5 Things You Won’t Find in My Pantry (To Save Money!)

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{For anyone popping in, I am on blog maternity leave! Between writing some posts while I was still pregnant and having awesome blogger friends to guest post, I hope you’ll be entertained while I tend to my little one! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with what we are doing now.}

Hello, I’m Cait! You can find me blogging (when I find time during our crazy/busy life chasing around a mover and groover toddler) at theblessedlife about all things life, faith and on the thrifty and simple life.

I was honored and excited when Ashleigh asked me to guest post while she is away on maternity leave with her sweet Adeline.  Ashleigh was one of my first “bloggy friends” and I so admire her simple, healthy, and joy-filled lifestyle.

I don’t know about you, but the grocery portion of our cash/envelope/budget system (Dave Ramsey, anyone?) can easily get out-of-control! We have been married for 5 years and that portion of our budget has wavered back and forth so many times.

However in this time in our life, with attempting to cut more junk out of our diets and eat more “real” food, finding nutritional items for a toddler, and simply trying to cut back on costs to help be good stewards of this blessing God has provided with me staying at home on a part-time landscaper/full-time youth pastor budget…we continue to find more and more ways to cut back in portions of our budget that we often look at and think we can’t squeeze out another penny.

So without further ado…

Here are 5 things you won’t find in my kitchen (that save us a lot of money in the budget):

One- Soft drinks.  We used to spend at least $10 a week on soft drinks (soda, pop, or whatever you may call it in your neck of the woods).  But I am a (recovering) Diet Coke obsessed gal.  (I’m talking one in the morning with breakfast obsessed.) Now, I have stopped drinking soft drinks to limit my intake of aspartame and artificial ingredients.  My hubby only has them occasionally when we eat out as a treat.

Two- Napkins.  Here is another thing that I used to buy every few weeks.  And yes, it’s not a lot of money, but it adds up.  We do buy paper towels with a toddler in the house (and because my hubby thinks we need them – marriage is all about compromise, right?! 😉 so we just use those at dinner or cloth napkins.  Oh and it never hurts to use the go-zillion free napkins that are placed in the bag when you hit the occasional drive-thru!

Three- Toddler-specific snacks. (Or “nacks” as my Adeline calls them.) Our little girl, Adeline, has always been a great eater.  She honestly hardly ever pushes something away from her.  (Minus cow’s milk.  Even when it’s chocolate.  What’s up with that?! She still prefers her Momma milk…that’s for certain.)  So I buy snacks that may be more fit for her to eat due to the size (mini goldfish) or blueberries because of the size, but we buy snack foods that we all eat.  Grapes, string cheese, and apple sauce are some faves.  This cuts down on expenses because we are all eating the same items, it helps us to be more accountable to snack healthy because we want her to do the same, and it keeps her from being tempted by junk food.

Four- Pre-packaged portion snacks.  Yes, there was a time where I bought the big bag of mini chip bags (easy for packing hubs’ lunch I used to tell myself) and the 100 calorie snack bags to take to work with me (that 100 calorie thing doesn’t work when you eat two. or three.). These are so much more expensive.  And you can be just as intentional on portion control by bagging items ahead of time, taking the self-control to count out the number of crackers, or cutting and preparing fruits and veggies for quick access.  Often, also, these are the items that in all honesty, we shouldn’t be eating anyway because they aren’t the best for us.  Bonus.  Save money and be healthier!

Five- Candy.  I know this sounds silly to some, but to others, candy bars or other chocolate snacks like that are a staple in the house for dessert in the kiddos’ lunch or for after dinner.  And it used to be for us.  I didn’t leave a mini candy bar out of my hubs’ lunch.  If I did, he would lovingly remind me later that day. 😉 But times have changed in our home.  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my chocolate, and often “need” it late at night! 😉 But we have tried to be more intentional on buying items that curve that craving but aren’t as expensive and are a “bit” more healthy.  We sometimes buy dark chocolate covered berries or add a dab of chocolate into our milk.  Just one little taste can curb that craving.

So there are five small, yet big-impact ways that we cut back on our expenses and slowly try to make our home a more healthy haven for our little gal, for ourselves, and simply to be the best stewards we can with what God has blessed us.  What isn’t in your kitchen?

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