Have you ever considered how closely linked intentional living and money are? For our family, budgeting became a critical skill when we decided that I would leave my full-time employment to pursue my goals of being a blogger. I am continually looking for ways to maximize our reduced income, and some days I can’t believe that we haven’t been implementing these ideas all along! Today I want to share with you the BEST way to save money on groceries without using coupons.
It’s a CRAZY easy way to save hundreds and, depending on the size of your family, possibly THOUSANDS of dollars every year. We’ve done it, and we’ll never go back! Imagine what you could do with an extra $500 each year. What would an additional $750 or $1100, or even more, mean to you over 12 months? And it’s so SIMPLE!! Here’s how we save money: With Meatless Meals! Originally, we started with Meatless Mondays and we saw an immediate win. Based on one meatless meal per week, for our family of three, I calculated that we could save about $350 a year. So then we decided that if we can do one meatless meal, why not two? The $700 that we can save on meat pays for our house insurance AND life insurance for a year.
How do we save so much?
In looking at the cost of meat these days, it just makes sense to cut back where you can. For us, it looks like this:
For our family, eating meat 7 nights a week costs us approximately $50 per week. We pay $25 for a large pack of ground beef and $25 for a family pack of chicken at Costco. We get our weekly meals out of those two packs, which includes lunches as well. Over the course of one year, at those prices, we are spending roughly $2600 on meat alone. Ouch. However, if we only eat meat on five out of seven nights (or 71%, for you fun math folks), we could save $754. Add in the occasional week when we might only have meat four times, and we are WELL over $800 in savings. And so EASY!
For a family of 5, you can basically double the numbers above. Can you imagine having an extra $1500 in your budget each year? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me. Consider what you would do with that found money!
The key, however, is to ensure that you take your savings and apply it in a different area. What I like to do is keep my grocery budget the same, regardless of what I’m spending, and set the savings aside. That way, the money is available to me when I need it. As I mentioned above, it covers our annual house insurance and life insurance premiums. On the other hand, it could give me “free” groceries for six weeks – I currently budget $600 per month for our groceries. What could you do with the extra that you’re able to set aside by simply not having chicken at two meals each week?
What do you eat instead?
So how do we replace the meat, and ensure we are getting our protein? It’s actually not that difficult. We eat eggs, which are very inexpensive. Quinoa and beans are so filling and satisfying, and cost a fraction of the price of meat.
In the cooler months, we love a nice big bowl of soup with fresh bread, which I make myself in this awesome Hamilton Beach Bread Maker. This is the exact model that I use, and I love it. Quick and easy meals like tomato soup with grilled cheese will ALWAYS be a favourite in our house. In the summer, when it’s hot outside, having a nice big salad full of fresh veggies and fruit is plenty. We don’t need to eat heavy meals based around meat like we’ve been trained to do. If you get creative (or spend five minutes on Pinterest), you can create some pretty amazing meals that are not based on meat. Depending on your family’s eating habits, it may take some getting used to, but once you embrace it, the money you save will be worth the absence of meat once or twice a week.
I HIGHLY recommend checking out all these recipes, and staying to browse through the extensive collections of amazing recipes and great life tips! You won’t be disappointed.
Going forward, I am inclined to alternate types of meals throughout the week. Having meat every second night is quite sufficient to keep us satisfied, but the impact on our budget is so significant, I don’t see how we aren’t ALL doing it! After all, having an extra $1300 per year to apply to other areas of our lives is a total game-changer. Spending $100 per month on meat instead of over $200 allows for some significant modifications in our budget. Now that I’ve found the best way to save money on groceries without using coupons, you KNOW I’ll be doing it forever. And in my books, that’s being both intentional AND smart.
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