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Apr 172014

grocery savings so easy you'll have time for a nap.Groceries are the single largest discretionary line item in most family budgets. Which is why we spend so much time looking for coupons, for sales, and for cost saving tips when we are planning our family grocery usage. Some people like to include everything they buy on a supply run in their grocery budget and some prefer to split it up between FOOD and OTHER. I’m here to ask you… how do you trim that bill? What’s your best cost saving tip on diapers, paper goods, how to make buying in bulk work for you? Let’s dish.

BUT WAIT. Because I’m never satisfied, I want to not only save money, I want to save time too. Because being frugal is good, but not at the expense of hanging out with my dudes. Here are my three favorite thrifty tips to start the discussion:

Parchment paper for freezing blocks of sliced cheeseParchment paper for burgers and more: You’re probably already familiar with the concept of “buy in bulk when the price is good and freeze to use later.” We invested a few (like seriously a few, I think it was $6) in a burger patty maker so when ground meat goes on sale, we can make burgers and freeze them. Then when it’s burger night or Mommy isn’t cooking night or weekend lunch or any other time we’d be tempted to go out for burgers, we pull a few out of the container in the freezer and my husband, who has become quite the burger expert, cooks them. The secret to this tip is pre-cut squares of parchment paper. A large pack of them is fairly inexpensive and putting a sheet between each burger is the difference between being able to “grab a few” and cursing at a giant lump of stuck together burgers. It’s not just for burgers. I use these to separate large blocks of sliced cheese into reasonable hunks before I put them into the freezer.

Herbs make everything taste expensive: Nothing gives you more flavor bang for your buck (and your time!) than fresh herbs. Parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, dill, basil, oregano, and mint are tremendously delicious fresh, but cut herbs are pricey to buy and don’t last as long as you’d like. (Are you drooling a little? I admit it, I am.) The good news is that if you have room to garden- even if it’s just a couple pots on a sunny windowsill- herbs are incredibly inexpensive to grow. Most are perennial, which means they come back year after year. Garlic starting to sprout? Don’t toss it. Separate the cloves and plant them. You can use the tops like chives and get the flavor of garlic. The best part? You NEVER RUN OUT. You can throw a little fresh rosemary or thyme into absolutely anything and you’re always ready.

Grow your own herbs and save money on groceries

Fresh mint is so easy to grow, you won’t be able to stop it. Drop a sprig in a pitcher of lemonade!

Prep first, then freeze: Buying meat in bulk is great, but even if you separate into meal size portions before you freeze, you are still screwed if you forget to thaw anything for dinner. Sometimes that means a trip to the store, and for some reason I never, ever, EVER get out of the store for just a few bucks. There is always “one more thing” that you pick up “as long as I’m here” and then your budget is totally blown. When you are prepping chicken, beef, or boneless pork for the freezer, make your sauces and throw them right in the freezer bag with the meat. Pick recipes that can go either on the stove or the crock pot, and you will be good to go even if you forget- the meat is already marinated and all you have to do is cook it. It might take a little longer from frozen, but not as long as going to the store. JACKPOT. (Make sure you lay them as flat as possible while they freeze so they take up less room in your freezer.)

Trifty JMM Dana S. has recommended growing my own lettuces in milk jugs, and I’m definitely trying that this year. (I’m going straight for the pricey varieties… no iceberg for me!) My attempts at baking my own bread have been a total bust in the “time saving” department, so if you have any tricks for success, lay ‘em on me. (So far I can have fresh bread fast OR delicious, but not both.) And I’m a TERRIBLE couponer, but thrifty JMM Jen SD has made it her personal mission to reform me. I’ll let you know if she succeeds. ;)

Join me on my Living the Good Life Pinterest board for more frugal, family friendly ideas:
Follow Meghan Gray’s board Living the Good Life on Pinterest.

Apr 152014
Zipadee-Zip Slumber Sack Giveaway

Any parent can tell you that one of the hardest parts of having a little baby in the house is the sleep, or lack thereof. Sleeping Baby has made it their mission to help parents everywhere get baby to sleep better by introducing their unique slumber sack, the Zipadee-Zip! This swaddling transition sleepwear for babies, helps babies feel secure, keeps them warm and is very versatile!

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Apr 112014
Superhero Playdate & Story Time Ideas

To little kids who are just starting to understand that there aren’t always happy endings, the idea of someone endowed with more than the normal ability to make things okay is pretty comforting. Letting them pretend to be the super hero allows them to identify themselves as the character in the story who can solve problems- and there is no better way for them to see themselves.

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Apr 062014
Giveaway: Fish In Line from Learning Resources

If you would like to win your own Learning Resources Fish-In-Line measurement set, enter with the Giveaway Tools below! This giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and older. It will run from April 6, 2014 through April 20, 2014 at 11 PM CST. If you have won a Learning Resources giveaway on any blog in the last six months, you are not eligible to win. All entries will be verified. Winner will be emailed (consider adding gloriouslygreengal@gmail.com to your safe list) and will have 48 hours to respond or prize is forfeited and a new winner will be selected.

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Apr 052014
Spring at last!

Spring took its sweet time this year, and now that it has arrived, it seems to be working by my personal motto: Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. We had weeks of snow and drear and no flowers and now everything is arriving in the same week. Cherry blossoms, redbud trees, cup & saucer magnolias, daffodils, periwinkle, and forsythia are just a few. Sort of supports the theory that our late spring will also be short, as we move directly into summer. I hope you are also having beautiful weather and that you are able to make the most of it this weekend!

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Apr 032014
Easter Dinner with one hand tied behind your back: HoneyBaked Ham giveaway & discount {Sponsored}

You all know that I love to entertain, but anyone who’s ever seen a cake decorated by yours truly knows that it’s all about the eating and the time with friends and family around here. (And to all the people who have found my posts by searching for “cake decorating ideas,” listen, I’m really sorry. Google must be having fun at your expense.)

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Apr 012014
Earth Day Every Day Giveaway Event

Too often we only focus on being green or environmentally friendly when it is convenient or when the microscope is on us, like during Earth Day. So Krista from Savory Savings & Gloriously Green Gal wanted to challenge you to make Earth Day – Every Day! Take everyday household items and replace them with green and more eco-friendly versions. To help you get started, we have this amazing series of giveaways to hop through so that you can win! Enter one or enter them all! Even better? There is a fabulous Green Kitchen Grand Prize! This prize valued at over $100 includes a gift certificate to Glass Dharma, Bamboo Charcoal deodorizers from Ever Bamboo and a countertop Compost Bin with compostable bags from BioBag!

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