Starting off 2022 Right: How to save money at the grocery store and beyond!

Saving money is my bag. It’s what I’m good at, and I’ve made a name for myself as the resident frugalista in many of my friend circles.

A lot of people want to save money as one of their New Years Resolutions, and with the price of everything going up (thanks to inflation and the global pandemic), it’s becoming more important for people to learn and use some frugality skills.

So let’s get started on saving you some money at the grocery store and other places as well. Since I’ve been writing about these topics since 2016 on various blogs, I have tons of great posts that will be linked to throughout this post.

Start by making a list of what you already have at home. I use inventory sheets that I made on Canva.  I have one for the Pantry, one for the fridge, and one for the freezer. They live in plastic page protectors, and I update them when I am cooking (or afterward). It makes seeing what we’ve got on hand a breeze.

  • Shop sales- Buy and eat what is in season. This doesn’t only mean produce. Various items are on sale during the year, usually to correspond with holidays. My list of sales cycles can be seen here.
  • Buy in bulk if you are able.
  • Utilize Store apps to save money- CVS, Walgreens, Target, Vons, Ralphs, Food4less, Sprouts, etc.) all have apps with digital coupons and savings. With a few clicks, you’ll be saving money without clipping coupons! This tip is a great way to save on cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids, and OTC meds. 
  • Utilize cash back apps. My list of favorites can be found here.
  • Take advantage of local farms and CSA’s. I love Yasukochi Farms CSA. They are a local farm and have great produce boxes.

Right now they are having a New Years Sale! Choose either a 1-month regular box subscription for $88, or a 1-month jumbo box subscription for $120. To learn more or order, check out their website.

For less than $30 a week, we get a big box of produce delivered to our door. It helps us stay on budget and eat healthy!

Basically, it boils down to being organized, which can be hard. Choosing 1 or 2 of the above to get started and adding them to your routine until they become second nature, and then adding in 1 or 2 more, and so on and so on.

 

Give the Gift of Creativity with Craftsy (and FREE CLASSES)!

If you have a hard to shop for person on your gift-giving list this holiday season, I recommend the gift of creativity!

Craftsy has some amazing deals this Cyber Week!

All Classes and DVDs are 75% off with coupon code CYBER75 at checkout.

 

If you are new to Craftsy and want to check it out, they also offer a lot of free classes. Here are just a few that I love:

 

Easy Hummus Recipe!

Yesterday in my tabouli recipe, I mentioned I’d be sharing a hummus recipe soon. Here we are!

This recipe is super easy, and you can pick up all the ingredients in any grocery store, on Amazon, or even at Target.

Ingredients:

  • 2 15.5 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini (I like Tumeric Tahini from Havens Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or you can use 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • Garnishes (optional): additional olive oil, everything but the bagel seasoning, toasted sesame seeds, a sprinkle of cumin, sumac, chopped parsley)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor/blender, blend all of the ingredients (except the garnishes)
  2. If the hummus is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water and blend again. repeat as needed, adding up to 3 teaspoons of water.
  3. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  4. Pour into a bowl, top with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and any other additional garnishes as needed.
  5. Serve with veggies, pita, or chips/crackers.

This recipe is vegan, and gluten-free.

 

Craftsy Promotions and Free Classes!

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Oh yeah, Craftsy is back and they’ve got a great promotion going on right now.  Craftsy has classes and supplies.

Now through  June 28, 2021, save 60% off sitewide with code CRAFT60.

If you are new to Craftsy and want to check it out, they also offer a lot of free classes. Here are just a few that I love:

 

4/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

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The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post.

I usually spend time over the weekend getting the meal plan and prep started. Saturday I made banana bread (recipe here), and a big box of chicken brown rice. I portioned the cooked rice out so we can have it for lunch and dinner as a side dish a few times this week.

Sunday I made chicken stock using the rotisserie chicken carcass I had tossed in the freezer a few weeks ago, along with the veggie scraps I keep in a large bag in the freezer. It’s usually celery tops, carrots bits, onion skins, and the ends and pieces from various vegetables from my weekly veggie prep. I cooked the stock most of the day, strained off the solids, and used the stock to make a yummy chicken vegetable soup. I used this recipe, substituting the chicken stock for veggie stock.

I did a grocery trip on Saturday- Milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. We are pretty well stocked on most other stuff. I went to Costco last week and did the quarterly stock-up trip- Snacks for lunches, coffee, powdered peanut butter, trash bags, laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue, and a few other things fell into my cart.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Vegetable Soup, homemade apple sauce, sourdough toast/Banana Bread
  • Monday:  Poached Eggs with Hashbrowns, fruit salad, Protein shakes (Big kid doesn’t like eggs)
  • Tuesday:   Tamales, Salad, Rice
  • Wednesday:  Roasted Veggies, Baked Potatoes (with an array of toppings)
  • ThursdayCheesy Bacon Meatloaf, Roasted Broccoli, Noodles (or rice)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

3/29/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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I usually post this First thing on Monday morning or late Sunday night, but I was waiting for our CSA box to arrive to firm up our meal plan for the week. To learn more about Yasukochi Family Farms and our first CSA box, click here. We partnered with Yasukochi Farms for a month and we enjoyed it so much that we’ve subscribed! For $25/week, we get a box of quality produce! It keeps us out of the store, I don’t have to pick the best of the overpicked offerings, and the box is all local and farm fresh!

The kids and I hit up the grocery store this morning and picked up some snacks and some pantry staples that we had gotten low on (brown sugar- I’ve been making a lot of cookies).

This week is our second week of spring break. It’s warm, so we’ve pulled out our kiddie pool, and we’re visiting the Platypus at the San Diego Safari Park on Wednesday. We’re spending a lot of time playing with the neighbor kids in our bubble. In fact, water balloons have been requested, so we may have a water balloon battle later in the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling (I’ve been prepping bean and rice bowls on Sundays for us to have during week) so we can get back to our adventures.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Soup, Roasted Veg, garlic flatbread
  • Monday: Quiche, Fruit Salad, blueberry muffins (blueberries from our CSA Box)
  • Tuesday:  Veggie Burgers, Nuggets, Potato Faces (these things), Salad/fruit
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Fruit
  • Thursday : Pollo Asada Taco Salad with Beans and Rice
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe Round-up: Fruit and Veggie Extravaganza!

Spring is upon us, and that means that there will be all sorts of fruits and veggies coming into season.

Here are some of our family’s favorite recipes featuring fruits and veggies! These are all easy to make and will satisfy everyone in the family- even the pickiest eaters.

Fruit:

 

Veggies:

3/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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I posted on Instagram on Sunday that our meal plan was going to be late this week, and I was right. Our CSA Box arrived yesterday and there are all sorts of goodies in our Jumbo box. You can see a picture here.  I made cookies and soup for this week on Sunday.

This week we’ve got a family friend in town, so lunches will be a lot of snacks/picnic style food. Dinners are going to be quick/easy to prepare as we’ll be on the go most of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: This week and next it’s spring break, so the kids and I will be out having socially distanced adventures. I’m filling the backpack with snacks and our reusable water bottles each morning. This will help keep us on budget and keep us out of the drive thru- although we will still stop at Starbucks a few times. I’ve been saving my stars for some freebies.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Soup, Sourdough toast/avocado toast
  • Monday: It was going to be dinner out, but we had a late lunch and had snacks for dinner
  • Tuesday:  Spinach Salad (recipe this week), Roast Veg, Garlic flat bread
  • Wednesday: Nuggets/veggie burgers, Salad, noodles
  • Thursday: Tamales, beans and rice, Roasted Veg
  • Friday:  Pizza Night/Takeout
  • Saturday: Leftovers (probably soup)

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.

3/14/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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Our third CSA Box is being delivered tomorrow, and I know that we’ll have all sorts of tasty fruits and veggies to add to our meals this week. To learn more about Yasukochi Family Farms and our first box, click here. A lot of our meals this week are going to be veggie-heavy. We eat a lot of produce anyway, but now we’re eating more local produce! I’m going to try and get a batch of cookies made later in the week, or possibly over next weekend.

I visited the grocery store on Saturday morning when I went to get the last few ingredients for the big kids birthday cake. There are pictures of it on Instagram. We are pretty stocked up for the week, and possibly into next week, depending on how much milk and butter we demolish.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling (I’ve been prepping bean and rice bowls on Sundays for us to have during week) so we can get back to our adventures.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Chicken Chili, Salad, Roasted Veg
  • Monday: Salad, Nuggets, chips
  • Tuesday:  Ravioli/pasta (I’m not sure which yet) with sauce, Garlic Flatbread, Salad/Fruit
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, yogurt, fruit
  • Thursday: Chicken Tetrazzini, roasted broccoli, rolls
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?