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!

Healthy Body and Healthy Budget - www.diyjahn.com

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: www.lisarutledge.ca

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.

Why?

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!

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com

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

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com (1)

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.

9 Weird Ways to Save Money TODAY!

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

If you’re working long shifts or have the kids at home, you’re probably running out of ways to earn extra funds. Now it’s time to cut down on what you are spending. Paying off debt and living life to the fullest is all about bringing in more than you are sending out (and using all that extra to pay down your debts). Sometimes, though, saving money isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you have already tried some of the “normal” ways to save money, here are a few weird ones to kick you into gear!

Weird Ways to Save Money - www.diyjahn.com

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

As some of you may know already, my wife and I are on a journey to pay down our giant sum of debt (to the tune of almost $200,000). We just set an official big, scary goal of paying it off in only THREE years (you can see that HERE). For the record, my wife and I have a fairly low income compared to our debt – in fact, our debt is well over three times our combined income which means three years is a little bit unrealistic.

But a goal is a goal and we are going to do everything we can to reach it.

We have cut our expenses like crazy, worked hard to earn some extra money, but our big, scary goal means that we need to go even farther – and maybe even get a little WEIRD – as we search for ways to save money.

Here are our 9 favorite weird ways to save money (so far):

1. Stop Buying Bread & Pasta Altogether

One of the first things I hear when people say that they are looking to save money is that food is SO expensive. They follow that up, of course, with the need to use fillers (such as bread and pasta) at over half of their meals each week. The thing people don’t realize is how expensive these two items are.

I know what you are thinking. You can pop over to your local grocery store and pick up both for less than five bucks, but what if I told you that by making them at home you can pay for both of them for only $1.19. Would that change the way you feel about purchasing bread and pasta?

Over the course of ONE YEAR that would save you a grand total of $396.24!

Want to know how?

Here’s a link to our post: Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS

& Here’s a link to our post: Homemade Pasta can Help You to Save over $100

Of our weird ways to save money, this is by far my favorite because it tastes SO good.

2. Stop Using Shampoo

Yes, you read that right and yes, it does seem a little crazy, but that’s the whole point, right? To get a little bit WEIRD with our ways to save money so that you can find NEW ways that you haven’t thought about yet. So, we have to include this one and it’s one of the most recent.

Toward the end of our No Spend Challenge (read about the challenge HERE), we ran out of shampoo in our home. I’ll admit, this caused a brief moment of panic because due to the rules of the challenge, we were not allowed to buy any shampoo to replace it.

We knew we still had to go out in public though for the remaining week of the challenge. How were we going to do that without shampoo? Wouldn’t our hair become unbearably greasy?

Nope!

We took the No Poo Challenge. We have been on it for a month so far and my hair feels better than it has ever felt. Want to try a natural way to clean your hair and a weird way to save money?

Check out our post: Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

3. We Went an ENTIRE Month Without Spending

As long as we are on the topic of the No Spend Challenge, let’s add that to the list. We went the entire month of January without spending ANY money. (okay, we did spend money on gas to get to work, but that was it)!

Over the course of the month we saved a whopping grand total of $2075.62!

Would you stop spending for an entire month to save that? We certainly would.

If you want to check out our No Spend Challenge or join in on the fun, read our post by clicking HERE!

4. We Changed Our Cell Phone Plan

We have always been the type of people to just stick with the familiar. It probably has to do with the fact that we are both from the Midwest and both attend a Lutheran church. Change…? What’s that?

That being said, our cell phone plan was charging us an outrageous $230 per month for two phones with unlimited talk, text, and data. WOWZA! That’s INSANE.

So, we decided to switch it up and go with a lesser known company. This company gives out phone plans for as little as $5 per month.  Yep, $5 PER MONTH!

You can read more about them by reading our post: Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You $3000

5. We Started Using a Cash Budgeting System

Of our weird ways to save money, this one may seem a little silly. You may think to yourself: whether you use cash or credit, it’s still the same amount, right?

Well, yes, you are right…. Technically… But think about this: When you swipe a card, you don’t really notice the cash leaving. If your account is empty, you can continue swiping – though the fees become outrageous and it’s not really recommended.

However, there have been studies that have shown that when handing over cash, there is an instant reaction of physical pain for a split second. It legitimately pains you to hand over cash – that’s why it’s so much harder to justify buying a soda at the gas station when you have to break a twenty for it as opposed to swiping your card.

Not only that, but it also is a very visible way to see where your money is and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

If you want to read more about this, we did a whole post – click HERE to read it now!

6. We Starting Growing Our Food from SCRAPS

We know a lot of people who grow gardens in their backyards and we always thought that was nice, but it sure looks like a lot of work. Then we started doing the math.

Whenever we go to a grocery store, the things that we pay the most for our produce and meats. Well, we certainly do not have the land, funds, or knowledge to start raising cattle and chickens, but we are doing well enough to start our own garden, right?

So, we took apart a tomato, a few onions, some celery and planted them. Soon we had our own garden sprouting up inside our home – in our DINING ROOM! How crazy is that?

And it’ll save us tons of money. Which is exactly what we want.

Read our post: Are You Ready to Learn How to Grow Your Own Food?

7. We Started Canning Food

Once our garden began sprouting we knew that we needed to find a way to preserve the food. Each week we found ourselves throwing out produce that we had not used up and the waste was killing us. It was time to find a change to fix the problem.

So, we learned how to can our foods and keep them for years! Now, I know what you are thinking: why is this on your list of weird ways to save money?

Well, let’s think about this. How many people do you know, under the age of 40, who still can foods? The truth is that most millennials know that canned foods are readily available for cheap at the grocery store so they don’t see a point in canning their own.

But it can save you TONS and cut down on your food waste tremendously.

Check out our post: Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

8. We Make Our Own Cleaning Products

Fun fact: It’s not just shampoo that you can make on your own. You can also make your own household cleaning products! We clean our toilets, our counter tops, our fridge, our carpets, and even our laundry with our own cleaning products that we made for cheap!

Let me tell you something: baking soda and vinegar can go a long, long way. 

Not only are these products cheaper, but they create a healthier environment at our home. We no longer are surrounded by dangerous chemicals for no reason – instead, our home is free and clear and that’s just how we like it.

Want to try it for yourself? Check out our post: Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

9. We Cut the Cord on Cable and Subscriptions

Do you realize how much money you spend each month for entertainment? Even if you set yourself an entertainment budget, you’re still going way over what you think you are. That’s because you’re probably including newspaper subscriptions, cable, and magazine subscriptions into your monthly bills instead of your entertainment fund.

And the truth is: by doing that you are wasting thousands of dollars.

We found ways to cut the cord on cable and subscriptions without missing out. We still see all our favorite shows and are caught up on all the news, but we pay only a fraction of the cost. And you can, too!

Check out our post: Cutting the Cord on Cable and Subscriptions

Weird Ways to Save Money- www.diyjahn.com

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

There you have it! A list of 9 weird ways to save money that my wife and I already use. Don’t worry, there are plenty more to come, but this list will certainly get you started if you are looking to save a ton of money and live your life to the fullest!

What’s the weirdest thing you have done to save money?

Leave your response 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.

How to Save Bacon Grease & Why You Should – NSC Series

How to Save Bacon Grease & Why You Should

Bacon is one of the greatest foods you will ever eat (as I’m sure you already know). The warm, sizzling, crunchy or chewy, salty slices of meat can add delicious flavor to anything and I do mean anything – I’ve seen people eat bacon ice cream, doughnuts, cookies and more (though I don’t know that I would ever eat that). Anyway, eating this delicious food can actually save you money – what? All you have to do is learn how to save bacon grease – it’s that easy – and in this post I’ll tell you how to save it and why you should.

My wife and I often volunteer to work with a catering company (owned by a relative of a co-worker of mine). It works out really well for us, actually. We make $100 per event ($200 if we both go, which we always do) and the events usually last around 4 hours.

For the most part, we really enjoy it. It’s one of the highlights of our month when we get to go – and usually we have at least 1-3 events per month. The owner is a fun lady who we truly enjoy hanging out with, talking to, and learning from. She’s always excited to teach us new fancy recipes and ways to do things. We get to experience what that top 1% lives like in our community at houses that are sometimes worth well over 6 million dollars (houses we could never even dream of owning). Plus, we get to spend some time talking to people, networking, and getting out there instead of sitting at home and watching Netflix.

However, one of the best bonuses from this job is that we often get to take home leftover food. If you have ever cooked for an event of more than 50-100 people, you know that horrible sinking feeling you get when there isn’t enough food. There is possibly no worse feeling than being unsure as to whether everyone you are supposed to be feeding will be fed. Therefore, our catering boss always makes sure to have a TON of extra food on hand – which usually means TONS of leftovers.

Most events we will come home with bags filled with fresh veggies, delicious fruits, a little meat or bread, and some other goodies. While a lot of this gets eaten right away in our home, there are some tricks we use to stretch it out. And when we get bacon, we are more than happy to save the grease and use it over and over again.

How to Save Bacon Grease - www.diyjahn.com (1)

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 Save Bacon Grease & Why You Should

So, you’re up on a Saturday morning, the rest of your family is still asleep, and you grab some ingredients to start a nice, hot, home cooked breakfast for them to wake up. The coffee is started and the house is filled with the scent of roasted beans. Toast is in the toaster, an egg bake in the oven, but most importantly, bacon is sizzling away in your frying pan. Sound like a good life? It certainly does to me.

As your family pads into the room and begins to munch, you realize the bucket of grease your frying pan has become and start looking for something to throw it away in – stop! Instead, find a container to store it in and learn how to save bacon grease – I promise, it’ll be worth your while.

How to Save Bacon Grease- www.diyjahn.com

Why You Should Learn How to Save Bacon Grease

As we said, bacon is a very versatile food, but so is bacon grease. Bacon grease can add flavor to many different meals and can replace butter in most occasions. Now, I’m not saying that it is probably the healthiest thing and I certainly don’t think you should replace butter in every recipe with bacon grease. However, I do think that it can add a lot of flavor to a meal or be a tasty treat for those who want to save a few bucks on food!

What can you do with that bacon grease you saved? Well, I enjoy using it to sautee my favorite vegetables, create awesome fried rice, or even in place of butter in casseroles (I guess that would be “hot dishes” for you Minnesotans).

The thing is, in the world we live in and the state of the economy at the moment, food prices are sky-rocketing. The price of butter has soared from somewhere around $1 per package to over $3-4 now! While bacon grease won’t save you a ton, if you could save even one pack of butter you would be better off – and why not when you were going to throw it away anyway!

How to Save Bacon Grease - www.diyjahn.com (2)

How to Save Bacon Grease

You have decided that learning how to save bacon grease is worth your while, right? Because who doesn’t want a delicious, bacon-flavored assortment of sauteed veggies with their meal? I know I do! Now it’s time to actually learn how to save bacon grease – which is pretty easy, I might add.

The best way to save grease from bacon is to fry the bacon in a skillet rather than baking it (I know some people who bake it in the oven and, while delicious, makes it more difficult to save the grease). When the bacon is finished, remove it from the frying pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit. The best way to save it and ensure you get all the good parts is to let it sit until it becomes a solid (give it around two hours and it’ll get there). You’ll know it’s ready when it’s a grey-ish-white-ish color and cool to the touch (don’t touch hot grease to test it though).

Take a spatula and scrape the grease into a container – the best sorts of containers for this type of storage would be a peanut-butter jar, mason jar, or other tight, plastic or glass jar rather than a plastic bag or ziplock type container. This way it’s easy to access and will stay good for longer.

Bacon grease can sit on the counter for a few days safely, but in order to keep it at it’s best quality (and ensure no one gets sick) place the stored bacon grease in the fridge where it can last up to six months. Be sure to write a date on it so that you know when you need to start a fresh jar!

How to Save Bacon Grease - www.diyjahn.com

How to Save Bacon Grease & Why You Should

My wife and I have been replacing butter with bacon grease for a few months now. Like I said, we don’t do this with every recipe, but there are certainly recipes that we can use that taste even better with bacon grease. One of my favorites is my friend’s Biscuits and Gravy Casserole. If you sign up for our exclusive e-newsletter, you’ll get that recipe today!

Now, it’s officially DAY 15 of our No Spend Challenge and all is still going well (I’ll give a full update on Sunday), but as for spending – still nothing! I’m surprised at how much we don’t feel like we are suffering because of our lack of funds.

Anyway, our quote for the day is by Francis Bacon.

Quote - Day 15

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Francis Bacon

Yes, I do think that this is a great quote, but yes, I did choose it because we’re talking about bacon today and well…. his name is Bacon! It really just fits.

So, lets unpack that a little bit: I appreciate all of you reading this blog, I really, really, honestly, and truly do. However, if you are reading it and not reflecting upon it, learning from, letting it guide and inspire your life, then you need to transition to doing so because that’s the goal here: to inspire, to assist you in reflecting, to help guide you.

What are your reflections on what you have read here at DIY Jahn?

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.

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.

Create a Shopping List to Prepare – NSC Series

Create a shopping list to prepare for the challenge

On the 15th and the 30th of every month I am paid and with those paychecks, we allot ourselves a certain amount of money for gas, food, and all other needs. The past few months this has been $200. We take the rest of the check to put toward recurring bills and the entirety of my wife’s pay and put it toward our debt. We create a shopping list and head out to make our purchases.

In the past, we have spent the majority of my wife’s and my checks on whatever it was we wanted. We would go out to eat multiple times a week and not budget appropriately for anything. We paid the minimum on our debt and felt pretty comfortable with where we were sitting – not realizing that we were literally throwing thousands of dollars out the window each and every month.

Fun fact: with our interest rate on our student loans we gain over $46 per DAY in interest. Which adds up to almost $17,000 in interest added to our principal each year. Yikes!

Anyway, we decided to work on shifting our focus: what would it be like to live on only one income? So we did. Then we thought: what would it be like to live on the smallest of our incomes? So we tried that too. We went even further and thought: What would it be like to live on half of the smallest income? And that’s where we are at now.

So, with that being said and $200 in hand, my wife and I left for the grocery store on December 15th. Mind you, this $200 was meant to cover not only the groceries for the next two weeks, but also the gas to travel to both of our parent’s houses for Christmas, and the extra food needed to get us through the month on our No Spend Challenge.

In order to stay within our budget, we had to create a shopping list. How did we make it work?
Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you!

Create a Shopping List - NSC (1)

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 preparing for our first every No Spend Challenge (NSC), starting January 1, and holy cow, it is approaching quickly.

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 Create a Shopping List to Prepare for the Challenge

Speaking of the challenge, the biggest concern we have is that we will not have adequate food supply for the entire month. Therefore, we knew that we had to be intentional about our groceries and resources when we create a shopping list.

P.S. If you don’t create a shopping list for all of your grocery needs BEFORE you go to the store, you should start. Going to the store without sticking to one can end up costing you thousands of dollars each year!

So, in addition to our regular two week supply of food, we found ways to add a few extra items to the list. Remember, if you are completing the challenge with us, the goal is to save money during the challenge. Which means that anything bought in preparation for the challenge should come from a regularly allotted budget (don’t allocate extra funds to prepare).

We broke the $200 down into a few segments. The first was gas money – we knew that we had to find a way to travel to both of our parents’ houses over the holiday – so we allotted $80 to the cause. This may not seem like enough, but our car gets 25mpg and we get money off our gas costs by shopping at HyVee (read about that HERE).

The next $120 was for grocery costs alone. However, we knew that we would need to restock a little bit the day before the challenge, so we set $20 aside to utilize for that purpose – for things like eggs and milk, which won’t keep as long.

So, we had a solid $100 to buy food for the rest of December and to prepare for the challenge. The great thing about Christmas though, is that for a multitude of days – our food is covered. Not only that, but we also have a staff reunion and New Year’s Party that we attend yearly (well, host as a camp) starting on December 30th. So, I have food paid for from Dec 30-Jan 2nd which certainly helps.

So, of the next two weeks – we have to pay for food from Dec 15-23rd and Dec 28-29th – not so bad, right? We also knew that we would get some leftovers from the holiday celebrations so that certainly helped! As we worked to create a shopping list, we looked into what the costs would be to feed us for these few days and knew that we could make it easily on half the money in our budget (or less).

Now, you are probably wondering: what did we add to our list? We thought about everything we would need to create homemade foods throughout the month – which are cheaper than store-bought foods and last longer. Then we began to create a shopping list that fit into our $50 budget for preparation. Remember, this budget was not extra, but instead taken from our normal budgeting.

Create a Shopping List for the No Spend Challenge

I hope that this helps you as you create a shopping list to prepare for the challenge!

  • Flour
  • Dry Milk
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking Soda
  • Chocolate Chips (yay!)
  • Cheese
  • Canned and Frozen Veggies
  • Peanut Butter
  • Boxed Mashed Potatoes
  • Rice

When you are preparing your list, ask yourself the following:

  • Will this stay fresh throughout the month (or will I use it before it goes bad)?
  • Does this item have multiple uses?
  • Is this a high-cost item that I don’t need?
  • Will this help me to eat properly throughout the entire month?

When you create a shopping list for this week, what are you adding to prepare for the No Spend Challenge?

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.

How to Save Money On Groceries – MMO Series

How to Save Money on Groceries with One Simple Trick 

I haven’t met a single person, in my entire life, who did not want to learn how to save money on groceries. Why? Because food is so expensive and yet an essential aspect of our lives. We cannot simply stop eating to save money (or lose weight, unfortunately), but there is a great site I can show you to help you save money this year.

Last week, my wife and I decided to do our regular shopping. We have a pretty strict budget – for those of you who don’t know, we are working to aggressively pay off our debts – we are even going to participate in a No Spend Challenge soon. So, we took our money to the grocery store to see what we could buy with our two week allowance of $200.

Now, $200 is a decent chunk of money. Especially when you consider the fact that we are only feeding my wife, myself, and our dog. However, this $200 is not only for groceries. This also includes dog food, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, gas for our car, and fun money for gifts, fast food, clothes, books, or anything else we may want / need. So, we get this $200 every two weeks and we need to make it last because it’s not very much.

 

However, I’m not sure if you have noticed, but prices at the grocery store have risen astronomically. We did our best to stock up for the coming two weeks (and the month ahead of us for the No Spend Challenge), but we had to be cautious not to spend all of our money in one place as we still need gas to get to work and food for our puppy.

That’s when we found this great site that offers cash back on most of our grocery purchases!

Here’s today’s post for our Make Money Online Series.

how to save money on groceries - Ibotta

If this is your first time viewing our Make Money Online Series, please read this section.
-if not, feel free to skip ahead!-

The Make Money Online Series is a compilation of blog posts and guest posts discussing how it is possible to make extra cash online. When I first started my journey to pay off my debt fast and become debt free, I searched every possible nook and cranny to find options to earn extra money – in fact, I’m still looking! I scavenged the internet searching for options and signing up for everything that I possibly could.

Of course, this led to a bunch of spam and horrible programs that lie and do not actually help to make money online at all. SO, I’ve developed this series to help debunk those programs so that those of you who are in need of some extra cash, whether it’s because you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, want to pay off your debt fast, or want to find a way to support your family as a stay at home mom, won’t struggle to find tried and true methods to earn money online.

We’ll cover topics ranging from freelancing to blogging to direct sales to micro jobs, etc. and posts will be made every other day – so keep checking back for more or sign up for our weekly newsletter! For a compilation of all topics that have already been posted, click here (HERE).

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover, or a topic you would like to guest post on, let us know in the comments below! Thank you!


 

How to Save Money on Groceries

We told you all about how you can save money on cleaning supplies and hygiene products by using ePantry, but today we are going to tell you about how you can get cash back on your groceries by using this one simple trick. And actually, you don’t even need a computer for this one – all you need is a smart phone and you’re in business.

So, what is this magical app that gives you free money for shopping? It’s called Ibotta and it’s really a very simple concept. What happens is the app pays you for purchasing items by giving you a rebate on those items.

The app is linked with over 150 stores (most of the popular ones are on there, like Walmart, Hyvee, etc.). When you’re ready to go shopping, you unlock items you’ll be purchasing, scan your receipt when you’re done, and Ibotta pays you cold, hard cash. Simple.

You can even link your loyalty cards to your Ibotta account for even more savings – or use Ibotta to shop online!

So, you’ve figured out how to save money on groceries, but that’s not the only way to earn money with Ibotta. You can also earn by building your team – meaning you earn money when you friends go shopping too. How great is that?

Now, if you think it’s all just a scam, check out the numbers. So far, Ibotta users have earned over $46,777,000 and it continues to rise! Their slogan is: “real people earning real cash.”

 

how to save money on groceries

How to save money on groceries

It’s pretty hard to turn down a company that has paid people millions of dollars to do their regular shopping, isn’t it? Not to mention that turning them down means turning down free money, which is not something I’m able to do, that’s for sure.

So, here’s how you can get started using Ibotta and earn extra money for grocery shopping today!

  1. Sign Up for an Account:
    Use this link to sign up and join my team! You can do this right on your computer or from your smartphone.Remember, if you use my referral link you’ll be put on my team which means extra earnings for you (and me). In fact, if you sign up using my link, you’ll get a FREE $5 credited to your account – just for signing up!

    Link: https://ibotta.com/r/hneegcu
    If you cannot find my link, use this referral code to join my team: HNEEGCU

  1. Download the App:
    You’ll want to download the app after you sign up. Don’t worry – it’s available for both iOS and Android. While you can manage your account via your computer, the only way to submit receipts is via the app.
  1. Unlock Rebates:
    Before you go shopping, don’t forget to unlock your rebates. To do this, you complete a simple task (never takes more than a second or two) and then your rebate will be waiting.
  1. Go Shopping:
    Remember that to use the rebates, you need to purchase the items that you selected at qualifying stores. Don’t worry, this information is easy to find on the app. – Simply select the store you are going for and unlock the products you plan to buy. Then shop away – that’s how to save money on groceries EASY!
  1. Scan Your Receipt:
    Once you’re done shopping, make sure you get a copy of your receipt – don’t let the cashier throw it away. Scan it with your phone into the app. It’s as easy as that.
  1. Get Paid:
    Once your receipt is scanned, you will be paid within 24-48 of receiving it. Don’t be fooled – you are paid cash, not in store credits. You can be paid through Paypal or Venmo – or you can use the cash to purchase gift cards to places such as iTunes, Starbucks, and more!

That’s it. That’s all there is. I would have to say that Ibotta is one of the simplest ways to earn money that I have come across yet (and as you know, I have been looking into a lot of new ways). If you are looking at how to save money on groceries, Ibotta is certainly the place for you. If you are looking for how to earn a small side income, Ibotta is still for you.


 

 

Thank you for sticking around for our Make Money Online Series. A new post will be coming out soon – don’t forget to check back in!

If you have topics you would like to contribute or would like us to cover on how making extra cash is possible during our Make Money Online Series, please let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!


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.

Living Frugal: Don’t Throw Away Leftovers! – NSC Series

Living Frugal: Don’t Throw Away the Christmas Leftovers!

Merry Day-After-Christmas Day (or something like that…)! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. I know that I did. Living frugal doesn’t have to mean a boring life – yesterday I celebrated Christmas at my parent’s house with my wife and today we are headed to her parent’s house for another Christmas celebration. Woohoo!

We ate tons of delicious foods and we are off to eat more today, but first I wanted to let you all know a little secret to living frugal: don’t throw away the Christmas leftovers! I know what you are thinking: we spent days or weeks preparing for this meal, hours upon hours cooking it in a chaotic kitchen, and now we are tired of it. We don’t want this food anymore – and here’s another secret: I am too.

The thing is, saving the leftovers means creating a plethora of new meals that can save you money in the long run. As we know, living frugal is all about saving money – especially with the No Spend Challenge coming up so quickly! Don’t worry, this post is filled with ideas to utilize your leftovers without eating the same thing over and over again. Like I said, living frugal doesn’t have to be boring!

LIVING FRUGAL


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 preparing for our first every No Spend Challenge (NSC), starting January 1, and holy cow, it is approaching quickly.

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.




Living Frugal

Along with your exhaustion that comes from holiday merriment, I’m sure you’re also suffering from food boredom. You’ve spent the majority of this past week working to prepare your Christmas meal. After the filling Christmas day, you are now faced with a fridge full of leftovers that you are no longer interested in – I definitely know how that goes.

Living frugal though, during the NSC, means that you won’t have any money to spend on groceries. Before you think about throwing away those leftovers in exchange for a nice hot pizza, let’s think about some ways that you can reuse them, instead, to make new and exciting meals!

I know what you’re thinking: not more cooking… Well, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it today. Most leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to one week before they go bad. Just make sure to do some cooking and freezing before they do go bad so that you can have some extra food to start off the No Spend Challenge. Remember, we’re living frugal which means not wasting ANY food.

Now, here are some ideas for using your Christmas leftovers and living frugal as you prepare for the challenge.

  • Use your turkey or ham bones to make broths and soups! Turkey makes a great broth to be used in recipes for soups, casseroles, and more. Ham broth can be a nice base to a minestrone type soup. Try freezing broths in cupcake pans first to create portion-sized pieces!
  • For leftover fish from a seven fishes feast, consider making an Italian White Fish Stew such as was showcased on the Healthy Helper Blog – Click HERE
  • Got a ton of potatoes? We all know that these have many uses, but here are a couple from the Healthy Helper Blog including: Sweet Potatoes – for Frittata (HERE) and Potatoes for High Protein Potato Salad (HERE).
  • Casseroles can freeze nicely, but are hard to reuse in new recipes. Simply place cooled casseroles in a freezer-safe container or baggy and freeze.
  • Freezing vegetables can help you to make delicious soups, casseroles, and dinners later. Throw them in a freezer-safe container or baggy and pull them out when you need a side for a meal, something to beef up your soup, or an important ingredient for your casseroles!
  • Mashed potatoes are great for making delicious homemade bread (which is great if you’re working on living frugal). Simply google “Mashed potato bread” and you’ll see thousands of results (or you can look at your old fashioned Betty Crocker cookbook, like me, and you’ll find it in there too).

I hope this list helps as you work on living frugal and paying off debt.

Now, here’s a question for you:

What is YOUR favorite way to use your Christmas leftovers?

Leave your answers in the comments below!

No Spend

DIY Menu Board: DIY Jahn Featured in a Magazine!

DIY Jahn was recently featured in a magazine!

A few weeks ago I was contacted to do some writing for a green magazine – an eco-friendly online magazine designed for university students. The hope was to create an article with a DIY craft that could help students who are on a low budget become more environmentally friendly.

After talking with Atishi Ahluwalia, the Design Editor / Promotion Manager of Green Paper Leaf, I decided to write my article on how to create your own DIY Menu Board.

magazine

The menu board offers students (or anyone) with the chance to create a meal plan easily each week. With a place for differing meal ideas, slots for each day of the week, and a fun way to keep track of your shopping list: the menu board is a great way to go!

Utilizing a meal plan can help you to significantly decrease the amount of food waste your house incurs. By decreasing food waste, you are helping both your budget and the environment!

Related: Are you ready? Meal Planning: Shop, Prep, Eat, WIN.

If you guys want to learn how to make a DIY menu board, you can do so by visiting the article in the Green Paper Leaf online magazine. Just use the link or photo below.

You can find the article by visiting the Green Paper Leaf magazine here (HERE).

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this magazine and so excited at the opportunities to come in the future.

Working with Atishi was fun and exciting for me and the process was simple. After the article was published, Atishi let me know that they “had a promotion party and have already got students to circulate it. We also did your DIY project at the party…[and] everyone was loving their menus.”

Hooray! What a fun magazine to work with. I can’t wait to work with them again in the future.

Homemade pasta can help you to save over $100

Homemade Pasta

 I know you all are probably wondering how homemade pasta can actually save you money. You saw the title and thought, “well, I doubt that – a box of spaghetti is less than two bucks!” You wouldn’t be wrong – boxed pasta is undeniably cheap, but there’s a better, healthier, and more satisfying way to eat Italian delicacies. What is it? Make your own homemade pasta!

homemade pasta 5

The Story

Last weekend my wife and I realized that we had a ton of leftover turkey – and not much time left to use it. Being frugal-minded and environmentally-conscious, we try really hard to never waste food. So, we decided to make some homemade turkey noodle soup. There’s nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of soup on a brisk and snowy day, right?

Plus, turkey noodle soup is easy. We take the turkey carcass and some leftover dark meat and throw it in the crock pot with as much water as we can possibly fit. Then we open up our freezer and grab a bag of frozen veggies – any kind will do – this time we used Italian seasoned protein blend of veggies that we got on sale and didn’t like plain. We threw two bags in the crock pot, turned it on low, and let it sit all day while we were out and about.

We came home around five and were ready to partake in our delicious meal. The only problem: there were no noodles. Now, my wife and I graduated college just a few years ago and we still tend to lean toward the “easy” meals rather than the “good,” “healthy,” or “frugal” meals. We are working on changing this, but it can sometimes be difficult when you have a habit built up, so we reached into our cupboard for a box of pasta.

That’s when we started thinking about how amazing homemade pasta tastes compared to boxed noodles. They’re so flavorful and the texture is to die for and we thought to ourselves – are they really that hard to make? We’ve done it before, why do we never make them? It was time to pull the recipe book out and give it another go.

We took the next half hour to make noodles (yes, that’s all the time we needed and it would have been faster if we had been more focused). We made a double batch and threw them into the crock pot. When we sat down to eat our soup, the homemade pasta was the star of the show. We couldn’t get enough of it.

homemade pasta 4

The Logic

 Then we got to thinking: if it only takes that long to make homemade pasta, why don’t more people make it themselves? Let’s think about it: my wife and I are in our mid-twenties and we easily understood the recipe and were able to produce an amazing homemade pasta dish within a half hour. Why couldn’t others do the same?

There are a few responses that I often hear to this question.

1.) I just don’t have the time to make homemade pasta – I’m too busy. Which I have to say is just impossible. If you are able to go to the store, buy pasta, and spend half hour boiling the pasta – you have time to make homemade pasta. It barely takes any more time than regular pasta – maybe ten minutes, and that’s pushing it.

2.) I don’t have the right tools. That’s one of the greatest things: you don’t need anything new! Sure, there are plenty of machines that make homemade pasta easier, but if you don’t have them: it’s still a simple task! All you need is a mixing bowl, spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a rolling pin, and a knife or pizza cutter and you’re set!

3.) I’m not skilled enough to make homemade pasta. The thing with homemade pasta is: it’s super easy. Pour ingredients together, mix, roll, cut, boil: simple. Homemade pasta is possibly one of the easiest meals to make (and also the easiest way to impress your family and friends).

4.) Why would I make homemade pasta when boxed pasta is less than two bucks? This is where we really get into why homemade pasta is such a great idea and how it can save you $100 on your grocery bill each and every year.

Let’s take a look at the cost analysis of these two differing types of pasta while assuming we are making four servings:

  Homemade Pasta Boxed Pasta
Ingredients 5 lb Flour: $2 Box: $2
26 oz Salt: $.75
1 Dozen Eggs: $4
1 Gallon Milk: $4
Average Cost
for 4 Servings
$.81 $2

I know what you are thinking – how do we get those numbers? Well, the boxed pasta section is pretty simple. One box of pasta will make the same amount of food as one batch of homemade pasta and is $2.

However, homemade pasta works a little differently. Yes, the ingredients do total a whopping $10.75 when added as a baseline, but we need to take a few things into consideration. First and foremost: most of these ingredients you already own and always have around. It’s unlikely that the making of pasta will be the first time you purchase salt (if it is, I’d love to know your secret).

Second, we need to take them one ingredient at a time because none of them will be used in their entirety with one batch of pasta. In fact, the above ingredients create six full batches of homemade pasta, with a bunch of ingredients leftover. Even at six batches, the cost of homemade pasta is cheaper than that of boxed pasta at $1.79 per batch.

homemade pasta 1

Here are the breakdowns for the ingredients:

  • 5 Pound Flour – $2: One 5 pound bag of flour can create 20 batches of homemade pasta making it $.1 per batch.
  • 26 oz Salt – $.75: One 26 oz container of salt can create 144 batches of homemade pasta making it $.005 per batch.
  • 1 Dozen Eggs – $4: One dozen eggs can create 6 batches of homemade pasta making them $.67 per batch (and the most expensive ingredient by far).
  • 1 Gallon Milk – $4: One gallon of milk can create 128 batches of homemade pasta making it $.03 per batch.

 As you can tell, by buying the ingredients ahead of time – you will certainly save money each time you go shopping. But the question is, will you save $100 as I promised?

Let’s say that you make a pasta meal twice per week – maybe you have spaghetti or ravioli one day and mac and cheese another day, or you make enough to have leftovers for lunch, or have two servings made for company. In any case, let’s assume that you average two servings of pasta per week for meals.

For 52 weeks using boxed pasta, you will spend a total of $208 to have pasta two nights a week – which doesn’t sound bad at all, right? I mean, it is only $4 a week.

Now, let’s take a look at 52 weeks using homemade pasta. Instead of spending $208, you’ll pay a total of $84.24 throughout the course of the ENTIRE year. That’s only $1.62 a week – cutting your bill by more than HALF for those bills.

Over the course of the year, your family will save $123.76 – more than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS just by making your own homemade pasta!

If that’s not enough to convince you, think about this: The boxed pasta you buy at the store is chock-full of chemicals and preservatives making it one of the least healthy decisions you can make for you and your family. By making your own pasta, you have the opportunity to know exactly what goes into your body. If you choose to use organic ingredients rather than their cheaper counter parts, your cost may rise slightly, but will still be ultimately cheaper and healthier than the boxed alternative.

My wife and I have vowed to go from now until my 25th birthday (October 2016) without buying any boxed pasta. Read more about my goals here: HERE.

Can you handle the challenge of keeping your family healthy and living frugally?

Is it really a challenge when it means eating delicious homemade pasta?

homemade pasta 3

The Recipe

 Okay, so now that we have convinced you to try homemade pasta it’s time that we share our age-old family recipe for the most delicious homemade pasta with you. Don’t feel stuck here though – branch out! Try new recipes and go crazy.

Here goes:

HOMEMADE PASTA – The Hammon Recipe

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
  2. Coat surface with flour and place ball of dough on top.
  3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin until it is really thin (less than a quarter inch).
  4. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut pasta into desired shapes.
  5. Place finished pasta into boiling soup, broth, or water and stir often for around 10 minutes (or until it has reached desired tenderness).
  6. Serve as desired and enjoy your first batch of homemade pasta

homemade pasta 2

The Thanks

Thank you for reading today! I truly hope that this inspires at least some of you to give homemade pasta a try – you certainly won’t regret it. If you do, let us know how it turns out.

Also, if you’re willing, share your favorite recipes for pasta in the comments below!


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