Have you seen Anna’s 2017 List of Cheap or Free Summer Family Fun in Tulsa? It is THE list of summer fun and if you’re looking for something to do this summer, this is the list you need. She’s been putting this list together for years and I’m sure you’ll find some unexpected things on there. The best part? The free & cheap! This list is designed for families on a budget!
Let’s have this discussion, my friends. It dawned on me this morning that it has been awhile since things got real around here so, now seems like a good time. I have taught couponing for 10 years and for the most part, people turn to my website when they are in serious financial need or are trying to cut back in order to stay at home with kids, etc.
This message is for those of you in a serious financial situation that keeps you buying cheap food. Let me be clear, you CAN purchase good, healthy foods with coupons and sales. However, for today’s post, this is for those of you who simply need to eat and you’re not choosing to purchase cheap foods necessarily, they’re just the only option.
I started couponing from that angle, I started with $20. That was the grocery budget for 2 adults and a baby. We needed food and I had to figure out a way to get it thus, strategic shopping was born.
What’s the problem?
Cheap food = expensive problems.
Here’s the thing our generation is just now starting to figure out, all of that bad food will eventually lead to health problems down the road and those problems aren’t cheap. Personally speaking, my health issues left me with thousands of dollars in medical bills. And, all of it, came from stress and bad eating. Because, let’s face it, when you’re stressed, you don’t eat well.
For those of you who can afford it, eat better. Use the coupons, use the sales but be sure you’re purchasing healthy foods. For myself, I eat fruit, veggies, eggs and meat (usually turkey and/or chicken). That’s about it.
Those foods, in my opinion, are not that expensive you just have to purchase in season and use them well. I do use coupons, I do use sales but I also buy healthy because I know what happens when you buy cheap.
That being said, I lived through a time when healthy didn’t fit the budget. Here are 5 things you can do when you feel like cheap food is all you can afford.
- Stock up During Sales: Blackberries were .88 a few weeks ago at Sprouts. Guess what? We bought a lot of blackberries. We had smoothies, I froze some of them, we put them in the kids lunches (we have 5 kids). Stock up and save money when you can.
- Try New Things: This is a big deal, try fruits and veggies in recipes you’ve never tried before if they’re on sale and a good stock up price. Get creative. I love avocados, brussels sprouts and leeks. I never thought that was possible but I learned how to cook with them. Pinterest is a great resource for that.
- Use More Filling Healthy Foods: Sweet potatoes and eggs will go a long way and both are inexpensive. I can eat two eggs for breakfast and I’m full for awhile. Snacks are something we teach our bodies to crave, use more whole foods and those cravings are not nearly as intense. That will cut down on the high cost of junk foods too.
- Cut Out the Crap: Yep, I said it. Get yourself off caffeine, high sugar juices and alcohol. Those are empty calories that’s it, not worth the dollars. Use those dollars for healthy foods.
- Plan Your Menu Carefully: I say this ALL THE TIME, menu planning and meal preparation is absolutely key to saving the most money. Sit down and plan a menu (including snacks) around what is on sale for the week including healthy foods. Use plenty of filling foods that are real, not from a box and inexpensive. Make one trip to the store, that’s it. No more back to the store trips at $20 each, just one trip for a carefully thought out week.
I feel like there’s a period of time when we just feel like we will live forever and our bodies will always work. Then, there’s a period where it all comes crashing down and you realize you have to take care of your body if you actually want it to work. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there. I know there are days when you’re just trying to stretch a single dollar (if that’s you, buy eggs-so many ways to eat them), I’ve been there too. But, I am telling you honestly, buying healthy food is worth it.
I’m not telling you to buy organic, I’m not saying to buy everything at Whole Foods (Sprouts is cheaper), all I am saying is to buy good, whole, healthy foods. YOU are worth it!
I have lived in Oklahoma since I was 3 years old and even though tornadoes are our thing, you never really get used to them. Just like my fellow Oklahomans, I have hid in bathtubs, closets, under desks and more recently, in our own tornado shelter. In this state, I truly believe a tornado shelter is one of the best investments you could ever make. You would not believe the peace of mind it brings!
That all being said, it’s March and we have already been greeted by a tornado watch. That means, it’s time for me to vacuum out the shelter and get all the gear ready and I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing too. A few years ago, I came up with a little tornado checklist and I go back over it every single year.
I thought I would share my list with you today in case you’re new to our windy weather or just want a little recap. It never hurts to be prepared!
10 Things You Need to Be Prepared for Tornado Season
- Weather Radio: Do not rely on your cell phone to see you through a storm, it is super easy to lose service. Invest in a weather radio that is battery powered which means, you’ll need some extra batteries too.
- Flashlights and Lanterns: These lanterns are the absolute greatest thing. They are bright and last forever plus, they’re easy to grab during a storm and easy for your kids to hold too.
- Water: Ideally, you’ll want about one gallon of water per person. I grab a case of water and keep it in our tornado shelter.
- Shoes: Do not forget shoes. Keep them near your shelter (bathtub or closet) especially if the weather is questionable. You don’t want to be caught in a real tornado having to walk through fallen trees and splintered wood barefoot.
- First Aid Kit: Skip throwing a few things together and purchase a real first aid kit. You’ll want to be prepared especially if you have kids.
- Cash, Credit Cards & Your ID: Make sure your money and ID is easy to grab in the event of a storm, you’ll need those items if something really hits. Even better, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag so they are not damaged by any water, you can throw your cell phone in there too.
- Medication: Keep a bag nearby and throw all of your medication inside. Similar to the bag with your money and ID, you’ll want this to be easy to grab in the event of a real emergency.
- Batteries & Chargers: Do not forget extra batteries, you can always stash candles and matches too but batteries are a must have for flashlights especially if the electricity is out for quite awhile.
- Pet Supplies: Anything you need for your pets, have an emergency stash ready to go and consider toys, blankets, etc to help keep pets calm.
- Extra Clothing: Just in case you are woken up in the middle of the night by tornado sirens, you’ll want to have some extra clothes. Get together a stash of clothing and keep it in your shelter or nearby so you can grab in a hurry.
Being prepared is a big deal, these things are not what you want to worry about while you’re tracking a storm. Gather as much as you can together now so you are completely ready to go. If you need more information about tornadoes and tornado preparedness, please visit RedCross.org. And, don’t forget to download all your favorite weather apps!
I am a procrastinator. As in, I’m the 10 minutes before it’s due, sweating, hyperventilating and losing my mind kinda person which means “meal prep” just sounds scary to me. That being said, it is also the best thing I have ever done.
Meal prepping is just that, preparing your meals in advance. This method is helpful for anyone but especially those trying to eat healthy as it will make healthy eating convenient and easy. And, it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds.
Simply gather up your recipes for the week, buy what you need then, cook and store the meals in the proper containers. You can actually prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner this way if you’d like. For me personally, I prepare my lunches for the week on Sunday. I am using running around during the day and I need healthy lunches on the go, meal prep does just that. It makes eating on the go a breeze and controls what I eat as well.
You will accomplish two major things with meal prepping:
- You’ll Save Time: Spend a couple of hours on Sunday preparing your meals for the week. That’s it. You’re done. Now, when you come home late or you’re running from school to soccer practice, dinner is already ready to go.
- You’ll Save Money: Plan your menu around your stockpile and what is on sale, it’s that simple. If you are shopping strategically, you will already be saving 30-50% on your grocery bill. Then, if you prepare the meals in advance, you won’t be running back and forth to the store all week or running through a drive thru.
Of course, there are plenty of other benefits such as healthier eating but, saving time and money is pretty universal with this method. Preparation is also the biggest player in the money saving game, when I teach my coupon workshops we focus on preparing your shopping trips and meals as a way to avoid having to revisit the grocery store multiple times a week or spending a fortune at a restaurant.
A little word of advice, I would invest in the right gear. Using food containers that keep your food fresh is also pretty important, I would hate to spend the time prepping only to find spoiled food later in the week! Check out these storage containers:
Those containers are perfect! Just yesterday, my sister in law shared her meal prepping for the week also in the correct containers to ensure the food stays fresh. Check this out:
Isn’t that gorgeous? I promise, this will make your life easier and it will save you money. Hurry, time to get preppin’!
Need a simple way to make your house smell amazing while decorating at the same time? Pick up a bowl from the dollar store (this one was literally $1), fill the bowl with coffee beans and place a vanilla tea light candle right in the middle.
The coffee beans will make your house smell delicious but with that vanilla candle, it will create a vanilla latte smell. You can use plain coffee beans, even grab some at the dollar store if they have some. I used french vanilla because I love the smell of vanilla already so I wanted a double dose.
It’s cute, simple and frugal. Plus, you’ll love it, I’ve already made several!