I have always been frugal. Though not necessarily always by choice. I grew up reusing, repurposing and upcycling way before it was cool. It’s just how we did things. The playhouse my father built me in the 2nd grade has seen many uses over the years. These days it sits in my own yard looking just as pretty, but different, as the day it was first made.
I’m the kind of girl who walks to the back of a store for the clearance section. Let’s face it, finding a great deal is really kind of fun! But if you take anything away from my blog you’ve probably come to realize that while I enjoy saving money I never enjoying looking like I do. There’s just no reason that you have to sacrifice style just to save money. You just don’t.
These days I am thankful for those lessons. At the beginning of the summer one of our a/c units went out (thankfully it isn’t the only one we have) but repairing it wasn’t an option. We’ve fussed with these builder grade units every year since the day we first moved here. It’s time for this one at least to be completely replaced. But you know how it never “rains without pouring”?
My husband who is going back to school for his Master’s degree as part of a program through the university was unaware that he’d need to pay for his summer sessions until he was already enrolled in his classes and had a week to pay$5k. Then there’s that other expression, ‘Bad things come in threes’. Ever heard that one?
Our lawnmower, which also gives us a fit every season, decided not to work again this year. For a while there we were knee deep in sun dried grass. Eventually the tuition got paid, the grass cut, the lawnmower fixed but we still have a ways to go on that new a/c unit. So here’s my plan for saving a little extra at the grocery store because, as my mom used to say, every little bit counts!
I am not the most organized person on the planet. And as frugal as I am I still need help staying on track at the grocery store. I don’t like to spend a lot of time making grocery lists, clipping coupons or tracking sales papers. But I do find that if I go into the grocery store with a plan I have a lot more money left in my pocket than when I don’t. Plus, this method makes using Pinterst feel less like a waste of time. I’m not just pinning all the things, I’m actually using the pins.
First I have a Recipe Board on Pinterest where I essentially pin any recipe that strikes my fancy, I think my kids may eat or results from a moment of weakness. Then each Saturday (or Friday – whenever I have the time) I plan out the meals for that week. I simply go through my recipe board and pick 5 – 7 meals for that week and pin them to my secret board, Weekly Recipes. From there I open each pin and make my grocery list.
I find that weekly shopping keeps our groceries, and therefore our eating habits, fresher and healthier. I keep track of what I still have left in my pantry from week to week and try to choose recipes that will incorporate those ingredients. And if a recipe, like the Greek Marinated Chicken we had this week, calls for something I don’t usually keep on hand I try to find something else to incorporate the leftovers into so that they don’t go to waste. So this week the other half of that fresh lemon I squeezed over our steamed asparagus.
The best part about this method is that if I
get too lazy forget to put my grocery list together I just use the Pinterest mobile app on my phone. This fail safe takes a little longer but it still keeps me on track and only buying things from my list.
I don’t make new recipes every week. I have some old standbys, like my mom’s Goulash, and we often put together a pot luck with leftovers but I find this method keeps things interesting and budget friendly. I hope my budget friendly meal planning inspires you to use more of those amazing recipes you find on Pinterest and helps to keep you from getting side tracked at the grocery store. Because we all have our own versions of a broken a/c (or a gorgeous new couch) that needs save for!
How do you keep your budget on track?