- Personal Finance
Working at Home Struggles : Saving BIG on Groceries
Our chickens help us save and make a bit of profit too!
If your dream of working at home is near to become reality but there are expenses that are preventing you to reach your goal, rest assured you are not alone.
After publishing my hub on the Biggest Advantages of Working at Home and how to live mortgage free, as promised, I am writing an article on how to save big on food. If you are like me, working at home and struggling to make ends meet, after your mortgage, your biggest sum of money will likely go out to food.
Every body obviously needs food to sustain themselves as life goes on, and work at home writers like me may notice how challenging it may be to cut down grocery bills. Food prices seem to soar at a steady rate, I just saw a couple of months ago milk was $3.56 a gallon and now is $3.76. What I noticed is prices like to rise and they say it is because of gas prices, but when the gas prices fluctuate a bit and then go down, the prices remain the same. That is not fair!
Anyhow, if you are working at home, and making enough to live a frugal life, you have to make sure more money goes into your pockets and not wasted in over priced food. In my neck of the woods, I depend on Walmart, but lately, I have noticed I can spend easily $100 here and the cart is barely full. Luckily, I have found several ways to cut down costs and even depend less on big chain stores. Following are some ways to save big money on food and help you cut corners so you continue your luxury of working at home.
Aids to Help You Save
Now, you can have fresh baked bread in under 1 hour (58 minutes) with the Oster 5838 2-pound Expressbake Breadmaker
Impress the family or special dinner guests with delicious homemade pasta thanks to this easy-to-use full-cycle electric pasta machine.
How to Work at Home and Save Big on Groceries
Generally, between myself and hubby a minimum of $400 goes to food each month. If you think about it, what a waste! Yes, you have to eat to live your life, but that money is quite a lot if you think about it. Worst of all, after you absorb all the nutrients in food, the bulkiest part of all that food just goes literally down the toilet. I have found several ways to cut corners on food and lately I am spending very little on food. To tell the truth, this month I am expecting to only spend a mere $200 at a maximum. Want to know my secrets? Read on, and you will be surprised where I find the biggest deals in my area.
Howe to Save Big on Foods
There are several ways you can save on food without starving and these are only a few. I casually, discovered some of these ways, while others are pretty much known. If you combine some of these methods you should see substantial savings. Here are my tips.
Yes, coupons help you save, but your Sunday paper may not have enough to make the savings substantial. Luckily there are other resources. One of them is Ebay, you can find hundreds of coupons on auction for less than your Sunday newspaper. There are also several online websites that allow you to print out coupons using your printer. Most stores accept them.
- Go Frugal
One of the best (and healthiest) ways to save money on groceries is to make your own food and cut the middle man out of your way. We have decided to raise chickens and they make plenty of eggs. We use the eggs for our favorite frittatas, omelettes and home made pasta. The rest are sold to our neighbors which helps pay for the feed and allows us to even make a little profit. So far, we get 12-16 eggs a day from out 16 chicken.
Bread can be quite costly. We have seen bread sell for over $2.99 a loaf and more than $3.50 for some artisan breads. Being Italian, we eat a lot of bread with our meals. Bread fills you up pretty quickly to and it can accompany many dishes. We invested in an Oster Bread Machine and never bought a loaf of bread again. The bread is very fragrant and comes out warm like straight of the oven. We even made dinner rolls that tasted very similar to those offered at Golden Corral!
Pasta, is another food we depend heavily on. We invested in a Lello pasta maker which allows us to use our extra eggs to make lasagna and fettuccini. This pasta maker makes the dough and also stretches the pasta out in more than 12 shapes. You can also make cookies out of this past maker. Cookies are another food that can be ridiculously pricey.
- Buy Bulk
Perhaps the biggest money saver for us are several bulk stores in the area. We are fortunate, as we live in an area where the Amish/Mennonite population is very heavy and they sell bulk. This means I can spend $15.00 for a 50 pound bag of flour, $20.00 for a 50 pound bag of sugar, $15.00 for a 50 pound bag of rice and $18.00 on a 50 pound bag of lentil beans or other types of beans. Last month, we spent $325.00 in bulk foods and this is what is allowing us this month to only go to Walmart to buy small essentials such as fresh milk and other minor things. We are calculating that we have enough bulk food now to allow us to go for about 3 months.
There are several Amish bulk stores scattered throughout the country. Here is a list by State featured on About .com '' Amish Market Locations''. I am also fortunate to have an Amish store that sells slightly expired foods for an amazing deal. Last week, we almost filled out our car with food for only $75.00. The food is still good as they are most past their ''sell by date'' by less than a month. We got slightly expired 100 cups of yogurt for $ 40 which we froze in our chest freezer.They also have several cans with dents, which are sold less than half their original price. Despite what is told, dents are not that bad as we would think especially if we know exactly what are the signs of trouble. If no Amish bulk stores are near you, your next choice may be your local Sam's Club.
- Less than 50 Cents to 1 dollar Meals
If you are really struggling, we discovered you can save a whole lot if you eat Ramen pasta for dinner or lunch. We purchased about 20 packages of Ramen pasta and each pasta package is only 18 cents! Nowadays, it is very hard to find any foods that are that cheap! That meant our dinner was only 0.36 cents! Of course, you cannot live on Ramen pasta alone but it may help out to eat every now in times of need. Other cheap meals are Rice a Roni and some dinner meals on sale for a dollar.
Equip Yourself to Buy Bulk
In order to purchase in bulk you need to be organized. Invest in sealed containers that will keep your food fresh for long. We use dog food containers for our flour, sugar, and beans. For the frozen foods we had to invest in a big freezer. It takes a bit on investment to get this equipment but it will help save money in the long run. Also, this is a great method to be ready for disaster preparedness. Indeed, we do not have to worry about being stuck in a big snow storm or anything else. We indeed have food that we estimate would last for months.
Help for Storing Bulky Foods
This is what we use to store our food. It is airtight, has wheels and worked for us!
Several ''commercial grade'' shelving units store all our canned goods to keep them nice and organized in our pantry.