Ok- who is trying their best to stay home during this quarantine but keeps running out of something and needs to go to the store?? In my efforts to find toilet paper I have forgot Half & Half, Coffee Filters and a couple other things. Here is a list of ways to eliminate multiple shopping trips throughout the week that will keep you out of the stores AND help you save money!
- Menu Planning
I know it may be a hard concept for some, but if you can take the time right now to think out the next week of meals and snack, you can go to the store ONCE and be done. START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY- and build from there – you may just need 1 or 2 items to throw a meal together and not have to buy as much. You may like going to Costco but then you may still need to go to other stores for the fill-in items. If you can get everything you need at ONE store, that is even better Smart & Final has the large items like Costco but also regular grocery items as well. I have been able to get my whole list there before. Grocery Outlet has worked well, and also Walmart and Target- but I have had to deal with larger crowds.Here is a basic printable for a menu and shopping list– if you google “free menu plan shopping list”, there are so many to choose from so you can find one that works for you.
- Make a List
If you are heading into the stores, MAKE A LIST. Once you have made a menu, make a list. Don;t forget to put things like foil, oil, butter, half & half or any staples you need to make everything. If you are shopping at a store that sells your household and beauty items then add those too. Don’t panic if your totals end up being higher at the store when you do this- You are shopping long term, and this will still be less than the multiple trips you take- those add up, especially when you impulse buy or are hungry when you shop.Tip: Once you make a menu and list- take a picture of it, that way if you go to the store and forget it-you have it on your phone= I learned this the hard way!!
- Utilize Pick Up and Delivery Services
Instacart has the options of almost all grocery stores and you can choose what you want from where. Is there a fee-YES, but you are not using your time and gas, and you won’t be in the stores with other people. Some grocery stores have their own pick-up and delivery services as well. In the past you may not have wanted the fees, but now it may be worth it because you are quarantined at home. If stores have a pick-up option you will be able to just drive up and have them load your car for you also.
- Utilize App Coupons and Cash Back Apps
Before you shop, if your store has an app- load the coupons to your card. If you use Cash Back apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 or Fetch, check through those and see if what you like you can save or get cash back on them. A quick scan through the coupons or a quick picture of your receipt can get you great savings with minimal effort. For the apps I use all the time and how to Get and use them GO HERE
- Stick to Your Budget
If you decide what you have to spend BEFORE you go shopping you will be less likely to buy unnecessary items. If you order your groceries online you will be able to see your total and know if you need to take out or are able to add anything else.
I used to hear from people that they just don’t have the time to do some of these things, but if you do take the time now while you have it- it gets EASIER. Then when this quarantine is all over you will have developed some money saving habits that will last!!!
If you have ANY questions or need someone to walk you through menu planning, budgeting, online grocery ordering just email me Diana@pantryoverflow.com I would love to help you!!
This week I was invited on Your California Life (YCL) to talk bout Valentine’s Day Savings!!!
Here is a breakdown of what I shared!
Valentine’s Day Waffle Bar for the Family!
Groceries – Purchased at Smart & Final
First Street Pancake and Waffle Mix $4.19
First Street Double Strength Red Food Coloring (my fav.) $3.99
-YOu can use any topping you would like!
Dash Heart Shaped Waffle Maker $9.99 from Target
They had pink or red available.
Mini Valentine Pizzas
Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, and Pepperoni
I used a mini heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart shaped pepperonis to create a Valentin’es Day Pizza Party theme for the family.
Valentine’s Day Decor-Michael’s
Michael’s has 50% off all Valentine’s Day items!
I bought some craft kits and home decor items and they have a BIG selection!
Kids’ Valentines Cards, Treats, and Prizes
Target had aisles and aisles of different Valentine’s Day exchange items. Candy, pretzels, plain cards all for around $5 a box.
They had kinds without candy as well.
They also had a great selection of prizes like bubbles, pencils, and slime if you would like to (or have to) opt for a non-food gift to exchange in your childs’ class.
My recent segment on Studio 40 Live was about simple budget friendly ideas to do with your kids this Christmas season!
I bought my holiday baking items from Smart & Final. I love buying ingredients there because you can get BIG quanitities and small quanitites of items you need at the SAME store. I do not always have the time to go to Costco and the grocery store (plus the more stores I go to, the more money I spend I wasn’t planning on!)
With these you can color- Cookie Dough, Frosting, Rice Krispy Treats, Pancakes, Waffles, Fudge,Dips and MORE. If you are making it for Christmas- make it one of these colors because it is FUN!!!
If you want to decorate treats our favorites are Rice Krispy Treats and Brownies- we cut them into Christmas Trees and Gingerbread men for fun. I am not a big sugar cookie fan, but we all love brownies- so brownie people are fun! you can make shapes with more than cookies and baked treats- waffles, pancakes, sandwich bread and more! Just be creative, but keep it simple!!
We made some simple crafts with the kids. I try to make a new one each year because then we can use them for decorations every year after!!!
If you go to Michael’s you can use the 50% off coupons or order online and save even more!
Here are a few budget crafts the whole family can do-
Acrylic Paint or Sharpies
4 Pack Canvas
Reindeer Gift Bags-
Brown Paper Craft Bags
Red Pom Poms
Red Tissue Paper
If you tuned in to my Studio 40 Live segment (will post the video as it comes available) everything I displayed today was from Smart & Final. I love shopping there because I can buy larger bulk sizes-plus smaller sizes of regular grocery items I need for home. It is a great one-stop shopping trip when I go there. I was amazed at all the Halloween candy, decor, activities, and supplies they had. The 2 different sizes of black cauldrons were so awesome I just HAD to come up with a way to use them on TV! I am grateful for Smart & Final’s First Street Brand because I was able to fill those cauldrons up with fun things way less than the name brand.
When my kids saw the haunted Cookie House they all wanted their own! I have decorated Gingerbread Houses for Christmas, but have never thought of a Halloween option! Of course I bought them, and I will use them as a party activity either the weekend before, or as a group activity for the party. I was going to have them replace actually decorating/carving pumpkins, but the pumpkins at Smart & Final were SO much cheaper at the store than the pumpkin patch that we will definitely do BOTH. They also had a few pumpkin carving sets (with stencils) and a light up option!
Also, if you follow me on Instagram you saw how much fun I had with the talking/light-up doorbells- you know I grabbed those!
These large cauldrons were only $7.99!!! I bought mine a couple weeks ago and have been thinking about how to use it for my TV segment. Then last week I was at a different Smart & Final I found these smaller ones.. wait until you see what I did with them! I will be posting my photos and videos after today’s TV segment and I will update this post- I am so excited!!! For very little money I am able to use these as bowls and decor and it looks SOOOO good! last year I did the dry ice in the cauldron and that looks amazing too. The large tubs of ice cream fit in these too (tried it in the store) so it is a great way to serve ice cream out of them too.
CANDY!!! No matter how anyone celebrates (or doesn’t celebrate) Halloween EVERYONE LOVES CANDY!! That is my favorite part. I tend to go overboard buying candy- but there are so many choices!! Smart & Final had large bags of all the usual Hersheys, Mars, Skittles bags- but I love the regular candy aisle because you can find the FUN stuff!! These large Pixy Stix-85 are only $14.99, Pop Rocks, Full Sie Candy Bars, Nerd Ropes, Mike & Ikes, Sour Patch- all the fun things that maybe other houses won’t be handing out- you can find them there. I like the variety boxes of FULL SIZE candy bars – $18.99 for 30 Bars made each bar $.63!!I also bought some of these Welch’s Fruit Snacks for smaller kids and a large tub of Ring Pops-just because they looked FUN!
There were Halloween themed paper plates and napkins (I brought them to the show) and on their regular aisle they have them displayed by color black and orange are available. There were also Trick-or-Treat reusable bags and Halloween colored baked goods available. I did not feature them, but they also have a variety of Day of the Dead candy and decor items as well!
As Halloween gets closer I will continue to post my deals and finds for you and I hope this gets you thinking and planning on your celebrations!!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!
Have you tried “Extreme Couponing” and not been successful- or maybe just do not have the time for it anymore?
There are so many new ways to save without the clutter of newspapers and stacks of coupons!
Thursday Night September 19 6:30-8pm
If you still want the savings without spending all the time-this event is for you!
I will break it down, make it simple and walk you through all the different apps, strategies, and plans that I use everyday that still save me LOTS of money every month- without cutting coupons!
September 19, 2019
6331 Watt Ave
North Highlands Ca 95660
Also, if you are familiar with everything I share and teach, I am looking for people to volunteer to help me out walking people through different apps and answering questions, Let me know if you are interested in that as well!!
Here is a SUPER EASY Fall Breakfast idea-Pumpkin Muffins!
1 Box of Spice Cake Mix
1 Can of Pumpkin
Mix, put in cupcake pans and cook for 10-12 minutes!!!You can make ahead in large quantities and freeze them too!
These large #10 cans of Pumpkin at Smart & Final are only $7.99 and are a great deal when you are making large batches!
Serve these up with a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (or 3 1/2 cups from Large First Street Cake Mix)
2 Rolls of Rolo Candy -quartered
1 Diced Apple-peeled
1/2 Cup Soft Butter
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
Mix together and drop in Tablespoon scoops onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes!
@Smart & Final-
Torani Syrups $5.99-Buy 6 or more and pay $4.99!!
This is an amazing deal since Smart & Final has SO many flavors to choose from!
Not only do they have lots of flavors, but they have LOTS of SUGAR FREE flavors-Sugar Free Chocolate Macadamia Nut is my FAVORITE!
Then there is Pumpkin Spice- Make your Pumpkin Coffee drinks and home and save $5!!!!
2 tbsp (1 oz) Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 cup (8oz) milk
2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup brewed coffee
Steam milk and Torani together. Pour heated, flavored milk into a tall glass and add brewed espresso or coffee. Spoon a thin layer of foamed milk over beverage or use a frother if you have one!
Here is my Back to School Segment on Studio 40 Live!!!
In case you haven’t noticed I am a HUGE fan of Smart & Final -and their store brands.
Here are my family’s favorite First Street items for Back to School.
First Street Roast Beef– 1lb package was $6.29! That is an amazing price for roast beef-and it is the one brand that everyone likes which makes it nice.
First Street Cheese Cubes. We alternate between the Pepper Jack Cubes and the Colby Jack Cubes. Sure, you can buy a block and cut it and save a little money..tried that..It was a disaster! These are perfect little squares. I can portion them out and it fits with everyone’s eating plan.
First Street Sunflower Butter– My kids have Peanut Free classrooms at school. They could still bring peanut butter, but last year we tried this butter and they all loved it-so this is what I have them bring to school and it really does taste great with celery and apples.
First Street Olives– Almost $1 Cheaper per can than the name brand!! We go through LOTS of olives in our house so this is an awesome deal.
First Street Snack Size Storage Bags– Snack bags are a MUST for our lunch prep. Everything can be portioned out and prepared very easily with this size bag. You will definitely save money bagging your own items than buying them pre-packaged for you.
First Street Souffle Cups (and lids)- These cups make lunch prep so easy- and adds variety. We pre-made them with First Street Ranch, First Street Salsa, First Street Sunflower Seed Butter and my kids (and parents too!) have really enjoyed the different options each day. It is a VERY inexpensive way to keep the lunches exciting.
The Bento Boxes that I featured on today’s show were also from Smart & Final. If you follow me on social media you may have seen me mention these before. Many readers have shared with me that they went and bought them already! They are very sturdy and the lids clamp down-which is great! No leaks or falling off. They are collapsible and fit great in a bag or backpack. We bought a few different colors and after a couple weeks-they still even look brand new. My husband actually loved the silverware inserts that came with them. I really believe they will last a long time. I have tried cheaper versions- and they have leaked, broke-and were thrown away within a month. Definitely worth the investment.
I have 5 School aged kids +my husband and I prepare our lunches ahead. One good trip to Smart & Final gets us our list of favorites at a great price. Thenwe take about 30-45 minutes at the beginning of the week and prepare our lunches ahead of time. Once that is don is it grab and go the rest of the week!
We all contribute to the shopping list and we all make our own lunches. I found that this definitely cuts down on waste, and they will actually eat what I buy.
That is why some of my kids make their sandwiches on Hawaiian Rolls now. They were taking a few bites and throwing away the sandwich. Now they use less to make them-and actually eat the whole sandwich! Do what works for you and your family- you will learn more as you do it what works best and… HAVE FUN!!!!