A slightly boring week in the life of a fairly average couponer (Pantry substitution, farmer’s market trip and CRAZY cheap bread)

by Melody on July 23, 2012

Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I will even be mentioning those methods that may seem insignificant to you.  I truly feel that anything that saves time is saving money in some form or another.

Weekly farmer’s market trip

Not only do I love our local farmer’s markets for the fantastic produce, but it’s a pretty fun outing for the boys and I.  They get to hang out and sample fresh fruit and check out all the people and I actually get some shopping done.  I let my 3-year old choose the produce this time and although he never really cares to eat zucchini, that is what he chose.  I snatched up a few more things and made this amazing Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta with cherry tomatoes from our garden.  Yum.

I got everything in the picture above for just $6 and $3 was for the watermelon!

Loving my Oroweat Bakery Outlet vouchers

I hope that you all picked up some of those amazing 1/2 price vouchers that were available on Sharing Spree recently.  I made my 2nd trip this week and picked up 8 items with my voucher.  I paid $5 for the original voucher plus an additional $.49 at the store, making each item just $.68 each. 2 loaves of 100% Whole Wheat Bread, 4 loaves of Flax & Fiber Bread and 2 packs of Tia Rosa tortillas.  Crazy deal.

Serious substitution

We have a pretty set list of pantry staples and essentials and I try  not to deviate from it too much.  When I end up buying specialty ingredients, I spend more money than I have in the budget and some ends up going to waste.  When I come across something in a recipe that I don’t have, I start Googling substitutions.

Just this week, I substituted 3/4 whole milk and 1/4 half and half for evaporated milk and it worked like a charm.  I also soured whole milk with a little lemon juice to make buttermilk.    I didn’t have to spend extra money on a specialty ingredient and wasn’t left with extra buttermilk or evaporated milk that I may or may not use.

I’ve substituted coconut oil for vegetable and canola oil in several recipes, but never for a solid like butter.  I figured in a recipe full of coconut like German Chocolate Brownies, it would be the perfect tester.  Oh my word.  Fudgy and coconutty and amazing.

I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week.  What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Melody,
Just found your site and I love it!! So many great ideas! My husband and I have been married for a year and have just started a serious, deliberate budget. We hope to be debt free one year after I start working this September. I am in the final throes of my grad program and my computer broke after 8 years of use. I am in research and need a personal computer unless I want to spend additional time at the library. My very resourceful husband found a used computer for $75 with $5 shipping. Also, we have found a grocery that sells produce at your stock-up prices. We are considering budgeting for a chest freezer. I would like yo hear your thoughts on finding fashionable mens and women’s clothing in a budget. The thrift stores near us are not great. Thanks for all you do!

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Melody July 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Glad to have you here Ali! Way to go on the computer, that’s an impressive deal. I honestly don’t have much input into the clothes situation, I don’t have a lot of fashion sense and pretty much wear the same things every day. To spruce things up a little, I have bought 1/2 price vouchers for local stores (Groupon, Spotted Fox, etc) but pretty much stick to a few core essentials. I also don’t go out to work so shorts, tank top and flip flops are an okay ensemble. :)

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