When it comes to saving money on dinner items, I first plan out six or seven meals for the week before I leave the house. I also scour grocery coupons every week (in newspaper inserts and online) to find the best ones to use on dinner items.
When I cook, I make sure to make enough extra servings of each meal so I can put them in a Ziploc container to freeze. Then I’ll use them during my “freezer week” of meals so I don’t have to cook dinners at all! I just add side dishes as needed.
In my experience, you will never be able to use a coupon on every item you need for a week’s worth of meals, especially if you want to eat healthy. But, the money you save with coupons will allow you to buy more fresh produce to use with your meals.
In a typical week, I make two pasta entrees, two Mexican entrees, two chicken entrees and for the last day I have everyone eat a combination of whatever leftovers they liked the best.
Many of my meals use the same items so when they are on sale and/or at a stock up price, I will pick them up knowing my family loves these meals. Here are my tips on how to save on dinner.
- Stock up on Chi-Chi’s or Ortega black, pinto and refried beans and diced tomatoes.
- Zatarain’s has a bunch of different rice mixes to add to your meals.
- You can almost always find Ortega or Chi-Chi’s taco or tortilla shells on sale.
- Barilla and Mueller’s pastas often have stock up prices.
- Prego and Ragu seem to switch off on weekly deals.
- Cole’s garlic bread is always a good addition and freezes well.
- I typically buy my chicken breasts frozen – whatever is on sale or at Costco.
- I also like to stock up when Tyson releases its $2 off rotisserie chicken coupon. You can get a whole chicken for just $3! Just shred it, freeze it and keep it to throw into any meal.
- I like the Kraft Fresh Take, Sweet Baby Ray’s and Mrs. Dash seasonings for spicing up chicken entrees, all of which have coupons and are often $1.50 or less for 10+ servings.
- Veggies – You can typically get a 2-3 servings size of Steamfresh vegetables or the 60-calorie Green Giant frozen vegetable box for just $.83!
- Salads – Dole salad bags often go on sale for $1-$1.50 and you can usually find a $1 off printable coupon once a month on these. Paired with the Low Fat Kraft dressing that you snagged for $.99 after coupons, salads are a perfect healthy and affordable complement to your dinner.
Kristie Hamilton is a happily married mother of a three-year-old and two-year-old twins (all girls!) who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kristie took to couponing when she left her job to raise her family full-time on one income.
After a year of learning and developing her own organizational system, she started teaching her friends how to save money with coupons and eventually even took to teaching classes within her community. Now, her hour-long classes include up to 200 aspiring couponers and savers in her area.
She specializes in coupon matching, stacking and “conservative stockpiling.” Her philosophy is practical couponing that takes only 60 minutes per week to save up to 40 – 60 percent on groceries, with annual savings of at least $1,200!
In her blogs on CouponCabin.com, Kristie will be sharing her tips for couponing as well as occasionally sharing her incredible shopping trips, complete with step-by-step instructions for how she saved and even photos of her haul!