5 Ways You Can Immediately Trim Your Food Budget and Thrifty Thursday Link-Up!

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Last week I talked about some ways to save up for big-ticket items: treadmills, couches, cameras or whatever you have your heart set on. But when you’re on a budget, it may seem difficult to find the extra money to save for bigger purchases.

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We all have unique situations and the word “budget” means different things to different people. Some of us may have more wiggle-room than others for spending. But sometimes there are little money traps that I fall into, especially in the area of my groceries!

There are little ways, baby-steps I like to call them, that allow us to free up more money in the food budget. Here are a few that have worked for us!

1.  Stop going to Starbucks {at least temporarily}. When you consider that gourmet coffee drinks cost between $4 and $6, you’re spending almost $30 a week if you grab your morning joe each weekday. Try making homemade versions of your favorite drink. Here’s a homemade frappuccino recipe and an iced coffee recipe for you to try!

2. Eat your leftovers. I know this is a no-brainer to some, but often I hear that people don’t eat their leftover food. Keep a small list handy with what you have so you don’t end up with a science experiment in the dark corners of your fridge {don’t ask me how I know that}.

Try having a “kitchen sink” night at your house, where you set out all the leftovers from the past few days and everyone can help themselves. Mayo Clinic has some guidelines on how long to safely keep leftovers in the fridge.

3. Eat out one less time per week for a month. This is one area where I struggle right now. We eat out about once a week because we live in a very small town with no access to chain restaurants. But even when we do, I cringe when I think that I just spent $20 on food that isn’t even that nutritious {we do try to go to Subway}. I figure that I could save about $10-$15 each time we skip the eating out, giving me at least an extra $40-$60 per month.

4. Use half the amount of meat called for in a recipe. I’ve alluded to this before in my saving money on real food post, but when we make easy crock-pot lasagna or spaghetti sauce, we cut the amount of ground beef in half and no one notices. We stretch our taco meat by adding black beans as well.

5. Drink water instead of juice, pop and other drinks. I’m a Dr. Pepper fan, especially during the weeks where I get less sleep than usual. But when a 12 pack costs between $3 and $4, that’s an amount that’s better used elsewhere (better for my waistline too!).

What money trap do you want to “escape” from so that you can save for something special?

Anna from Feminine Adventures and I are co-hosting a Thrifty Thursday Link-Up every Thursday!

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Blogger/ Author at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm happily married to my college sweetheart, mother to four wonderfully spunky children and a woman who needs a whole lot of Jesus! I spend most of my time taking care of my home and family, reading good books, blogging and dreaming up ways that I can finally have a perfectly organized home--ha!


  1. says

    Seriously great ideas and I love the one about coffee- I make my own in the morning and put it in a cup- just like Starbucks! haha. Have a wonderful day Jenn!

    • says

      Thanks, Ashley! I agree, it’s just as simple to make your own coffee (or for my husband to make his own–I don’t even drink it!)

  2. says

    I’ve been working on a similar post, with a few of the same suggestions :) I’m amazed by how much people eat out, and honestly, I think if people sit down and add it up, they would be too. Because I think it’s one of those things that we underestimate in our own minds…but I’ll save the rest of my rant on that topic for my own blog post! lol

  3. says

    I also would suggest just freezing the leftovers if you know they are almost getting to that point of no return- that way you can have it for a lunch or meal later on, or the following week! I just tried my homemade mocha drink and I love it, and it is probably at least a bit healthier since it’s homemade! :) Great ideas Jenn!

    Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker

    • says

      Thanks, Nicole! Sometimes I am lazy about freezing my leftovers, so that’s a great reminder! We love to freeze overripe bananas if I don’t have time to make bread at the moment and then we use them later in muffins/bread.

  4. says

    Thanks for the great reminders Jenn. I have been terrible about the eating out thing lately! :/ My hubby has such a goofy schedule right now, so having meals prepared has been a bit tricky. At least I am good about eating those leftovers and only drinking water! hehe :)

    • says

      You are definitely ahead of the game by doing some of those things! Eating out is sometimes harder for me because I LIKE to eat out (at nice places, not McD’s). But when I realize how much I can save, it (usually) keeps me from doing it 😉

  5. Marlissa says

    Soda is one of our traps as well, except here in Homer, Alaska it is over $8 when it is not on sale. Ouch! Thanks for all of your tips and great ideas!


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