Over the last few months, both Stacie and Meghan have taken a long, hard look at their families’ finances and were shocked to discover how much they were spending on groceries. As it turns out, they’re not alone. When Meghan reached out to Kumiko, aka The Budget Mom, she found out that food is the biggest expenditure for most families. In fact, before Kumiko became an accredited financial counselor, she paid off $50,000 in debt in less than a year and one of the biggest budget cuts that saved her was in the food category.
Whether or not you thought you were looking to save money on groceries this year, this episode is for you — because who doesn’t want to save money?! Sure, we go deep with hardcore tips for people who are ready to get serious about their budgets. But we also talk about practical ways that anyone can save money by being more mindful and less wasteful: a worthwhile practice in more ways than one.
Show Me the Money!
We cannot lie: When we admitted how much we’ve spent on groceries in our spendiest months (you’ll have to listen to hear the astronomical numbers!) we felt shame. Truly! But keeping track, figuring out the number, and admitting our overspending was the first step to getting things under control — and starting to save big.
Because as much as we hate budgeting, we hated feeling shame even more! The realization of that number is what got our butts in gear. In this week’s episode, Stacie and Meghan share the changes they made personally while shopping for food.
This week, Stacie and Meghan share 10 easy actions that any family can take to save money when buying groceries.
Listen now to hear all 10 suggestions, and also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram (we’re @didntijustfeed you on both) where we’ll be sharing some of our suggestions and also asking you guys for yours. That way, we can mindshare a master list!
The Budget Mom
There are lots of food bloggers who talk about budgeting and budgeting bloggers who talk about meal planning, but Kumiko Love is different. She’s a single mom who devised a system of saving and budgeting that enabled her to pay off an enormous debt all on her own, and from there became an accredited financial advisor who has dedicated herself to empowering women to take control of their finances.
A huge part of Kumiko’s story has to do with taking control of her food budget, something she she feels passionately about given that she’s learned what a huge expense food is for so many parents.
And do you know why food is a huge expense for families, regardless of income, diet, location, and family size? Because parents overspend when they don’t have a plan.
Whether it’s ordering in, heading to a restaurant, picking up pricier pre-made food at the market, or grabbing last-minute ingredients that leave you with doubles and waste, it all adds up.
Of course, there’s more to it than meal planning. Listen to the episode to hear more about her all cash system, how she fits her eating out and grocery budgets together, and how her freezer is absolutely integral to her meal planning approach.
To learn more about Kumiko, visit her at The Budget Mom where you can sign up for her emails to also gain access to her free resource library, follow @thebudgetmom on Instagram, and check out The Budget Mom on YouTube.
This week marked the beginning of a FREE pantry challenge hosted by Mom’s Kitchen Handbook — and there’s STILL TIME TO JOIN NOW!
When you do, you’ll get a weekly email with tons of strategies and free printables to help you take inventory, plan meals, and re-organize your kitchen. You’ll also get access to a private Facebook group with hosts Katie (of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook), Sally (of Real Mom Nutrition; both nutritionists) and the other participants.
Get the details and sign up at Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. And, yes, it is seriously all FREE.
Genius Money Saving Recipes
Cooking with the most affordable ingredients available and stretching what you have on hand is an age old approach for family cooks across the globe. These are our favorite ways to carry on the tradition — and save our families money as we do it.
A strata (Stacie offers several versions of this savory bread pudding in her cookbook Make It Easy, as it’s her favorite way to use up affordable eggs, stale bread, and nearly any veggies that need using up, but a Google search will turn up an endless number of versions)
Using lentils in place of or in combo with ground beef (Stacie offers Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes in Make It Easy and this Mushroom-Lentil “Bolognese”)
Homemade ricotta cheese (We know it sounds crazy, but it’s easier to make than you think, so affordable, and CRAZY delicious. Then, make Stacie’s Pasta with Fresh Ricotta and Peas from Make It Easy)
Pasta with Spinach Pesto and Green Beans (pictured; Stacie & Meghan both talk about various ways to use about-to-turn ingredients in this episode, and pesto is a great way to use herbs and greens too! This recipe uses up those last bits of spinach before they go bad!)
Rice and lentil pilaf (Yet again, Stacie has a recipe in her book, Make It Easy, but this version of mujadara looks great too!)
Breakfast for dinner (Serving something simple like pancakes, scrambled egg tacos, or smoothies + toast with peanut butter once a week can save you big!)
Whatever’s-left-in-the-fridge-curry or soup (Stacie stretches ingredients by making curries and Meghan by making soup, but the idea is the same: saute onion and/or garlic, veggies that are about to turn, spices, and simmer either in broth or coconut milk. Voila, dinner!)
Homemade pizza (Ordering pizza can seem like a budget-friendly meal, but adds up when ordered on the regular. Instead, master an easy homemade pizza dough or buy a round of pizza dough from a local pizzeria for just a few bucks and go DIY. Get the kids involved, use up what’s in the fridge, and save money.)
Anything tacos (You can put nearly anything in a tortilla! Use that little bit of leftover chicken or combine the one sweet potato you can seem to get rid of with black beans and call it a night.)
Pasta with butter or a simple tomato sauce (Sometimes, a delicious budget dinner is as simple as going back to basics. The kids love, and you know you do too. Save some of the pasta cooking water to help thicken melted butter or a can of tomato sauce combined with melted butter and give it a silky texture that feels like a luxurious sauce & not just an afterthought.)