I prefer to buy organic whenever I can, but a budget doesn't always allow that. So, I've learned that I can buy my fruits and veggies at Aldi's - at sometimes half the cost of WalMart produce! - and use a bleach bath to wash them. This helps to get all the pesticides and residue off and out of them. I feel better about what we're eating when I use it, plus the produce stays fresher longer. Oh, and Aldi's carries several organic varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as an organic lettuce salad mix!
With the money that I save on our produce I can usually afford to buy better quality or organic items at WalMart. (Sadly, we don't have many grocery store choices in our town, so I take what I can get!)
Through a frugal mom's blog, I also was directed to another wonderful money-saver: Vitacost.com!! Some of you may already know about and use Vitacost, but for those of you who don't... If you buy vitamins, supplements, hard-to-find specialty food items, or all-natural personal care items like shampoo or deodorant, you can probably find them less expensively at Vitacost. (This is not true for everything on Vitacost, so be sure to comparison shop.) Plus, orders over $49 are shipped free! I usually start a list of items that I need, and when I have enough money in our "vitacost" envelope, I place an order. That way it's always over $49, so I always get free shipping! Plus, through their referral program, I received $10 off my first order, because I was referred by an existing customer and made my purchase through their link. That customer also received $10 off their next order. So, if any of you are interested in checking it out, here's my referral link: https://www.vitacostrewards.com/kaEOcAW You'll receive $10 off your first order, and I'll get $10 off my next order, so we both save money! Cool!
I'm also learning to be resourceful and use what food I have in the frig and pantry to make meals. I know, it's pathetic that it's taken me 22 years of marriage to figure this out! I've learned that veggie stir fry is OK to serve for dinner when we're out of meat (or I just forgot to get it out to thaw!). We had black beans and rice one night recently, and we both thought it was a great meal. I have to give Brian credit - he's been a great sport about this whole thing!
A week or so ago, I had purchased a can of coconut milk, the kind that has the cream on top. I needed the cream for a paleo beef stroganoff recipe (that was delicious, by the way!). The rest of the can - the milk with a little cream still on top - sat in the frig for a few days until, one morning, I got an idea for a new smoothie flavor. I'm calling it the Almond Joy smoothie, for lack of a better name. I used the wonderfully rich and creamy coconut milk, two teaspoons of cocoa, a couple dribbles of honey and filled the rest of the cup with almond milk. Yummmmmmmy! I think it's my new favorite! Alas, I have no more of that kind of coconut milk... (*sigh*)
I know that, when I quit work and we add one more person to our family, things are going to be even tighter financially. I'm thankful that God is preparing me for that time now, by teaching me how to be frugal! (And I welcome any tips from the rest of you frugal shoppers out there!)