I LOVE saving money! Don’t you?
One of my biggest budget busters has got to be groceries. I could honestly spend hours in Whole Foods just browsing. Take me to a clothing or shoe store, not so much. But food! Oh the endless possibilities, the flavors, the colors, the excitement! I was in heaven….
….until I saw what my food budget looked like at the end of the month. Not such a pretty sight. While everything was eaten and enjoyed, I still felt like there were some ways in which I could shave a little off the sides without sacrificing a lot. Here is a list (with recipes) of the things that I decided to nix buying at the grocery market and make at home instead:
Toothpaste: You might have read a lot about this lately and I’ve gotta say, the rave reviews are right! Making toothpaste at home is not only easy and cost effective, your teeth really DO feel like you just left the dentist. Every. Single. Time. This is my basic recipe for toothpaste, which I keep stored in a small mason jar. I make enough to last about a week. I don’t usually measure this stuff, so just use your best judgement (based off a 4 oz. container):
- Coconut Oil (about a tablespoon)
- Baking Soda (a few teaspoons worth)
- Sea Salt (If I had to guess, I’d say I use about 3/4 teaspoon for 4 oz.)
- Peroxide (a few splashes – enough to get everything mixed well)
- Peppermint Oil (8-12 Drops depending on quantity and preferred minty-ness)
Salad Dressing: Salad dressing can be SO expensive to buy, but so easy and cost-effective to make at home. I’ll make up a batch and it will usually last me a week or two. A bottle of Olive Oil and Vinegar usually last me about 2-2 1/2 months when making dressing and cooking too! I usually use whatever spices I have on hand. This is my usual go to when I am feeling less creative:
- 1 Cup Olive oil (or you can spilt 1/2 & 1/2 between Olive and Canola)
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Balsalmic or Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2-4 TBSP of Dijon mustard
- 2-4 TBSP of honey
- Garlic Powder
Facial Scrub: Especially during the winter months, my face tends to get really dry. I normally moisturize with Jojoba Oil, but sometimes it’s not enough. I find this facial mask not only helps remove any dry skin, but also helps hydrate my face and restore it’s natural oil balance. Keep adding ingredients until you have a consistency you like. It should feel slightly gritty, but not painful when you scrub your face.
- Coconut Oil
- Sugar in the Raw
- Tea Tree Oil
I’m also a huge potato fan. Normally I would buy bags of frozen fries, tater tots, hash browns, etc. Now I’ll buy a couple of big potatoes and shred them for hash browns or dice them up for home fries. That’s a couple bucks right there! I also try to stay away from buying too much processed food. I see if there is a way that we can make it with veggies instead, and there usually is! Being gluten free and vegetarian, this has been really helpful. One of our favorite recipes is this Noodleless Crock Pot Lasagna!
Another gluten free favorite is the corn tortilla! We used to buy bread ($5-6 a loaf!) or bagels ($4-5 for 4!) or some other GF alternative. Corn tortillas have eliminated all of that (and of course saved us some dough – haha)! I buy a bag at Whole Foods for $2.50 and use them for pretty much everything: quesedillas, PB&J roll-ups, cream cheese & veggie roll-ups, Mexican bean casserole, breakfast tacos – the list goes on and on. They have been a money saver for sure and definitely a staple in this house!
What are some ways that you can save in your home? Is there something that you can substitute that is both cost-effective and healthier? Get creative! You might be surprised at just how much you can save!