Frugal Living

Best tips for saving money on groceries

  • Keep a stocked pantry and shop your pantry first
  • Watch grocery sales and only restock your pantry when prices are low
  • Plan your dinner menus in advance – when you know what is for dinner, you are less likely buy prepared foods
  • Your butcher is your friend – if roasts are cheaper than ground beef, ask the butcher to grind the roast for you
  • Shop discount grocers like Aldi and Trader Joe’s
  • Find less expensive spices – many Amish and Mennonite stores offer deeply discounted spices, and spices on on the ethnic food aisle are significantly less expensive than those on the spice aisle
  • If delivery is available in your area, take advantage of it – you won’t be tempted to add extras to your cart if you aren’t at the store
  • Plan your leftovers – food thrown away is money thrown away
  • Give our Frugal Mom Menus a try

Try the Frugal Mom Menu

The Frugal Mom Menu plans frugal dinner menus so you don’t even have to think about it. Just… Print. Shop. Cook. The menus enable you to…

  • Save time – We plan for you
  • Eat out less – You’ll know what’s for dinner each night
  • Feel like a good cook – Our recipes are tried ‘n true, have been tested and family-approved, and are fast and easy
  • Grocery shop with our list – Everything is already included for dinners for the week
  • Save money – No more trips back to the store when there’s nothing in the pantry for dinner despite a huge grocery bill
  • Take advantage of local sales – Because you control when you restock your pantry items, you can buy them when they are on sale

Get started now »

Free Menu Planner Pages

Trying to keep your grocery bill on budget can be a challenge. There are many websites, articles, and books to give you ideas for your own meal planning on a budget. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to come in within a grocery budget is that if you don’t have a plan, you will never make your budget goals. The Menus 4 Moms™ meal planner is an excellent tool for this.

The Secret to Saving on Spices

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries I love to keep a nice variety of spices in my spice collection, but I don’t like paying the typical high prices for them. Keep reading to find out my favorite trick to save money on spices. I have several ways of saving on spices, starting with buying in bulk. Amish and Mennonite stores often have bulk foods that are available at significant savings, but only a few areas have the benefit of these type stores. Warehouse clubs are another great place to buy spices – I can get an enormous jar of Montreal Steak or Montreal Chicken seasoning at ... [Read More...]

The New (Ab)normal

The New (Ab)normal “Portion sizes have been growing. So have we. The average restaurant meal today is more than four times larger than in the 1950s. And adults are, on average, 26 pounds heavier. If we want to eat healthy, there are a few things we can do for ourselves and our community: Order the smaller meals on the menu, split a meal with a friend, or, eat half and take the rest home.” Not only is all of this extra food adding to our bodies, it’s emptying our wallets. Combining reducing portion sizes with reducing waste, we can save a significant amount ... [Read More...]

Top Ten Budget Busters

Many people make sincere attempts to set up a household budget and get themselves together financially, but too often these attempts fail. And for those with the most difficult financial circumstances, it may take several attempts to finally create a plan that works. We’ve talked a lot about how to get started with budgeting (and back on track), but let’s look at some of the budget busters that may be throwing us off track in the ... [Read More...]

Frugal Living Websites

Great Depression Cooking – 93 year old cook and great grandmother, Clara, recounts her childhood during the Great Depression as she prepares meals from the era. Learn how to make simple yet delicious dishes while listening to stories from the Great Depression. The video featured is the most recent one made, so if you would like to start at the beginning, look for Episode 1. Fractured Frugal Friends – With both free and premium (but inexpensive) content, F3 is a tightknit community of members dedicated to frugal living with very active message boards. You will find articles about bulk cooking, frugal ... [Read More...]

Tablescaping Chic on the Cheap

Most of us who are decorating on a budget at some point decide to entertain in our homes, and would like to do so with a little pizzazz! Unfortunately, many TV shows and magazines would have you believe you must spend $100 and up (on a budget, they claim) to dress your table for an event. Nonsense! Here are some great ways to create a smashing tablescape using creativity, not cash! Choose a theme for your table. It could be a color theme, nature, sports, holiday, tea party or a celebration. Use your imagination. Now create a centerpiece. Remember to keep it ... [Read More...]

Meals For Hard Times

This series from Dee Ann Guzman has been helpful to hundreds of moms suddenly finding themselves in hard times and needing to feed a family with the absolute minimum amount. The prices may be off due to rising grocery costs, but the overall plan is still helpful. I am writing this for Moms who sometimes have to feed several children on very little money. We all get to this place at one time or another. I don’t know where you live, but I live in Oklahoma. Here, Save-a- Lot foods is one of the best places to pick up deals. However on ... [Read More...]

These Hard Economic Times

I keep asking myself, “Has the world gone crazy?” What are people talking about when they say “these hard economic times?” I am so confused because I hear so many people say these are such hard economic times but, at the same time, what I see happening with my own eyes and hearing with my ears is a totally different story. Let me give you some examples what I mean. Are these examples of hard economic times? Last year we spent more at Christmas and all year shopping than the year before. Americans spend 500 million dollars a year ... [Read More...]

How to Save Money on Groceries by Reducing Food Waste

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries Most articles on maximizing your food dollars focus on buying food in bulk, buying food at warehouses, stocking up at sales and related tips. The theme is to always buy as much food as possible for the least amount of money. These tips do work, especially if you have a large family. However, one often overlooked aspect of saving money on food is to buy just the amount your family needs and avoid any waste. A study from a researcher at the University of Arizona concluded that American households dump $43 billion worth of food a year. This is approximately 14 ... [Read More...]

Save Up to 50% on your grocery bill!

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries I have discovered the secret of saving money feeding babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Well, I can’t take the credit for it. My mom taught it to me many years ago but I didn’t put it into practice until the first financial crisis we had when my husband was laid off. What I have been practicing now for many years has now become one of the new buzz phrases — “portion control”. Usually when we think of portion control it is in connection with dieters and not young children or saving money. Most American parents serve themselves and their children huge portions of ... [Read More...]

Saving On Your Grocery Budget When You’re Tired

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries Robbi writes: I have fibromyalgia and a host of other ailments, most of them chronic. There are days when I just want to grab the first things I see and get out of the store and back home to rest. How do you get your shopping done for the week without killing yourself and destroying your budget in the process? Jill: I know it can be very hard to go to the grocery store when you are sick. My daughter Tawra and I both have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and once went, parked in the store parking lot and had to turn ... [Read More...]

Save Money Being Polite

People often ask how I always get such good deals, like the excellent deal I got on my washer and dryer. One of the ways I am able to get better prices on things is just by being nice. A lot of times, if I have a problem and have to talk to customer service, I will get extra items on top of my original purchase just because when I called I was nice about my complaint (like additional formula coupons on top of free formula when I got a bad container). Because we sell products, we also have to deal ... [Read More...]

Save on Groceries Before You Leave Home

One of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bill starts before you even leave the house. It’s no extra work, you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything and you don’t have to clip any coupons. What is it? Stop wasting food. On average most families throw away 50% of the food they buy. If you have trouble believing that then watch your family’s eating habits for the next few days. How many times did your child eat only half of his lunch or dinner or drink only half of his glass of ... [Read More...]

Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs this Winter

Approximately 40% of winter home energy bills involves heating.  Here are some simple tips for cutting back on your home energy costs this winter: Heating: Change furnace air filters regularly (once a month or according to manufacturer’s recommendations). Schedule a cleaning/maintenance call each year for your furnace. Install a programmable thermostat. Turn down the heat one degree during the day.  Lower the heat by ten degrees at night. Make sure your furniture and carpets don’t cover or block vents or air ducts. ... [Read More...]

Save on School Lunches

It’s August and that familiar time of year when yellow school buses fill the neighborhoods. You’re back to hectic mornings, finding everyone’s books and papers and trying to get them out of the door on time… and you now have 180 lunches to make over the next 9 months if you have 1 child and 720 if you have 4 — But hey, who’s counting? I can’t help you eliminate all of the hectic morning activity, but maybe I can help you with those 720 lunches.  Here are a few lunch and snack ... [Read More...]

Saving Time and Money with Stashes

Gas is nearly $3.20 a gallon here in northeast Wisconsin. My husband and I are fortunate that we both work at home, so we don’t have commuting expenses. But there are still many places we have to go. With the nearest large city an hour away, we’re trying to conserve gas by combining trips there. For example, if I need to take someone to the doctor for a check-up, I think ahead to which stores I pass by on the way home, ... [Read More...]

Stop Eating Your Way Into Debt

At this time of year, there are usually 3 things people are panicking about: how to lose weight, how to save money, and how to get organized. We have already touched on losing weight so this week I would like to touch on saving money. Hopefully most of you realize that you can get into deep debt if you buy a house or a car you can’t afford. That seems to be pretty obvious, although a lot of people do it anyway. But that is not what I want to deal with today. The Bible talks about the little ... [Read More...]

Well Stocked Pantry: Freezer

Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items [Read More...]

Well Stocked Pantry: Refrigerator & Produce

Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items [Read More...]

Well Stocked Pantry: Non-perishables

Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items Part 1: The well-stocked pantry Part 2: Pantry items Part 3: Refrigerator items Part 4: Freezer items [Read More...]

The Well Stocked Pantry

A well-stocked pantry can be the difference between mealtime crisis and a stress-free family dinner. No one cook’s pantry will look the same as another, but you can determine what should be in your pantry by what you use often. We break down our list into Pantry, Refrigerated, and Freezer Items in the Busy Mom Menu and Frugal Mom Menu because keeping the freezer and refrigerator well-stocked is just as important as keeping a stocked pantry. We do not suggest that you go out out and purchase everything you see on these lists. Purchase only what you use and stock ... [Read More...]

Seven Tips to Help With Household Budgeting

Do you frequently get cash from ATMs and then have no idea where it ends up? Do you end up paying late fees simply because you don’t have a good system in place for tracking and paying your bills? If you don’t have a good budget system in place, it is easy to lose track of your hard earned money. The tips below can help you to keep your finances under control. Keep your financial records organized and your filing up to date. Have a set of file folders for items such as receipts, bills, canceled checks, checking account statements, etc. ... [Read More...]

How to Maximize Coupon Savings

In the past week there has been some discussion on the Menus4Moms™ Yahoo Group about the Grocery Game ( I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of my feelings on ways to grow your coupons savings while grocery shopping. First, let me say that I have also used the Grocery Game on and off for the past couple of years. I have recently returned to AVID coupon shopping and have saved $841 using coupons since mid-March (net savings – reduced by the cost of Grocery Game, additional newspapers and coupons I have purchased online). I like the Grocery ... [Read More...]

Saving Time and Money at the Grocery Store

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries Most experts agree that customer loyalty in the grocery sector is virtually dead. Ten years ago it was somewhat unusual for a consumer to drive past the closest grocery store to shop at a competing store. Today, within a few mile radius, eight supercenters and chains can be fighting it out, in a market which the experts might say can only support three or four. So while the chains struggle to find their niche and battle on price, the price conscious shopper benefits. It’s a critical juncture for the grocers. Food price inflation has ... [Read More...]

Save on Groceries

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries It seems like every time there is an increase in the price of fuel, the price of food goes up. With all of the food that is transported from far away this makes sense, except that the price of food never seems to go back down when gas prices return to lower levels. We’ve found several ways to help us save on groceries that can be applied for most people no matter where you live. Most of them integrate with the Busy Cook’s Pyramid, which can save you time as well as money. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach – We ... [Read More...]

6 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Child’s Birthday Party

Kids love parties, but what they really love is when the party is for them. The process of planning and throwing the party can be a fun time for parents as well. But it can also become quite easy to go over budget as the ideas, creativity and excitement begin to grow. However, with some careful planning and frugal practices, you can learn to still have a wonderful party that will not leave you broke in the end. Tip #1: Bulk ... [Read More...]

Frugal Tips for A Cleaner Kitchen!

Everyone I know likes a sparkling clean kitchen…but no one I know is fond of spending a lot of time in the kitchen! With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you keep your kitchen shining with a minimum investment of time! 1. Before serving dinner, run a sink full of very hot soapy water. When everyone fnishes eating, they can each wash and rinse their own plate! 2. For easy cleanup, after using, fill your blender container with warm water, add a few drops of liquid detergent, and ... [Read More...]

Feeding a Family for $400 a Month?

Tawra Kellam, editor of, does something that most people think they can’t do today. She feeds her family of 6 for $400 a month. Most people say that’s an impossible feat but what’s even more impressive is that she does it without using coupons. [Read More...]

50 Ways to Save Big at the Grocery Store

Menus4Moms: Save on Groceries It is rewarding to learn new ways to save big at the grocery store.  Many of these tips to save money start in your home, before you ever get to the store.  Some involve careful planning and using what you already have to the fullest potential, so you won’t need to buy as much at the grocery store.  Remember, you only pay taxes on purchases made, so buying less means lower taxes for you.  I’ll give you some pointers, many of which I’m sure you are already putting into practice.  In that case, you might want to use this article as a checklist ... [Read More...]

For the Love of Money

One of the biggest factors in most of our money problems come from the fact that we deal with our money emotionally. If you don’t think money and emotions are tied together, think again. Take a serious look at all the ways your money and emotions are connected. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to see if you deal with your money emotionally and if there are things you need to change. Are you an emotional shopper? Do you shop when you get upset? Do you buy more then you should because of what ... [Read More...]

Can You Afford to Stay Home?

Many families that have both parents working would like to be able to have one parent stay at home when their children are young, but are not sure if they can afford it financially. Below are some tips to see if living on one income might be the right choice for your family. For additional information, visit the web site Always Frugal for an article on tips for living on one income. Make a One Income and a Two Income Budget If you don’t already have a home ... [Read More...]

Back to school, or back to the poor house?

Back to school is a time when many moms witness their money sprout wings and take flight, finding their homes at retail stores across America. I know that consumer spending is good for the economy, but I don’t take it upon myself to keep the entire US economy propped up, so when my first-grade son announced that he wanted a backpack with rollers, I saw this as a wonderful financial teaching moment. His school is small, and he doesn’t walk to or from school. He didn’t need rollers. I told my son that I would give him $8 ... [Read More...]

Save $400 on School Lunches This Year!

These days in America, it seems that everyone is so busy that preparing school lunches is liable to push a typical mom right over the edge. When you have to choose between making school lunches or spending that extra 15 minutes in bed, it seems like buying ready made lunches at the store is a no-brainer, but your budget doesn’t agree. The average mom packs $2.00 worth of pre-packaged goodies into each lunch she sends to school with her kids. (That works out to $720 for 2 kids.) What mother hasn’t wondered ... [Read More...]

Shopping at Aldi

I spend $250-$300 a month on groceries for my family of five. One of the best things I do to keep my budget is to do most of my food shopping at Aldi. You can get a good price, get in and get out fast and you don’t have to mess with using coupons. Aldi is a small discount warehouse store. It is not an outlet store and does not sell outdated or rejected products. They offer a double your money back guarantee for all of their products. If you don’t like it, they will give you your money back plus ... [Read More...]

3 Tricks to Eat Healthy Even When Money Is Tight

There is an unfortunate fact of life that many high nutrient, low fat, low calorie foods are expensive, while many nutrient free, calorie dense foods are cheap. This can make buying and cooking healthy foods for yourself and your family quite a challenge, particularly when the food budget is limited. With some advance planning, however, it is still possible to create a week full of wonderful, nutritious meals, not matter how small your food budget. The key is to plan ahead, shop smart, and make the most out of the foods you buy. ... [Read More...]

Thirteen Ways To Reduce Your Food Budget

When trying to cut expenses, food is a great place to start because there are so many opportunities to save. One way to watch your savings pile up and be able to use it for a goal, such as a vacation, down payment on a home or paying off debt, is to put the cash you saved from any purchase into an envelope or a jar until you get enough to make a bank savings deposit. Make a strict rule to not use the money for anything else but your goal. Here are thirteeen easy ways to reduce your food ... [Read More...]

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