I get asked a lot, “How can I save money besides clipping coupons, using store club cards, apps, and shopping sales?”
Well, ok. Hmmm…. How do you save money without actively saving money? It’s easier than you think, in fact, you probably already do a few of these things, or could with little effort.
Drop the daily Starbucks habit. Seriously. How easy it it to set up your coffee maker before you go to bed and flip on a switch when you crawl out of bed in the morning? It’s so incredibly easy. Like iced coffee or something a little foo foo? The extra ingredients are pretty cheap and last a while, and it takes the same amount of time in the morning to make it yourself, minus the line at the drive-thru.
Supplies you probably have on hand: Coffee/k-Cups, Coffee maker (or french press or Kuerig), creamer, milk, cream, sweetener, flavored syrups, chocolate syrup (if you like a mocha), double walled tumblers with lids and straws for cold drinks, and insulated hot beverage cups with lids for hot drinks.
Ditch the Drive-Thru. Again, it’s so easy to spend 10-15 minutes before bed packing your lunch and snacks (not to mention healthier) for the next day. Do it while you are setting up your coffee maker! If you aren’t a sandwich and chips fan, there are tons of yummy lunch alternatives, even if your work place doesn’t have a microwave or method for re-heating your lunch.
Just a quick googling of Adult Lunch Ideas came up with tons of yummy ideas, and Pinterest is full of them too.
And if you’ve got space in your pantry, consider making an area where you can store all your shelf stable lunch and snack components together. We have one shelf called that is the designated snack shelf. I tend to stock up when snacks that we like are cheap or free. I hide them and only put out one or two boxes at a time. That way they last longer. My two go to stores for inexpensive healthy snacks are Costco and Grocery Outlet.
Supplies you probably have on hand: An insulated lunch bag (I have two: One from Thirty-one that looks like this, and an Thermos brand one that is bigger and better for packing lunch and snacks all in one), Reusable containers to hold lunch (I like the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid sets, they snack together and the lids nest. Not to mention that they are durable), blue ice (here is a list of great DIY hacks), an extra set of silverware, a reusable beverage container (like a water bottle, or even a reusable juice box if you like juice in your lunch). If you like salad, consider getting a salad container like this one that has a dressing container and silverware that snaps on.
Meal Plan: it’s totally easy. I promise you that meal planing is so easy, anyone can do it. Lemme break it down:
- Inventory your pantry and freezer (You can use forms here to make it easier)
- Make a list of dishes you can create with what you have on hand.
- Make a list of dishes you can make with 1 or 2 additions that you don’t have on hand.
- Put the missing ingredients on your shopping list and pick them up on your next few trips
- Post the lists of dishes on fridge.
- Don’t freak out when it’s time to cook, you’ve got a cheat sheet on your fridge!
You can even do some freezer/batch cooking when you have a few spare hours and you’ll have a few yummy meals at your fingertips for meals that you don’t feel like cooking. Here are a few free Kindle books from Amazon about freezer/batch cooking. I’ll be posting some batch/Freezer cooking recipes in the near future.
Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Right now we are eating a lot of of apples, citrus, and winter squashes. Eating food that is in season and inexpensive means I can get more for my buck. We also shop for our produce at 99 Cents Only first to pick up quality name brand products, then fill in with a trip to Sprouts as needed.