Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to come at the cost of a healthy budget – though I’m sure many people think otherwise. It’s so easy to believe that when you are on a budget, you can’t afford all the good things in life. Today, our guest blogger and Registered Dietician, Lisa Rutledge, is telling us about how we can start making better choices on our frugal budgets (that don’t even have to be boring or hard to find!). Enjoy!

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So many people want to eat well however there is a common myth that makes changing seem harder than it really is! When trying to make healthy changes to their eating habits, one of the most common difficulties I hear from people is how they struggle to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Healthy eating is perceived as expensive (among other things such as time consuming and boring). I think this stems partly from the erroneous belief that certain specialty foods have to be eaten for health (I’m looking at you goji berries and protein powder!) as well as an overemphasis on fresh fruits and veggies.

The good news is that there are ways to eat well while cutting back on food spending and keeping your healthy budget. Before you give up on trying to eat healthy or worse, run into debt buying pomegranate juice and moon dust, hear me out.

Not surprisingly, there is middle ground between eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night and breaking the budget with boxed salad and wild, organic salmon. Sure, it may require a bit more planning and preparation than if you had an unlimited budget, but with time and practice any extra effort it takes now will soon be a thing of the past.

Related: Saving Money on Groceries has Never Been THIS Easy

In fact, money aside, many of these tips can help you eat a wider variety of food on top of eating more antioxidants, fiber and other healthy nutrients.

1.) Buy seasonally and follow the sales.

Sales change from week to week so you can be guaranteed to eat a wide variety of foods if you buy what’s on sale. It is important to keep in mind that variety doesn’t have to be day to day or even meal to meal. One week of eating more broccoli and the next eating more carrots is a cheaper way to eat healthy.
This is a great way to save money on the more expensive foods such as yogurt, breakfast cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables. It may also open your eyes to new products or brands you hadn’t thought to eat before.

Buying produce that is in season means that it will likely be more flavorful and higher quality for a lower price. Check out this chart by SOS Cuisine for what is in season in your area.

Related: Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back on All Your Groceries (Save TONS!)

2.) Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Packaging and freezing techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade. This means that frozen produce is not only equally nutritious and sometimes riper when compared to their fresh counterparts- but the tastes have improved too. They are often more convenient to prepare since they are sold washed, peeled and cut up.

This time save with cooking can increase your chances of actually eating a vegetable at supper or fruit at breakfast. Of course, they spoil a heck of a lot slower than fresh fruits and veg so you can stock the pantry and freezer with all different kinds which allows for more variety. Forget eating broccoli all week to avoid it from spoiling! You could have a different vegetable every night if you’d like.

3.) Freeze individual sized leftovers to make your own microwave dinners.

Rather than buying TV dinners- that leave much to be desired in terms of flavor and satisfaction, make your own. Apart from the obvious save in the sodium and bad fat department, they’ll allow you to enjoy a decadent meal for way less.

Don’t like eating leftovers from last night or a cold sandwich? This is a perfect tip for you! Simply freeze the meal and save it for another week. Added benefits include helping you crawl out of a sandwich or salad rut and enjoy a homemade hot meal in the middle of the day.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Produce (in your DINING ROOM!)

4.) Try eating more plant based protein such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu.

Beans and pulses can be seasoned to match almost any flavour combination. When used as a substitute for meat in your favorite dishes, beans can save you up to 70% of the cost. For example, a serving of boneless chicken thigh costs ~$1.50. 3/4 cup of cooked lentils is a serving of meat and alternatives, and costs about $0.45. So, you could reduce your protein costs by about 70% by substituting beans for chicken.

If meat is a must in your house, try diluting the meat with beans (or tofu or edamame). This preserves the meaty flavor while cutting down on the cost of the meal. This idea works really well in dishes like Sheppard’s pie, Ratatouille and chili.

Of course there are other protein rich foods such as eggs (2 eggs = $0.60), cottage cheese (3/4cup = ~$1.30), canned tuna (1/2 a can = $0.80), and even peanut butter (2 tbsp = $0.17). Even better to keep your healthy budget!

SAve money while eating

 Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Also, one last tip! Throwing out spoiled or uneaten food is a HUGE waste of money. Change your buying habits to better suit what you can actually eat or try using a basket labelled “eat soon” in your fridge to highlight foods to be eaten asap.

There is nothing more frustrating than setting a goal to eat better, buying a ton of fresh food, then having it spoil before all of it can be eaten. Plan out meals in which to use the fresh food then buy only what you need. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect when trying to throw meals together with what is in the fridge!

Looking for recipes that will help you have a healthy body on a healthy budget? Download my recipe e-book for delicious and balanced meals that are quick to make any weeknight.

Simply click here and follow the instructions.

easy and inexpensive recipes

About the Author

Lisa Rutledge is a registered dietitian nutritionist, health coach, and food behavior expert. She works in private practice and specializes in mindful eating as well as chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). Here goal is to help people repair / rekindle their relationships with food.
Lisa takes a non-dieting approach to healthy eating and truly believes that all foods can fit. She believes in feeding not only your body, but also your mind. Her philosophy about food and meals boils down to getting it done, not getting it perfect.
Along with consulting with clients one on one, Lisa loves to spread the word about food and nutrition through presentations and workshops and through her blog and online videos.
You can find her at:

Creating a Chemical-Free Home – 30DMDC

Creating a Chemical-Free Home

We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!

When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.

You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.

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Last week I was lucky enough to have a guest post featured on my friend Erin’s blog: A Welder’s Wife. If you don’t remember who Erin is, you may remember the challenge that my readers, my wife, and I are taking this month: the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Here’s a fun fact for you, Erin created that challenge for us (and how grateful we are that she did)!

When she was decluttering her own home, she realized the importance of ridding her home of chemicals. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, how to fit it into your budget, why it matters, and what recipes actually do what they are supposed to do. That’s the problem my wife and I had. After a ton of research to create our own chemical-free home, we decided how important it was to make the transition easier for anyone else who may be trying to become chemical-free.

So, we put together this post on Erin’s site explaining why you should be chemical-free and exactly how to get there. I would love, love, LOVE it if you would head over to Erin’s site, read the post, share some love / leave some comments!

Click HERE to read the post: Creating a Chemical Free Home – A Welder’s Wife

Or use this link:

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

So many people are led to believe that essential oils are too expensive for them. However, our guest poster Chantal is here to crack that myth with her list of 5 affordable essential oils (that you can buy for less than $20). Enjoy! 🙂

There is a common perception that essential oils are very expensive. I admit, when my grandma first introduced me to essential oils a few years ago I couldn’t believe she would spend so much money on these tiny little bottles… it just didn’t make any sense to me! However through listening to her and using essential oils myself, I came to realize that they are really quite affordable and well worth the price in the long run! Today I would like to share 5 essential oils which you can buy for $20 or less! I will also break down the cost per use so that you can form an informed opinion about the cost of essential oils for yourself!

These essential oils are all very common and all of them are used in my new essential oil ebook which shares diy diffuser and roller bottle recipes. The best part is that all of these oils are very versatile as they can be used for a variety of different concerns. I have included the price for each 15ml bottle of essential oil as well as the approximate cost per drop for each oil.

Essential Oils - (1)

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

Please note that the prices are based on one company and will vary slightly depending on the company. The prices below are all for a 15ml bottle of essential oil and price per drop is based on the approximate value of 250 drops per bottle.

Lemon ($10)

Citrus oils can be used in so many ways and seem to be the most affordable type of essential oils you can purchase, it costs $0.04 per drop.

Using Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. Cost= $0.12 – $0.16
  • Like all citrus oils, lemon essential oils are wonderful for uplifting your mood. You can add 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16) or you can apply 1-2 drops to the soles of each foot ($0.08- $0.16 to do both feet). Alternatively you can add 1-2 drops of lemon to an essential oil diffusing necklace to take the wonderful uplifting aroma with you wherever you go ($0.04 – $0.08)!
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16)

Orange ($10)

Since orange essential oil is a citrus oil it is very affordable, and like lemon, it breaks down to $0.04 per drop.

Uses for Orange Essential Oil:

  • Orange is wonderful for cleaning your countertops, mirrors and sinks! Add 2-3 drops of orange essential oil to 2-3oz of water and mix in a glass spray bottle (always use glass as essential oils can react with plastic). This breaks down to $0.08 – $0.12 per 2-3oz of water.
  • Orange is also wonderful for uplifting your mood! Use in the same ways as lemon as listed above.
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of orange to your diffuser or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot. These methods range from $0.08 – $0.16.

Eucalyptus ($11)

I absolutely LOVE the smell of eucalyptus essential oil! This oil breaks down to $0.044 per drop.

Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is fantastic for respiratory support! I love adding 2-3 drops of euclayptus to my shower as the aroma combined with the steam from the shower really helps to promote feelings of clear breathing! The cost of this is $0.09 – $0.13.
  • Use Eucalyptus to help you feel relaxed! Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus to your diffuser, sit back and enjoy the aroma! This would cost $0.13- $0.18. You can find diffuser and roller bottle recipes for relaxation in my ebook here.

Tea Tree ($14)

You may also hear Tea Tree essential oil called melaleuca, this will vary depending on the company. The cost per drop for tea tree essential oil is $0.056

Uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Help soothe occasional skin irritations by putting 1 drop of tea tree on a cotton swab and apply to the irritation ($0.05). If you are applying to a large area of skin, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil ($0.11) to a few drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil to make application easier.
  • Support your immune system by putting 3-4 drops of tea tree in your diffuser ($0.17- $0.22) or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot ($0.11- $0.22)

Lavender ($20)

This is an oil that I truly believe everyone should have and it is very helpful, especially if you have little ones in the house. If you use lavender on children always dilute 1 drop of lavender in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or fractionated coconut oil. The cost per drop of lavender is $0.08.

Uses for Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Like tea tree essential oil, lavender works very well in helping to soothe occasional skin irritations! Use as discussed above. The cost for this ranges from $0.08 – $0.16. I often make a roller bottle blend using lavender and tea tree oil to help with skin irritations.
  • Use lavender to help you unwind after a long day by putting 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.24- $0.32).
  • Get a restful night of sleep by applying 1-2 drops of lavender to the sole of each foot ($0.16 – $0.32). Some people also find it very helpful to put 1 drop of lavender essential oil on their pillow before going to sleep ($0.08)

Essential Oils -

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

There you have it, 5 essential oils that you can purchase for $20 or less! Like I mentioned before it may sound like a lot of money for a small bottle, once you break down the various uses and the cost per use, it is easy to see that essential oils really are a very affordable option to help naturally support your family’s health and wellness!

Are essential oils more affordable than you originally thought?

Leave your response in the comments below! 🙂

Guest Blogger Bio:

Chantal Bernard is a social worker by day and an essential oil enthusiast, blogger at Painted Teacup, virtual assistant, wife and fur-baby momma by night. Chantal began Painted Teacup in March 2015 to share information about essential oils and recently wrote an ebook called Essential Oils Made Easy: DIY Diffuser & Roller Bottle Recipes.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Ready or Not, Here Comes Spring!

Ready or Not, Here Comes Spring!

There’s something about spring in the air. Waking up to the sun, the birds, and the scent of spring encompassing the world around you. It’s time to begin spring cleaning and the universe knows it. It’s funny: my wife and I were talking the other day about how it’s not really spring until the robins come…

Then, yesterday, as I made the trek home from work through the forest, I came upon a field of robins. No, I don’t mean that I saw a robin in a field. I also don’t mean to say that I saw a few robins. There were at least 50-60 on the ground and another bunch in the trees above. Go figure, right?

There they were, hopping around in the green grass, the muddy snow, and the wet, exposed earth. I felt the true life of spring surrounding me. It was stunning, to see the least, but it also brought with it a lively notion of life, light, and… well… cleaning.

What do I mean? I’ll explain..

Spring is Here! -

With spring there comes a sense of urgency – at least where I work. The feeling of spring means the coming of summer, and when summer arrives, twenty-five staff members and five hundred campers will be excitedly awaiting for our doors to open and that means we need to prepare now.

Yes, there’s more to the urgency than the quickly approaching summer. The urgency is spiritual, emotional, and physical. We feel the need to be clean.

I’m sure you all have experienced the chaos that is spring cleaning. The rush of energy that you feel when the warm breeze blows across your arms – finally exposed to the air after months of hibernation (okay, maybe that’s only a Midwest thing). You wrestle those bags of items out to the car to bring to Goodwill, spend hours boxing up your winter gear, sorting through your clothes, and then another few days sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and probably driving your family crazy as you try and rid your house of the winter muck.

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And then, when all is said and done, you finally have a chance to do your laundry and prepare for the coming season of warmth and joy. Your clothes have been covered in dust and dirt, you’ve sweated through your final clean t-shirt, and the summer wear you’ve pulled out smells musty and old after months of storage.

Is there anything better than hanging clothes to dry? The scent of spring wafting in on the linen, the feel of the air as you hang the clothes along the line, the accomplishment you feel when you are able to bring them in, clean and dry, and fold them tidily into the appropriate places.

Want to join us in a challenge this year for spring cleaning?

We are hosting our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge.
Are you in?

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals -

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal

Clutter. It’s something that we all dislike and yet, something most of us have. But what if there were a challenge to help us determine how to declutter our lives and reach our goals? Today, we have an amazing guest blogger named Erin who blogs over at A Welder’s Wife. She’s here to show you our next challenge: The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge (30DMDC).

Quick details before we give you the real info: Challenge starts April 1st, we’ll support you along the way, join in the email box below!

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Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Tired of all the clutter that surrounds you? What about all the clutter in your mind? Any one of these can be draining not only to your health, but to others close to you as well. It isn’t healthy to always worry about money, the clutter surrounding you, or the clutter in your mind!

I know. I’ve been there! However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Can you imagine having all the money you could dream of, because you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck anymore? Can you see what your home would look like without all of the clutter? How would you feel if your mind was decluttered? I bet life would be easier to enjoy, smiles would occur more often, and you would actually achieve your dreams!

Sounds great doesn’t it?! The best part is all of it is obtainable, and I have something to guide you in that direction. My 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge is an eye opening experience to what it is like to live without the clutter, and it will help you pay down your debt guaranteed! This is a full 360° challenge that will help you declutter your home and mind.

My background with clutter…

I grew up in a household that didn’t believe in letting go of things. Clutter was inevitable. This thought process continued as I grew into an adult. I kept so many things that didn’t mean anything, but I was too afraid to let go of them. Along with clutter, I accumulated some debt, and started living paycheck to paycheck. As a result, stress and anxiety consumed me.

I couldn’t think straight because of all the clutter!

When we decided to purchase land for our future house building plans, I knew something had to change quickly! I was able to find a book by Ruth Soukup that introduced me to my minimalist lifestyle. It is called Living Well Spending Less. I highly recommend this book! It showed me how living with less, and not spending so much could improve my life dramatically. I started slowly decluttering, and felt the relief of letting go of things.

As soon as I started, we put the house on the market, so I had to put myself into hyper-speed! I was able to take car load after car load to my local Goodwill and homeless shelter. [I didn’t have time for a garage sale, or I would have opted for that option. But donating is a great thing, and I had time for that!] I was feeling great! House was on the market, I had time to enjoy our home being staged and clutter free, and then it sold within 72 hours of having it on the market….

Most people would be stoked, but I couldn’t help thinking about everything I would have to pack up and move.. Suddenly, I felt all the work I had accomplished wasn’t near enough! Instead of shipping it all off to donate, I decided to pack it up and have a garage sale in the Spring [at this time it was almost Winter.]

Since the move, I have gone through everything we had in storage and have been able to let go of 80% of what we had! What an accomplishment right?! While I was happy with the progress, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I still felt cluttered. We downsized by more than half of what we were used to living in, so it wasn’t hard to feel cluttered. However, I knew I could do something to change it!

That’s when I came up with the idea of 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. I wanted to take my minimalist journey to the next level, and I did! I have finally eliminated the clutter from my home and mind! As an added bonus, I am going to make some money to use towards my debt!

Now, I go for walks in the evenings after work and wake up an hour earlier to wake up with my husband. This challenge has finally freed me of so many things that held me back, and it can help you, too!

What’s different about this challenge versus any other decluttering challenge?

What sets this challenge apart is its dual perspective. Focusing only on decluttering your home is great, but it doesn’t help the clutter in your mind, which is probably why you started decluttering in the first place. Focusing only on mental declutter may help for a few days, but if you aren’t decluttering the space around you, the mental clutter will inevitably return.

By focusing on both together, you are combating the mental clutter and decluttering the home in unison.

This will allow your mind to relax, refresh, and rejoice! Your space will be more tidy and freeing. You will also be able to fully grasp the concept of what matters to you most.

I wholeheartedly believe that if you give this challenge a try, you won’t be disappointed! I was able to eliminate 139 items from my possession during this challenge. [If I had a lot of papers, or a lot of the same item, I would count that as one item. The number would have been closer to 500 if I would have counted each individual piece!] This was after I had decluttered my possessions one month prior to this challenge!

How does decluttering intertwine with becoming debt free?

Decluttering is not only a tool to create space within your home; it’s a tool to help finances as well. Anything going out the door can be sold. You can host a garage sale, take things to a consignment shop, sell it online, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Most minimalists will suggest donating these items, because it is usually quicker to leave the home, without the chance of second guessing your decision. It also allows you to say goodbye to the item only once. While I think this is great, you and I do have a goal of becoming debt free. Therefore, decluttering is now one tool to help this goal.

Another way decluttering becomes a tool is helping you become conscious of what comes into the house. Over time, you will notice how you aren’t buying as much, because it may not be worth adding to your possessions or creating clutter. When you become conscious of the efforts you have made decluttering, you will become conscious of purchasing decisions. The money you save can be used towards your debt.

So you see they really do go hand in hand! Now that you have this information, will you be brave enough to take on this 30 day challenge and see how it can change your life?!

What do I ask of you?

1. JOIN Cassie in this challenge starting APRIL 1st.

2. Give it your all!

3. Join the Facebook Group for support (CLICK HERE).

Or use this link:

3. Imagine what your space looks like clutter free BEFORE you start to declutter.

[You can search for inspiration on Pinterest or Google.]

4. Create a plan for each exercise each day.

[It ensures success for each day!]

5. Be sure to use #30DMDC if you decide to share any pictures on social media so we can connect!
6. Lastly, HAVE FUN!!

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals -

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals

Let’s thank Erin, once again, for giving us such an amazing post and challenge to follow! We’ll be starting the challenge on APRIL FIRST so be sure to sign up via the email box above BEFORE that date (and join our Facebook group at any time)! Let’s declutter our lives and reach our debt free goals!

How can decluttering help you to live a better, happier, healthier life?

Let us know in the comments BELOW! 🙂

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Saving Money on Groceries – How We Only Spent $200

Saving Money on Groceries

No matter how you slice it, in order to save money, you have to cut expenses. It’s the unfortunate truth of the world we live in. So many people have come to me exclaiming: “But there’s only so many things we can cut!” And for the most part, they have cut a lot from their expenses. They’re learning to live without shampoo, without cable, without the “luxuries” we normally allow ourselves. However, the area in which people struggle the most to save is when it comes to food. Saving money on groceries is HARD.


That’s pretty simple: food is an essential item. We need food to survive. We cannot simply cut food from our spending because it would be detrimental to our health.

It’s true. There isn’t a ton we can do to get rid of the expense. However, saving money on groceries is entirely possible and I’m about to tell you how my wife and I spend less than $200 per month for food. Here goes!

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Saving Money on Groceries

 There are many strategies to help with saving money on groceries, but I promise this won’t be a list of places to go cut coupons. Okay, I know that coupons could probably save me a ton of money. And I also understand that if you use them right, you can legitimately get free groceries.

The amount of time it takes to get the coupons, learn how to use them, and then drive around to multiple different stores is a turn-off for me though. I can’t help it. I’m sure that I will get to that point someday, where I’m not working a full-time (plus some) job and running my blog while still trying to work some side hustles to pay off debt. I’m sure I’ll get to the point where coupon cutting is worth the time for me.

That time simply isn’t now.

So, I’m here to say, for all you other busy, go-getters, for all you SAHMs / SAHDs, for all you entrepreneurs, for all you college kids, and for all you anybodies out there who simply don’t have the time to devote to coupon-cutting, there’s another way.

Last month, my wife and I spent less than $200 for groceries. This month? It should be the same – if not lower. How are we doing this? How do we feed ourselves, our dog, and buy housing supplies / cleaning supplies / hygiene products all for under $200?

It’s not that hard. Let’s break it down into three steps:

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Make it Yourself

One of the biggest things I notice when I am talking to people about budgets is that they complain that everything is simply too expensive. While I agree that inflation has sky-rocketed the prices of everything we purchase (it’s really hard to say no to that one, right?), I also think that people are paying for convenience more than they like to admit.

A friend of mine came to me and asked how I spent so little on food for the month. I responded with by explaining the three steps in this blog – I live without, I plan ahead, and I learn to make things myself. That’s when I was met with the response that makes me chuckle every time:

“Well, you still buy the basic essentials right? Bread, pasta, veggies, meat, milk…”

The list goes on, but you get the point. Without fail the items “bread,” “pasta,” and “milk” are always on this list. Why? Because our culture has become overwhelmed with convenience. We have been led to believe that convenience is a staple.

I do buy the “staples” but these are very different on my end than on yours. My staples include yeast and flour for bread and pasta, a box of dry milk which is priced astronomically cheaper than the refrigerated milk, and baking soda and vinegar to cover all of my cleaning supplies and hygiene products (for the most part). Basically, I’ve learned to make it myself and it has made all the difference.

Still not sure? Check out these posts for cost analysis and how-to:

Making Homemade Bread can Save You TONS $$

Homemade Pasta can Help You to Save $100 at the Store

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home (& Essential Oil Usage)

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge (& Homemade Shampoo / Conditioner)

Saving Money on Groceries means Living Without

The next thing people say when they ask about saving money on groceries is: “What about treating yourself?” Then they’ll go on to tell me about how they work such-and-such long, hard hours a week for their money and they deserve to eat this expensive food.

Which brings me to one of the most complicated points I strive to make: It is difficult for us, as humans living within this day and age, to live within our means. 

Why? Well, I could talk about that for another whole blog post, but I won’t. If you want to hear some of my why, I talk about it in another blog post HERE about How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD.

So, whether you deserve to eat fancy, expensive food all the time isn’t really the question anymore. Now it’s about whether you should treat yourself once in a while. Well, here’s my thoughts on this: I want steak. I love steak. Steak is on my top one lists of favorite foods that I can’t live without. In fact, meat in general is just one of my favorite things ever. Yet it’s expensive and I am in debt. So, what does this mean?

Simple: If we want to spend less on groceries and pay back our debt quicker, we have to give up some of our wants – even if that means having more meatless meals and eating steak less often.

Now, I want you to know that it’s okay to treat yourself once in a great while, but don’t go overboard and use your “fun” money to pay for it. Remember: if it’s not in your budget, it’s not worth it.

If you’re interested in more on this topic, visit this post on Huffington Post:

Should You Live in the Moment or Pay Back Debt?

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the most essential way that I can tell you to start saving money on groceries. Keep track of the food you have in your home. Experiment with the food you already have at home and create meals you never imagined. When you run out, plan ahead before you buy more groceries.

Creating a meal plan means that you are more likely to stick to your budget for many reasons. First of all, you are less likely to eat out if you have a meal planned and ready to be made at home. Why? Because it’s easy. One of the top reasons that we grab fast food on the way home from work is convenience, right? We all know it doesn’t taste quite as good as home cooking, so that’s the main reason. So, if you have the food ready in a convenient way, you’re less likely to spend the money on fast food – even if that means doing some meal prepping over the weekend.

Second of all, if you plan your meals ahead and shop for those meals, you’re less likely to make grocery store trips. My wife and I go shopping once every two weeks and pick up the groceries we need for two weeks worth of menu planning and it works for us. The thing is: when you don’t shop for specific meals, it’s easy to say you’ll just run out and grab something to finish the meal which leads to more spending.

Both of these reasons prove the importance of planning ahead, but if you don’t believe me, check out this example:

Let’s say you decide make breakfast for dinner one night on a whim. You get off work and head toward home, but you realize that you don’t have all of the ingredients. You have three choices at this point:

  1. Go home and try to find something else for dinner (GOOD choice, but unlikely because we are conned into believing that convenience is necessity)
  2. Go to the store, head to the back to pick up your ingredients, see a bunch of other things you “need,” spend $30 by the time you leave the store.
  3. Head to the nearest fast food place and buy food for your family for $30.

It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Planning ahead can make all the difference.

Plus, I’ve got this great post on how to make a really cute menu board to plan your meals, check it out HERE: Stylish DIY Menu Board

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Saving Money on Groceries

Overall, remember that it’s important to work on saving money on groceries, but it probably won’t happen all at once and that’s okay. Start with learning how to make something from scratch, then try something new, and work your way up from there. Above all, remember that you can do this. Mindset is everything.

Saving money on groceries isn’t that hard when you implement these steps. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Learning to make things from scratch – like shampoo, bread, pasta, and more!
  • Learning to live without – you may want to treat yourself once and a while and that’s okay, but don’t go overboard.
  • Learning to plan ahead – make a menu for your meals and stick to it!

Follow the Frugal Friday Linkup HERE!

Would it be helpful if we shared our meal plans at some point?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Shampoo is one of those necessities we all think we need. Every day or every other day you hop in the shower and allow the sudsy lather to strip all of the natural oils from your hair. Not to worry, though! We have conditioner to fix that, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. There’s this thing called the no poo challenge and it may just change your life.

Last month my wife and I completed our first No Spend Challenge. Toward the end of the month we started to run out of a few basic needs. We got nervous as we added the last roll of toilet paper to the wall, we held our breath when the butter got used up on the last slice of bread, and we sighed when we hopped in the shower to find the shampoo next to gone.

Of course, we couldn’t spend any money on these because that would go against the rules of the challenge. We just had to find a way to get by without them (and for the record, the toilet paper lasted plenty long enough to get us through to February where we could buy some more).

What did we do about the shampoo, though? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

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Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

So, I guess this blog could have been more appropriately titled How We Took the No Poo Challenge, because the “Why” of the matter wasn’t really a choice. We originally decided to take the challenge because we simply ran out of shampoo and couldn’t buy more. That’s basically all there is to it.

On the other hand, we could have also titled the blog post Why We Continued to Take the No Poo Challenge Even After Our No Spend Month Ended, but that would of course, have been really long and obnoxious and you probably would have been bored before you even began reading the actual blog.

We started looking into the No Poo Challenge when we ran out of shampoo and then we started testing different recipes… Trying new ideas… and even making up ideas on our own. We contacted family members who don’t use shampoo (one who only rinses with water and has the softest hair her co-worker has ever felt). That’s when we came to the realization that shampoo is not a necessity. 

People will tell you over and over that shampoo is needed for good hygiene, but the reality of that matter is that shampoo is not healthy for your hair. It’s also just not cost effective. Do you even realize how much money you spend on shampoo each month? year? I bet it’s more than you care to admit.

So, what if I told you that you could stop using it entirely?

Well, it’s true. My wife and I have for about a month now and we’re loving it. Okay, we didn’t always love it, but we do now. When we first started, it was a struggle. I’ll admit that the first two weeks of losing shampoo is HARD. There’s grease and frustration and annoyance.

Your hair will take time to get used to being without shampoo.

Once you get there though, it’s definitely worth it. My hair is softer and smoother than it ever has been. It took many days to get here and a few mistakes in recipe to find the perfect combination, but I no longer have dandruff, my hair is always easy to brush, and I never need to use a straightening iron. It’s crazy, but it works. It’s just crazy enough to work.

The Recipe to Join the No Poo Challenge

Basically the No Poo Challenge is a chance for you to try not using shampoo for an extended period of time. You set the limits, you determine how long you’ll try it for, and you make the rules. You can even pick your own “no poo” recipe, but I’ll give you the one we use!

If you do decide to complete the no poo challenge – to save money and have healthier hair (without all the chemicals of shampoo products), here’s the recipe my wife and I use:

Mix 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda & 1 Cup of Water in a bottle. I usually also add a few drops of lemon essential oils just because they smell good.

Rinse your hair well in the shower before adding the baking soda concoction. You can use most of it in one shower for cleaner hair. Especially if you notice your hair getting greasy in between showers.

Don’t leave the shower yet though!

The baking soda takes away a lot from your hair in order to get it clean. We want to up the balance again. So, before you leave, pour some distilled vinegar and rub it into your hair.

Rinse the vinegar out and you’re good to go.

A few notes on the vinegar:

  • Be careful not to get it into your eyes, it burns like crazy. Just saying.
  • Rinse it well and your hair will be shinier and detangled!
  • The smell will go away once your hair is dry, don’t worry.

No Poo Challenge-

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

That’s it! Simple as that. I know, it seems crazy. Almost like it shouldn’t be possible, but just think: before shampoo was created, people didn’t just run around with crazy dirty hair. There was something else that came before the chemicals.

Sure, the shampoos in the store are easy to use, not super expensive, and keep your hair fairly decent. Nevertheless, the no poo challenge is unbelievably inexpensive, ALSO super easy to use, and keeps your hair healthier than it’s ever been.

Can you really deny the good it does?

Don’t answer that until you try it.

What is a crazy thing you’ve done to save money?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Paying off debt quickly is probably the most difficult thing there is to do. Yet it’s also one of the most important. Why? Well, that’s what I want to show you guys today. You see, in 2017 all of our student debt will officially be out of deferment. Once I have graduated from my Masters program, we’ll have a six month “grace period” before minimum payments on our loans begin.

YIKES! As you may know, my wife and I have a LOT of debt. A lot. Which is kind of an understatement. Starting at almost $200,000, we were in way over our heads (you can see how we racked up all this debt by clicking HERE). So, the thought of them ALL coming out of deferment can be pretty overwhelming.

Now, my wife and I are working to pay these off as quickly as possible, but many people have asked what it will look like for us in 2017 when our loans are no longer in deferment. It’s an interesting question for us because it’s something we’ve thought about a lot, but it’s also a GREAT question for you all because it gives me a chance to talk about how important it is to pay more than the minimum payment.

If you didn’t already believe in the importance of an extra ten bucks, you will after today!

2017 -

Gearing Up for 2017… Already?

We started preparing for 2017 back in October of 2015. We were just coming off of the high of our wedding day, loving our lives, living the dream of our honeymoon. We had settled back into our home and were starting up our every day lives again. All was well.

That’s when we did some calculations and made the realization: we have more debt than we ever expected. 

We both knew that we had a decent sum of debt. We both had a rough estimate of our own debt. We had talked about debt and finances. We knew we had a lot. Basically, what I’m saying is: this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The problem was that we never truly did the calculations until this moment. It was just a figure floating in the sky, but once we saw it in black and white, it became more real.

When we saw the figure, we began truly planning for 2017, knowing that my debts would be out of deferment and that we simply could not manage all of the payments. We began planning and working toward the day when the minimum payments would be due.

And that’s what brought us to today.

2017: Paying Only the Minimum Payments

Let’s start from the beginning of 2016 for this estimation. Let’s say that we began January 1, with out hefty load of $185,696.02 in debt.

At this point, we were making minimum payments of

  • $66 – Credit Card 1 ($3,500)
  • $130 – Credit Card 2 ($3,700)
  • $40 – School Loan ($2,500)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)
  • $139 – Car Loan ($5,100)

Which comes to a total of: $843 per month for minimum payments.

At this rate, it would take us 260 months (or a little over 21 years) to pay off the debt that’s OUT of deferment – remember, this is not including the debt currently deferred.

Even if we use the snowball method and only put extra toward debt once a debt is paid off, it would take us a total of 145 months to pay off (over 12 years).

In either scenario, we will continue making these minimum payments for a long, long time. Here’s what the minimum payment schedule looks like (if we add do the debt snowball method without upping the total monthly payment of $843).

  1. Car – 41 months
  2. Credit Card 2 – 49 months
  3. Credit Card 1 – 56 months
  4. School Loan – 58 months
  5. Federal Loan – 145 months

This means that when our other debts enter repayment, we will need to continue making both sets of minimum payments. So, the big question is, what will our minimum payments look like?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $300 – Private Loan ($32,000)
  • $40 – School Loan 2 ($3,000)

Not to mention the fact that interest has not been calculated for these two up until that point. Basically, our minimum monthly rate will sky-rocket to a whopping total of $1,683 per MONTH.

It also is important to note that both Federal loans are on a graduated plan. After a few years, the minimum payments will rise.

From the looks of it, we won’t be able to afford our minimum payments once they are all due. Thus comes scenario number 2:

2017: Paying MORE than the Minimum Payments

This is what we are currently doing and you’ll soon see why. As we noted before, our current minimum payments come to $843 (as of January 1, 2016). Now, let’s assume that we can put some extra toward our debt each month.

Let’s first look at how this changes our timeline (and then I’ll tell you some awesome stuff):

  • Only minimum payments = 207 months to debt freedom (including debt that is currently in deferment)
  • Add $10 = 193 months to debt freedom (that’s over an entire year gone!)
  • Add $50 = 184 months to debt freedom (almost another year!)
  • Add $100 = 175 months to debt freedom (this saves us over $67,000 in interest!)
  • Add $300 = 147 months to debt freedom (over 50 months of payments saved!)
  • Add $500 = 128 months to debt freedom

And so on and so forth. Basically, the higher the addition to the minimum payment, the quicker we will pay back our debts and the less interest we will accrue!

So, what about that awesome thing I was tell you about?

Well, we’ve already started putting extra toward our debt. In fact, we put a total of $1,700 extra or MORE toward our debt each month. Every windfall goes to debt, every extra payment goes to debt, bonuses, etc. All toward debt and it’s PAYING OFF.

So far we have paid off our credit card debt entirely! Not only that, we have brought our private loan down to $24,000 (from $32,000) just since January 1!

I know what you are thinking: why are we paying on the private loan that is in deferment instead of the federal loan, car loans, or school loan that isn’t? That’s a simple answer, my friend. The private loan has a super high interest rate of 9%. We want to kick that sucker out of here before we ever make a minimum payment on it.

That’s the plan.

We will pay off the private loan before it goes out of deferment. What else? We also plan to pay off the two school loans before then too. And, if we really work at it, maybe even the car loan. That’s the goal.

So, what would our minimum payments look like in 2017 if we reached our goal?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)

Which comes to a total of $968 per month. Not too bad, right? Sure, its a little higher than what we pay now, but if you figure the difference between this and the over sixteen hundred we would have been paying, it’s pretty great.

Not to mention our debt payoff date which changes drastically. Before I share it with you, I need to note that my wife’s place of work is awesome and if she sticks with them for another year (which she will) she will have $50,000 of her loans forgiven. If she stays another year after that, they’ll forgive another $20,000. And so on. I will be taking this into account in this debt payoff simulation.

Here are our new payoff dates:

  • Only minimum payments: 118 months
  • Extra $200: 92 months
  • Extra $1,200: 45 months

Wow! By paying on our debt with everything we have, we could be debt free in just under 5 years, but if we stick with the minimum payments for the entirety of our loans, we’ll have them for almost 20 years. That’s a HUGE difference (and one that I certainly don’t want to test).


Gearing Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

So, is it worth it to pay more than the minimum payment on our debts? Is it better to just keep our payments low and have them forever? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For us, we want to experience what debt freedom will be like and that means putting our all toward paying off our debts for good.

Can we do it? We don’t know, but it is certainly worth a try, isn’t it?

How are you preparing today for a better 2017?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

Are you looking for new ways to save money in 2016? You’re in the right place! My wife and I have been focused on how to live frugally on a low, low budget (of $0 this month!) and I’m ready to share all of that information with you (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been trying to all month). Today I want to tell you all about how to grow your own food – it’s possible!

One morning, when I was around eight years old, I planted my first tomato plant.

I woke up on a Saturday morning and came downstairs. Ate breakfast, watched some cartoons, and then my dad came into the room.

“Let’s go do some gardening!” He said. He handed me a shovel and we walked out to the side of our house where a small area of dirt sat, as if waiting for us. We got to work right away, pulling weeds, tilling the soil, preparing to plant tomato plants. I still remember the cool, moist feeling of the soil between my fingers as I dug them into the ground.

We planted our tomato seeds and waited. It felt like forever – years upon years of waiting – until finally, I walked outside and noticed the sprout popping out of the ground. Each day was like a new adventure as I watched the tomato plant grow, form green tomatoes, and ripen into fresh, plump tomatoes.

My dad and I went to check every morning and when they were finally ready, we pulled them off and ate them fresh – right out of the garden, tomato seeds dripping from our fingers. These were the best tomatoes.

Fast forward many years and here we are, ready to plant tomato seeds once more, but this time we are creating our own full garden inside. Are you ready to learn how to grow your own food?

How to Grow Your Own Food -

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

How to Grow Your Own Food

There are many different foods that you can grow inside your home, but first you must make the decision to grow them. Build a planter to put them in, throw in the seeds, care for them wholeheartedly, and soon you’ll have food growing inside your home! Here are some tips for you on how to grow your own food.

Good Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

There are many reasons for you to grow your own food, but sometimes it can be hard to make the transition. Most people realize that growing food takes a lot of work and if you aren’t ready to make the commitment, it may not be the right thing for you. However, if you’re like us and trying to live as frugally as possible as you work to pay off debt, save your money, or live a healthier life, then learning how to grow your own food can be a real life-saver. Why?

  • Healthier: Growing food in your home means that you can control what goes into your family’s bodies. Much of the produce that you purchase at the grocery store has been grown indoors, sprayed with chemicals, and may not be exactly what you think it is (I’m all for supporting local farmers though, don’t get me wrong – if you buy at a farmer’s market, that’s awesome).
  • Saves Money: What’s the most expensive thing that you buy at a grocery store? I bet your answer probably includes something about produce. Right? Because produce these days is priced outrageously. Unless you’re amazing with coupons and deals, you are probably spending way more than you think by eating healthy (which sucks!). By using some of the scraps from your produce (that you probably were going to throw away anyway) you can save a ton of money and have an unlimited supply (which would be great if you want to learn how to can – click HERE for info on why you should).
  • Live Better: Not only does growing plants in your home produce oxygen and greenery that’s sure to make you happier (there’s research on that), but they also help you to feel more alive. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than growing something with your own hands. When you eat those fresh tomatoes, they’ll taste better than anything you’ve ever eaten – because you created them.

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Deciding Where to Put Them

Once you have decided to grow your own indoor garden, you have to decide where to put them. Building a planter certainly isn’t hard, but sometimes finding the space is. We put our planter in our dining room because we don’t often use it – it also gets a lot of sunlight and heat which helps our veggies to grow! If you don’t have a lot of room, you can even do smaller planters scattered throughout the house (as long as you remember where you put them)!

Some of you may know, but I am creating a course called “Transitioning to a Frugal Life: Living Well on Less” – in this course, I’ll have a detailed module on how to actually build your own garden planter in your home, what plants grow best, and how to harvest seeds from these plants to give them the best shot at growing (everything you need to know). So, look forward to that in the coming months. If it’s something you’re interested in, let me know in the comments and I’ll send you a big discount when the course is released.

As for now, know that you need to put your garden planter in a sunny, warm place where you will remember to water it and care for it. Vegetables do take some care to grow, so keep that in mind as you plant them.

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Choosing the Plants to Grow

So, your garden is all set up and ready to go, all you need now is the plants. The greatest thing about learning how to grow your own food is that you can experiment with so many different types of produce to plant. In my opinion, the best way to decide is by looking in your fridge.

Growing your own food helps to eliminate food waste. All of those pieces of the veggies / fruits that you cut off and throw away? Most of the time, those are the pieces that, if harvested and planted right, can produce crops!

My favorite example is the green onion. This plan is simple: cut off the bottom inch (the white part) of the onion and place it in some clean, lukewarm water. Keep the water clean and filled, keep the plant in the sun, and within a couple of weeks you’ll have a new onion again. Trim off the top and you’ll have a never-ending supply of green onions. It’s that easy!

There are other plants that are great for regrowing too! Look for information on celery, tomatoes, eggs, potatoes, white / yellow / red onions, cilantro, apples, and so much more. Once you harvest and plant the seeds, you’ll have the whole produce section right inside your home!

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Are You Ready to Learn How to Grow Your Own Food?

Now the question is on your table: are you ready to learn how to grow your own food? Are you ready to save a ton of money on your grocery bills each month? Are you ready to eat healthy and live a longer life? Do you want that hands-in-the-dirt, tomato-juice-on-your-fingers-good type of experience?

Now’s the time to learn! If you are excited about learning all the details, let me know that you’re interested in the course! If you just have some questions, leave them in the comments, I’m more than happy to answer. If you’re ready to start now, go for it! You’ve got this! What is life except to experiment, love, and be happy?

Our quote today is by Richard Branson.

Quote - Day 14

“The best way of learning about anything is by doing.” -Richard Branson

That’s what my new course is focused on: teaching you how to live frugally, by helping you to actually do it so that you can learn. That’s what this whole month of the No Spend Challenge is focused on too. My wife and I have read for months and months about how to save money, but now that we are in the midst of the challenge – we are actually doing the challenge – we are learning so much more than before.

You can change the world.

What is the first vegetable you want to grow?

Leave your responses in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

Canning foods seems to be a lost art in today’s culture. However, if you’re looking for some great ways to save money on food, it’s not an idea that should be overlooked. Learning how to can foods can save you a ton of money – especially if you have ample access to fresh produce (perhaps you’re growing it in your home like we’ll talk about in a post later this week). But there’s more to it than that, canning foods can help you to lead a richer life; I’ll tell you why I think that later in this post.

As we do every Christmas, my wife and I made a trip to see her parents just a few short weeks ago. While visiting her parents this year, she decided to ask about how to can foods. We had talked about it before and considered it as an option to save money on food, but were unsure of whether it was something we could do. Knowing that her parents had done it for years, my wife wanted to ask their advice.

After our festivities during the Christmas celebration, her parents talked us through the different ways of canning – using a pressure cooker or a hot water bath. They showed us the tools they used, talked to us about safety, and told us what types of recipes worked with each canning technique. Her parents explained what the startup costs would look like and helped us to think about whether we thought it was worth our time (we did).

We left their home excited to learn to can, but knowing that it was going to be a lot of work. With our Christmas money, we took a trip to the store and purchased a pressure cooker, some cans, and some tools and excitedly went home to try our first ever canning experience. We spent an entire day learning how to use our pressure cooker and enjoying some homemade foods – and it was *hard,* I won’t lie. However, it was well worth it – for our budgets, our health, and our lives.

Save Money on Food

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

If you’re anything like my wife and I, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out if canning is really worth the effort.

The reason I say this is – canning does take a lot of effort and commitment, but I also know that it truly does save you a ton of money. While there is a pretty hefty startup cost, there’s also great reward (and it’s not just saving money, though that’s definitely part of it).

Now, I can’t exactly do a cost analysis because there are so many different things that you can learn to can to preserve. However, when we whipped up our homemade spaghetti sauce using ingredients that we had gotten super cheap, free, or grown ourselves – we saved a ton of money (almost $20) with just one batch.

How crazy is that? $20 for a batch of spaghetti sauce. Now, that batch made about 10 cans of sauce, so we don’t have to worry about making it again for quite awhile, but if we get an influx of veggies again, it only makes sense!

The other thing to note with canning is that it only saves you money if you have access to affordable produce. If your plan is to head to the store, buy a ton of produce at cost, and can it from there – you’re likely going to spend more money than if you had purchased pre-canned foods.

However, if you are great with coupons and can save a ton of money on produce, if you grow your own vegetables, or if you often come upon free produce, canning is an excellent way to preserve these deals and save money on food.

I know what a lot of you are thinking: canning can save money on food, but with the large startup costs, the fact that it only saves money if you have ample access to super cheap produce, and the amount of work / time needed to can, why is it even worth it?

Save Money on Food (1)

Well, much like many things we make here on DIY Jahn, it’s important to realize that money isn’t everything. Yes, I am saying that even though I know that we focus on money a lot here. The thing is: money is something that we are struggling with at the moment, but it does not change the fact that living life to the fullest is the most important thing we can do. Canning foods gives you access to high quality produce without the large intake of sodium and chemicals that pre-packaged, store-bought foods provide.

My theory is this: if there are more words on the “Ingredients” label than the actual ingredient needed (or words I can’t pronounce), it’s probably not something I’m going to buy. When a can of green beans has more ingredients than I can count on my fingers, is that really a healthy way to live? And living life to the fullest (even on a frugal budget), means learning how to live a healthy and rich life physically too – which means watching what we put into our bodies.

I’m not saying that all store-bought items are bad, but I’m saying that canning can give you a chance to save money on food while leading a healthier and happier lifestyle. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, most times I would give you some great tips on how to do exactly what I’ve just said, but I’m going to be honest with you and let you know that we are just learning to can. I don’t know that I know enough yet to teach you, but I do know someone who does. I found this awesome blogger, Mavis Butterfield, who writes for her blog titled One Hundred Dollars a Month, you can find that by clicking (HERE). Anyway, she has a *huge* section devoted to Canning 101 and I learned a ton by listening to what she had to say. I encourage you to do the same!

Finally, here are some products that can help you to get started in the canning arena! Click here to see some canning products you should try from Amazon.

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

There you have it, the reasons why you should learn to can. Here’s a little overview in case you want to skim:

  • Canning is hard work
  • There is a hefty startup cost unless someone gifts you what you need
  • You need ample access to produce
  • Canning helps you to save money on food
  • Canning also helps you to live life to the fullest
  • Once you start canning, you’ll love it

Today is DAY 13 of our No Spend Challenge and we are well over a third of the way done. Today’s quote is by the infamous John Lennon.

Quote - Day 13

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Living life to the fullest means understanding that happiness is the key, not saving money, not being healthy, but choosing to be happy. This other stuff – learning how to save money on food by canning, getting healthier by eating your own canned foods, and even paying off debt – it’s all important, but it’s not what makes life special.

What is the most important thing in your life today?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.