The years of fertility treatments and then adopting Sam took a big toll on us financially. The bills certainly added up and they added up quick. And I wouldn't trade Sam for one dime of it any day. He was so much more than worth it! So over the past several years, I have hunted for my favorite things for the absolute best prices. And it has really helped me stick to a grocery budget and still eat the foods we love.
So today I would like to share some of my best finds. Aaaaaand, if you have any other deals and steals I would love to hear your tricks of the trade!
It's really not overly time consuming to save money and get groceries for the best price, however it does take a little planning. But nothing crazy, I mean I don't do much in the lines of lists and what not, but I have somewhat of a routine that I follow to get certain things at different places and a couple other tricks to help get some money back. Who doesn't love that?
So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite ways to save! (This is not a sponsored post, I am not making any commission off of my suggestions!)
Buying in the Bulk section.
This is my absolute favorite way to save and in a BIG way. My Kroger has a pretty decent sized bulk section and this is where I save so much compared to buying certain things that are pre-packaged. Nuts are always such a great value here and when they run a sale on things like cashews, almonds or pecans, I stock up. But it's not just nuts that I get here. They have quinoa, rice and lots of grains. Heck, you can even get coffee beans in the bulk section! It's only the two of us eating right now (for only a few more weeks!), so I can also buy the amount that will hold us over for plenty of time but is sometimes less than what a pre-packaged item may have. Dried fruits and coconut are my other go to's in the bulk section.
I am actually quite bummed I didn't discover the beauty of this place earlier. This is where I get a lot of my baking supplies, spices and so much more. If you are looking for organic spices on the cheap, they have quite the selection. One of my favorite steals at Aldi is the vanilla extract. The exact same bottle that I would pay $7-9 at the regular grocery cost under $4 at Aldi. I stock up big time on vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup (Costco has maple at a GREAT price as well) and a whole slew of baking needs here. Their produce section also gets better and better every time I shop there. If you haven't been to an Aldi before, you just need a quarter for a grocery cart and to bring your own bags. But the prices are so worth it.
On the day I am writing this, I have currently accumulated over $150 from the ibotta in refunds. And this is cash I have gotten back. ibotta can be somewhat hit or miss if you are like me and buy a lot of non-name brand items, but I have still managed to earn $150 back from the app over the span of time I have been a member. (I tried to find out when I joined but I am not able to see. I would say I probably joined over a year and half or so, maybe longer.) So here is how it works, you have all of these rebate options on the app that are somewhat like coupons, but you get the cash back later. So I add my rebates to my account by clicking which ones I plan to use and then after I shop, I upload the receipt. The money goes back to my account and once I have $20, I can have the cash sent to my paypal. Typically, I wait until I have about $50 before doing so. They also have online shopping cash back opportunities. While $150 doesn't seem like a ton over almost two years, it's still a pretty chunk of change in my opinion when it all adds up.
There is usually some sort of referral bonus if you get friends to join as well. If you want to use my referral code, it is gcg56q. Again, this is not a sponsored post and there is no obligation in any way, but that is my code if you want to use it!
4. Store Brand Items.
Not all store brand items are created equally, I am the first to say it. There are some that are amazing, and there are others that just don't add up. But the more you find that you like, the more you save in the end. I find that a lot of things in the baking aisle, especially at my Kroger are great when it comes to store brand. Chocolate chips, spices, flours, and sugars. Canned pumpkin is also pretty great when it comes to store brand. I also always go for store brand items when it comes to canned goods such as beans, diced tomatoes and other veggies. Not food related, but I find the biggest deals on store brand items are on things like toothpaste, trash bags and household items. I swear you can't tell the difference most of the time and you can usually save almost 50% compared to the name brand.
5. Your Grocery store App.
In this day and age, there's an app for everything, right? Well almost every grocery store or big name store has one and a lot of times the savings are hidden there. Yes, they tend to keep track of everything you purchase, but a lot of times you end up getting coupons for the items you purchase regularly so it pays in the end. I add all the online coupons from my Kroger app before I head in and I almost always walk out of there with $20-$30 in savings from those coupons and my own combined. That takes my groceries from $125-$150 down closer to $100. More money in my wallet. For the Kroger app, you can't just add all coupons to your account which is the only thing that can be frustrating becasue you literally have to add each and every one you want. But doing so has allowed me to get items close to free when I have the e-coupon combined with a coupon I cut out or my ibotta app. It all adds up friends.
A very honorable mention also goes to Trader Joe's but not everyone has one of these and you can't purchase their items online. However, they have really great prices on produce. The options of their convenience produce items is huge as well. If I am in need of gluten free oats for a recipe I am making for a crowd that may need it, they have a 32oz. bag that is typically around $3. Other brands sell a smaller bag for double the price. I also love to grab roasted plantain chips at TJ's and they probably have one of the best priced almond butters around. Trader Joe's also has the BEST citrus body wash that I love and is at a great price. Ha, I said honorable mention but now I am thinking TJ's needs its very own post!
These are my favorite tips and tricks. While nothing earth shattering or maybe even new to you, it's sometimes just the reminder you need. Currently, I aim for less than $125 a week in groceries/household/toiletries for the 3 of us and I have been sticking to it by doing these things. The past two weeks I have been keeping it right at about $100!
The other piece is how you stretch your food, which is another post so we won't get into that one today. But I would love to hear from you--what are your tried and true practices for getting groceries for the best prices?
So speaking of keeping it budget friendly, this recipe is just that. The whole batch costs under $10 if you play your cards right and my calculations are closer to $5-$6 due to minimal ingredients and grabbing store brand peanut butter, bulk chia seeds and then some maple from Aldi. Cheap treats taste so much better, right?
Peanut butter and jelly never ever EVER gets old. Ever.
I eat peanut butter daily--in fact I cannot remember the last time I didn't eat it. Terrible?? Nah. And while peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are amazing, melt in your mouth peanut butter and jelly fudge cups are even better.
I always love a treat after lunch and dinner, just a little something sweet. The last week, these were my post lunch sweet thing and I was sad to see the last one go. They are surprisingly simple to make and even the clumsiest of chefs (like me) can still make them come out pretty.
You can use coconut oil or butter in this recipe. Both will work just fine. If you don't want the coconut flavor from coconut oil, use refined coconut oil. I haven't tried with a vegan butter, but I imagine that would work fine if that is what you prefer. The butter gives it such a rich creaminess like no other. Again, think melt in your mouth--please not in your hands! Hold one of these too long and it will do just that!
As for the chia jam, if you have no time, any jam will do. I love chia jams because they are soooo simple and they have big chunks of fruit which I prefer. I often make my Blueberry Lemon Chia Jam all summer. Oh and its great on these Blueberry Lemon Mini Tarts as well. If you have leftover jam, it is also great on toast, swirled into oatmeal or even as an ice cream topping. So consider these a sweet treat recipe that keeps on giving!
Check out these other recipes:
- P.B. + J. Oat and Nut Bars
- No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Chocolate Crunch Bar Cups
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats
- Maple Cashew Freezer Fudge
- 1 c peanut butter creamy
- 1/4 c butter or coconut oil not melted
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt if your peanut butter is unsalted
- 1 c strawberries fresh or frozen
- 2 tsp maple syrup or preferred sweetener
- 1 1/2 T chia seeds
- Crushed peanuts optional
- In a small bowl, mash strawberries with a fork to the consistency you prefer. I like my jam with chunks of fruit so I don't over mash them.
- Add maple and chia seeds and stir well. Chill for several hours until set and thick. (Again, use store bought jam if you do not have time to make this, it will be fine.)
- In a small sauce pan, combine peanut butter, maple, butter or oil, vanilla and sea salt. Stir consistently over medium heat until smooth.
- Remove from heat and spoon into mini muffin cup liners (works best if placed in mini muffin pan) to coat the bottom.
- Add a spoonful of the jam on top of the peanut butter layer and then top off with another layer of peanut butter fudge.
- Add crushed peanuts on top if desired.
- Repeat until all mixture is used.
- Place in the freezer for approx. 1 hour to set. Then move to the refrigerator until firm.