On our December break from formal homeschooling, the boys and I did a kitchen pantry and freezer overhaul that I hope will keep us more organized and efficient with our meal planning and food budget. We spend a lot of money on food, and this is an area of our budget I would like to cut. Just streamlining our cabinets helped a lot. I think I had nuts in about 4 different places in the kitchen. Now they are all grouped together, and let’s just say, I don’t have to buy nuts for awhile. We are stocked with meat thanks to our neighbor. His beef and pork will keep us well-fed until summer. I would like to buy a dozen chickens from another neighbor, but we need to make some freezer room first. I am making an effort to shop sales by looking at the weekly ads online. Ideally, I would like this to become Vincent’s job, however he usually has his own agenda in the kitchen and it never, ever saves me money!
A couple of tools were indispensable for both inspiration and execution.
#1 List Planit This is a website that features a variety of PDF e-planners that offer to help organize any part of your life. I used the Meals e-planner for organizing my pantry which had a variety of inventory sheets. I recorded what we had in our cabinets, generated a list of what we needed to purchase and also noted staples I like to always have in the house. This food inventory is particularly helpful in the freezer department.
#2 Good Cheap Eats I love this blog! Jessica has great recipes and great advice to help lower your food bill. She is currently running a pantry challenge that I am doing as well. Honestly, our cabinets are blessedly stocked and really, all I should need to shop for is fresh produce, eggs and milk. That’s the goal anyway.
#3 Plan to Eat I love this website. It is an online recipe box/meal planner/grocery list. I have definitely not maximized everything it can do, but I love, love, love the little bookmarklet that lets me seamlessly add recipes to my recipe box from anywhere online! It works automatically about 75% of the time and the other 25% I just cut and paste. No biggie. (This is an affiliate link.)
#4 Trader Joe’s has come to town and it is a game-changer in my opinion. Their prices are incredible and I love the lack of choices. We have done the bulk of our shopping there since they opened in November. If I can steer myself away from the cookies (very, very difficult) and keep to the list, we will automatically be saving money.
#5 VitaCost Andrea turned me onto this site. I love it for some groceries (mostly snacks and coconut oil), but the real saving is in personal products. I should be able to put my kids through college from the savings on toothpaste alone. Man, was I getting gouged! Anyway, all around great prices and fast shipping. (If you use the link from this post, you should save $10 on a $30 order and I should get $10 on my next order. If this isn’t the case, let me know in the comments.)
What do you do to save money on groceries? I’m all ears!