A lot of little changes have made the difference, but one key principle was identifying and changing our budget busters.
I'll demonstrate with a few areas that made a good chunk of that difference (obviously, individual results may vary):
- Snacks -- My meals generally fit our budget goals, but all the nuts, pretzels, cheese, crackers, and fruit consumed between meals really added up. We made three changes in the snacking department:
- We started eating a lot of popcorn (made on the stove, not in the microwave). Even eating it a few times a week we only go through about $1.50 worth of popcorn each month. I used to spend close to that each day on snacks. That one change has saved us over $15 each month.
- Leftovers. I almost consider this free food. When I serve leftovers for a meal it meets with a less than enthusiastic response, but somehow half a cheeseburger for a snack is really cool.
- Reduce the more costly snacks to once every week or two. Nuts and cheese and healthy crackers are not cheap, so we don't have them as often any more. Plain and simple.
- Bread -- Garlic Bread, pizza crust, waffles, cinnamon rolls, sandwich bread all took a huge dent out of our grocery budget. I now make garlic bread less frequently, and make our bread from scratch as much as possible. And, we only have sandwiches about once a week. Healthier, and it has saved us over $30 each month.
- Stocking up -- I always thought I stocked up. When something I used went on sale, I bought a couple. Now I stock pile. When an item we use regularly appears on sale for that magic price, I buy enough to last me a couple months (more or less depending on how perishable the item). This has made an especially big different in the meat department, and my freezer is rarely lacking something for dinner. Just on meat this has saved me about $30 a month.
Other little changes helped as well (coupons, shopping sales, avoiding waste, etc.), and I keep my focus on saving a little bit more as time goes by. The continual progress is exciting.
More Kitchen Tips.
More WFMW, the frugal edition.
More Frugal Friday.
Check out more of my all time favorite frugal tips.
And, some of my adventures in baking from scratch (cinnamon rolls, pancakes, bread).