Category Archives: Frugal Living

Frugal Living Tips: Buying Cheese in Bulk

Buying Cheese In Bulk

In order to be successful in your quest to be frugal, you really have to adjust your whole mindset on how you spend and save your money. Being frugal truly is a change of lifestyle. You must incorporate it into every area of your life. Now before you run the other way, let me explain a little bit. If you are doing really well with one area but you are wasting tons of money in another area, the wastefulness is kind of defeating the whole purpose. You must balance many areas in order to really see a difference in your finances! Let me break it down a little. Today we will talk about one area where you can make some changes.

Aside from your mortgage payment and loans, one of your biggest expenses is probably your food and household expenses. Am I right? With grocery prices constantly on the rise, it is important now more than ever, to watch where every penny of your grocery budget goes.

One of the most effective ways my family has found to save money and live a more frugal lifestyle is to buy in bulk. Of course, when you think of buying in bulk your mind instantly goes to the “Club” stores. Our membership to Sam’s Club is definitely a huge money saver for us and well worth the membership cost every year. But there are so many other ways to buy in bulk as well! I am always keeping my eyes open for new opportunities and new sources to make bulk purchases. We have an opportunity several times a year to participate in a bulk cheese purchase and I also like to purchase from food co-ops.

Do your research ahead of time. Before diving in to a bulk purchase, you need to make sure that it is actually a good deal for that item. I typically look at the price per ounce or per pound and compare with other local retailers or grocery stores. I have a notebook where I keep a comparison list of products that I frequently purchase and the price from the 3 stores I got to on a regular basis. I will share more about my price notebook in a future post. But for now, just keep in mind that bulk doesn’t always mean it is a good deal.

Another thing to seriously consider is do you have the proper storage space for what you are purchasing? If it is cold food, do you have the refrigerator or freezer space? If it is household or toiletry items, do you have the cupboard space? If it is pantry items, do you have the cabinet space? You do not want buying in bulk to become a burden  or make your house look messy and cluttered. You must make sure that you have a plan in place for storage of your bulk items.

Bulk Cheese1

Today, I’m going to share with you how we prepare our bulk cheese. I don’t know about you, but we eat a lot of cheese in our house! So naturally, that was a perfect place for us to start buying in bulk and saving lots of money! We buy several types of cheese in bulk from Sam’s Club. Like I shared above, we also have a great opportunity several times a year to participate in a bulk cheese purchase where we can buy large blocks of cheese.

Bulk Cheese4

There are just a few items you will want to have on hand to make prepping your bulk cheese a little easier. You will want a small kitchen scale and quart size freezer ziploc bags. Dependent on what kind of cheese you buy, you may also need a  slicer. For beginners, I advise just starting out at Sam’s club with pre-shredded/pre-sliced cheese!

Bulk Cheese2

Sam’s Club’s shredded cheese comes in a 5 pound bag. So I always start out by prepping 5 ziplock bags, I write the type of cheese and the date. Then, I add 1 lb of cheese to each bag, seal it up and move onto the next bag.

Bulk Cheese3

For the American cheese slices, I just split each stack into 2 smaller stacks and seal in the bags. I don’t worry about weighing them, I just “eyeball” it.

Bulk Cheese6

For the block of cheese that we manually slice, I count out 10 slices per bag. The blocks of cheese that we buy are usually specialty cheeses. Last time we got horseradish and garlic, so we only need a small amount thawed at a time.

Bulk Cheese5

And of course, don’t forget to add your cheese to your Freezer Inventory!

Good Luck in your bulk-buying adventures!

Simple Crockpot Recipes: BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

Simple Crockpot Recipes BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

Welcome to My Crockpot Series! Throughout this series, I will be sharing my favorite recipes to toss together and throw in the crockpot! Not only are these recipes simple to make but they are also frugal! Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or freezer.

Life is so busy for so many of us and when you come home from a long day at work, there is no better feeling than to know that dinner is already made! I love walking in the door and the smell of dinner greeting me at the door…Best thing ever!

This is one of my favorite crockpot recipes. It has limited, simple ingredients and it is super easy to throw together!

BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

1 onion-finely chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb Kielbasa-cut in 1/4-inch slices
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Ingredients

Onions & Butter
In a skillet, saute the chopped onion in butter until tender.
Saute Onions
Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire and onion in the crockpot.
Stir together and then add the kielbasa. Stir again until kielbasa is covered in sauce.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.Ingredients in Crockpot

Sliced KielbasaPrepare 1 cup of rice per package instructions. Serve kielbasa over rice.BBQ Kielbasa & RIceNow, the only step left is to sit down, relax and enjoy this delicious, easy-to-make meal with your family! Simple Crockpot Recipes BBQ Kielbasa & Rice

 

 

How to be frugal in the kitchen: Food Inventory

Kitchen Inventory

As you know, making frugal choices is very important to me. I strive to be a good steward in everything that I do. I hate to admit this but despite my frugal endeavors, I still find myself throwing away food. Every time you throw away food, you are literally throwing away your money.

If you read my previous post on meal-planning, you know that I recommend taking an inventory of what ingredients you have on hand. This way you know how much food you have and you know when you’re getting low and need to restock. There are a number of reasons this is important:

  • Choosing recipes for your meal plan by using what you already have at home is a wise decision because you obviously won’t have to purchase as many groceries, thus saving money. I always try to make my meal plans around the meat I have on hand in my freezer. This saves a lot of money since meat is such an expensive item. To save money on meat purchases, we purchase meat in bulk and we also eat a lot of wild game (deer, goose, and turkey.)
  • By having an inventory, you are eliminating duplicate purchases and ending up with too many of one item. If I don’t refer to my inventory list prior to making my grocery list, sometimes my memory fails me and I purchase another of an item I already have. Who needs three bottles of the same thing-Not me! And on top of that, if it is an item that you don’t use frequently, you run the risk of throwing it away before you have the opportunity to use it all up! (There’s that wasting money issue again!)

Inside Chest Freezer

I have 2 different freezer inventory lists that I keep on hand. I have an inventory sheet for my chest freezer in the basement which I keep on the freezer so that every time I remove an item, I am reminded to mark it off the list. I also keep an inventory of the freezer upstairs because it holds a lot of food as well. It is important to ensure that you are marking the items off as you use them to keep your list accurate. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t check it off the list as soon as I do it, I will forget! You don’t want all of the time and effort you put into completing the inventory to be wasted. I also keep a list of all of our home-canned items. Again, I keep it on the canning shelf so that when I remove an item, it is handy to mark off the item. I do not currently keep an inventory of my pantry items because all of the items are very visible when I open my cupboards. I don’t see the need to keep a checklist since it is all so easy to see how much I have of each item.

Chest Freezer

So, the inventory process itself is pretty self-explanatory. I take all of the food out of the freezer and organize it on the table. I count how many of each item I have. I use a sheet of graph paper and list the different food items down the left hand side, then I highlight one square for each one of that item (if I have 10 1-lb packages of ground venison, I highlight 10 squares.) Be detailed with your inventory-you always want to know what you have prior to making grocery lists. As I mentioned above, you don’t want to get to the grocery store and over-buy just because you can’t remember if you have a particular ingredient.

This method has definitely saved us a ton of money! It makes my meal-planning and grocery planning a lot simpler since I know what I have on hand. Keeping a food inventory and meal-planning go hand-in-hand! This is an excellent way to add more organization to your kitchen and more order to your homemaking routines!

Kitchen Inventory

 

 

Sunflower 2

Frugal Living…

Back when my husband and I were first married, we made up our minds that we were going to pay off all of our debt so that we could buy the house of our dreams. Me, being the goal oriented person that I am, sat down with a notebook and calculator and started running the numbers. There were checklists made and spreadsheets drawn up showing how long it would take us to pay off each item. We came up with a 5 year plan, made a budget and stuck to it.  I set to work looking for ways to be more frugal with our money and save as much as we could. And the rest is history. Being in this frugal mindset has just stuck with me.

Coin Jug

I absolutely love looking for new ways to be frugal in my everyday life! I love scouring the newspaper ads looking for coupons for items we frequently use. I get super excited when I find good deals on second-hand items-like 24 pint mason jars for $3 at an antique shop!!!

Bargain Mason Jars

I rarely ever buy items full price-I shop the clearance rack, sale ads, and of course, Amazon! I also love seeking out frugal recipes, making homemade cleaning supplies, shopping at bulk food stores, and being creative to save money.

Sunflower 1

It all comes back to being a good steward of the many blessings God has given us. I believe that no matter what your financial situation, you should try to make wise decisions and use those resources you’ve been blessed with to the best of your ability. Being frugal can mean different things to different people and that’s ok! Just make the most of what you have! Be creative and look for new ways to use old things. Try and make due with what you already have on hand rather than running out to the store to buy something new.

Sunflower 2

In the “Frugal Living” section of my blog, I will be sharing the ins and outs of how our family lives frugally. I will be sharing how to make your own cleaners (for pennies!!), buying in bulk and how to store your bulk purchases, planting your own vegetable garden and canning the harvest and many other creative ways to save!! I look forward to sharing my tips and tricks and I hope that it can help you in your own journey to being more frugal!!