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Hi, there friends! I hope you are doing well. We sure are living through some crazy times. I never thought I’d see anything like this happen in my lifetime. Did you? I know some of you may be experiencing some epically hard times right now. One week out of work can be catastrophic for many folks, let alone 3 + months! Today I have some budgeting and money-saving tips to help you get through hard times like these.
I will spare you the holier than thou speech on the importance of an emergency fund because frankly,Most people don't make enough money to be able to save ANY money, let alone 3-6 months' worth of living expenses. Click To Tweet
However, I have to say that where there is a will, there is a way! I believe that with my whole being regarding anything in life. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
- The first of my Budgeting and money-saving tips is to Plan Your Meals!
- Repurpose Leftovers.
- 5 More Dinner Ideas to Make With Leftover Instant Pot French Dip!
- Meal Prep!
- Buy Things in Bulk…
- Make Your Own Convenience Foods!
- Don’t Buy Things That You Don’t Need!
- DON’T Pay Off Debt.
- What is a Deferred payment?
- Government Assistance Exists For Times Like These!
- Use Less Electricity to Lower Your Electric Bill.
- And that’s it for these budgeting and money-saving tips!
Okay, enough of that… let’s get into these tips shall we?
The first of my Budgeting and money-saving tips is to Plan Your Meals!I know you've heard this before but seriously, you will save butt loads of money by meal planning. Click To Tweet
The first place most financial experts say that you can cut your budget is your grocery bill! You might be thinking shoot I’m at the bare minimum as it is how the heck can I cut that budget??
By planning meals! Literally plan out everything. It is not difficult at all it just takes a bit of time, practice, and really thinking things through.
When you plan your meals try to think of multiple meals that you can use the same ingredients for. That’s how you save money! For example, have chili one night and then have chili cheese fries the next night!
You can get three, maybe even four different meals from one bag of frozen chicken breasts. Depending on what you cook.
I usually set aside 3 breasts to marinate for grilling to go on top of a chopped salad. Then I’ll cook the rest either in my Instant Pot or brown them in a cast-iron skillet and finish them off in the oven.
When the chicken is all cooked I will shred it and make Creamy Cheesy Chicken Casserole with half of the chicken, and the other half I use to make chicken tacos or something like that.
This is HUGE! Also, it’s really fun because it gives you a chance to get creative. It’s kind of a game for me. By the end of the month, a week before payday is when I really get creative. 🙂 One of my favorite things to do is make a breakfast rice bowl from either Spanish rice or steamed jasmine rice.Top anything with an egg and call it breakfast! Click To Tweet
There are so many things you can do this with. Leftover enchiladas, taco or tostada shells, french fries, chili, pasta, and much more!
Another way to repurpose leftovers is to make a dish that is versatile in flavor. That way it can be easily turned into a completely different meal. For example, I make French Dip Sandwiches in my Instant Pot from a 3-4 lb venison or beef roast, which by the way can also be made in a slow cooker, and then I turn that into 3 additional meals for my family of 5!
- Lightning-Fast Shredded Venison Tacos, Easy and Flavorful!
- American Vegetable Goulash Recipe in The Instant Pot, Delicious!
- 20-Minute Red Chili Recipe With Shredded Venison and Beans.
5 More Dinner Ideas to Make With Leftover Instant Pot French Dip!
- BBQ Sandwiches: Add your favorite barbeque sauce and maybe a drop or two of liquid smoke to the meat. Be sure to use just the meat and not the juice or you will have a soggy mess!
- Gyros: Yes! All-day long. These are just as easy as the tacos, you don’t even have to season the meat just reheat it. You can buy store-bought flatbread but I discourage that with everything that is in me!! Homemade flatbread is extremely easy to make. I do it in my bread machine! If you don’t have a bread machine don’t fret. This recipe by Mel over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe is OUTSTANDING and very easy! It’s the one I use in my bread machine. 🙂
- Venison or Beef Stew: You’ll need the broth for this. The only seasonings I’ve added when making the stew is a bit of rosemary and thyme. The french dip has tons of flavor already. Remove the meat from the broth so it doesn’t get overcooked. Simmer the broth with all your veggies until tender. Add a cornstarch slurry. Then put the meat back in the stew and heat through!
- Soup: Here is where you can get really creative! Go nuts. A Mexican style soup would be fantastic. With hominy and red chili. Yum, yum!
- Shredded Beef Gravy: For this, you will need the juice and some or all of the meat. It depends on how many you want to feed. You could just heat the mixture up and add a cornstarch slurry which would be super fast. But, I like to separate the meat and juice. In a hot skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add 3 tablespoons flour to make a roux. Now add the juice and once the gravy is thickened add back in the shredded meat. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles! This is a favorite in my family. So comforting. ♥
Are you seeing a trend here? My best budgeting and money-saving tips revolve mostly around food.
Not only does meal prepping save money but it saves time when you need it most. Planning your meals ahead of time saves you money because you don’t buy things that you don’t need. You only buy what you need to make meals. Also, you eat out much less often!
Make a huge pasta salad or chicken and rice and divide it into individual portions for quick grab lunches.
For my family the biggest meal prep is only for lunches and sometimes breakfast. Like this Homemade Belgian Waffle Mix Recipe.
I love to make a batch or two for the freezer for quick hot breakfasts. Cooking helps me decompress so I don’t typically “meal prep” dinners.
Buy Things in Bulk…
but ONLY if it is actually a better deal! Surprisingly buying bigger isn’t always better. Do the math and buy in bulk when it actually benefits your wallet.
You’ll not only save because of the cheaper price but not having to drive to the store as often will save you money on gas. 🙂
Make Your Own Convenience Foods!
Like the homemade freezer waffles, I mentioned above or homemade seasonings like taco or fajita, and this DIY Smokey Chipotle Powder Spice.
Anything from salad dressings to Nutella can be DIY’d for a fraction of the price of store-bought. Pinterest is full of ideas for DIY convenience foods. I have a board dedicated to homemade easy grab foods. Check that out here if you like. ♥
You can even make your own specialty liquors. 🙂
Don’t Buy Things That You Don’t Need!
Obvious right? Well, yes and no. Obviously you’re not going to be frivolously spending during hard times. But you might buy, for example, cleaning wipes or paper towels.
I know they are super convenient. I buy them occasionally just to make my life easier. But you can just as easily use a spray cleaner and washcloth to clean with. And you can use washable hand towels in place of paper towels.
Speaking of cleaning sprays, making your own is also a great way to save money!! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Homemade Essential Oil Glass Cleaner, No Streaks!
- All-natural fabric softener and scent boost in One! DIY
- Disinfecting All-purpose Cleaner Recipe With Lavender Essential Oil. DIY
DON’T Pay Off Debt.
I know that’s the complete opposite of what you hear when talking about budgets and saving money. However, we are specifically talking about Budgeting and money-saving tips during “hard times”.
If you are waiting for unemployment benefits to kick in the last thing you want to do is throw all your extra money at debt. I am not saying don’t pay your debts at all!! I would never recommend that. Just make the minimum payments on your credit cards and keep that cash! You will most likely need it.
Right now many credit card companies, mortgage companies, and auto financing companies are allowing customers to defer payments. Believe it or not this is not a new concept. Anytime you may be experiencing hard times, call these companies and explain your situation. They are usually more than willing to work with you.
What is a Deferred payment?
A deferred payment is when the finance company or bank allows you to skip a payment with no penalties or fees.
Don’t think that you will never have to pay that deferment! The company will usually tack that payment on to the end of your loan. However, this can be a HUGE help when you are struggling just to make ends meet. Not having to make a car payment for one or two months could help you keep your head above water, so to speak. ♥
Take advantage of these benefits that companies are offering right now!
Government Assistance Exists For Times Like These!
There are so many programs out there that can help during tough financial times. Don’t let your pride keep you from taking care of your family or keeping your stress low.
It’s not worth it.
Besides, you pay taxes for things like this. It’s not a handout.
Use Less Electricity to Lower Your Electric Bill.
I know you must be asking, how in the heck can I do that when everyone is home all day long because of a little thing called quarantine??!!
Here are a few ways you can save money on electricity anytime.
- Unplug things you are not currently using. – I know that can be annoying but I promise you it works! Surprisingly, your microwave is a huge culprit. I save about $20 a month just by unplugging it! I kid you NOT!!
- Call your electric company and find out when their on-peak and off-peak hours are and use the highest pulling electronics in your home during off-peak hours!. – This is huge. On-peak hours are the hours that the price per kilowatt is at it’s highest. Off-Peak hours are when the price per kilowatt is at it’s lowest. I have saved almost $30-40 per month just by doing laundry and running the dishwasher during OFF-PEAK hours!! I did the math for my particular appliances and found that it costs me more than double to dry a load of laundry during on-peak hours. $.77 per load on-peak, compared to $.31 per load off-peak. It really adds up when you consider how many loads of laundry you do in a month! The times vary by place and company but for us, on-peak hours (higher price) are between 5 P.M. and 10 P.M. Monday through Saturday, and Sundays are off-peak all day. I didn’t have to change much to save. I only run my dishwasher in the morning and do laundry during the day since I’m here. If I have any laundry left to do by Sunday it gets finished up then.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room. – Yes you will sound just like your dad, but do it anyway. You will definitely see a difference in your bill. I promise!
And that’s it for these budgeting and money-saving tips!
I hope that you consider putting some of these tips into practice. They really will save you money and help during these crazy times. We have had hard times of our own and these Budgeting and money-saving tips have been a lifesaver.
Have a wonderful day!
Leigh Ann ♥