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.

 

New Years Resolutions: Are We Even Doing Them for 2021?

Seriously… Can we skip them?

I know a lot of people who feel like they have to do them because of traditions, or it helps them feel like they are in control. If that is you, awesome! You do you.

If you are on the fence, feel like it might cause you more stress than it’s worth, it’s ok to skip New Years Resolutions or anything else that causes undue stress. We all have enough stress right now.

If you want to do them, I did a round-up of the top ten NYR in 2018 (for 2019) here. Some of the links within the articles may be outdated, but if you are looking for something specific, please feel free to reach out to me either via email or via Instagram or Facebook.

The one end of year/new year tradition that I do is to buy 4 new calendars: One for the kitchen, one for my bathroom (next to my vanity), one for each of the kid’s rooms. I update them all monthly with appointments, birthdays, and holidays. I usually buy a calendar with the daily silly “holidays” on it for the kitchen. I bought this one for 2021.

You will probably start to see more posts from me (and my helpers), as one of my plans (not resolutions) is to start posting more now that I am able to have a pretty solid daily and weekly routine.

If there are topics that you would like to see or learn more about, drop me a message. I’ve got a lot of fun and good stuff planned (like quarterly Amazon Gift Card giveaways), and I’m going to continue sharing savings tips and deals, and of course crafts and recipes!

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Pasta Free Lasagna

img_3880WHAT? Pasta free lasagna? Are you nuts? I know that’s what you are all thinking, but bear with me.

I know so many people are sticking to their New Years Resolutions of eating healthy, but they are longing for the warm, cheesy, rich gooey-ness of their favorite comfort foods. Mr. just finished a 10 day cleanse, and we are slowing adding things back into his diet. He missed cheese, so I set to find a recipe that contains cheese that I could make a little more healthy by omitting some of the other things that he isn’t quite ready to add back in (meat and lots of heavy carbs). I did make spaghetti to go on the side, but you can skip that if you want.

We had a bag of yellow squash in the fridge, so I decided to make lasagna using the squash in the place of the lasagna noodles.

With this recipe, you can add as many veggies as you want. I opted for mire poix (I had bags of it prepped in the freezer), garlic, shallots, tomatoes, and little pieces of the squash that I chopped into bite size pieces. These were the neck or end that I couldn’t cut into planks. I recommend that you use what you’ve got on hand that you really like. You can add ricotta between the layers, but I skipped it because we didn’t have any, and Mr. isn’t ready to add eggs back in yet (if you’ve never made lasagna before, the ricotta filling is a mixture of egg, Parmesan cheese, and ricotta).

img_3875This recipe makes a big 9×13 inch baking dish- There will be leftovers!

Pasta Free Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow or green crooked neck squash (zucchini), cut into planks, Reserve remaining pieces for sauce
  • 1 jar sugar free pasta sauce (or use your favorite)
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 can (approx. 14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian seasonning
  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesaen cheese
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese
img_3884
Dinner is served (salad not shown)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large stock pot, saute onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and shallots, reduce heat. Cook until garlic and shallots are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Burnt garlic is gross.
  4. Pour wine over veggies and scrape any yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot. This is called De-glazing the pan. Those brown bits are full of flavor.
  5. Add pasta sauce, herbs, and both cans of tomatoes (diced and paste). Cook on medium for 15-20 minutes. If you want, you can simmer the sauce on low for as long as you want. Make sure to stir frequently and put a lid on the pot.
  6. Add reserved squash bits to sauce. They will cook quickly, so you need to add them last.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the 9×13 baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish.
  9. Cover the sauce with planks of squash, then layer cheese, and sauce.  repeat until the pan is full- the top layer should be cheese. If you like lots of cheese, use more than the 2 1/2 cups listed above.
  10. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. after 20 minutes, uncover pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
  11. Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve with salad and a small portion of whole wheat pasta. I made whole wheat pasta and topped it with a dollop of Chef Shamy Garlic Butter. It’s amazing.

Variations: This meal is already vegetarian and gluten free. If you are vegan, use dairy free cheese. I cannot promise it will be as gooey and delicious, as I’m not familiar with how dairy free cheese cooks.

If you just gotta have meat, start by sauteing 1 lb of ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey), then continue the recipe as written.

Support your New Years Resolutions with our Uplifting Prize Pack!

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Three weeks into the new Year and there are so many of us that are settling into our routines that incorporate our New Year Resolutions (NYR). One thing that really helped me is posting our family’s weekly meal plan. I love the Weekly Meal Planner pad from Shutterfly- It’s easy to use!

I’ve partnered with my friend Brooke, over at Crying Out Loud to help one lucky winner with their NYR with an awesome Uplifting Prize Pack!

This Prize pack includes:

  • Yoga Toe Socks
  • Adult Coloring Coffee Tumbler (I go one of these for Christmas and I love it! I use it daily- it helps me stay out of the coffee shop). I’ve stuffed it with some of my favorite tea bags!
  • The Gratitude Journal for Women
  • Weekly Meal Planner pad (30 pages)- That’s enough for a whole year, plus a few extras.
  • Multi-color Unicorn Pen
  • $25 Tiny Tags Gift Certificate
  • $10 Starbucks GC (not shown)

To Enter to win, Click here or here to enter.  We’ll randomly choose a winner on 1/27/18. Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Don’t forget to leave a comment as part of the mandatory first entry! Have you turned your NYR into a habit yet? If so, how? If not, Do you need support?

100 Business Cards from Vistaprint- Just $5!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.34.57 PM.pngI’ve talked to quite a few people over the past week who have started a new business or endeavor this year.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.46.10 PM.pngNew businesses mean time for new business cards! And if you aren’t in need of business cards, they have some really great mom/parent cards that list your contact info, kids names, and any allergies. Great for handing out when you meet moms and kids you “click” with at parks and playdates!

Vistaprint has a great sale right now- 100 Business Cards for $5.00 (plus shipping, which starts at $6.99). There are Pearl business cards and Square business cards available. And if you need anything else, you can click here and get 40-50% off your purchase on many other items!

I took advantage of this deal to re-order my cards. I’ve been giving a lot of them out lately!