Archives For MONEY SAVING IDEAS

Cheap Cheese

eliseloomis  —  August 12, 2013 — 3 Comments

cheese

I love cheese. I often refer to it as “grown up frosting.” Cheese is one of those ingredients that can be expensive, so it’s important to know that you can FREEZE it when you buy it in bulk (or if there is a good sale and you want to bulk up your supply).  I buy from Costco or Business Costco (which has double the choices) and I package down the cheese into zipper sandwich bags, then in large gallon size freezer bags; all labeled so I can tell what it is.  Fresh shredded parmesan is a favorite in our home but it costs $11 for a huge bag of it that would mold before we got through it.  I can package it down into 4-6 quart size bags, defrosting one at a time.  Once defrosted it lasts for weeks in the fridge.

We do the same thing with mozzarella.  We buy large bags of this too (for homemade pizzas and quesadillas).  This helps to keep the cost down as well.

I know you can freeze other hard cheeses as well, but I haven’t tried the soft ones.  Anyone want to experiment with brie for me? This little tip may seem small but it will save you a lot of money in the course of a year.

envelope

Happy New Year Everybody!  My family and I are putting our Cost Effective foot forward this year and moving into the hardcore “Envelope System.”  Many of you may know of Dave Ramsey and are familiar with this system.  Often times we make excuses about being too strict with our money. I know that doing something so “final” isn’t always appealing but I also know that this method has been proven to work!  We did a trial run for 2 months (November and December) and it really made a huge difference during the time of year most of us lose track of our money.  We are HUGE Dave fans, so we have been doing our budget (most months), but what was different about this time around was actually putting the money into the envelopes and dragging them with us everywhere we went.  I thought having the dollar amount in my head was good enough, but when you physically have to say “no” to yourself in the middle of Costco because you cannot buy everything on your list – it really challenges you.

Being cost-effective isn’t just saving money.  It’s about making the money you have work the hardest for YOU!

I am not going to re-create a plan that is already working for thousands of people, so I will share with you where to find it.

At the bottom of this post is a link to the budget form we use each month.  On it you will see pictures of envelopes where it is recommended that you bring cash with you from an envelope with that title on it.  When we head to the grocery store, we need to bring our FOOD envelope.  This budgeting form is to be filled out once a month to manage that month’s money.  It’s amazing how much harder each dollar works when it is pre-assigned to a task.  Christmas shopping was much more fun when we used money allocated specifically for that!

Using real cash makes you think more about your purchases than using a debit card.  I’m not sure why, but you can feel it.

My family has very specific financial goals for this year, and I know that doing a monthly budget is the best way to “tell our money what to do instead of wondering where it went” as Dave Ramsey would say. I would love to get feedback on what your plans are for the New Year in regards to your spending habits.  How do you plan to be intentionally Cost Effective?

Dave’s Budgeting Forms

In A Pinch, Plan B.

eliseloomis  —  November 9, 2012 — 1 Comment

photo 2

My posts have become few and far between as life has increasing become complicated.  Sometimes these things happen.  Although my heart’s desire was to continue making food from scratch, it became a near impossible task over the last 3 months.  I changed work locations with hours that vary from 4am-11pm (and I’m full time), my son’s school schedule was changed from the previous year, my husband accepted a new position at our church while his home based business has been super busy AND I found out I was pregnant!  Between extreme exhaustion and all-day morning sickness, we had to create a temporary “plan B” for our food-budgeting cost effective life.  This “plan B” is more like a “B-” in savings, but it’s certainly better than spending our money on take out! That would be more of an “F” for finances!

 

1. Set a food budget: we try to keep things to $100 a week or less.  For us, it’s easier to set a month’s budget of $400 and let the weekly needs vary.  Our Costco trips save us money and use up a big portion of the budget.  It’s all about planning.

2. When you can make a meal, double the batch for left-overs of freezer meals.

3. Give yourself a break on home-cooking. This is where I found some of my favorite easy meals from Trader Joe’s and Costco. I stocked my freezer with the things I couldn’t prepare myself (due to lack in time or feeling ill).

I know this to be quite an odd post coming from someone who is such an advocate of doing everything yourself and from scratch, but life happens and it is better to have a “Plan B” than no plan at all!  Setting these guidelines in your family may help you get back on track when you feel the force of coming off the track.