Tag Archives: food

7 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Groceries: few people like shopping for them and even fewer enjoy paying for them. While there isn’t a way to get your groceries for free (short of dumpster diving), you do have options. Check out these tips on how to save money on groceries.

Save Money on Groceries

Save money on groceries with these easy tips. Image credit: cooksaid.com

Tip #1 – Plan your meals in advance

One recent study showed that 20% of grocery store purchases are unplanned, impulse buys. You can avoid this trap by planning your meals in advance and sticking to your list. Not only will you save money on groceries, but you’ll waste far less food.

Tip #2 – There is nothing wrong with generic 

Most people don’t end up buying generic brands because of perceptions of lower quality. However, you might be surprised to learn that blind taste tests have shown that some customers actually prefer the taste of generic brands. Make a point of giving generic or store brands an honest chance. If you don’t like them, it’s not like you spent an arm and a leg and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Tip #3 – Prepared foods cost extra

If you’re in a hurry, prepared foods are admittedly a great way to save time. However, as prepared foods are generally more costly, a better alternative if you’re short on time is to cook meals in advance and freeze them. While preparing a meal, it’s easy to double a recipe and freeze the leftovers for a later date. As an added bonus, homemade meals are generally healthier than prepared foods. If you need some freezer friendly recipe ideas, a great place to start is Life’s A Mom or Martha Stewart’s Freezer Friendly Foods.


Hungry Man!

Don't go shopping while hungry. Otherwise you might try something like this. Image credit: funnypicture.in.

Tip #4 – Avoid shopping hungry

This is an oldie but goodie. If you’re hungry while you shop, you will buy more. Everything looks appetizing when you’re ravenous. Make sure you eat a meal (or at least a snack) before shopping and you will find that a lot less ends up in your cart.

Tip #5 – Bend down or tippy toe

Grocery stores and supermarkets usually place the items with the highest markups around chest level. This makes these higher cost items easier to see and more accessible to shoppers. Resist the temptation to reach for what is nearest to you and kneel down or reach up for to find cheaper alternatives.

Tip #6 – Put a little effort into it

Did you know that there are plenty of supermarket chains that offer coupons if you visit their website? Not just that, but if you clip coupons and pay attention to the weekly deals that supermarkets have, you can’t help but save money. A smart shopper saves money on groceries simply by going where the deals are. There are also entire websites dedicated to the art of couponing. Check out Money Saving Mom or Frugal Living NW for daily sale and coupon updates.

Tip #7 – Price match

If you read about a particularly good deal in a store that’s far away, see if one of their local competitors will match the price. This not only saves you money on groceries, but also reduces gas consumption.

These are just seven of the best ways to save money on groceries that we have found, but of course we want to learn about what ways you have found that worked for you. Whether you saved ONE dollar, or twenty bucks, we want to know!

Creative Thanksgiving Desserts

Last year I attempted Thanksgiving Dinner on my own for the first time.  This experience, while a learning one, is one I will not repeat this year. I’ll leave that up to the experts, or at least those not as culinary-ily challenged.  🙂 Despite my turkey debacle (not all of the innards made it out before the bird went into the oven), thankfully the pumpkin pie did turn out. After subjecting my sweet friends to an interesting array of somewhat recognizable Thanksgiving favorites, at they least had dessert to look forward to. This year, that’s about all that I am going to attempt.  Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie, I thought it might be fun to do something different.

When pumpkin pie just won’t cut it, try something out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving dessert! Here are a few fun and yummy recipes:

Cranberry Velvet Pie

Prep Time: 4 1/2 hours
Cook Time: Ready in 12 hours
Serves: 6-8 (one 9 1/2-inch pie)

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Serves: 6-8. Yields a 9in. cake.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 15 servings

Pilgrim Pies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Serves: Yields 10-14 Pilgrim Pies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves:  12 servings

Pumpkin Crunch Parfait

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: no cooking required
Serves: 6 servings

Thanksgiving Fall Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 10-12 servings

I hope everyone has a tasty Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time with friends and family…and let me know how your desserts turn out!

Thrifty Adventures

Ah, summer. There is no better time to get out of the house and get to know nature a little better. The best way to do this is to go camping! I know what you are thinking: “I want to experience nature from my air conditioned hotel room in Waikiki!” Well this is frugal blog, darnit, so let’s compare the two trips.

  • Travel Expense
    • Flight from Portland, OR to Honolulu round trip for a family of four:
      • $1680 (double that for you East Coasters)
    • 200 mile round trip drive to favorite campground:
      • <$60 (assuming you aren’t an H2 driver…)
  • Hotel Expense
    • 3 star hotel in Waikiki:
      • $130 per night
    • Campsite fee:
      • <$30 per night
  • Fun Expense
    • Waikiki
      • Snorkeling with the fishes
        • $60 each
      • Taking a helicoptor tour of a mountain
        • $120 each
      • Touring a pineapple plantation
        • $12 each plus pineapple-y souvineers
    • Camping
      • Going fishing
        • $14 each (and in many states, kids under 14 can fish for free) 
      • Taking a hike up a mountain
        • Free! (Just make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks)
      • Touring a pinecone “plantation”
        • Free!
  • Food Expense
    • Waikiki
      • Breakfast – Banana crêpe with coconut syrup and fresh ground Kona coffee
        • $14
      • Lunch – Glass of POG juice, deep fried mahi-mahi, and a mango shave ice
        • $9
      • Dinner – Succulent pork roasted on a spit, by a master chef, over a bed of fire heated lava rocks
        • $24
    • Camping
      • Breakfast – Burned pancake with a slightly squished banana and a glass of watery coffee crystals
        • $3
      • Lunch – cup of Kool-Aid, pan fried lake trout, and a couple of ice cubes found at the bottom of your cooler
        • $0.50
      • Dinner – Succulent hotdog roasted on a stick, by your 10 year old son, over a bed of random things you decided to burn (YUM!)
        • $1.25

As you can see, a camping trip is clearly a great option for those who want an adventure on a budget.  I recommend looking at these great resources to help plan a camping trip:

Do you have any great camping stories? Tell us about them in the comment box below.