Frugal Foodie Efforts This Week

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Let’s talk turkey. Or at least how we saved money on food this week. 

Our Frugal Foodie Efforts This Week

Saving money on food costs doesn’t just happen at the grocery store. It happens in the kitchen, on the road, and at the drive-thru. We all gotta eat, right? I mean food procurement has been one of the chief occupations of man since the dawn of time.

Our habits can effect our expenses. Better habits mean better money savings.

This week, I thought I’d share the little ways that our family is working to save money on food costs. A penny saved is a penny earned, and all that jazz.

Here are our frugal foodie efforts of the week:

Our Frugal Foodie Efforts This Week

–> I used leftover rice and beans from Saturday night to make this Rice and Black Bean Salad for Sunday’s lunch.

–> For this week’s date, my husband and I used an old Groupon from 2011. It was expired, but there was value still on it, $15 to be exact. I’ve since learned not to buy Groupons for places that you have to drive too far to get to. We were in the neighborhood this week, so we reclaimed our $15.

–> I made and froze Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Scones. This was nice for me, testing the gf waters a bit, so that I didn’t buy commercial products that taste bad.

–> One day when FishPapa and I had run errands and wanted a quick lunch, we stopped into Trader Joe’s and bought $3 salads that were hugely filling, instead of getting pricier restaurant fare. Since we have different preferences in salads, we each got our way without spending too much.

–> I used frozen lemon juice from my dad’s trees to make homemade Caesar Dressing (recipe in my new cookbook). 

Our Frugal Foodie Efforts This Week

–> FishPapa also bought two boxes of cereal and half a gallon of milk at Trader Joe’s. He ate that for break time and some lunches this week.

–> I stocked up on ice cream at Ralphs “Buy 5 and Save” Sale. We like Breyers the best. Each almost quart container was $2.99 on sale. I filled the freezer and didn’t tell anyone, so we’ll have ice cream for the next month or two without spending a fortune.

–> I used the Ralphs digital coupon app to save more money off my purchase.

–> FishPapa has taken on a weekly Costco stop. This means many things in terms of frugality:

  1. I don’t have to do it. I’m usually the one tempted to go “off-list” and spend more money on things I hadn’t planned for. My husband is very good about buying exactly what’s on the list. His one splurge is usually socks; three teen boys now have man-size feet.
  2. Weekly instead of monthly trips assure me I don’t have to put “all the things” on the list, just the ones we need for the coming week.
  3. Bonus points: He buys gas for my car so I don’t have to go to the sketchy Mobil station down the road. Costco has the cheapest gas in town as well.
  4. Extra bonus: FishChick7 chose Costco hot dog for her Dinner with Dad (a weekly treat for one child each week). That means DwD didn’t cost much this week!

–> One night I had a craving for Chipotle and decided to give in. However, it was the dinner rush and our online order was going to take an hour before pickup. (I’m sorry, but ordering for eight people at Chipotle in person is cruel and unusual punishment.) I ditched the idea and made our own Chipotle bowls at home. Everyone liked it better than “the real deal”, especially since I made the Cilantro-Lime Rice (recipe in my new cookbook).

–> It’s a good thing we ate in that night. In my rummaging in the fridge, I found that a carton of milk had leaked all over. I was able to salvage a lot of food in the drawers below it as well as get it cleaned sooner.

–> FishBoy18 packed his lunches all week and most days took FishPapa a lunch also. This saves at least $10 a day combined, if not more, plus they eat more healthfully. (My son goes to the college where my husband works which is very convenient!)

–> I made homemade pizza dough for pizza night instead of ordering out. It tastes better, is better for us, and costs way less.

Those are some of our frugal foodie efforts for the week. Or at least the ones I remember.

I’d love to hear what you did this week to save money on food.

What were YOUR frugal foodie efforts this week?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Jenn says

    I crock-pot’d 5# of chicken, shredded/cut it up into chunks and made Tarragon Chicken salad and Chicken curry salad for lunches all week (saved us about $12/day on lunches). Crock-pot’d a pork loin for one meal, leftover meat cooked into 2cans of pintos (that were ninja-blended) and a can of green chilis to make some amazing burritos that everyone liked; still have leftover pork loin for BBQ tomorrow (once I get some buns).

  2. Jessica S says

    I LOVE this catagory!

    Last weekend husband was helping his parents and had #3 with him so I ordered pizza delivery for me and the other 2 kids ( mama was super exhausted!- one pizza was free with points and the other was the deal of the day
    Leftover slices were immediately individually wrapped and sent to school in lunch boxes!

    I packed my lunch and extra beverages for work knowing I would be there all day getting ready to start the new preschool year! ( avoided the 1.50/drink machine!)

    Used up random partial packages of veggie burgers, frozen veggies and fruits from freezer and fridge on Meatless Monday !

    Stopped by grocery store, even though I really wanted to get home, to stock up on more cheap produce the last night of the weekly sale- .99 canteloupes and .99/lbs grapes..

    Have found some great deals lately stacking store sales, coupons, and cash back offers from savingstar and Ibotta.. Have not redeemed earnings yet.. might tunr those into gift cards for holiday shopping!

  3. Laura says

    Let’s see…
    Last night we had homemade pizza and garden cukes
    Thursday I was home very late but fought take out urge and tag teamed skillet chicken and broccoli with hubs-meal was late but homemade and on the cheap as per our meal plan
    Purchased small amounts of cilantro and parsley from store (neither did well in the garden this year:( so I could make big batches of homemade salsa and tabbouleh
    Rescued some compost-destined leftovers by sharing meal with my great aunt before the food went bad and baked some freezer muffins for her as well. hubs took lunch with him all week instead of buying a sub…win-win for health and cost. As someone else mentioned, scored some great coupon combos with paper and online loyalty card coupons.
    And lastly, made a 3×7 meal plan as back to school means more organization is needed to prevent the wheels from falling off!!

    Good work everyone:)

  4. Stephanie M. says

    I used only what I had in the house, slowly diminishing things I have in the freezer, fridge, and pantry. I also made some freezer breakfast meals, like raisin bran muffins, breakfast bowls, breakfast casserole, pancakes, and turkey sausage. By doing this, I don’t have to struggle in the morning trying to figure out what to make hubby for breakfast. I also used up some leeks and potatoes and made some vichyssoise which was so welcome during the heat wave we are so much enjoying here. LOL. I also bought several pint size containers of Haagen Daaz ice cream on sale, baked some cookies and made homemade ice cream sandwiches for the freezer.

    • Heather M says

      Nice work, Stephanie! It’s good to be back, finally! I am in the opposite situation of you: just restocked after being gone much of the summer. Looking forward to creativity and fun in the kitchen. Your comment was inspiration!

      • Stephanie M. says

        Hi Heather! Welcome back. I remember you saying that you would be gone most of the summer. Hope you and your family had a great time!! Now that you’re home and you’re all restocked, I’m sure you’re going to come up with all kinds of wonderful things. 🙂 I have pantry challenge on the brain already and it’s only September. I think I’m always in pantry challenge mode but I do better when I’m held accountable. Ha Ha.

        • Heather M says

          I kind of get the same thing going w/wanting to do pantry challenges. Now since I’ve spent so much $$ over the summer and on restocking, I want to challenge myself to use what we have and only buy what we need. Should be fun for the next month or so. In mid-October my parents come for three weeks, and I’ll have to do my best to keep us eating in and eating healthy. Hopefully I’ll be in such a healthy cooking groove that I’ll just keep it up. When we were with them for 3 weeks, they cooked most dinners and fed us healthy good food (a contrast to many years that we eat out every other meal at least!). Time for me to pay them back with the same. Looking forward to more interactions here with you this Fall!

          • Stephanie M. says

            Heather, I’m sure you’re an awesome cook. And maybe we can trade recipes. I love to get new recipes from friends. So if you ever want to try something new, let me know and I’ll send something new your way. And maybe you can send me some new things too. I also am looking forward to speaking with you more as you settle down over the next few months. In the meantime, enjoy your upcoming visit with your parents and stay happy and healthy you and your whole family! 🙂

        • I love it that you two have bonded. 😉

  5. Victoria says

    Didn’t think you could have dairy or sweets on Whole 30. So how did the ice cream come in??

    • This blog is not exclusively Whole 30. I share a variety of recipes. When I’m eating paleo/gluten-free, the rest of my family (husband and six children) do not. 😉

  6. Dale says

    This was very helpful and encouraging! You should make “Frugal Foodie” a weekly thing on the blog. I mean, I know you talk about this stuff all the time anyway, but it’s great to see so many tips all in one place! (And read all the comments too, which I don’t usually do!) My best frugal foodie “win” this week was making a big batch of black bean salsa and buying a Costco-size bag of pita chips to serve as an easy, somewhat healthy go-to snack throughout the week. I even stirred in a big scoop of the salsa when I made plain quinoa to turn it into a yummy southwest quinoa salad.

    • Sounds delicious! And yes, I’m thinking of making it a weekly thing if folks like it. 🙂

      • coleen says

        A weekly Frugal Foodie post would be fun.

        • Lisa says

          I would love to see a weekly Frugal Foodie post! We’ve been spending a lot of money this summer and I am determined to buckle down and stick to my budget starting NOW. This post was motivational for me. Thank you!

  7. Sandi says

    My fridge was so full of stuff it was crazy, so this week was basically just eating up all the leftovers and bits of things that was there before it spoiled. I also finally defrosted and reorganized the garage freezer to update my inventory list. The ice had overgrown everything and looked like an alien so simply removing all the ice freed up half a shelf! However, the amount of food in there plus the tiny house freezer is still completely ridiculous. My dry goods have been depleting – almost uncomfortably so in a few areas – but apparently half of it has been turned into something else and put into the freezer which is now near to bursting. So, my frugality was not so much in what was or was not spent this week but rather knowing what I have so I can refrain from spending money next week. Or the week after that, hopefully!

  8. Heather M says

    Yay! I’m back reading your blog after being out of town most of the summer. Which also means there was zero frugality this week, since I had to do a massive Costco run and a full Trader Joe’s shopping. We hadn’t bought much since early July, and things were cleaned out. I guess you could say we were frugal because we didn’t eat out this week, except the hubs and daughter who went on a daddy-daughter date tonight for sushi. Plus, I’m so over eating out and not being home and cooking, and eating too much junk, etc. It’s time to eat all meals at home and cook and eat healthily for a nice long stretch. $560 at Costco (ok, that included toiletries–$50 for the hubs’ razor replenishing alone!) and $93 at Trader Joe’s was a lot for a week. But we needed things desperately. Out of proteins, needed drinks and things for school lunches. Basically a resupply of everything. But that was a huge amount for one trip. Good thing we have lots of options now, and will only need to buy fresh items for the next several weeks.

    Hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend!

    • I think you did great, and I know you’ll use it up. 🙂

    • Molly says

      I totally get the “ready to be home and eat HOME FOOD” mentality.
      Don’t beat yourself up over the huge grocery bill this week – it happens! I didn’t go to the Spice House for a year (we moved from Chicago to STL), and when I finally got there, I spent the entire amount I would have during the year, but all at once instead of spread out.
      Maybe divide that giant amount by weeks or months and feel better about it. 🙂

  9. Stephanie M. says

    I’m also voting for a weekly frugal foodie post. It would give all of us new ideas. I think it would be fun.

    • I think it’s a good fit for our crowd. .:)

      • Stephanie M. says

        I think so too. Maybe you can even call it Frugal Fridays! Ha Ha.

  10. Theresa M. says

    Had some friends over for snacks and desserts. There were quite a few leftover nibblies, like cubed salami, mozzarella pearls, roasted red peppers, olives and baguette. I made a big batch of pasta and tossed in the nibblies along with a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto for a great pasta salad that we had in work/school lunches during week. I used the baguette to make croutons for a panzanella salad with tomatoes and herbs from the garden.

  11. Lee says

    We are having a mini pantry challenge, but when I had a fail at dinner Saturday night (made bread that didn’t look like bread) and had to run to the grocery store for backup, and while I was there I spent almost $60. I did, however, plan pretty effectively for the next two weeks.

  12. caroline says

    Are there many vegetarian recipies in your new book?

    • If you’re good with eggs and/or dairy, definitely! I’m not absolutely sure on the number though.

  13. I had a bunch of apples in the fruit bowl that had been in there way too long and were pretty wrinkled. Instead of composting them, I peeled them, cut out the bad spots, and made applesauce.

  14. Crystal says

    We were camping in Grand Teton National Park this weekend(friday-monday). I planned in advance and brought a lot of food for us- good, healthy, easy prep food we could make and eat with little effort in hopes of keeping the eating out on our trip to a minimum. We thought we would have to eat out for at least 3 meals. We ended up only eating out for 1!. And that was a total fluke situation- we were driving home and 30 minutes from our house(after driving for 6 1/2 hours already) we were stopped because the road was closed because of a forest fire that had just started. Bummer! The hubs had just had it. We could have made food we had with us, but we were all tired and hungry and sick of being in a car, not to mention dirty and smelly from camping! We hit a burrito place and fed the family(5 people) for $15. Our trip ended up being a couple hundred dollars less than we had planned! Score for us! That was how we ate well for less this week!

  15. Liz says

    Just got your new book delivered yesterday, can’t wait to dig in! I’m having a sort of pantry challenge, we are moving in a couple of weeks and I didn’t realize how much food we’ve stockpiled in our freezers, fridge and pantry. Not really seeing much of a dent so I have been giving a lot of food away but I still want to use up as much as possible from the freezer before we move. Don’t want to move a full freezer lol

    • Thanks so much for your support. I hope you like it!

      • Molly says

        Oh my goodness, this happens to us, too! We’ll have some warning the next time we move, and it’ll probably take us 3 months to use up most of the pantry. It’s on a rotating basis, but I like having my variety of items available!

  16. lili says

    Ive been doing a lot of freezer/ fridge /pantry scavenging while working a lot.
    Work lunches of frozen leftovers, yogurts from sale + ibotta deals, smoothies of bananas frozen from brown bananas huge bag for 99 cents.
    Made a decent dinner of an old pita bread topped with aging cheese odds and ends, csa tomato and seasonings.
    need to get busy harvesting pears to swap for fancy jams from a local jammer.

  17. Donna says

    I love this Frugal Foodie idea! I miss Grocery Geek, but I realize that is a ton of work and pictures for you. Frugal Foodie would be a great sub! I love reading all the comments too!

  18. Kelly Hess says

    1- We used leftover side dishes from our Labor Day picnic to compliment our homemade sloppy joe’s on Tuesday.
    2 – We used the left over smoked beef roast my in-laws brought on Sunday to make a beef and noodle soup on Wednesday!

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