Category Archives: Finance

How to Set Financial Goals

Notebook and pens laying on the table and words saying how to set financial goals
Do you ever struggle with follow through? Setting financial goals sounds like a great idea, but sometimes it can be difficult to actually accomplish those goals. I want to help you out with some simple tips for how to set financial goals AND actually accomplish them.

One of the big financial goals we set several years ago was paying off our house. It felt huge and a little scary, a little exciting, and a lot “I can’t believe we are doing this”!

Since we achieved that milestone 3 years ago, a lot of our financial goals have been house projects and of course the always the need to put aside money for things like “new” vehicles when the time comes.

If you need help coming up with financial goals you could set, here is a great list of ideas!

I’ve found have a goal and a plan to be key actually getting things done. If you don’t have a budget you need to start there, because I really do think a budget is a key to financial success.

Now, I’m going to share some great suggestions to help you with setting financial goals for your family. I’ll also share some of the process we went through when deciding to pay off our mortgage early.

How to Set Financial Goals:

1. Discuss the Options

Sit down with your spouse and discuss big saving projects you have or any debts that you need to pay off.

Mortgage, loans, car funds, remodeling projects, college funds, retirement fund, emergency fund, investment opportunities, and travel are all ideas to get you started. (For a more extensive list, check out this post.)

2. Pick a project

Let me give you a recommendation here.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, start there! Dave Ramsey says $1,000 but I’d highly recommend $2,000.

If you have an emergency fun be sure to tackle any debt (besides your mortgage) next.

After you both of those things are done, look at bulking up your emergency fund to 3-6 months of basic living expenses before you move on to paying of your mortgage or other savings goals.

We were debt free with the exception of our mortgage. We had recently purchased a new to us mini van and still had a little money in a car fund that we continued slowly adding to in case our other vehicle needed replaced (with an inexpensive vehicle).

Our emergency fun was fully funded emergency funded and we have no known major expenses coming our way. Yes, our retirement fund and kids’ college accounts could have also use more but we went for paying off the mortgage knowing that not having that would free up more money to budget with each month.

3. Look at the Numbers

Start crunching numbers!

  • What is the total dollar amount needed?
  • Rework your budget or find a side job and see what money you can throw at it.
  • When do you think you can have your goal accomplished?

When we knew paying off the house was a huge goal of ours, I spent some time looking at the numbers.

Seeing how much time we had left paying off the house as is and then seeing when we’d be done if we put all of my paychecks and extra money towards it was motivating.

Seeing the numbers and looking at dates on the calendar made it seem real and possible!

4. Pick a Start Date

It can be easy to get stuck in the planning stage! Don’t do that. Move through the first 3 steps quickly and then pick a start date! 

Decide when you are going to start and just do it!

Big goals are hard (and often seem scary). Sometimes you just have to make yourself go for it. Maybe you will start today, maybe it will be one Monday, or maybe the first of the month. Don’t put it off more than that or it’s easy to start losing motivation.

stack of $100 bills and graphic for how to set financial goals

5. Know it Will Be Hard

It’s not going to always be easy. It wouldn’t be a BIG GOAL if it was always easy.

Expect challenges, prepare yourself for them, know it’s not going to last forever, and commit to it 100%! Realize there will have to be sacrifices. You will have to say no to a lot of things. Prepare for this ahead of time and realize it’s okay.

6. Have an End

As you are setting your financial goals, be sure to have an end date!

Goals are hard to keep tackling when those hard moments happen if there is no end in site.

You can have two types of ends:

  • time (a date in the future when you’ll be finished)
  • dollar amount

When we paid off our mortgage, I knew both. I knew how approximately how many months it would take to pay off our mortgage and I also saw the dollar amount owed decrease each month.

7. Celebrate the Milestones

Saving up $10,000, $25,000, or $100,000 is daunting! Sometimes, even the thought of $1,000 is overwhelming.

It might seem like you’ll never get there.

To help keep the end in site and the momentum going, break your goal down and celebrate the mile markers along the way.

It doesn’t have to be anything big (you are on a budget after all).

Do something your family would enjoy that doesn’t cost much (or any) money.

8. Visual Reminders

Keep the goal in front of you! Don’t shove it in the back of your mind where you will forget it.

  • Make a paper chain with one ring for every thousand dollars. When you put in $1,000, remove a chain.
  • Draw in outline of whatever you are saving for or paying off and section it into parts. Divide your total needed by the number of parts on your outline and color in a section each time you reach that amount.

Having even simple visual reminders and being able to see the progress can keep you motivated!

9. Plan a Party

Plan something fun that you want to do when your goal is 100% met!

  • Go out to your favorite restaurant
  • Take a day trip to the zoo or amusement park
  • Buy everyone’s favorite foods at the grocery store that haven’t made the budget cut the last year.

Make it fun and something to look forward to. When we payed off our house the kids were just turned 5, almost 3, and I was 9 months pregnant. I was all about keeping things simple. My family loves pizza, so we celebrated with homemade pizza with pepperoni in the shape of a house and a cookie cake the kids helped decorate with a house made from sprinkles. Super simple and cheap but my young kids though it was the neatest thing ever.

Don’t expect it to be easy, but with these 9 steps on how to set financial goals you can select a goals and start tackling it with confidence!

I’m cheering you on. I’ll never forget that moment we sent that last payment and again when it was posted on our lender’s website that we owed $0!

Do you have any tips for successfully setting financial goals? What goals that you are trying to nail this year?

Pens and notebook with words on top for how to set financial goals

How to set financial goals (and succeed at them)!!! Great tips that will help you decide what to set and keep you motivated! (Paying off the house is our BIG goal right now!)

 

You might also want to check out these posts:10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

The Secret to Financial Success! Sitting down and doing this as a couple and actually following through as made a world of difference. You'll want to start today!

Financial goals can be scary and exciting! This year we are focusing on paying off our house - here's how we are doing it!

5 steps to go from surviving to thriving

 Linking up to these fun parties!

How to set financial goals (and succeed at them)!!! Great tips that will help you decide what to set and keep you motivated! (Paying off the house is our BIG goal right now!)

Creative Ways to Earn Extra Money

table with computer and ways to earn extra money

This post uses affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.

When finances are extra tight and a Total Money Makeover seems impossible, sometimes we need to look at ways to earn extra money! It very well could be we have an income problem, not a budgeting or spending problem.

Discouraging, I know! Especially as busy moms, with a lot on our plates, finding ways to earn extra money can seem pretty daunting.

Little bits of extra money you earn here and there add up over the months and years! It really can make a difference in your finances. I know it has in mine. It’s how we paid off our house early, saved up for house projects, and, just this last year, took a trip to Disney World. Has it always been easy? Nope. But all the work really has been worth it. Promise.

Here is a list of ways to earn extra money that will hopefully help get your brain going so you can find something that works for you and your family! Don’t give up – it might take some experimenting!

Another resource to check out is Crystal Paine’s book Money Making Mom!

Ways to Earn Extra Money

Swagbucks

There are several ways to earn with Swagbucks – everything from surveys, games, watching videos, and searching on the internet. You can see some of the details on earning Swagbucks here and here. Sign up using my link and you can get 300 Swagbucks!

When you earn Swagbucks you can purchase gift cards from many retailers. Amazon is one of my favorite ones to buy. I love that you can start buying gift cards with 300 Swagbucks so no waiting for an exorbitant amount of time. Use them for gifts or even supplement or food items!

Part Time Job

I know this one is hard, especially for us moms with little kids. But it is worth looking for a part time job you can work around your husband’s hours. Maybe something as simple as delivering pizza one or two nights a week or finding a seasonal weekend job at a retailer.

Watch the classifieds, ask around, and also pay attention in Facebook groups. You might be surprised with what you find.

Fiverr

Can you write, edit audio or video, record voice work, do graphic design, or any of numerous other things? Check out Fiverr! No start up cost and low time commitment to start up, so it will be easy to experiment with and see what you can offer. My husband does voice on Fiverr periodically.

Virtual Assistant

Skilled at organization, writing sales copy, running social media, editing? There is probably someone out there that can use your help! Check out Moms Work Hard for information.

Babysit

Watch your friend’s kids a couple hours after school until she is off of work. Have date night babysitting you offer monthly.

pile of $1 bills and ways to earn extra money

Present Wrapping Service

I can’t be the only one that is horrible at wrapping presents and gets absolutely no enjoyment out of it. But I know that some of you love it. Sell your gift wrapping skills! Christmas time you could pick up a lot of business and during the year advertise your services for birthdays.

Sell Baked Goods

I enjoy baking and cooking. Some people don’t. If you are skilled at baking bread, Christmas cookies, dinner rolls, fudge and so forth considering selling your goodies. Please research Cottage Food Laws for your state before you get started. Rules and regulations greatly vary. You will also need to register with your state to file sales tax.

Rake Leaves/Shovel Snow

Get your kids involved and depending on the season rake leaves or shovel snow. Weeding would be another option. Print up flyers and hand them out around your neighborhood.

Clean Homes

Do you have cleaning down to an art form? Clean a few houses (or businesses) on the side each week. Businesses you could likely do during the evening hours.

Help with Parties and Events

Especially during the holiday season, but also through the rest of the year, Individuals and business are both hosting parties. If you are a skilled organizer and hard worker, market your services as either an event planner, event host, or an event assistant. Christmas or New Year’s parties, baby showers, birthday parties, work events and retreat and more could use your services.

Photography

Are you skilled behind a camera? Look into doing photo shoots! I know the market can be hard to get into in some areas, but start with your friends and family and give them a discount as you build your portfolio. Even if you just do this once or twice a month, it will add up.

Teach Music Lessons

Can you sing or play an instrument well? Considering giving weekly lessons! Set aside one afternoon each week to teaching. My sister gives lessons each Tuesday afternoon and evening. If you are just getting started make sure your prices are competitive.

Graphic Design

If this is your talent, there are so many people that need you! Whether an individual designing an invitation or large or small businesses. Businesses needs logos, graphics for social media, business cards, presentation and so forth done with a professional look all the time! You can save them time and give them a better result with your services.

Sell Another Skill

Think about what other skills you have. Are there ways you can market your skill and sell it to others? We’ve already talked about babysitting, baking, photography, graphic design and cleaning. That is just the beginning. I know people that are talented artists and get hired to paint murals on bedroom walls. Think about what excel at doing and how you can market that talent.

Sell Stuff

I dare say the majority of us have too many things. What do you have that is quality and something that others will want? Places to possibly  sell are Ebay, Facebook groups, declutter.com, or even a garage sale. This is an immediate way to earn money and you will also be organizing and decluttering items you don’t use – win win! Some people take this a step further and find things on clearance or at thrift stores or garage sales that they know they can resell on Ebay for a decent profit.

Donate Plasma

I’ve never done this but I have a sister that has sold plasma to save money for gifts and other fun items she wanted.

Surveys

This won’t make you rich but would allow you to save up a dollar here and there as you take surveys. Swagbucks, as I mentioned above, has surveys but also check out places like Pinecone Research.

Grocery Apps

Here comes some bonus tips that save/earn you money. Try using Fetch Rewards (use referral code: XF5MX to get 2,000 points for signing up) to scan your grocery receipts and earn a few extra pennies each time to head to the store. Check out Ibotta (receive a welcome bonus for using my link) and Checkout 51 for coupons on items you are already purchasing.

Ebates

We love Ebates. Don’t go and buy something you weren’t already planning on but anything you are buying online, check and see if you can go through Ebates. We use it when booking hotels through Hotwire, when we need to make purchases from Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Vitacost etc! It’s nice to get even the small percentage back.

Join Ebates through my link and spend at least $25 and you’ll get $10!

Remember to check every time you are going to order something online! (Or see if you can order online and do in store pick up.)

Find Ways to Save Money

One of the best ways to “earn” money it to find ways to spend less and rework your budget! I’d say it’s one of the easiest ways as well – because it doesn’t involve finding extra hours each week to work. But it does take discipline to say no to those little splurges. Make a menu plan and spend less on groceries, say no to coffee, drink water, have a no spend challenge. Here are some ideas on ways to save even on a tight budget!

What ways to earn extra money are your favorites? Anything else to add to this list? Pick a few of these small ideas and one of the bigger ones and give them a try! See how much money you can earn in the next 6 months.

desk with computer and magazines. Ways to earn extra money

Important Tips For Teaching Kids About Money

Dare I say, you’ve been teaching kids about money since they were born.

Let that sink in.

piggy bank and teaching kids about money

This post uses affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.

When you think about it, what we actually do has much more influence than what we teach, lecture, or discuss.

Money lessons we teach our kids are no different.

The most important way to teach your children about money is to lead by example. Everything else will fall into place.

Let your child see you budget, discuss finances, save up for a goal, work hard to pay off debt. Let them see you say no to buying something because it’s not in the budget or is not what you are choosing to spend your money on.

If you are trying to teach your child to save but they see you buying everything that you want, they will see the hypocrisy. If you buy more than you can afford and take out loans or make payments, they will grow up thinking that’s the answer.

Getting your own finances in order is the first step! Total Money MakeoverIf you don’t know where to start, is a great book to read.

As they see your healthy relationship with money, there are other things you can do to teach your children financial responsibility.

child putting money in a piggy bank and teaching kids about money

Teaching Kids About Money

It Belongs to God

If you are a believer, this step is a foundation to teaching kids about money. Everything we have comes from and belongs to God! Isn’t that a scary thought? The Bible says “the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains”. When we use our money wisely, we are using God’s money wisely. As you talk to your children, make sure they know that everything is the Lord’s.

Take them Shopping with You

Even as a preschooler, your child will start picking up on things like price comparisons, saying no to purchasing a food item because there’s not enough money in the grocery budget, and that wanting an item doesn’t mean we need to purchase it.

These little weekly, if not daily, occurrences are being observed and taken in by your children with no extra work by you. Talk to your children as you are shopping so they know what you are doing – turn it into a money lesson and interactive experience.

Giving

My parents taught us how to tithe before we could work! Growing up, when we received birthday or Christmas money we got to tithe on it. My kids now get to tithe on their money and will even give beyond the 10%.

Again, lead by example. Let your children see you tithe off of your income. Let them see you give to charities and individuals. You can even get them involved in projects beyond tithing to church. (Like we did with the Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes.)

Saving

Saving money is a part of life. Always will be. This is a skill even a born spender needs to learn.

Teach your kids to set aside a portion of all the money they receive. Just because you received money doesn’t mean you need to spend it all! It’s good to learn patience and self-discipline even if it can be hard – especially when the cash is burning a hole in their pocket. 

For young children, consider getting a save, spend, give bank. You can simply label three clean jars (or plastic containers) or you can purchase a bank like this. There are also these cash envelope zippered pouches you could use.

Setting Goals

This is a part of saving. Teach your kids to set financial goals. Whether it’s saving money to buy that expensive toy, a laptop, camera, or even to purchase a car or go to college it’s good to set age appropriate goals. Especially for your kids that are “spenders” because having a goal and tracking their progress can help their motivation and willpower stay strong when temptations come up.

For older teens, check out this list of financial goals they can consider as they move toward adulthood.

Teach Them To Work

Money doesn’t grow on trees. Sometimes our kids think it does. Learning to work for money helps teach them the value of money and of hard work. We didn’t get an allowance growing up instead we pitched in and helped around the house (sometimes quite begrudgingly) because we were a part of the family.

We earned money doing extra jobs that weren’t a part of regular chores. Even for young kids you can come up with little tasks (that you know won’t be done perfectly) and pay for their help. This is how it works in our house now.

As your children get older, getting an outside the house job is a great way to earn extra money. Teaching them to work hard as kids and do an excellent job will be appreciated by future employers and will most likely set your kids apart from most of the other employees.

Raising them with that work ethic starts now. (Yep, I know it can be hard. My 5 1/2 year old still thinks any sort of cleaning or picking up is torture.)

Teach them the Dangers of Debt

If you are debt free, you can still talk to your kids about what debt is and why you don’t do it. Tell them how much you would have spent on interest.

If you are in debt, let your children see you working hard to pay it off.

Teach them how to avoid debt and make sure that they know it isn’t required! Culture all around them is telling them that debt is an everyday part of life.

Say No

Please, please don’t always tell your children yes. Your kids need to learn that they don’t need to have it all. It’s okay for them to walk away from something they think they want.

They need to see you sticking to your budget even when they are begging for something.

Learning to be content and to appreciate what you already have is so important. Stuff will never satisfy a person – there will always be something else. As a toddler the next flashy toy will grab their attention, Shopkins will be enough until the next fad comes out. Even as adults we are like this. Our phone is great until the newest one comes out. The same thing with cars and houses.

This is something so much easier to learn while you are young, so help your children out.

You might tell them a straight up “no, we aren’t having this in our home” or it might be a “no, we aren’t not buying this for you. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it yourself.”

Teach them to Set a Budget

Once your children are living on their own, they will have no choice but to budget (or else, most likely, get themselves into a financial mess). So do them a favor, and teach them how to budget their money now. It’s a great money lesson and life lesson.

As young kids it might be something as simple as: tithe 10%, spend 40%, save 50%.

When they get older they may want to break down their spending and saving categories further.

Once they are bringing in more money and have more expenses, teach them to write down their income and expenses and make (and stick with) a budget. Car insurance, gas money, cell phone, outings with friends, gifts, trips etc.

Let them learn while you are there to assist and help. Then, when they are off on their own they will (hopefully) simply continue what they already know.

Additional Resources:

Dave Ramsey has a set of storytime books for kids ages 3-10
Dave Ramsey also has Financial Peace Jr
Larry Burkett has a book Money Matter for Kids
Larry Burkett also has Money Matter for Teens and a workbook as well

Raising our children and teaching kids about money can be a daunting task. One that we won’t ever do perfectly and that’s okay.

Hopefully these ideas on teaching kids about money will help as you are on the parenting journey! You don’t have to make it difficult or time consuming, just start the conversation and begin taking steps to give your children the opportunity to handle money wisely.

piggy bank and teaching kids about money

Examples of Financial Goals to Change Your Year

Do you want to set some financial goals but are struggling to come up with ideas? Here’s a great list of examples of financial goals to help you out!

stack of coins with a plan growing out of it talking about examples of financial goals

Start on the road to financial freedom today – you can change your family’s life!

Let’s Get Started!

There is no right or perfect time, so whether it’s the beginning of a new year or the middle of a summer month start making a plan and gaining traction on your money goals.

Let’s start with remembering that goals have to specific and measurable. Having “saving money” or “paying off debt” as a goal might sound good, but they don’t make the cut.

Instead, have your goal be something like this:

Have $1,000 saved for our house fund in 6 months or

Pay $200 extra on our mortgage each month this year or

Pay off our student loans by December 1st.

Give yourself a starting a date (now), an ending date, and state exactly what you want to do.

Examples of Financial Goals

  • Pay x amount off of your mortgage
  • Pay off your mortgage
  • Save x amount to purchase a house
  • Save x amount for a certain house project (windows, air conditioner, kitchen, furniture etc.)
  • Save $2,000 for our emergency fund
  • Save x amount for 3-6 months of living expenses
  • Pay off your car
  • Save x amount to pay cash for a new car
  • Pay off student loans (or certain amount extra toward them)
  • Pay off _______ credit card (or certain amount on it)
  • Pay off any other debts you have (fill in amount and what debt)
  • Save x amount toward summer vacation this year (or dream trip in 3 years)
  • Save x amount to give to a cause you believe in
  • Save x amount toward child’s college fund (or your college fund)
  • Save x amount toward child’s wedding fund (or your wedding fund)
  • Make a budget with your spouse by x date
  • Monthly (or weekly) budget meetings for the next  year
  • Input expenses into budget daily/weekly for the next year
  • Use cash envelopes for 6 months and see if you save money
  • Put x amount towards retirement in the next 12 months
  • Put x amount in other investments in the next 12 months
  • Read x books about financial planning/investing etc
  • Do Financial Peace University by 6 months from now
  • Reduce grocery spending by x amount each month
  • Take extra jobs to increase your income by x amount each month
  • Don’t use credit cards
  • Purchase Term Life Insurance for you and your spouse
  • Spend less than you make
  • Stop x addiction and put the money towards _______
  • No spend month in ___________
  • No non essential purchases until _____________

You can do this!

Everyone’s financial goals will be different. If you are low income and have a lot of debt, don’t despair. Baby steps will get you to where you want if you persevere and work hardDon’t compare yourself to anyone else. You are doing great.

If you are already debt free, you still need to tell your money where to go! Don’t blow money, instead purposely put it towards different goals and saving plans.

I hope this list of examples of financial goals helps you as you sit down and make a plan for you and your family.

stack of coins with a plan growing out of it talking about examples of financial goals

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

A cheap healthy grocery list. I know we’ve talked lots about ways to save money on groceries! If you’ve been around before, you know my number one tip is to have a meal plan!!!

picture of bananas and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Today we are going to get a little more specific with this cheap healthy grocery list.

Maybe it’s the end of the month, maybe money is especially tight right now.

Whatever it is, you are wondering what to put on a cheap healthy grocery list.

Not only what frugal/cheap foods to buy, but what are the healthiest cheap foods you can buy. What are your options.

First, I want to tell you don’t worry and stress. Just do the best you can. Hang in there. Being anxious, as easy as it is to do, (talking to myself here too) does no good.

picture of beans and other foods and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

Cheap Healthy Grocery List

The first two that come to mind are the stereotypical budget foods – but don’t let them scare you off.

Beans. Specifically dry beans. They are super easy to cook and you can season them in a variety of ways and use them to stretch meat or replace it all together. Buying them dry will cost you at least a third of buying a can.

Rice. You can buy a pound of brown rice at Dollar Tree for $1. One of our local grocery stores sells a pound bag for $.50! If you don’t like brown rice, you can find white rice even cheaper.

Lentils. Another affordable legume right here. People use these for all kinds of things. A lentil and rice casserole. Meat replacement in things like sloppy joes. Or one of our go tos is a quick lentil soup.

Rolled Oats. Buy the big container, none of the instant oatmeal packets. You can always make your own oatmeal packets. Breakfast really can’t get much cheaper than this. A jar of cinnamon is only $1 and will season a lot of bowls of oatmeal.

Eggs. This is really an inexpensive source of protein. Have them hard boiled for a snack, as part of a meal, or in a salad. Scrambled eggs make a great brinner. Can also use to make cheap things such as pancakes or french toast.

Bag of flour. Grab a bag of whole wheat (or unbleached white) flour. Use it to make a loaf of bread or a batch of pancakes (for dinner or breakfast).

Pasta. Cheap and easy. Make a batch of meatless spaghetti sauce (or replace the meat with some lentils) and supper will cost next to nothing. I always make a big batch so we can have leftovers another meal or two. (<– Another money saving tip right there!)

Milk. Not to drink. I’m a huge proponent of water. Instead use it to make the pancakes, baked oatmeal etc. Dairy free, sub almond milk.

Potatoes. Especially in the fall and winter months when they will often go on sale for $2-$3 for a 10 pound bag. I prefer sweet potatoes and you can also find them cheaper in the fall and winter months. There’s nothing wrong with a baked potato supper. Plan on leftovers and have fried potatoes with the eggs for supper the next night. Make a potato soup with some of the milk.

Carrots. Not the baby ones when you are pinching pennies. Whole carrots are typically super inexpensive. I get them for $1 for a 2 pound bag. Serve them raw as a side for lunch or supper (or try roasting). Add them to soups or a stir fry.

Celery. In my part of the country a bunch of celery is $1. Use in the same way you would the carrots. Carrots and celery also make great snacks.

Frozen Veggies. Frozen green beans and corn are both $1 at Aldi. Use in soup, fried rice or as a side dish.

Apples. In the fall and winter months these are often times under $.70 a pound. Add to oatmeal or slice and serve with lunch or for a snack. Of course apple cake is a fun splurge too. 🙂

Peanut Butter. Takes you back to your childhood, I know, but it’s really hard to get cheaper than peanut butter sandwiches. My kids dislike jelly, but of course you can add some fruit to your peanut butter sandwich. Kroger brand peanut butter has the best price on peanut and salt peanut butter – especially if you get it on sale.

Bread. Make bread using flour for pennies a loaf. Also, watch for your local dollar store to get in a shipment of Nature’s Way bread. You can also find bread marked down at Aldi and other grocery stores.

Cabbage. Right now a head of cabbage is just over a dollar and it will be cheaper in fall and winter months. Shave it for a salad or add to soups and stir fries. I also love sauteing it and having with eggs.

Chicken. If you are going to buy meat, chicken will likely be your cheapest bet. Use it as an ingredient – not the star of the meal. Be sure to ration it out and stretch it with beans, lentils, or veggies when you can. If you buy bone in chicken, use the bones to make stock and stretch your dollar even further.

In Season Produce. This is key to getting fresh produce in on the cheap foods to buy when you are broke list. Only buy what is on sale for a great price.

Popcorn kernels. Buy the kernels and pop it yourself for a healthy and frugal snack or even turn it into a snack supper.

Bananas. Bananas are pretty much always under $.50 a pound and will frequently go on sale cheaper than that.

Canned Tomato Products. Canned tomatoes are cheap. Make your own pizza sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them already made. I know canned tomatoes are controversial in the “healthy foods” world. But you do what you have to do. Another option would be to stock up on tomatoes when you can get them dirt cheap and can or freeze them to avoid the cans.

Lettuce. I can get a head of romaine or leaf lettuce for between $1 and $1.30 at my grocery stores. A bean based taco salad would make a great meal or simply have salad for your lunch or a side dish.

I hope this gives you a starting point next time you are trying to make a cheap healthy grocery list.

What other healthy(ish) cheap foods am I missing from the list? What’s the cheapest, healthy meal that you make?

picture of beans and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget. picture of beans and other food and a great cheap healthy grocery list that will help you feed your family on a budget.

How to Pay Off Mortgage Faster

Do you want to pay off your house! Check out these great tips on how to pay off mortgage faster! Picture of beautiful home.

One of the biggest purchases any of us will make in our lifetime is a house. If you are anything like me, signing that dotted line is a little scary and you want to know how to pay off mortgage faster! Nothing like multiple tens of thousands of dollars you owe to someone else to make you want to hustle.

When we purchased our house I was excited and hyperventilating at the same time! To go from debt free to having mortgage is a big change. We wanted to put an end to those payments asap!

[Do I need a spoiler alert if I tell you how long it took us? Consider yourself warned!]

Getting keys for your house! How to pay off mortgage faster.

We closed on our house in December of 2009 and made the final payment in February of 2016.

6 years and 2 months.

It was an emotional day when we made that last payment and again when the letter came in the mail from the mortgage company.

Wow.

This time there was the good kind-of hyperventilating. 🙂 (I’m sure being 9 months pregnant helped increase the emotional aspect and I’m positive the 2 1/2 and 5 year old thought their mom was losing it!)

Before we get into how to pay off mortgage faster, I want to tell you that I am not wealthy (by western world standards). We are a normal middle class family. My husband works in Christian radio (good health benefits, but not exactly the highest paying gig around) and I work part time for my church.

If we can do it, you can too! Yes, it takes work and energy and sacrifice but it is possible!


I also want to take a moment to say that there is NOTHING wrong with renting. We rented a small duplex over the first 3 years of our marriage. My sister and her husband rented an even smaller duplex the first 7 years of their marriage.

Don’t think you need to buy a house. Don’t think that renting is throwing away money. Sometimes it is the best possible thing you can do.

I’m sure you’ve been told that you can buy a house for the same that you can rent. Most of the time that scenario doesn’t take into account house insurance (much higher than renter’s insurance), property taxes, and all the expenses you are all of the sudden responsible for.  Those expenses can often times be costly – as in thousands of dollars costly. Suddenly buying a house isn’t as cheap as you thought.

I’m not trying to scare you from buying a house – we really do love it! I just don’t want you to regret renting and rush into buying a house too soon.

How to pay of mortgage faster. These tips will set you up for success.

How to Pay Off Mortgage Faster:

Before you even sign on the dotted line there are 5 things you should do as you consider how to pay off a mortgage faster:

Big Down Payment

Don’t even consider a 0% down mortgage or a 10% mortgage. You will spend so much money on interest and be upside down for a long time. Instead commit to saving up a minimum of 20%. I recommend at least 30%. (We put 30% down on our home.)

15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

Get a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year mortgage. Sure, you might have to have a slightly less expensive home to keep the payments so that they aren’t burdensome, or save up a little longer so you can put down a larger down payment (and thus need a smaller loan), but the amount that you save on interest is worth it!

Don’t buy more house than you can afford

In fact, its better to buy less house than you can afford.

Don’t trust the number the bank says they will lend you. Look at your own budget. Don’t forget about the added bills and repair expenses that will be coming your way in addition to a house payment.

Dave Ramsey says that your mortgage (including taxes and insurance) should be no more than 25% off your take home pay.

If you buy more house than you can afford, life will be a lot more stressful.

Realtor that Respects You

Make sure you have a realtor that listens to you!

You want an individual who will show you houses in your price range and not just ones the bank says you are approved for but you aren’t comfortable making the payments on.

Try asking your friends and colleagues what realtors they used and who they recommend.

Inspection

Always, always have an inspection done before you purchase your home. There’s nothing that will slow down paying off your mortgage faster than having one large unexpected expense come up after another.

This isn’t to say that things wont go wrong if it didn’t show up on your inspection, but it should help you ward off at least some of them.


The next tips will be how to pay off a mortgage faster after you are a home owner.

Pay Extra Each Month

After we bought our house, we put extra toward our principal each month when we made our payments.

We didn’t have a set amount we’d put toward it, but it was whatever we could do depending on the circumstances and expenses of the month. Some months it might have only been $50-$100 and other months several hundred.

Don’t think that an amount is too little, it will add up each year.

Track Your Progress

Have a visual marker where you can see the amount taken off of your loan amount. When the amount is still large, you might want to do $2,000 or $5,000.

As you get closer to paying it off, track by each thousand dollars.

It is so exciting to see that number lower. It will encourage you and motivate you to keep going even when it’s hard.

Say No

Paying off your mortgage (or any debt) sooner requires sacrifice. If you go into it expecting everything to be easy and all fun, you will be frustrated.

Realize that you will have to say no to things: Big vacations, new cars, expensive clothes, steak dinners, outings with friends that cost money (come up with some frugal alternatives) etc.

There is nothing wrong with any of those things, but for a time you are making a choice to say no!

It can be easy to get into the “poor me” mindset. Don’t. It’s a choice you are making and you are excited about! Attitude really does help.

Use the money you’ve saved to put toward your principal. Here are several ways to save money that we used while paying off our house (and most of them we still use)!

Make Money

Find some ways to earn a little extra money. Again, little amounts add up (just don’t squander it away – make sure it actually goes to the bank)!

See if you can pick up extra hours at your job.

Pick up a part time job.

What hobbies and skills do you have that could be marketed on the side? Maybe you could babysit a friend’s kids after school, offer your baking talents for people that don’t have time to be in the kitchen, look on Fiverr and see if you can do something that’s marketable there, sell the crafts you make that everyone raves about on Etsy.

How to make extra money is going to vary completely depending on each person.

Think outside the box and try something!

I hope these ideas helped you start thinking of how to pay off a mortgage faster.

You can do it! As someone who has been though the process before, I’m here for you: encouraging you when it’s hard and cheering you on when you hit each milestone.

Have you paid off your mortgage? What would you say if someone asked you how to pay off their mortgage faster?

If you start on the exciting journey, keep me posted!

A beautiful home. Now you have payments. These tips will tell you how to pay of mortgage faster and be 100% debt free. Getting the keys to your house! These tips will help you learn how to pay off mortgage faster!

 

Easy Ways to Save Money On A Tight Budget

I’m sure there are a lot of us wanting easy ways to save money on a tight budget. Whether we are trying to save money up for a big savings goal or because of the lack of money coming in.

picture of small plant surrounded by coins and words easy ways to save money on a tight budget

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When we were in the middle of paying off our house early we were always looking for easy ways to save money on a tight budget. Every little thing added up.

Now that our house is paid off, we are still trying to save money where we can. Retirement needs more put towards it, taking a vacation, and saving some money up for kids’ college funds are all on the list of goals. Watching what we spend, budgeting, and making our money work for us is a part of life.

Some of them we are doing for a season and others are a pretty permanent part of our lives but together they are allowing us to live on less so that we can put more toward whatever our savings goals might be.

10 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

1. Lower Your Grocery Budget

This is one of the first things to look at when you are trying to save and my personal favorite of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget. It’s easy to gradually start spending more and more on groceries over time. If you don’t want to keep it super low forever, that’s fine but do it to help out while you income is lower or your are trying to reach a savings goal.

This is a big one in our house. In fact, our most popular post is on how I keep my grocery budget at $150 a month. Over the next year, these tips are especially important  for us as our extra money that sometimes went toward grocery splurges is now all going to the house.

Some favorite ways to lower your grocery budget: cook from scratch, menu plan, and using meat as a condiment.

I have my favorite menu planning template available for all of my newsletter subscribers. A lot of money has been saved using this method.

2. Simplify Birthdays, Christmas, and Holidays

It is super easy to go overboard. How often do we keep on finding one more present for our child or want to give them the newest and best gadget. Even the Easter basket has to be piled high.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but you might want to consider scaling back. Set a smaller budget and stick to it. Spend time with your kids and make memories with them instead of spending.

You or your spouse can consider doing without gifts altogether. As an adult, it’s easy to understand why and see the big pictures. Shaun and I aren’t giving each other birthday or Christmas presents and we keep things simple with the kids.

If you minimize your gift spending try using the next tip and you might be able to cover a good portion of your gifts without spending anything out of pocket! Here I have some tips on Christmas Presents on a budget and taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas!

pictures of clock and stacks of coins

3. Earn Gift Cards with Swagbucks for Presents

I love Swagbucks. It’s an easy way to earn points you can redeem for gift cards. If you follow tip number two and cut your birthday and Christmas spending down, the gift cards you earn will pay for a good chunk of the presents.

If you work at using Swagbucks (and have a smart phone) you could earn over $300 in a year. This post has some of my favorite easy ways to earn Swagbucks on your computer and this one is about earning them on your smart phone!

4. Drink Water

Forget the pops, juices, coffees, and teas for a while and just stick to water! Not only is it good for you, it’s also the most affordable! The costs of all those other beverages really add up. I promise your kids won’t die without milk at every meal and juice for breakfast.

Milk for drinking and juice are super rare purchases in our house and it really helps save money. Over three years later, this is still true at my house.

5. Skip the Vacation

Our vacations consists of trips to see family and a season tickets to a theme park 5 hours away. This year, since we knew we were going to be pinching pennies, we decided to forgo the season tickets.

We aren’t saving a ton on money because as far as vacations go, it really is quite affordable but the ticket purchase and gas costs for driving there several times still will save us hundreds of dollars. If you take bigger vacations, this could equal thousands of dollars.

I know it doesn’t mean skipping out on the vacation is easy, but remember the big picture and make it a goal to save up for a fun little trip down the road.

In the meantime, find ways to have fun and memories locally.

6. Shop Your Closet

Avoid the mall and all the clothing deal sites for a while and just wear what you have. I’m already a big fan of buying used clothes and shopping clearance racks but sometimes you just need to take a break from even that.

A perk of this, is after wearing all your clothes (instead of having the stash you never touch) you’ll know what items you want to keep and which you should pass on. A more organized closet is never a bad thing. 🙂

7. Eat at Home

It’s nice to get a break from cooking, but restaurants aren’t cheap. You have the cost of a meal and then add the tip in and you could cook a lot of meals at home with what you just spent. Even at a fast food or fast casual restaurant things add up when you are buying for a family.

If eating out is something you love, put gift cards on your birthday and Christmas list (and use coupons when you go out to make them go even further). Otherwise, think about your big financial goal or view it as something you are giving up until your finances increase.

8. Cut the Cable

Get rid of your paid television service. No more cable or dish.

It’s okay. I promise you’ll survive. I know these might be ones that don’t seem like an easy ways to save money on a tight budget. 😉

When we got rid of it several years ago I think my husband was pretty skeptical. It really hasn’t been that bad. Then take it a step further and don’t replace it with Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. How much TV do we really need to watch anyway? Utilize your library, free Hulu, and free streaming on network sites so you can keep up with your favorite shows.

dollar bills with easy ways to save money on a tight budget on top.

9. Cheaper Cell Phone Rates

Cell phones are straight up expensive but there are a few things we’ve found to do to save money.

  • Save money by negotiating lower rates with your cell phone provider. We saved an additional $15 a month by talking to the retention department.
  • My husband has a smart phone and uses Google Voice instead of paying for a texting plan. It has its quirks, but it is fine for his needs.
  • Use a dumb phone. I’ve occasionally thought about getting a smart phone over the years but it’s something I can’t justify doing right now. An extra $15 to $30 a month might not seem like a lot, but all those things add up so I keep my basic talk only phone. (Yes, I even have texting turned off). Maybe after we get our house paid off or our income increases I’ll reconsider, but right now it works.
  • 3 years later and I now have a smart phone. It wouldn’t have happened except that I was needing a new phone and we found a great deal and a new affordable plan.

10. DIY Lawn Care and Pest Control

Okay, so honestly weeds in the yard are something that doesn’t really bother me. Let them grow. (Bonus: it would  mean no toxic chemicals I have to worry about.) My husband, on the other hand, can’t stand them. Plus it makes all your the people in your neighborhood upset if you don’t take care of your yard. Instead of paying a lawn care company to come take care of it, he went to the local lawn and garden store and got their recommendation on what to use and when. It takes a couple hours a few times a year but it saves a lot of money and we can put the money saved toward something else.

The same goes for spiders and insects. I’m not a lover of toxic chemicals being sprayed around the house, but I’m also really not a fan of venomous spiders (or actually any kind-of creepy crawly insect) in my house. You can pay someone or once again you can go to the local store and get recommendations for your area and do the spraying yourself.

11. Read Good Books!

Go to your local library and find some books with inspiration to help you come up with easy ways to save money each month. Try The Tightwad Gazette, More Than Just Making It, You Can Stay Home with Your Kids!: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget or even Dave Ramsey. If your library doesn’t have any, don’t forget you can ask them to purchase or interlibrary loan them.

This is just the start of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget that we’ve used in our house. I think a part two might be coming.

Those little things that you don’t think make a difference really do add up. Put them together and you’ll find you are saving a decent amount!

What are some of your favorite easy ways to save money on a tight budget? 

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plant and stack of coins with words easy ways to save money on a tight budget square stack of dollar bills saying easy ways to save money on a tight budget

Can’t Afford a Vacation? Ideas for Family Fun on a Budget

How to have family fun on a budget even when you can't afford a vacation. Get out there and make memories with your kids.

During summer and fall months, Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with pictures and stories of amazing looking family vacations.

“Some years the budget doesn’t allow for a short trip let alone the vacation you’ve always dreamed of taking your kids on. It might be easy to feel mom guilt over not being able to give your kids that trip – but there’s no reason to!!! Instead, focus on the all the areas that you can have fun as a family on a budget!

If your children are young like mine, you can easily find lots of ways to have fun without going anywhere. If you are excited about the awesome year you are going to have staying home, it will rub off on your kids. If you are down and upset about not going on vacation, that attitude will rub off on them.

Here are four ways you can have fun with your family on a budget this year:”

Click over to Money Saving Mom to read the rest of my guest post.

I’d love to hear, what are your favorite ways to have family fun on a budget? Are there any free events I need to look for in my area?

How to have family fun on a budget even when you can't afford a vacation. Get out there and make memories with your kids.

Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

how to save money on groceries without using coupons

Have you ever wondered if you can actually save money on groceries without coupons?

I live in a small town and I don’t receive any coupons through the newspaper and my grocery budget has ranged from $120-$170 a month over the past 10 years. (Started with just my husband and me and now our third child is one.)

So yes, we are proof that it is possible to save money on groceries without coupons! Not only is our grocery budget pretty stinkin’ low, but I’m still able to feed my family a fairly healthy diet consisting of minimally processed foods.

Often our budgets are tight and we don’t know what else we can cut out to make the numbers work. A great place to start is the grocery budget. Yes, even if you don’t have access to coupons.

I want to share a few tips and tricks with you that I’ve used the past decade. I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who rocked her grocery budget and learn from her. For even more ideas, check out this popular post on how to drastically lower your grocery budget.

If you like e-courses, be sure to check out this FREE e-course on eating well on a budget that Erin at The Humbled Homemaker put together! It’s 5 days long and includes videos and emails!

Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

Shop the Ads

This is huge! Don’t menu plan or head to the store without knowing what is on sale where.

We don’t get the newspaper but, thankfully, now days you are able to find almost every ad online. Checkout the websites for both national and local stores to view them.

Take a few minutes to look over the ads and write down what’s on sale at each store.

Watch for Markdowns

Grocery shop in the morning, when possible, and keep your eyes open for markdowns. Get to recognize the stickers that symbolize a discount in price.

I’ve gotten steak, chicken, other meat, bread, kale, spinach, arugula, other produce, chips and so much more for super cheap this way.

The meat, and often time bread products, can go in the freezer to prolong their life but you have to be willing to adjust to your menu to take advantage of the produce with a shorter shelf life. It’s worth taking those few minutes in the store to tweak the menu, though.

Price Match

If your week is too crazy to hit up multiple stores, don’t forget that in most places you can price match at Wal-Mart.

Know What to Buy Where

Don’t assume that just because something is on sale it’s the best price. You need to be aware of what the standard prices are at other grocery stores and online before you decide to stock up. Produce sales at several of our local stores tend to be higher than non-sale prices at Aldi.

Which brings me to the next point:

Aldi

I LOVE Aldi! Many of their regular prices are good deals and their weekly produce sales tend to be exceptional. The produce on sale is what I tend to grab lots of and build my menu around. Aldi is also a great store to watch for markdowns.

(Don’t forget to bring a quarter for your cart and grocery bags but it’s well worth it.)

Store Brands

Give store brands a try. Some might not be a contender with your favorite name brands but you might be surprised.

Again, don’t assume store brand is the lowest price. With a sale a name brand might actually come out ahead.

Skip Packaged Products

Cook from scratch! You’ll save so much money mixing up your own taco seasoning versus buying the little packet from the store (and it’s better for you too). Try your hand at making yogurt, bread, popsicles, mac & cheese, and so forth instead of grabbing the box.

Ibotta

Put your smart phone to use and save a little each shopping trip!

Download the Ibotta grocery rebate app to earn money! Use my referral link and you’ll get a $10 welcome bonus! (My referral code is rxlutjp if you need it.) Checkout the rebates they offer before you head to the stores and when you are done, add the info to the app.

These are a few of the ways I’ve save on groceries over the last 10 years  – no coupons involved. That’s thousands of dollars I’ve saved our family by being intentional about how I shop. You can to! Don’t worry about trying to overhaul your shopping in one week, instead take baby steps and each week continue to make little changes until you get to the ideal budget for your family.

Do you use coupons?

What are your favorite ways to save on groceries?

Grocery Carts: how to save money on groceries

Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

“I wish I could buy more fruits and vegetables, but I just can’t afford it.”

“I want to eat healthier, but it costs too much.”

If you haven’t said either of of those things, I’m sure you’ve heard them! They can do it and you can as well. In fact, I think in most cases, families can spend less money and eat healthier at the same time! The majority of people I know, spend more than we do on groceries and buy less healthy foods!

So many people want to change their eating habits and start buying more nutrient dense and less processed food, maybe you do as well, but it can seem overwhelming. You might feel there are so many changes to make and wonder that since you can buy generic brand processed foods for cheap – a lot of times just a dollar of two if it’s really affordable to switch.

There are so many different definitions of what’s healthy, in this post and for our family I focus on whole ingredients, making food from scratch or buying products with minimal ingredients, fruits and vegetables, whole grains,  no artificial sweeteners etc.

You can buy healthy food on a tight budget. These tips really make a difference. For added inspirations, be sure to check out the post on reducing your grocery budget.

Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget:

Baby Steps!

Don’t feel like you have to go and throw out everything in your pantry and refrigerator and start over. Transition one ingredient at a time. Replace your canola oil with coconut oil, olive oil, and butter. Buy another bunch of bananas instead of the chips. When your flour runs out, try whole wheat.

Menu Plan!

This is a huge deal to me – I have an entire post on why it’s important. If you go to the store and just start putting things you think you need into the cart, you will spend a lot of money. Plan your meals and snacks so you know exactly what to purchase (but if you find an awesome sale or markdown be willing to adapt when you are at the store).

Stick to the Basics!

The basics are almost always going to be cheaper than specialty ingredients. Don’t feel like you need to buy 10 different fats just because you’ve read about them. Stick to coconut oil, olive oil, and butter.

Cook from Scratch!

Avoid the “healthy” convenience foods. Make bread, cook your own mac and cheese, mix up a marinade for the chicken, make muffins instead of buying Poptarts.

In Season Produce!

Vegetables and fruit will make up a big chunk of your meals and snacks. Buy what’s in season and on sale. Also, don’t forget about the frozen produce. Sure, I love fresh produce but fresh green beans in the winter just aren’t happening.

Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy Organic!

If you can’t buy organic, it’s okay. Produce, even conventional, is going to be better for you than a bag of chips or a candy bar. Don’t let not being able to buy what you think of as best keep you from buying what is better.

Free Range/Grass Fed/Pastured. . .!

This follows the same advice as the produce. Sure, I think grass fed beef is the best, but if I don’t have access to someone splitting a quarter of a cow with me or I don’t find it marked down in the grocery store, my budget simply doesn’t allow it. Do keep your eyes open for great deals, but in the mean time feel good about cooking up your own chicken instead of buying lunch meat or browning ground beef instead of picking up taco bell.

Beans, Lentils, and Grains!

These foods are all pretty affordable. Buy several different kinds-of beans and lentils. Try quinoa. Have oatmeal for breakfast a couple times a week. I like meat but I also like these other foods and they happen to be a little easier on the budget so you’ll see them often on our menu plan.

Don’t Waste!

Plan to use those leftovers! I often have each meal I’m cooking twice a week and then there will be another meal that’s leftovers of the leftovers. Instead of eating the same meal twice in a week you could also plan to freeze the other half and pull it out at a later date.

Not only do you not want to waste leftovers, you want to watch the dairy products, produce, potatoes, and onions and make sure you don’t let all the odds and ends go bad! Turn them into a soup or stir fry. Slice up the bell peppers and stick them in the freezer. Freeze the milk in cup portions.

Stock Bag!

This is a continuation of don’t waste! The ends of the celery, pieces of onions and carrots, parsley that’s going bad etc – throw them into a zipped bag and keep in the freezer. The next time you are making stock, add it to the pot with the bones for extra flavor.

Shop Online!

Don’t assume local stores are the cheapest! If you can’t find local honey, order raw honey online (my favorite place for honey is Vitacost – they have an amazing price. If you sign up for Vitacost with my referral link, you’ll get $10 off your first order!) I also like to check (affilate link) Amazon.

Don’t Be A Short Order Cook!

Make one meal and have everyone eat it. In our house we all eat the same thing for supper. There’s no fixing something different for a child. It’s good for the kids and it’s good for the budget! Weekday lunches the kids eat the same thing and the adults do salads. Breakfast my youngest likes oatmeal and us other 3 eat the same thing. Having to buy ingredients to fix two separate meals adds up!

Garden. . . If You Have a Green Thumb!

Herbs are an awesome thing to grow. Fresh ones from the store are expensive. I’m about the worst gardener ever, and have yet to really succeed with planting, but my sister’s herbs flourish! Try tomato plants, squash, lettuce. See what grows well in your area and try something!

Limit the Snacks!

Snacks really aren’t necessary. Even for kids. If we don’t have fruit with breakfast, my kids will have some midmorning and then around 3-4 in the afternoon they’ll have a little something. Fruit, veggies, nuts, popcorn, rice cake etc. It really varies. That’s it. There’s no snacking in the evening because they didn’t eat dinner. Snacks are easy to inhale and can be expensive. Plus, they often cause your meals to go to waste.

How do you handle eating healthy when you are on a tight budget? Any favorite tips to share?

You can do it! Just take baby steps and keep plugging away. We are all doing the best we can. Thankfully there are lots of ways to save, if gardening was the only one we be broke and starved.

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Eating Healthy on a Budget - You can do it!!! These tips will allow you to buy real, whole foods without clipping coupons. My grocery budget is $150 a month!

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