I love working to provide and prepare things for my family. Since I don’t bring in a regular income, I do my best to save us money and provide healthy meals on a budget. Typically all the things I do on a regular basis are spread out throughout the month/quarter, but this time they all seemed to come in the same week. Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been doing.
It was time to make Laundry Detergent. I do this about every 6 months. Generally it takes 15-20 minutes and saves us a ton! The cost to make the detergent is approximately $7. Compared to what I used to pay for detergent, I figure I’m saving anywhere between $80-100 over the 6 months. I think that’s pretty good for 20 minutes of my time!
This was also the week I needed to fill the freezer with ground chicken. About 18 months ago I started grinding our own meat. It not only saves us money, it also tastes way better than ground chicken bought at the grocery store. I also feel really good about the meat we are eating. I know it is 100% white meat, and I am able to trim as much fat off the meat as I want before grinding it. I typically grind 5 lbs of chicken, cook it and then freeze it into meal size portions. It takes me about 30-40 minutes every 6-8 weeks. I buy boneless skin-less chicken breasts that are $1.99 per pound or less when on sale. It costs close to $3 per pound for ground chicken and ground turkey; and the last time I bought ground beef (over a year ago) I paid more than $4 per pound! That’s a pretty big savings!
Granola bars are always on my list of things to make! We go through these pretty quickly at our house, generally needing to make them every 3-4 weeks. I began making these when Little Mouse tested positive to a dairy allergy, and couldn’t find granola bars in the store that didn’t contain milk. We love these ones so much that I now only buy granola bars at the store if we are desperate and I know it will be a few days before I have a chance to make more. To be honest, I can’t say these are cheaper than buying them at the store, but I do know they are much healthier. Again, I can’t tell you enough how much I love knowing exactly what we are eating!
It was also time once again to fill the freezer with shredded chicken. This is so easy, I just fill my crock pot up with chicken, season it with salt, pepper, and garlic, and cook it on low all day, or on high for about 4 hours. I then shred it up and freeze it in meal size portions. My crock pot will hold around 5 lbs of chicken. We use this everyday for lunches, and occasionally for dinners. The 5 lbs of chicken cost roughly $10 and lasts about a month. By cutting out processed lunch meat, I’ve been able to save my family around $30 or more per month. I love knowing exactly what my family is eating. Once again, I am able to save money and eat healthier at the same time! And, $30 of saving for 20 minutes of my time is really good! Stay tuned…, I will be writing more about our decision to cut out processed lunch meat soon.
It’s not very often all of these things end up on my to-do list the same week. Along with other to-do list items needing to be done, my week was pretty full. It was all worth it, knowing that I was able to save my family money, and provide healthy food options for us to eat. I will admit that although these things may not take very much time, they do require planning ahead. Once I realize we are running low on meat in the freezer, granola bars in the cabinet, or laundry detergent, rather than just adding the items to my shopping list, I have to plan a day and time to “work” to get these items ready for my family. I may not bring in a regular income, but I have found ways that I can still work to save us money on the things we use the most!