Grains are important in any frugal diet! They help stretch those other more expensive grocery items and add plenty of nutrients and fiber!

Go Whole Wheat

We all know that whole wheat is healthier than white, so most of the time opt for whole wheat breads, pastas and rice. Often the whole wheat varieties are the same price as the white, but even when they’re a little more expensive, I think it’s still worth the few extra cents.

Cook from Scratch

I do occasionally make whole wheat bread, but am by no means an expert! However, I do recommend an excellent post by The Frugal Girl called, “Does Homemade Bread Save Money?” She does an excellent price-break down and even compares the nutritional value of the ingredients.

Even if you don’t want to make your own sandwich bread, there’s plenty of other nutritious”breads” out there you can whip up, like corn tortillas which only consist of masa harina, salt and water. Or how about muffins from scratch? You can healthify them, but substituting some of the white flour for whole wheat, including fruits, cutting back on the sugar and using applesauce in place of the oil. Instead of buying cereal you can make your own granola. You could try this recipe that only uses honey to sweeten it or this clumpy recipe.

Gracia a couple years ago helping me bake bread.

Buy “Day Old” Bread

I’ve heard of “Day Old” Bread stores, but even if you don’t have that in your area, chances are your local grocery store will have a spot in the store where they sell reduced for quick sale bread. Keep your eyes out, as it often isn’t in the bread section where you’d expect it. Look over by the deli, meat department or freezer section, and if all else fails, ask someone!

Don’t Waste Stale Bread

Croutons, bread pudding, stuffing or bread crumbs are perfect ways to use up old bread. Some might consider this too gross, but I’ve even cut off small moldy parts of bread and eaten the rest of the bread that’s still good.

Brown rice is affordable and very nutritious!

Buy in Bulk

Grains are something you can usually get in bulk. Some people even buy their own wheat and grind it themselves. Buy the bigger bags of rice instead of the Minute variety. Buy oatmeal in a canister instead of the individual oatmeal packets, and  you can even make your own instant oatmeal packets.

Stock Up on Great Sales

Honestly I’ve yet to do this, but when you see things like flour go on sale, stock up! If you buy extra bread you can freeze it for later.

Grains are Great Fillers

Because so many grains (rice, oatmeal, etc…) are so cheap compared to things like meats, they’re a great way to fill up your family and stretch a meal. Serve them as a side dish or add a little extra to soups and casseroles.

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

 

Recipes
Breakfast rice
The Gracious Pantry’s big list of oatmeal ideas
Homemade instant oatmeal packets
Honey Granola
Clumpy Almond Granola
Popcorn without a popcorn popper.
Homemade Corn Tortillas - Corn tortillas are healthier than white and so yummy when freshly made!
Amy Dacyzyn’s Universal Muffins – This is a great “recipe” for making muffins out of whatever you have on hand!
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Honey Carrot Cake
DIY Bread Crumbs plus 8 ways to use up bread crumbs
Croutons

This post is linked at Tammy’s Recipes.

I just finished calculating up all our expenses for February and we went over my goal in a lot of areas, which is actually fairly common, so I thought it was about time I made some new goals. Here’s a few I’m changing:

  • Gas – I had it at $170, but spent $197.62 last month, so I’m changing it to $200 a month. I can try to combine errands, not drive too fast and fill up at cheaper gas stations, but I still can’t help gas prices from rising.
  • Eating Out - I’ve been wanting to lower this for a long time now and I’m so happy that this month I decided to try to stay under $200, and we only went over by $6!! That may still seem like a lot to some of you super-frugalistas out there, but it’s an improvement for us! I’m going to try to stay under $200 this month. And by the way, this includes any snacks or drinks picked up at gas stations.
  • Groceries - I usually try for $300 a month, but last month I spent $410.58. On the plus side I try to stay under $25 for non-food groceries, but only spent $15.51, so what I think I’ll do is try to stay under $325 for food and non-food groceries combined. I also have to remind myself that if we do keep lowering our eating out bill, that our grocery bill might get a little higher. Which is fine, because it’ll still be a savings over all and eating at home is usually healthier too.

If I keep going over in any of these areas, or any others for that matter, I can always re-calculate and come up with new goals. I think I have a tendency to pick too high of goals and am always disappointed when I go over.

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

For the month of June I’ve been trying to keep my food groceries under $250. Here’s my results along with my non-food grocery results and eating out results for the month of June.

Food groceries:

  • goal $250
  • actually spent $253.10

Non-food groceries (shampoo, diapers for Gracia to sleep in, toilet paper, etc…)

  • goal $40
  • actually spent $36.79

Eating out (this counts any food bought at restaurants, convenient stores or gas stations)

  • goal $100
  • actually spent $119.87

I think I’m going to keep trying to keep our grocery bill around $250, which is exciting to me as I look back at my 2009 and 2010 records and see when we were spending $300-$360 on groceries! I think part of the change has been moving to a bigger town with more options for grocery stores. The town we were in before had pretty high grocery prices. And part of the change has also been the various strategies I’ve been trying to use to tackle our grocery budget.

I was actually under in the non-food groceries! :)

The eating out is the area I’m the least pleased with, because we went the most over in it and it’s an unnecessary thing. But when I look back at how much we’ve spent in months past in eating out it’s a lot less, so at least it’s an improvement! :)

Anybody else out there working on decreasing their grocery budget? How are you doing at it?

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