Unexpected perks from my Grocery Challenge

When I did my grocery challenge, I was happy to save some money, decrease our monthly spending amount and learn some new grocery shopping tricks. BTW I still need to check out Aldi – I hear their prices are phenomenal.

And yes, Jodi, I know, I still need to check out Wal-Mart!! Smile 

But, since finishing the challenge, I have found some unexpected benefits from doing the challenge, that are awesome!

I found some new recipes that I can make myself and customize how I want for breakfast, cheaper and healthier than just buying granola bars. I didn’t want to spend money on granola bars, so I did some digging in our pantry and found some recipes that I could make using ingredients that I had on hand. This ended up being cheaper and easier than I would have thought. And I enjoy eating them for breakfast much more than a store bought bar.

My favs are my chia peanut butter protein bars and fro yo breakfast bars.

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There is less stress during the week around dinner time because of meal planning .. .

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I now meal plan before I go to the grocery store and then write it down for the week. So, there is no getting home at 6:30pm after a long day at work and having to figure out what I can throw together for dinner. And Scott knows what’s for dinner, so if he gets home first, he can get things started too. Of course we deviate from this at times – sometimes  you just need some pizza and sometimes we have extra leftovers, but for the most part, meal planning –> awesome.

We don’t overeat. We really didn’t have a huge problem with this before, we both stop eating when we are full. . . but now we are much more aware of our portion sizes. We need the extra food for a “leftovers” meal and I use leftovers for my lunch at work. I also save everything. We used to just finish the last 4 strawberries or last handful of chips, even though we might be full. . . now I throw the leftovers back in the fridge or in a container for another meal. We also buy a stash of fruit from Sam’s every weekend, which has to get us through the whole week. .  so instead of just eating through a whole pint of blueberries (because they are so good!), we eat some and then put the rest back in the fridge for another night.

I know none of these things are rocket science – and it’s not. .. it’s just the little things that make the difference and add up over time.

What are the little things you do in your house to save money??

31 Comments

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31 Responses to Unexpected perks from my Grocery Challenge

  1. These little reminders are always good tips! Aldo has truly amazing steals!
    Jackie recently posted..{Tasty Tuesday} Chicken and Broccoli casseroleMy Profile

  2. Nice! Good to know that your challenge is providing long term change/benefits. It was a fun series to follow!
    Gina recently posted..Whole 30 Day 14…Monday’s bring back structure!My Profile

  3. Great tips! I’m so bad at meal planning, I almost never do it. I like that whoever gets home first can get started on dinner, though. My husband usually waits for me to get home before we talk about it, so I need to start planning at least a few days ahead. I usually base my grocery lists around what’s on sale, so I try not to pay full price when I go.
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted..NYC Recap Part TwoMy Profile

  4. Mean planning in and of itself can be time-consuming, but ultimately it saves a lot of headaches and stress when it comes to meal preparation during the week. I always know what I am making/eating for dinner, and I almost always have all of the ingredients ahead of time (unless it is fresh produce for meals later on in the week). I love it!
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..Treat Yourself Tuesday: My First Friendsgiving Celebration!My Profile

  5. Oh Aldi…. it is pretty awesome… but I have to be honest… I usually just stick to grocery shopping at Target. When you combine sales, cartwheel app, coupons and 5% saving with target debit card you can save quite a bit. So far I have saved more then $100 with cartwheel!! LOVE IT
    And sorry to those who like walmart…… but Target lover forever…. so don’t waste your time at walmart 🙂 I’m sure Becky would agree with me 🙂
    Alex @ Alex Runs For Food recently posted..EnergyBits Review/GiveawayMy Profile

  6. I wish I could get over to Aldi’s more often because seriously their prices are unbelievable and their products are good quality!
    To save money over here we do a lot of coupon shopping—Sunday newspaper, Target Cartwheel, and some other online sites. Besides that we price compare between Target and Costco and buy in bulk when it makes more sense.
    Melanie @ BeautifullyNutty recently posted..Treat Yourself Tuesday: Birthday EditionMy Profile

    • KT

      Would you believe that we have one right in Mankato and I have never been in it??? I have to change that – it sounds like it is awesome. Maybe we can go check it out together? 😉 And I am a huge fan of buying in bulk when it is cheaper and we can use it all. Also, we buy most of our fruit from Sam’s Club because it is usually cheaper.

  7. Wow! I’m just seeing your grocery challenge now… way to go! I find I do so much better if I have a meal plan before I go grocery shopping. Below is my favorite meal planner/grocery list. I love that it has both on the same page. It really helps me prevent myself from buying a bunch of extras.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/146015212888133145/

    I really like Aldi when I go, but it’s not always the most convenient stop for me. Maybe I’ll have to do a grocery challenge after the holidays to get the new year off to a good start.
    Danielle recently posted..World Kindness Day (Week)My Profile

  8. Those are all great benefits! We’ve started making a calendar for the weekly eats and it makes things much easier, especially at night, like you said. We also tend to plan it in advance of our grocery trips so that way we’re ONLY buying what we need for the week’s meals/snacks and don’t have extra stuff lying around the house that we could either A) overeat or B) have it go bad first.
    Courtney @ Don’t Blink. Just Run. recently posted..A Day In Pictures – Newport EditionMy Profile

  9. Jodi

    I still shop at Wal Mart, but Aldi just opened in Owatonna and we LOVE it! We were actually inspired by your grocery challenge and started buying everything in cash to keep better track of our spending. It’s kind of annoying, but it has definitely made us be more thoughtful about our purchases and resulted in spending less overall. We have been much more aware of using the grocery ads as well. I am normally very anti-HyVee, due to how high their prices are, but we go there occasionally to buy specific products that earn the gas discounts. Two weeks ago, we actually stopped at 4 separate grocery stores to get the best deals from each place!

    • KT

      That makes me so happy!! And I totally agree that cash is annoying – but it totally makes a BIG difference. And we go to 2-3 different stores each week as well. And Hy-Vee is SO spendy! We shop at Cub to get the gas discount too – which adds up!

  10. That definitely exciting, less stress is always good. And I need to work on not overeating. :/
    ari @ whatarisaid recently posted..The other side of testing…My Profile

  11. I’m bad at saving money… I mean, I am good with my 401k and savings account but all extras go to whatever I want. I should probably do something about that 😉 I love that you’re making a conscious effort to portion meals out for leftovers. That is definitely something I do each evening for lunches the next day!
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..#11 Treat Yourself TuesdayMy Profile

    • KT

      If I didn’t use leftovers for lunch, I wouldn’t eat. I am just too lazy to make myself something else for lunch!

  12. I love using leftovers for lunch the next day. I usually portion it out into a Tupperware container before I sit down for dinner so I am not tempted to put more on my plate or go back for seconds…because there aren’t any!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted..Our Engagement PhotosMy Profile

  13. I’m a HUGE fan of meal planning. If I don’t have our meals pre planned, we eat out. No question about it. & we spend more & don’t eat as healthy.

    Dave is super thrifty. He orders everything off EBay or Amazon. We’re members of Amazon Prime so we get free 2 day shipping on most items. Shipping costs add up quick when you shop online a lot so getting free shipping is terrific.
    Ashley@cupcakesncrunches recently posted..Much Better!My Profile

    • KT

      I LOVE amazon prime – so awesome when you are a new parent too – love having diapers delivered right to our door!

  14. Meal planning definitely helps us save money. I’m also a huge fan of “cook once, eat twice” (or three times even), which is helpful when there are nights that we feel like eating out since we don’t want to make the effort to cook, but there’s no reason to since there are leftovers in the fridge ready to eat. I also try to meal plan around sales at the grocery store, which certainly saves money each week.
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..wiaw: I never get tired of this dish.My Profile

  15. I do love leftovers for lunches. Easy and nutritious (most of the time). Lately I’m finding that Gabe’s appetite doesn’t allow for much in the way of leftovers ~ especially if he likes what we’re eating. We might go broke feeding him.
    Stephanie@nowiun.com recently posted..Hot Spot ~ Gifts ~ Tomorrow Will Be Fun!My Profile