meal prep for your budget

There are many reasons why to start meal prepping, but one of the easiest to appreciate is how it can help your budget! Whether you are living paycheck-to-paycheck or just wanting to save a bit of extra cash, the grocery budget is one area that can have a lot of give. With the right planning most people can easily cut their grocery bill in half!

I want you to stop and think for a moment: When you go to the grocery store, how do you shop? Do you go and grab what looks good to you? Do you have a list that you follow? How did you create that list? Did you use specific recipes and check your pantry for what you already have or did you just write down the things you usually buy with a vague plan in mind?

These are all things that can affect how large your grocery bill is! And with a bit of thought and practice, they are all things that can become easier and help you save money. By using these practices, I routinely keep our grocery bill around $100-120 per week! I could reasonably cut that even lower if I wanted to, but we have decided that there are certain products that we buy that are worth the extra cost.

To have meal prep really help your budget, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind!

Meal prep can help you save a lot on your grocery budget! Here are the top 3 things I keep in mind when planning my own meal prep to be budget-friendly!

3 Things to Consider for Budget Meal Prep

What do I already have in my pantry that needs to be used up?

This is especially relevant for produce or dairy products that are going to expire or go bad soon. Have some veggies looking a little sad? Plan to make a soup or stew to use them up! Have some canned ingredients that have been lingering on your shelves? Pick a recipe to use them up!

What recipes can I pick that have overlapping ingredients?

This can work for just about any type of ingredient, though I use this a lot for meat and produce. Two of the most common ingredients I will plan to use in multiple recipes on a given week: chicken and cabbage! Chicken is often available in large packages at a reduced per-pound cost. And one head of cabbage produces a lot of cabbage for your recipes!

For example, if I plan to meal prep 3 chicken recipes in a given week, I can buy a large package with enough for all three, saving me money and lowering wasted ingredients. Cabbage I usually plan out that way because most recipes call for less than a full head of cabbage. If I plan for 2 recipes, the cabbage gets used up! (Plus cabbage is incredibly cheap!) But that is just two examples! There are so many recipes and ingredients you can do this with! Think about it for a bit: What are some ingredients you use frequently?

What items are on sale at my grocery store?

I don’t honestly do this one very often, but it can be very helpful and I have used it a lot in the past! When you sit down to write your menu, first pull up the websites for the grocery stores you go to (or grab their mailers) and check out what main ingredients are on sale. Now, you want to be careful with this one. Focus on main ingredients only and try to pick things you would buy normally. Otherwise, this can go from money-saving to expensive very quickly. One of the ways I used this most was looking at what meat was on sale, especially chicken breasts or pork chops. Then I would choose my recipes for the week centered around that type of meat. This could work for just about any main ingredient though and I have used it before for produce as well!

Keeping these 3 things in mind when planning your meal prep menu can significantly increase your savings each week and reduce food wastage too!

What are your favorite ways to lower your food budget? Have your tried planning out your meal prep to be more budget-friendly? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

100 lbs lost: my fitness journey and what I’ve learned in the past year

A year ago I posted some about my fitness journey to that point and a bit about my background. I had already lost quite a bit of weight, but I hadn’t really fallen in love with fitness at the point. I exercised in spurts and wanted to get more into it, but I really didn’t enjoy it. And I didn’t honestly think I ever would. I still had a lot to learn when I wrote that post….both about fitness as a lifestyle, and about myself (I still have a lot to learn about fitness!) I could have never anticipated how the year since that post was going to go!

This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs. I finishedย a 12-week round of Kayla Itsines’ BBG! I also ended up in the ER twice (one of them fitness-related)ย and in physical therapy as well…3 injuries in as many months. I had months of working out regularly and MONTHS of not being able to do much at all.

fitness-journey-post-workout-pictures

 

Through all of it, one thing was clear: I love a fitness-based lifestyle. Even when it sucks, even when I don’t really want to work out….I love it.

I never really imagined loving working out. If you had told me at 25 that I would ever love working out I wouldn’t have believed you. The only exercise I had ever enjoyed as an adult was martial arts, but I didn’t even stick with that for very long. So the fact that I enjoy a lot of different exercises, that I want to try even more, seems crazy! But it’s true. And I’ve learned a lot through this fitness journey, especially over the past year!

lessons-learned-fitness-journeyRead More

sunday meal prep 7/10/16

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! We have some storms going on here right now, but otherwise it has been a good weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been having some slight back issues again, so I’ve taken a couple extra rest days this week. If I take care of it early on, hopefully I will be back to full workouts this coming week! But enough about my week….now it’s time to talk about all the tasty food for this week’s meal prep!

Enjoy!

How to spend a few hours cooking on the weekend and have more time for the things you love!Read More

links I love 7/8/16

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a great week! I know I did! It was a kind of busy and weird week here…my focus felt really off, so I switched things up a bit when it comes to what things I was working on. That seemed to help at least! One exciting thing for me is that my back issues seem to be under control for now, so I’ve been back on my full workout schedule for 2 weeks now! More on that next week. But now to share a few posts that I found this week that I’m loving!

Enjoy!

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Completely random for my favorite photo from the week, but I really like how this shot turned out!

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25 cheap (or free!) summer activites!

While summer as an adult may not be as carefree and open as it was when we were kids, it’s still a great time to get outside, try new things and just have fun!! But sometimes that can really put a stress on our budget, especially if we have any summer vacations to pay for too. But that doesn’t mean that all the fun has to stop. There are so many options out there that are free or cheap that can make for some great experiences and awesome memories.

Here are just a few that I could think of!

cheap-free-summer-activitiesRead More

sunday meal prep 7/3/16

Hey everyone! Happy 4th of July weekend! I hope you are all having a wonderful long weekend (some of us in the US at least). Our weekend was actually pretty much the same as always, but that’s fine. Still got a lot done and had a great time! This week’s meal prep is actually another short one, but not for the same reasons as last time. Yay, I’m not sick anymore! But remember the pretty large amounts of food those quick and easy meals made last week? Well, we ended up with so much food that we ended up not needing as much this week! So I got to enjoy a weekend working on the blog and business, with a smaller amount of cooking ๐Ÿ™‚ They were new recipes and turned out delicious!

Enjoy!

Spend less time in the kitchen and more doing the things you love! In 2 hours of active cooking you can make a delicious stir-fry, lentil soup and salads, plus enough snacks to last the whole week!Read More

links I love 7/1/16

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week and have an exciting weekend ahead of you! We don’t have much for weekend plans here, but we did have a fantastic week! As you might have seen, I launched my Etsy store this week! (Want to check it out? Click the “Shop” tab on the top menu!) It’s something I was working on for a long time and I’m so happy to have finally taken that next step! That was most of my focus for the week, but I did have some excitement even outside of that. One of my best friends came to visit, so we got to get some breakfast and go for a hike! She lives out of state, so I only get to see her a couple times a year. We had a great time!

Enjoy!

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My favorite picture of the week! Tammy and I on our hike together ๐Ÿ™‚

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my essential apps (and what I love about them!)

Most of us today live in a technology driven world. And while there is some backlash to that (and there should be, but that is a topic for another day), I think we can all agree that there are many things about that reality that improves our lives. Many of us find new friends and hobbies, organize our lives, find answers to important (and not so important) questions, make, track and spend our money, find random entertainment and so much more….all online. This very blog and the majority of the content within it are due to the online world.

More and more we use apps to make our lives easier and more streamlined. It’s amazing when you step back and realize just how many apps you use within a day. And today I want to share some of my favorites with you! For today, I’m going to ignore the social media apps themselves. We all know about Instagram, Facebook, and such, so I’m not going to focus on those.

Enjoy!

awesome-apps-for-androidRead More

etsy shop launch!

I have been looking forward to announcing this for MONTHS and it’s finally here! Guys, I have launched my Etsy store!

Untitled design (1)

I started dreaming about making gorgeous glass fusion and wire jewelry 1 1/2 years ago and, after gaining access to a kiln a while back, have been hard at work designing and creating just that! It’s been a great experience so far and I am so excited to start this next step and being able to provide these beautiful pieces to others!

I have 20 items available right now, but I will be adding a couple every 1-2 days, so make sure to check back in!Read More

sunday meal prep 6/26/16

Hey all! Happy Sunday! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Ours was pretty good here, though busy. A few things are still being caught up on from me being sick last week, but I think I’m getting close to caught up! ย Speaking of me being sick last week….This meal prep is quite possibly the shortest I have ever done. (keep in mind these are staggered by one week, so this post is for last Sunday’s prep) I was still feeling not-too-great, so I planned for quick prep meals and the bare minimum of active cooking. I also forgot to photograph the salads and the picture of the main prep isn’t my prettiest picture by far ๐Ÿ™ All that being said, I am really glad I still did my prep! I started feeling better on Monday and was back up and active by Tuesday and I’m so glad that I didn’t have to worry about the cooking then! All the food I did make was really tasty too, so at least there is that!

So with all that being said, enjoy this week’s prep! I even have a couple recipes that I don’t think I’ve shared on the blog before, so make sure to check them out below!

quick-easy-meal-prepRead More