Welcome to a Week in the Life. Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time. Or both. 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.
Since changing over to a Paleo-ish lifestyle, we’ve had to eliminate peanut butter from our diets. I finally got through my last jar and went to the store to pick up some almond butter. I had to lay down in the aisle and breathe into a paper sack after seeing the price. How do people do it? I vaguely recalled seeing a recipe for homemade almond butter on Pinterest, so decided to suck it up and try to make my own.
I literally threw raw almonds into my food processor and after 20 minutes of scraping down the sides and remixing, there was this magical moment where it just transformed into almond butter. It went from dust to butter after the oils in the almonds had a chance to warm up. I had to take the processor into the bathroom with me while I put on makeup, but we enjoyed each other’s company.
I used almonds from Costco (about $4 worth) and wound up with the same amount I would have bought at the store for almost $10. Brilliant.
If you’re interested, I followed these directions.
Last year around this time, I picked up a random box of Cars 2 Valentine’s cards with pencils on super clearance at Rite Aid. I socked them away and they ended up being perfect for my son’s preschool this year. It is a very allergy-friendly school, so candy and food items for holidays aren’t allowed. Pencils? Perfect.
I kept an eye on the Valentine’s clearance this year, waited until it went to 75% off and picked up three boxes at just $.99 each. My son will have his choice next year! I know next Valentine’s Day seems SO far away and this may seem crazy, but it’s not like they take up a ton of room. Plus, it will save me time and money next year.
When ever I find a good price on whole pineapples, I snatch them up. Nothing beats the taste of fresh pineapple, they are so easy to cut and anything under $2 means a huge yield of fruit for less than you can buy in a can.
I always hated throwing away the pineapple core, but it didn’t really taste good and the texture is pretty fibrous. The last pineapple I bought, I decided to chop up the core and try it in a smoothie. It was perfect! Added some texture, a little bit of pineapple flavor and the fibrous feel totally broke down in my food processor. I now keep a bag in the freezer to throw in extra fruit (super ripe bananas or strawberries, blueberries) for smoothies. So yummy and far less wasteful.
We headed up to Spokane this weekend to watch my little brother play in the State B Basketball Tournament. They were playing one game each day, so we knew we’d have some time on our hands and lots of meals to cover. We did take lots of snacks, fresh fruit and some veggies and breakfast was included, but we did have lunch and dinners to think about.
I headed over to Groupon to check out what deals were available in Spokane and found a fantastic 50% off voucher at Taco Del Mar, which was right across the park from our hotel. Perfect for lunch!
However, after two seriously late nights and toddler boys who didn’t sleep well, super late breakfasts and just plain exhaustion, we forgot to use them. So in theory, these would have saved us money. It was a good idea, until it wasn’t.
On a happier note, my sweet brother and his team took 3rd in State. They played so hard and so well, we’re super proud of them. And my brother? He’s just so darn passionate and hard-working and adorable, I want to pinch his cheeks and carry him around in my pocket.
After being in Spokane for three days, our fridge was a barren wasteland. We had lots of meat in the freezer, but no fresh fruit or vegetables. We had scrambled eggs for all three meals the day we got back, just because I hadn’t had a chance to get to the store. I usually shop at Winco for my weekly groceries, but Fred Meyer had everything I needed this week plus a few items that were cheaper than Winco, so that was my store of choice.
One of my favorite ways to save money without using coupons is to buy based around the produce sales each week. Fred Meyer had marked down mandarin oranges, mushrooms and strawberries this week, so that’s what we are eating. This saves us money and ensures we have some variety in our diet.
I also keep an eye out for produce markdowns. I found organic fresh dill for just $.99 (dill makes everything better!) and a grab bag of peppers for just $1. This bag included three good sized bell peppers and a ton of little peppers that I can’t even identify. For the bell peppers alone, this is a great deal and I’ll just figure out the others and do something awesome with them after using the Google.
I spent about $40 on this whole trip.
I would LOVE to hear how you saved your family money this week. What methods do you find are the most efficient and effective?