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5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (without using coupons)

5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (without using coupons)

 

 

How to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons

 So I want to start with saying that I actually LOVE coupons.

Using coupons was one of the strategies that helped us when my husband was unemployed for 7 months and we had virtually NO money coming in for groceries.

During that season of our life, I used coupons to stretch the budget, pinched pennies like crazy, and did a lot of small side jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully now, he is back working and we on our way to getting back on our feet.

 But just because we have more of an income coming in, doesn’t mean that we went back to spending like crazy. Our time of no income actually taught us a lot about wants vs. needs and helped us create amazing habits that is really helping us get rid of a lot of the debt we accumulated in those months.

 Yes, I still use coupons for things that we use (it’s actually one of my hobbies now!) but I also incorporate it with a variety of other money saving hacks that allow us, as a family of 5, to have a $100 a week grocery budget with ease.

 

Use a Meat Delivery Service

 

I have been looking for a great meat delivery service for a long time. I kept hitting a lot of roadblocks in my search, such as they were WAY out of my budget, the meat quality wasn’t as high as I hoped, or that they didn’t deliver in my area.

 So when Zaycon Fresh opened in my area I was jumping for joy. 

I had heard a lot about their farm to table meat services and was super excited to try them. The way it works is that you order your meats (they have everything from chicken breast to beef to bacon) online in bulk (orders go in sets of 40 pounds a package) and select a pick up date. When it’s your day and time to pick up, you simply drive through the line, give them your name and get your meat. The process takes minutes and you get a TON of great meat.

Since we don’t have a large freezer space, I got my first order and split it with 2 friends. I also had a coupon code for … get this… $1.49/pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (!!!) so I couldn’t pass it up. The typical price for chicken there is $1.89 a pound which is still a steal and the meat tastes great.

You do have to order about a month in advance but, we’re at the point where we’ve ordered enough so we have a great selection and variety in the freezer which makes cooking so simple. And seriously… the price can’t be beat!

 Even if you’re not sure you’re going to get it now, I recommend making a free account  because they’ll email you a ton of promo codes each week and you can take advantage of sales. If you’re a blogger or influencer, or think you might recommend the service to others, you should take advantage of their referral program! You get $15 per person that uses your link to order (so thanks in advance if you use mine!) and that’s a great way to pay for your meat! Oh, and at some locations you can even volunteer to help on delivery day for a $10 meat credit.

 

Check it out now!

Shop Now at Zaycon Fresh

Look for Grocery Markdowns

Using grocery markdowns is one of the major ways we not only got some variety in our menu but, save money on fresh produce!

Most grocery stores have a section of clearance or markdown items. For my local stores, you can find them in the back corner by the produce and also by the meats. These are items that are either close to expiring (but not expired, they aren’t allowed to sell those), the manufacturer is getting rid of, or were seasonal and didn’t sell.

The cool things about these sections is that they change daily based on what gets pulled off the shelves so essentially, if you wanted to go to the store each day, you could make a killing using these items.

You’ll often find bags of fruit where maybe one of the apples is bruised, meat that is about to expire (but you could toss in the freezer to extend the shelf life) or really random pantry items that most people in your area might not buy.

What’s great about this section is you can also use a coupon if you happened to have it to make it even cheaper but, if you don’t, most things go from as low as .50 cents to around $5. You could grab items from this section to make your dinner that night (so they don’t go bad and you wate them) or just freeze them to use later. We’ve often frozen fruit that is close to going bad to toss in smoothies at a later date or make banana ice cream with.

Shop the Discount Stores & Farmer’s Markets 

People have told me for a LONG time that I needed to check out Aldi Markets and I never bothered with it. SHAME ON ME.

Aldi is the best thing since sliced bread and now, between one Aldi shop and one coupon shop, I have everything we need for the week for less than $100.

Aldi is an employee owned store that is a ‘brother store’ to Trader Joes. They have some pretty odd quirks you have to remember like bringing your own quarter to get a cart and bagging your own groceries (so make sure you grab those reusable bags) but if you can get passed that and not be a brand snob, you’ll LOVE Aldi too.

They also have a great line of gluten free and organic products at a fraction of what you’d pay anywhere else. They save a lot of money because they don’t sell name brands (you might see the occasional name brand floating in the clearance section) and because they don’t always have the same items. For example, my Aldi will always have yogurt but might not have the cauliflower rice that is a new staple in our home.

I also love that I can get more snacks for the kids without the gift. All of their cereals don’t use food dyes but instead use natural coloring and many of their meats are without added nitrates (we love their deli sliced turkey breast and turkey bacon for that reason)

Save Money at Aldi Markets

The one thing I will say is I don’t love the produce at my local Aldi so I do go to a farmer’s market for that. Our farmer’s market has a great selection and I love knowing that I’m helping our community while giving my family stuff that has been treated with less pesticides and is better for their little bodies and our environment.

Meal Plan and Use Leftovers 

The #1 way to save money on food is not to waste what you have. How often have you thrown out that gross moldy tupperware container of leftovers that no one eats or had to toss the product that you forgot you put in the crisper?

Each week, I spend a little time adjusting my meal plan (I plan a monthly dinner plan so I only need to adjust some lunch and breakfast ideas) and do a shop to get any ingredients I am missing. I spend about 2 hours on Sunday cooking and preparing (and making a huge mess in my kitchen) so that I can save time during the week. You can see my whole system here!

This saves me a TON of money because I only shop for the ingredients that I actually need (not just some random impulse buys of things that I think I need) and use what I already have in my pantry. We also make sure to use leftovers to mix up some menu items and repurpose them for lunches which helps us save.

Every 3 months we also take the challenge to eat only what we have in our pantry (but can buy some fresh stuff that we need) and see how creative we can be. I love the site SuperCook where you can put in the ingredients in your cabinet and it gives you sample recipes. If you do this for one week every few months it’ll help you clean out the pantry and save money.

 

Use Rebate Apps

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about coupons but I have to add a bonus section for Rebate Apps… I mean technically they aren’t the same as clipping coupons right?

I love rebate apps and find them to be the easiest way to save some money here or there. Rebate apps get downloaded directly to your phone and you can use them after you shop to get cash back. You use what you already purchased on your receipts to claim money that they’ll send you, most of the time via paypal.

For most of these apps, you may only get a few dollars each time you shop but, trust me, I’ve gotten HUNDREDS of dollars from these apps by just claiming a few dollars each time I shop. You can read more about my favorite apps and why I love them here!

So whether you love or hate coupons, know that you CAN save money on your groceries if you’re willing to take a few steps to get there! I suggest aiming for $20-25 per person per week for your budget and really look at what you’re buying. Cut out some luxury items for a bit, clean out your pantry and shop smarter to save money and cut costs!

 

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80 Day Obsession for the Breastfeeding Mom

80 Day Obsession for the Breastfeeding Mom

Losing Baby Weight after your Second Kid

 

The ‘post partum bounce back’ after a second kid is REAL…. real tough!

 

With my first child, the weight more or less left my body pretty quickly (minus those last 10 pounds) and within 3 months, I was back into my pre pregnancy pants.

 

I sit here now, 8 months after my son is born and I can finally fit into my pre pregnancy jeans and am still working to evict 30 more pounds from my body.

 

The first 4 months postpartum, I struggled greatly with postpartum anxiety and depression (you can read more about my story here) and because of that, the weight stayed on me for much longer.

 

In January, I decided to see the impact of what I was eating was having on my anxiety and how exercising could help. I started Beachbody’s newest workout program, 80 Day Obsession.

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

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What is 80 Day Obsession?

80 day obsession for the breastfeeding mom

 

80 day obsession is an intermediate/advanced workout from Beachbody the leading makers of home fitness products. Workouts are between 45-60 minutes and it comes with a timed nutrition meal plan to help you work your core and abs while shaping your booty.

 

This program also incorporates what’s called Timed Nutrition. This was the component I was actually the most excited about. I loved doing the 21 day fix but I personally need more structure and guidance. This program tells you exactly which colored containers to eat at what time of day and to eat every few hours. I had to put a timer on my phone to remind me to eat because you know… kids.

 

Now while the progress pictures I saw and the results promised sounded amazing, as a mom of 2 kids the thought of working out each day for almost an hour and having to remember to eat something that isn’t your kid’s leftovers is pretty daunting.

 

But, I decided to take the 80 day obsession challenge head on, bust through the limiting beliefs that told me that working out for an hour was impossible because I was ‘too tired’, and do the best I could to start to use healthy foods and exercise to control and heal my postpartum anxiety.

 

80 Day Obsession while Breastfeeding

 

Since I was choosing to do 80 day obsession while breastfeeding (my son was 4 months old when I started), I had to be really careful that my milk supply didn’t dip. When trying to lose weight most people can simply decrease their calories in and increase the calories burned. But, for a mom breastfeeding, you need to be really careful.

 

When calculating how much you should eat, you can use the calculation that is laid out in the program. The creator, Autumn Calabrese, recommends just staying in maintenance instead of weight loss for the program. This meant for me, plan D compared to plan F which is a difference of about 500 calories. This 500 calories comes from the average a breastfeeding mother burns while nursing her baby.

 

This number scared me. Plan F was A LOT of food and more than I was used to. I decided, that since I had an oversupply, I would eat in my weight loss bracket and see how my body adjusted. The thing is ladies, you NEED to eat to lose weight. For so long we are told that you need to cut out food groups or eat less than 1200 calories to lose weight and it’s just false. You CAN eat a decent amount of the RIGHT calories to fuel your body. It’s all about balance and moderation, and that is why I liked this program.

 

Over the course of the 80 days, I found plan F to work for me but I did notice on days when I didn’t drink enough water my supply was lower (so aim for a gallon a day) and my supply most definitely decreased during Peak Week. Peak Week is the final week of the program and you do what’s called carb cycling; where you have 2 days of lower carb eating and 1 day of regular ‘on plan’ eating. On the lower carb days, my breasts felt less full and I could feel my son being a bit fusier when nursing. I wouldn’t recommend nursing moms participate in peak week and, if you do, make sure you pay attention to how your body responds.

 

 

80 Day Obsession Results

 

I’m proud to officially say that I’m an 80 day obsession graduate! I didn’t miss any workout in the 80 days though I did move a rest day around because of activities we had to do but, I didn’t make any excuses or skip them.

 

Besides the physical results (down 17 pounds and 12 inches!!), 80 day obsession gave me so much strength mentally and physically. Not only do I feel so much stronger and modified less each workout AND lifted heavier each time, but my mindset has completed changed. I also busted through some major limiting beliefs about working out for an hour. The only time I could find to get a full hour in without the kids interrupting was after bed and, as much as I didn't want to work out at 8pm, I knew that spending that hour for me was going to make me a better mom.

 

I actually started to look forward to that time. It was my best mom time! I would put on a podcast to fuel my mind and fuel my body at the same time. It also allowed me to grab a shower before bed which meant I got a shower ALONE every single day (mom win!)

 

Previously, if I slipped up or made a ‘mistake’ during a program with my eating, I would tell myself I would start again on Monday, restart the entire program, or even switch programs because I felt like a failure.

 

Since I had made the 80 day commitment to not only my fellow moms in the accountability group but my team of coaches, I couldn’t just quit or miss a day, I just had to pick it up at the next meal. I started to not put it off until Monday or the next day and just told myself “okay, little slip up, let’s get it back at the next meal”. I also stopped looking at off plan eating as a ‘mistake’ and just life. But what made me stronger was realizing that I could have a plan that fit into my lifestyle even if I wasn't perfect.

 

My nutrition was probably about 80% on point during the 80 days and I am okay with that. I learned which foods made me feel full and which ones made me sluggish. I also learned which times of day I needed more water or a snack.

 

Oh, and a note about the scale. Get ready to break up with it. Only weigh in at the end of each phase and make sure you stop caring so much about that number. Pick an item of clothing that you want to try on each week and hold onto the non scale victories there! You might not see the number move on the scale but you’ll see and feel the difference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is 80 Day Obsession Right for You?

 

I’m not sure I would recommend this program as the first one that you do after you get cleared to workout since it is a more intermediate workout. Autumn also recommends that you wait until your little one is sleeping through the night because your body needs the sleep to recover and see results.

 

When I started, my little dude was NOT sleeping through the night and I could really see the differences on the scale on the weeks I got better sleep vs when i didn’t. So just know going into it that your sleep will play an impact on your results.

 

If you’re up for a challenge to create time in your schedule (because it will require sacrifices… maybe drop that Netflix show for a bit), putting in the time to do a good meal prep each week, and dropping all those excuses that have held you back so far you can most definitely see results!

 

If you want any support in the program, and not currently working with a coach, send me an email at coachingwithcara@gmail.com  or just fill out this form to chat more and I’d love to help you through the program or see if it's for you. If you don’t have it yet, go and grab it HERE and I’ll coach you through!

 

Did these tips help you??? Make sure you hit PIN IT and share with other breastfeeding mamas!

 80 day obsession for the breastfeeding mom

 

More Healthy Living Resources for Busy Moms

How to Find Time to Workout as a Busy Mom 

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

Download your FREE Recipe Binder to get organized in the kitchen and join me on the 2018 ‘one new recipe a week’ challenge!

All the recipes that I make are coming from the Fixate cookbook. I picked it because it fits my meal plan and there is a corresponding cooking show that I can download on my Beachbody on Demand to watch them cook the recipes. 

I will also mix it up with some recipes from Pinterest as I need but will always be choosing something healthy and family approved!

This week’s recipe was another major winner (I swear, we’ve not really come across too many we didn’t love!).

 

The panko breadcrumbs gave them a nice crunch and I took a tip from my interview with Lauren Richmond, and added in a scoop of my sauce for some extra flavor. I also cooked them 10 extra minutes because hubby loves everything extra crispy!

We had leftovers but they didn’t last because we ate them as our protein for breakfast! I even made another batch the next day to freeze! This will definitely stay in our weekly rotation!

The one thing I will say is that I am NOT a food blogger. My kitchen is a mess and my pictures aren’t that pretty but, I will always include an image of what it actually looked like along with the recipe straight from the Fixate cookbook! 

It’s got some great stuff, so head over and grab yourself a copy and, if you want to join the ‘one recipe a week’ challenge, head to our Facebook community page and let us know what you’re making and come swap ideas with other mamas! You can also see everything else we’ve made this year on our Healthy Recipe Page!

Need some more recipe ideas? Head over and download this FREE meal plan with over 50+ recipes!

Lauren Richmond Interview

Lauren Richmond Interview

This week I was so excited to talk all things healthy food, good habits and parenting with the amazing Lauren Richmond of www.livinglifeinthefitlane.com 

She is an inredible mom of 2 teenager girls (God bless her!) and currently married to her husand of 15 years! We actually did the interview on her anniversary!

Lauren dropped some major bombs on our interview including tips on

 -Transitioning your family to a healthier lifestyle 

-How to start to change habits without feeling the need for perfection

-Why educating yourself about what you eat is SO important

-And More!

Make sure you check her out on social media and head to her page so you can be the first to grab her brand new FREE e-cook book!

Check out our Facebook LIVE video here and make sure you head over to my page each week where I dig deeper into topics to help YOU be a more purpose driven mom!

Work more with Lauren!

Find her on Social Media: 

Facebook 

Blog

4 Benefits of Healthy Living

4 Benefits of Healthy Living

Hey you…

Yes you busy mom.

I know that it can be hard to focus on yourself. I know that your needs are the last ones that cross your mind each day. I know it can feel selfish to take care of yourself and your health. I know you feel like you don’t have the time to worry about yourself.

But can I tell you something… YOU HAVE TO.

Taking care of your health is a catalyst into self love and positivity. When you make the conscious choice to decide to care about you, your health, and your mental wellbeing, you take massive steps towards being a more positive and purposeful mom.

I really want to touch on the impact of exercising and healthy eating for us moms. I get that these things are tough to get done but know that when you make the time to get in daily exercise and focus more on your eating, you are setting the example for your family of living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Now that I am 5 months postpartum with my 2nd baby, I realize how much harder it is to get in even just 30 minutes of exercise each day. My demands are greater, I’m more exhausted, and honestly I just don’t feel like it. Once they go to bed, I just want to curl up with some Netflix or close my eyes.

 

But I know, if I take time to take care of me, I am more in love with myself and a better mom for them.

 

 

 

 

So why should you take care of yourself and your health?  

 

 

More Energy

 

Ladies, we NEED energy to keep up with little people. I currently have a 5 month old, a 2 year old and an 11 year old. They keep me on my toes for sure! I need as much energy as possible to keep up with our day to day lives and not drag my feet all day. And while I love a good cup of coffee (or two), I know that I need natural energy to to feel good and keep our ship running tight.

 

In the beginning when you start working out, you get into this cycle of feeling ‘too tired’ to work out. It can be tough for us moms because normally, the only time we have to workout is either super early in the morning before they get up, or after bedtime (that’s my time) when you just want to crash.

 

But know, after 2-3 weeks of exercising at the same time consistently you leave the ‘I’m too tired” stage and join the “Exercise gives me energy” stage.

 

Keep with it and know that the energy moving your body gives you will pay off!

 

 

Less Stress

 

After my second baby (my son Isaiah) I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety. I was having a tough time holding it together, was crying more often than I ever imaged, and felt my stress levels going through the roof. This was also a time when my husband was out of work (for 7 months total) and just thinking about finances had me eating my feelings.

 

 

Once I developed a healthy workout habit, I felt my stress levels decrease a ton. Doing some at home kickboxing, lifting weights in my home gym, and checking in with my virtual accountability groups, made me instantly feel less stressed and more in control.

 

 

Adding in healthier foods to my day to day diet also changed things tremendously with my anxiety. On the days I may have ate more processed foods or had a binge, my anxiety was through the roof. When I had times I stuck to whole foods and used my food to fuel my body and not my emotions, I felt amazing.

 

So if you are like every other mom out there and have stressors coming at you every few minutes, know that by taking care of your health you are healing your body not just physically but mentally. Yes, living a healthier lifestyle can help you live longer to be with your kids but it can also make your mental health feel more in control and balanced.

 

 

Confidence

I spent my daughter’s second birthday party hiding from the camera. I was 3 months postpartum with my son and haven’t lost any of the baby weight. Between the holidays, postpartum anxiety and stress eating, I was the same weight I was the day I gave birth.

 

And I was embarrassed.

 

I missed out on so many moments because of how uncomfortable I felt in my skin. I didn’t want to be in any pictures, I was wearing the same 3-5 outfits because they were the only things that I felt semi comfortable in, and I would cringe every time my husband touched me.

 

My confidence was at an all time low and I was miserable in my own skin.

 

But here is the thing. This had nothing to do with the number on the scale. That was just a number. If pregnancy taught me anything, it was how amazing my body was and I finally broke through of the tie I had to that dang number.

 

What it had to do with was my confidence. I felt like a failure because I knew that not having taken care of my health truly meant that I was failing myself and my family. I knew that, for me, it meant I was not making myself a priority because I didn’t think that I mattered at all.

 

I found myself avoiding going to meet up with friends, or wanting to even leave my house because of how I looked. When I walked in the store, I would look at my feet and just assume everyone was judging me since i still looked 6 months pregnant. This weight was not only affecting me physically (it was seriously hard to get up the stairs, let alone carry 30+ pounds of kids at the same time) but it was mentally making me beat myself up each day.

 

I had stopped loving myself. I had stopped believing I was worth the time and effort it took to gain control of my health again. I had stopped feeling like myself.

 

Once I began to workout regularly and cook myself and my family healthier meals, things changed. I was proud of myself for working hard, I was proud of myself for taking a little more time to get our meals set for the week, I was proud because I knew that I was working each day to love myself more.

 

The confidence you gain when you take care of yourself plays out in so many places in your life. You don’t realize how much of a hit your confidence has taken until you start to make changes to take care of you.

 

 

More Positivity 

 

Once you start to take care of your health , your mood will start to dramatically change. For me, taking care of me with healthy eating and exercise can turn me from being Ta Ka to Te Fiti in just a few minutes.

 

The other day I was so cranky. I was tired of my daughter tugging on me and everything everyone was doing was getting under my skin for no reason at all. My husband asked me kindly “did you workout yet today”? I realized at that point, I hadn’t. Actually, I hadn’t dont anything for me at all today.

 

So I stopped, laced up my sneakers, and got to work. I didn’t have a lot of time so I streamed a 30 minute cardio kickboxing workout, got rid of my stress and ended the workout feeling so accomplished and proud of myself.

 

I stepped out of that gym red in the face, sweaty and with a big smile on my face.

 

Exercise give you happy endorphins and a huge byproduct of that is a happier attitude and mindset.

 

And here is the thing, as moms we set the mood and atmosphere in our home. When we are negative, naggy, and always in a bad mood, it impacts our family. I had a period before I started to take care of myself when I could feel my family walking on eggshells around me. I could tell that they were worried that I might change the mood of the room with my negativity.

 

That is no way to live, for both them and me. Taking care of you will change your mindset, change the mood in your home, and allows you to be a role model for your kids.

 

Would you rather their role model be one that is negative or one that is positive? You’ll impact them no matter what, so it’s up to you to decide how!

 

 

I preach self care for a lot of reasons, and I listed 4 of them above. When you take care of your body and your health  you start to believe in yourself more, you believe that you can accomplish more, you believe that you are worth the time and effort to take care of yourself and you love yourself more.

 

When you believe all of those things, you accomplish more, you’re more productive and you start to see your UNLIMITED potential.

 

If you find yourself stuck in a rut and not sure where to start, can I encourage you to start with focusing on you and your health. Get in a little bit of exercise each day or start to change some of your habits to be healthier. Over time, you’ll start to see things shift and change and you’ll believe in yourself more.

 

You are worth prioritizing your health so can I encourage you to just believe in yourself today? I’m giving you permission to take time to love yourself today, for you, for your health, for your mental well being, and for your family. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

 

More Healthy Living Resources for Busy Moms

How to Find Time to Workout as a Busy Mom 

Want to get started on healthier habits NOW?? Head over and get my E-Book and start prioritizing yourself TODAY! 

Click HERE to check it out!

Must-Have Meatloaf

Must-Have Meatloaf

This week I was super pumped to find a recipe from Fixate that fit the colors I needed for my 80 day obsession meal plan, tasted yummy, used ingredients I had on had, AND had some extra veggies in it!

I’ll admit, I never have been a ‘meatloaf person’. I remember hating it as a kid so honestly, I was a big reluctant to try this one. But, I have been looking for recipes that are just one red containers for my meal plan and this one fit the bill. All the kids loved this one and it was even better as a leftover!

What are some of your go to recipes when it comes to adding in hidden veggies? Besides the Daily Sunshine my kiddos drink (acts like a salad, tastes like a dessert!) I’d love to have more options! Head to the comments and share your favorite recipes with me!