Six Surprising Ways to Spend Less on Groceries


I walked into the grocery store today determined to buy milk, bread and eggs. I walked out of the grocery store with 30 items. Does that sound like you?

This scenario happened to me over a year ago, and I decided to do something about it. I researched online, talked to seasoned friends and came up with six surprising ways to save money in the grocery store. See if my ideas help you cut your grocery bill too.

Cook From Scratch

Processed foods, such as prepared deli meals and canned soups, served as staples in my menu planning. After all, I was a busy mom with multiple schedules to juggle. Easy was good. However, cooking from scratch turned out to be much cheaper.

My seasoned neighbor showed me how to make several soups from scratch, and they were way cheaper than the canned soups I was buying. Plus, they tasted delicious, included fresh ingredients and pleased my whole family.

Since then, I’ve branched out to make my own meatloaves, mashed potatoes and desserts. Buying ingredients to make my own meals is much cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods, and my grocery budget shows the savings.

Eat Oatmeal

Do your kids gobble up boxes of cold cereal every week? Mine did, and even though I bought generic brands, I still spend dozens of dollars on cereal every month.

My grandma suggested we switch to oatmeal. It’s more filling, healthier and cheaper. I buy big containers because they’re cheaper than individual packets. Then, we add a touch of salt and customize each bowl. On any given day, we might add cinnamon and apples, peaches and blueberries or peanut butter and chocolate chips to our individual servings.

Clip Coupons

Coupons are for grandmas, right? That’s what I thought until I tried it. Just by using the Sunday newspaper inserts, I saved $15 on groceries the first month. From then, I was hooked.

Now, I carry my coupon binder everywhere I go. I look on product boxes, the receipts and online for coupons. A few friends and I even organized a coupon swap every Sunday night. We clip and exchange coupons. It’s a blast, and we know our time is making an impact on our budgets.

Stock Up On Sale Items

Grocery store items have a four week sales cycle. Every four weeks, grocery stores place the same items on sale.

That fact made my life so much easier. Instead of buying frozen vegetables until my freezer bursts, I buy only what I need for four weeks. Then, I stock up again. This sales cycle is a great way to save money without sacrificing on all my family’s favorite foods.

Use Rain Checks

My mom taught me how to do rain checks at department stores, and the same principle applies at the grocery store. When a sales item flies off the shelf and isn’t there when I shop, I can ask for a rain check. Try it and discover how much you’ll save!

Skip Junk Food

As chips and sweets lovers, my family went through junk food like it was going out of style. But those grocery items added tons of fat to our grocery bill and our waistlines. By cutting out junk food purchases, including sodas, I save tons of dough. And we receive enough birthday party invites that we don’t miss junk food at home – although I can’t resist making a cake or batch of cookies every once in awhile.

Staying on budget at the grocery store means I have enough money to cover other household expenses or save for vacation, car repairs or retirement. So, what’s your favorite way to save money on groceries?

By Jen T. Today’s Free Stuff Contributor

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3 Creative Ways to Add Snowflakes to Your Debt Repayment Snowball

cookie jar of money

You’ve heard of the snowball plan to repay debt, right? In a nutshell:

  1. Pay the minimum balance on all your debts except the one with the highest interest rate (or lowest balance, depending on who you talk to).
  2. Every month, pour all your free money into that debt’s payment for as many months as it takes to repay it.
  3. Tackle the next debt on your list. You’ll apply the amount you paid into the newly repaid debt into the monthly payment for the next debt. That’s where the term “snowballing” comes from – because the amount you apply toward debt repayment grows as you repay each debt.
  4. Continue until all your debts are repaid.

Snowballing makes sense, and it works even better when you add extra snowflakes to your snowball each month. Try three creative ways to save money and get out of debt faster.

Freeze Your Credit Card

Many financial advisors suggest waiting 48 hours before you buy an unplanned purchase. But that’s a hard principle to follow when you carry your credit card in your pocket. Freeze it instead, and reduce your risk of making impulse purchases. Just think of all the money you’ll save when you don’t buy all the tools or shoes you see!

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Five Surprising Ways to Boost Your Retirement Account


The New York Times reports that 44 percent of baby boomers don’t have enough money to fulfill all their retirement dreams. Do you? Try five surprising steps that boost your retirement account and increase your financial security.

Host a Exchange Student

Why not put that spare room to good use? Host an exchange student and earn a little extra cash to pad your retirement fund while making a difference in a student’s life.

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Five Easy Ways to Stock Emergency Kits on a Budget


How many emergency kits do you stock? My family follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines that suggest households stock a kit at home, in their vehicles and at work. These kits ensure you always have access to important supplies during natural disasters or evacuations.

But water, batteries and medicines don’t last forever. They expire and need to be replaced at least every six months, which can be expensive. I’ve found a few easy ways to save money while ensuring our kits remain ready at all times.

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How to Enjoy a Romantic Date Night Without Spending a Dime

couple skating

My husband and I have just returned from the most relaxing and peaceful vacation we’ve had in a long time. My parents took our kids, and hubby and I were blissfully left home alone for six full days. Aside from the pleasures of sleeping in, drinking an entire cup of coffee while it’s still hot and eating whenever and whatever we wanted, one of the best parts of our week together is the fact that we barely spent any money.

Yet we feel refreshed, joyful and yes, in love. Maybe our affordable activities will inspire you to enjoy a cheap date night soon too.

Clean the House

Before you start groaning, I have to say that this was the highlight of our week. If your house looks anything like ours, you understand when I say that it needed some deep cleaning. Toys were scattered everywhere, play dough had found its way deep into the playroom carpeting and dust bunnies had invaded the space under the beds. We both felt stressed every time we walked in the door, so we decided to invest in our home and create some peace.

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Garage Sale Tips for Apartment Renters

garage sale

It’s a beautiful summer Saturday morning. You look around your cozy apartment and realize it’s time for a garage sale, but your complex will not allow for it. The frustration begins to set in. We have good news for you. Don’t be discouraged, we have a few tips for you to be able to have that sale even though you live in an small confined space.

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DIY Humming Bird Feeder


Summer is here, flowers are in bloom, and the birds are chirping. Hummingbirds have been flying about and looking for food. Check out this super simple, DIY homemade hummingbird feeder so you can enjoy those little, fast-winged beauties as they fly around collecting all the nectar.

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Free Lawn and Garden Care Services for Military Families

free lawn care for deployed military

There is no better time than today to highlight a great summer freebie for the military!  

This one is  great because it takes one more thing off the plate of those at home waiting for their family member to return safely.  It might seem like a small thing but it could make a huge difference!

Families of those deployed can possibly get  FREE lawn care service from Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program.   This is a great program and all you need to do is complete the registration form and submit to Project EverGreen.  They are also looking for people to help so if you are willing to loan your services out, then this is a great way!

All information is kept confidential. If a volunteer is found in your area, you are notified first and given the contact information of the volunteer. Want to be a volunteer?  You can find out how on their site too!

Important Note from their Website: Due to our overwhelming response, Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program is taking a number of steps to locate landscapers/lawn care operators in your area. They ask for your continued patience as they try to recruit and assign a volunteer to your family.

You will receive an email or phone call only if a volunteer is available in your area. To avoid an email notification of a volunteer being routed to your spam or trash, please add Project EverGreen to your email address book. Thank you.

Money Saving Homemade Hair Treatments

hair treatments

Hair is such an interesting and delicate thing really. We either fall into the category of oily, sun-damaged, fine, normal, or dull, from what I believe. These descriptions led me to research some awkward home hair treatments that help you save money and utilize what their key ingredients are known to do best.

For all basic types of hair, the egg is literally your best friend; not only for its moisturizing qualities, but also to remove those unnecessary oils. The yolk is also high in fats and proteins. A yolk-only based treatment can be done every two weeks, while a whole egg application can be done monthly.

  • Use the entire egg as a conditioner for normal hair, the whites of an egg for oily, and just the yolk for moisturizing brittle/dry hair.
  • 1/2 cup is fine and is best applied to damp, clean hair. Use more of course for longer locks.
  • Be sure to coat the hair and scalp, leaving on for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with cool water and re-shampoo hair after.

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