We all love to learn ways to save money, but we prefer to save it without having to do extra work. Since 2000, I have been making a lot of my own food from scratch to help save money on our family budget. These are my top 5 kitchen tools that help save money, while saving me time in my prep.
Here are my top 5 kitchen tools that save money:
- The Wonder Mill – I love my mill for nutritious whole grain or bean flour to use in all my recipes. In literally just seconds, I can have a cup or more of freshly milled flour to make pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread, cookies, cakes and more. All for just a fraction of the cost for mixes in the store.
- Magic Mill DLX Mixer – The Electrolux Assistent – I absolutely love my mixer! Many woman know the joy of a KitchenAid , but when you use the amount of whole grains as I do, you need something with more horsepower, so you don't burn the engine out quickly. That is why I absolutely love my mixer. It is truly my kitchen assistant.
- Food Processor – I use my food processor for everything from shredding cheeses to shredding or slicing vegetables. I can easily shred several pounds of cheese, saving money on a bulk chunk, within a few minutes. We often freeze the shredded cheese to use in casseroles or soups. I also love making my own salsa!
- Rice Cooker – My rice cooker is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy meal prepared and in the morning, as well as a way to save money by using ingredients to make my own meals. You can make a whole lot more in a rice cooker, than just rice! I literally make a full meal, with meat, beans, vegetables and rice in one pot and under 5 minutes to put it all together.
- Ninja Blender – One of our favorite things in the summer is freshly made smoothies! The Ninja makes it so much easier to make and so healthy, all while a great way to save money.
Buying groceries seem like a never ending cycle in our home, especially with 3 boys, two of them in their teens. I love when I can make my grocery list easier and budget friendly at the same time. This is where my must buy food staples always come into play when we do our meal planning.
10 Must Buy Food Staples
These are the items that always make my grocery list. ALWAYS. Of course, I prefer to buy them bulk because we use them all the time and it does help me save money, and keep our meals healthier.
- Broth – We use mostly chicken broth, but beef and vegetable are great options as well. You can do any kind that you prefer but at the moment, we are buying them in boxes. I use this to make my rice and homemade soups.
- Tomato Sauce – We go through so much of this that I think we should garden just tomatoes. I use tomato sauce in my soups, chili, rice and more.
- Diced Tomato – Although my husband once despised seeing diced tomatoes in anything warm, this is now something that we eat in almost everything. We love mexican food, so this is a great addition to many of our dishes.
- Frozen Vegetables – I do use some canned vegetables, but if I'm making a dish with seasoning in it, I will pull out the frozen vegetables because they are cheaper and healthier than the canned ones. We love to buy them in bulk for the extra savings.
- Pasta – Many times, I can make a soup and have some left over that when I add pasta to it I can feed my family one more meal from it, instead of just a few of us. My family loves the variation to some of our soups when they get to enjoy it the second time with different pastas, since I use what I have on hand.
- Rice – This is a great way to add some grains to your diet and if you love your rice cooker like I love mine, you have already realized that the first four items on this list can be thrown together with some rice (and beans or meat) and make a full meal in just 5 minutes in the morning and is ready for you at dinner. You can make just regular rice and add it to left over soup as well or make a casserole with leftovers as well.
- Eggs – Our family buys a lot of eggs. We use them in baking and for meals. I can't go to the store for groceries without buying them. Our children love just having hard boil eggs to eat for a snack!
- Beans – I try to have large batches of baked beans made and put in freezer bags for meal portions to save money, however there are times that canned beans are a necessary, so I try to keep them on hand for those days I forget to get them out of the freezer and thawed in time for a recipe.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a staple for our family. My family loves it raw for breakfast (but not me), in bars and in desserts. We couldn't imagine not having this to grab!
- Potatoes – Potatoes are a great staple meal. They can be used in soups, as a side dish or just baked for a meal of its own. Left overs are perfect with eggs or in casseroles, so I always make more than just for the meal.
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Meal planning can save you money in your overall budget and time. For about 30 minutes a week planning your menu, you can save at least two hours of wasted time, fuel and a lot of money for convenient meals that require a lot of extra trips to the store. I implement several things to save money through meal planning that I'm looking forward to sharing with you!
Here is how I save money through meal planning:
I feel it in my stress level if I stop meal planning for any length of time, because let’s face it, meals are very important to your family and can’t be over looked. When I get back into meal planning, my life feels more in control, my stress decreases and my family eats healthier because I’m planning for nutritious meals instead of just feeding them quickly.
Here is how I do my meal planning that saves us more money than clipping coupons, and much more time than just going by the seat of my pants every day.
- Using what is on hand – Prior to starting my meal planning and grocery list, I will scan the freezer, pantry and cupboards to see what I have left from my previous shopping and see if there are any meals that I can put together from what I have on hand. These meals become a priority on my planning.
- Buy bulk for items we use a lot – We use a lot of pasta, rice, chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and other things. I purchase in bulk and plan meals that will utilize the things I always have on hand.
- Double cooking – I will often make a double batch of something and alter the leftovers to taste like a different meal. For instance I make a lot of rice dishes in my rice cooker, so when I plan for leftovers in my meal planning, I buy mexican cheese and make tortillas. Easy, delicious and a great way to save money!
- Shopping for deals – Looking through ads or coupons, I can often find items that are on special that will help save money through meal planning. One of the items that our family can get a good deal on is spaghetti sauce, salad dressings and cereal.
- Shop for discounted meat – I always scan the meat department when I shop to see if I can find anything that is on sale. If I’m unable to use it all for the menu planning I have already done, I will put it in the freezer and use it for the first step for the next meal planning to help save money on that week's menus.
- Plan for unexpected things that lead to convenient meals – As mothers we often had days that overwhelm us and dinner doesn't come into our mind until it feels too late. Planning for these can help save money and time! Our fall back meals are breakfast for dinner (eggs are one of my husband's favorites), frozen pizza (because it is cheaper than ordering it) and boxed dinners. However, with the Insta Pot, you can throw frozen meat in it, and still have dinner ready in 30 minutes to an hour. That is almost faster than ordering and waiting for the pizza guy!
The next thing to meal planning that helps my family stay within a budget, and gives me more time throughout the day is preparing freezer meals. The Freezer Meals 101 course is a great way to learn how to not only plan and execute freezer meals, but comes with meal plans that are kid friendly and healthy, not to mention incredibly easy to put together.
One of my ways that I save money on our grocery budget is having set things that I always buy in bulk, and have on hand for several months at a time. Although it seems hard to do all at once, the saving is amazing, and worth it.
I have been a bulk buyer for over 12 years and in doing so, I have learned a lot about the things that save our family the most money with buying food in bulk.
Here are the 10 Items I buy in bulk:
- Wheat Berries – Since I mill my own grain into flour, I save a lot of money buying in bulk. I use a lot of hard white wheat, soft white wheat and Kamut Grain .
- Rice – One of our favorite rice is called ‘exotic rice', which is a blend of many kinds of rice, including red rice and wild rice. I use my rice cooker about one a week, so having this on hand is a good thing for our home. I always add vegetables and many times meat and beans to the recipe for a complete meal.
- Pasta – We use a lot of whole wheat pasta, so I buy in bulk to make things like macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, macaroni salad, spaghetti and soups.
- Sugar – I do not use brown sugar or white sugar in any of my recipes, so I love to buy in bulk for the substitues I use in place of these items. I use sucanat for brown sugar and evaporated cane juice for white sugar. You use 1 cup for 1 cup in substituting.
- Honey – We bake our own bread and muffins, so we really can go through a lot of honey through the months. I always buy baking honey in a 5 gallon bucket, with gamma lids and pour that into smaller quantities to easy use. If the honey starts to crystalize, I just place it in a warm bath (hot water in a bowl, with the honey container in that) to help it soften. I also buy Really Raw Honey in 5# jars for eating and medicinal purposes.
- Real Salt – We love Real Salt and have been using it in all of our food for over 12 years. It adds so much flavor to your food and is a healthy salt, as it has over 50 minerals in it, which surpasses other sea salt.
- Yeast – In making our own bread, I go through a lot of yeast. I purchase my yeast from a wholesale club, making it very affordable.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This is the only oil I use in my house, so we go through a lot of this oil. This is another item that I buy in bulk at the wholesale club.
- Lecithin – Lecithin is something that I use in my bread to make the whole wheat bread lighter. It works great!
- Seasoning and Spices – Making much of my food from scratch can really get expensive if I'm buying smaller quantities of seasonings and spices. I have found that buying them in one pound containers are a good thing for our budget.
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All families need a time to enjoy each other and be together. Summer time is when most families take the time to do just that. I would love to share with you some ways you can spend less during summer vacation.
How to Spend Less During Summer Vacation
- Enjoy a Staycation in your area – Explore the things that get over looked in your area all year long!
- Get coupons booklets in local restaurants – At the door of most restaurants, you will find deals and coupons that are a great way to save off some cost to the local attractions of your choice
- Check for Promo codes online – With the rise of smart phones, finding promo codes, even at the last minute can be very easy and worth looking!
- Spend less on your lodging – There are many popular cabins in high tourist attractions that can help you spread your vacation budget even more.
- Choose a Lodging that has their own enjoyment included – If you were to stay at a hotel that has a nice family focus, you could easily spend a few days of the vacation doing things on their premises. Some places have pools, miniature golf, game rooms or paddle boating.
- Get a time share package and listen to the sales talk BUT SAY NO (you are trying to spend less) – Not only do you get a discounted cost for your stay, but they also throw in some coupons or free tickets to local attractions. It does take a full morning off your vacation, but time is money, and worth it! Plan to spend that day enjoying the time share location and taking advantage of the member's benefits.
- Do your own cooking – Eating out is one of the biggest expenses for a family during a vacation. Making your own BIG breakfast, packing snacks to take out with you and having dinner or take out in your room can save hundreds on vacation. Some parks allow you to bring in your own food, where others do not. Check before going for the guidelines for your attraction.
- Set a budget and stick to it – When you go on vacation it is so easy to do impulse buying or spending. Do as much planning and budgeting before going, so that you can do your best to stay within your planned budget.
Save money by taking advantage of our time share referral program for many popular locations… Just use #9018954900 to claim our referral discounted stay.