelets

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Sausage Biscuits or Biscuits and gravy

Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies

Beans

Pasta salad

Meatballs or meatloaf

Cookies

Pulled pork sandwiches

Obviously there are hundreds more, these are just a few ideas. I hope you take these ideas and make a plan of your own to save time and money.

Don’t forget to pin for later.

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How to Save Money on Back to School

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. I love a great deal on back to school. I wait until this time of year every year to stock up on crayons, markers, paints, glue and glue sticks. I also buy folders and spiral notebooks for writing. I LOVE a bargain.

You might be wondering how to navigate all the sales and get the best deals. The best suggestion I have is to use patience. Be willing to watch and wait. Don’t get in a rush to get it all done at once. Every week after the week of the 4th of July, different stores have different things on sale.

This year, a group I’m part of called Replenishing Oklahoma is doing a back to school supply drive for a local school that serves underprivileged students. We are kicking our sale shopping into overdrive to get the very most we can for the money we are raising. We are looking for mass quantities of supplies.

The first thing you need to do is check out the sale ads for the week.


 

Make a list of what you need. Write next to each entry the bottom dollar prices for those items. I have a mental idea because I buy so much of it, so I kind of know what prices are the best around.

back to school savings

Walmart has less sales and more everyday low prices than other stores. Staples has some of the best sales around. I try to keep up with the sale flyers to Staples, Office Depot/Max, Walmart and Target. I also compare prices on Amazon. I used this article from Passionate Penny Pincher to come up with a list of some basic best deals. Then when I see a sale, I can tell if it’s a good one or not. Amazon is usually the best price when buying in bulk, but for single items, I didn’t find any best deals.

She’s got a great site here, check it out for tons of saving ideas!

Please keep in mind that Crayola, Elmer’s and Fiskars are far superior products.

school supply savings, back to school money saving

Generic or Rose Art crayons and markers just do not work as well, stick with Crayola. Elmer’s makes much better glue sticks than the off brand. You might as well throw your money in the trash before you buy that junky glue. Fiskar’s scissors are the only ones young kids can be successful with. You don’t want your child to struggle because their scissors are crap. You won’t be saving if the kids can’t use the supplies you buy.

Item                                      Walmart Regular Price   Target Regular Price       

Crayola Crayons, 24 ct.                   .50                               .50

Elmer’s Glue                                    .50

Elmer’s Glue Sticks 2/pk                  .50

Pink Erasers                                     .48

3 Prong Folders                                .15

70 Sheet Spiral Notebook                 .17                               .17

Filler Paper 150 ct.                           .82

Crayola WASHABLE Markers           1.97                             1.97

Crayola Markers                              .97                                .97

Highlighters, 2/ct.                           .77

Index Cards                                    .48

School Box                                      .57

Crayola Watercolor Paints, 8          1.97

Crayola Colored Pencils                   .97                                .97

#2 Pencils 20/ct.                            .97                         

You also notice that Target doesn’t beat Walmart on everyday low prices. If you want a one stop shop, Walmart is the best deal.

saving money on back to school

Check out the website for Staples, Walmart, Target and Office Depot/Max if you have those stores nearby. There is a link on the landing page that says weekly ad, that’s what you need. Find the things on the list that are on sale and check this list to see if it’s a better deal.

Be careful because lots of times, the sale price at one store is more than the regular price at another. That’s how they get cha. Make sure of the limit you can purchase AND if you have to buy something to get it. This week there was an Office Depot/Max ad that offered a package of pencils for a penny if you spent $5.

Here was the deal I made: There were 24 packs of Crayolas on sale for .25 each limit 3, packs of 5 highlighters on sale for .25 each limit 3, Sharpie markers on sale for .25 each limit 3. We needed all of those items for our supply drive, so I made the deal of 3 packs of crayons, for .75, plus 3 packs of highlighters, bringing it up to $1.50, plus 3 sharpies for .75 each, bringing it up to $2.25. Then we picked up three packs of index cards that were on sale for $1 each for a total of $5.25. When you add the penny for the pencils, it came to $5.26.

Office Depot back to school savings deal

These items rang up $27.37 and we got them for $5.71 including tax.

 

The key to getting the best deals is to plan ahead with the ads. Then after you do that at a couple of stores for two weeks or so, head to Walmart and get whatever else you still need.

groupon

Another amazing way to save is to use Groupon Coupons. You can get discounts at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Staples, and Office Depot by checking here at Groupon Coupons to find even further discounts on the school supplies you need. Click here for instance, to print out a target coupon to get a free $5 gift card if you buy selected school supplies. You could get your glue sticks and scissors at Target and get a $5 Target card to use on something else.

You can use this link to get 20% off or $10 off $50 purchase at Office Depot. You can even shop for your supplies online and get this deal on your total order! Then you could pick up at the store for free to save on shipping. Amazon and Walmart have similar pages on Groupon where you can print coupons for things you need or find special deals through Groupon on stuff you’re looking for. Check the Groupon Coupon website to see what they have to offer. 

When it’s time to work on back to school clothes, check out JCPenney or Kohl’s for great deals on clothes for back to school. Grab some great sales on shoes at Footlocker. These Groupon Coupons are a percentage off your whole school clothes shopping order or whatever else you’re needing at home. Groupon Coupons has so many great ways to save. It can make your back to school shopping so much less painful!

I love checking there before I make a purchase because usually I can find a way to save even more.

 

Go check out Kohl’s for a great deal. You can use the 15% off your order coupon to get a great deal. There is lots of stuff at Kohl’s on sale right now, you can use the Groupon Coupon link to go straight to the sales as well.

Follow Groupon on Facebook or Twitter so you won’t miss a thing! 

Back to school shopping is an expensive time for families. Doing whatever you can to make it more affordable is always worth the effort. I hope you save a bundle with some of these ideas I have shared with you today.

Don’t forget to pin this for later! 

How to Save Money on Back to School