Today I wanted to bring you some more money saving tips while I toil away on the eCookbook I’m working up for you! I had hoped to have this post up earlier but its been one of those crazy days. Sometimes I feel certain I could be a rich woman if I sold tickets to witness the things I go through in the course of trying to get a post up! ~laughs~
Save Money When Eating Out
We very seldom eat out and this is entirely my fault. I can’t help it, though! Every time we get the check, I look at the total and find myself mentally adding up how many dinners I could have made at home for the same amount of money. Most of the time, eating out with a family of four costs the same amount of money as putting four to six suppers on the table. It is really easy to feed a family of four for under ten dollars a meal at home and feeding them for five dollars is entirely doable as well.
One of the great things about our economy right now (yes, I just said ONE of the MANY great things! – there is always a bright side if you look for it!) is that you can get some amazing deals at restaurants if you only look! We are now able to eat at our favorite steak house for about twenty dollars, all four of us! We have eaten for even less in the past two weeks. How do you do this?
- Plan ahead when eating out and choose your restaurant by the deals the offer.
- Check the restaurant’s website. Sign up for any email newsletters they may have and you will more often than not receive great coupons. Most have a loyalty club of some sort as well. I signed up for Logan’s and Ruby Tuesday’s newsletter and get coupons often from them in my email. You’d be amazed how many restaurants are offering this now!
- Find the restaurants offering deals for kids! Many more places are offering kids eat free programs but some are only on certain days of the week so call ahead. Even with two kids, getting kid’s meals free can easily save over fifteen dollars. I recently found a great post listing some restaurants where kids eat free or cheap on a locally run website, Two Thrifty Sisters, you can view that post here.
- Eat out before four o’clock or on weeknights, this is when you can find the best deals. I find the lack of crowds and wait time much more enjoyable, too! My friend, Mary Anne calls this “Eatin’ out with the paw paws and mee maws” and I can’t think of a finer crowd to dine with!
- Sign up for the Pizza chain’s newsletters. Pizza Hut and Papa Johns send out regular coupons in email.
- Call the restaurant and see if they have any weekday or weeknight specials
- Check the search engines for restaurant deals.
- Don’t forget to hit up your favorite fast food websites! I was recently craving my yearly heart attack meal at Captain D’s and went online to see if they had any deals (Captain D’s food is amazingly good but about as greasy as they come…still SO GOOD!). I signed up for their newsletter and within minutes had a coupon for a free adult dinner. Got my arteries clogged for free! Many major fast food chains are doing this now so it pays to visit their websites and nose around a bit.
Other Ways To Save
Buying a side of beef
This is touted as a miracle worker when it comes to saving money and I have always wanted to do it! My problem is finding someone to buy it from. When we were little my mother’s father gave each family a calf at Christmas and that provided our beef for the entire year. I still remember seeing our freezer filled to the brim with packages of meat wrapped in white paper.
I’ve scoured the internet for a place to purchase a side of beef in my area to no avail. Hopefully some of you will have better luck at this. If you do let me know!
Food Programs That Help
Many people aren’t aware of the programs out there which serve as sort of “food co-operatives” in order for families to be able to buy boxes of groceries at a discount. Many of these programs have no pre-qualifications and welcome anyone to participate. They simply exist to help families save money and still put great meals on the table. One such program is Angel Food Ministries. This program allows participants to purchase a box of food for around $30.00. The food included is set to feed a typical family of four for a week or a senior citizen for a month. Tipnut wrote a great article on this which can be viewed here and goes into more detail
There are other such programs as well though. Please visit the following links for more information on programs such as this and if you know of another one, please let us know about it in the comments!
Freezer Cooking Problem – Where Do I Find The Space?
Thanks again to my sister in law, Tina for her great freezer cooking posts last week. Many of you have emailed or commented asking how to freezer cook with very limited freezer space so I thought I’d show you my favorite method.
I recently mixed up three batches of Cheesy Chicken and Corn Casserole and here is how I froze it:
- Measure out even portions into Gallon (or quart for two people) sized freezer bags.
- Write Instructions on Bags
- Smooth them out flat, removing as much air as possible.
- Freeze flat
- Once frozen, stand them up and stack like bookends.
This takes up very little space! To bake, simply thaw the bag in your fridge the night before and when you are ready pour it into your baking dish.
This is a frozen bag. Okay so it wasn’t exactly flat..but it was awfully close!
My writing translates to: Pour in dish. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Add cheese. Bake til melted. Told ya I have horrendous handwriting.
I also had enough to fill two little loaf pans with casserole for my Grandmother to have as a quick and easy dinner one night. I just filled up my little loaf pans and went ahead and topped them with cheese and wrote instructions directly on the foil for Grandmama.
The most important thing when it comes to saving money on groceries is to PLAN AHEAD. By planning in advance, shopping sales, using coupons and other saving strategies as well as plotting your meals around what you have on hand already, anyone can drastically reduce grocery costs. Southern Savers has recently become my ultimate go to source and I never hit the grocery store without her specials and suggestions printed out and tucked into my purse!
What are your great money saving tips when it comes to feeding your family?
I want to hear them!
Please share with us in the comments below!
I’m a little behind this week in my comments and emails and want to thank you all so much for taking the time to send them to me and post here. Like all of you, I need motivation, too! Your comments are the fuel that keeps me running at full steam! I am so very grateful to each and every one of you.