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Budget-Friendly Meal Planning

Looking for ways to save money? Meal Planning is a quick easy solution to keep your budget on track.
Yummy & Budget-Friendly Meal Planning

Have you ever had one of those days, where the kids are screaming, starving, and on the verge of a meltdown, yet you have no idea what you are going to make for dinner? Trust me, we’ve all been there.

Dinner time can be one of the most stressful times of the day. Well, stress no more! One great way to save money and eliminate mealtime chaos is to use meal planning!! Using these simple tricks takes the guess-work out of a busy mom’s dinner schedule (or dad’s, depending on who is the chef in your home) and eliminates the chance of having multiple hangry-I mean hungry ;-)- kiddos. Furthermore, meal-planning helps you save food, money, and time.  It is a great way to use your recipes and use up frozen food lurking in the back of your freezer.

I usually plan out our meals monthly, starting at the beginning of the month. Today’s example will include two weeks’ worth of meal planning, which can be doubled for a month’s worth. (or for more ideas check out Budget-friendly Two Week Dinner Meal Plan for under $75)

I like to pay serious attention to the days my four-year-old has preschool and needs mommy right around meal-time.   I save the simple, kid-friendly meals or crock-pot meals, I can make in advance, for these evenings.  So play around with my sample and do what works for your schedule!


Chili-Fall Budget Meal Under $4

Fall Budget Chili Recipe

Fall Chili Recipe

Crisp air, pumpkin patches, cider and donuts, football games, beautiful colored leafs-These these are just a few favorite things that are reminiscent of fall!! One other favorite, and maybe one of the best, is my budget-friendly chili recipe. This is a fall go-to recipe my entire family of four loves.

Every year around this time, I incorporate my quick easy, budget-friendly chili into my meal planning rotation. For those of you that do not cook, this recipe is so easy, you can’t go wrong!  In my next post I’ll give you an example of my two-week meal planning, but for now, here is my favorite chili recipe!

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you, so thank you. This site uses cookies for a better user experience. For more information read our disclosure policy here.

Grab your free Meal Plan and Menu Template

Click here to grab your Meal Plan Packet

Since Chili is a go-to recipe I try to stock up on diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and ground beef when it is on sale. I freeze my ground beef and stockpile the canned goods. You will need to make a trip to the store for the fresh produce, but that is part of the reason this chili tastes so good! Fresh onion and green pepper! Not to mention, it makes your house smell amazing! What are you waiting for? Give this chili recipe a try this fall!

If you are really ready to save on groceries, check out my favorite cashback app Ibotta. I have literally earned hundreds back on food and groceries in the past few years and the app is easy to use, so why not get money back on the cheap meals you are about to make?

The best part about Ibotta is you do not need to clip coupons, which most of us dislike. Everything is organized on the app and it is easy to add your stores to your account or upload your receipt for some extra cashback when you finish your grocery shopping.

Sign up with my link and get $10 when you use it 

Fall Chili Budget Meal Ingredients:

1 lb. of ground beef (season with salt & pepper) – paid 2.99 on sale-stock up

1 large can 30 oz. diced tomato – paid 1.39

1/2 an onion – paid . 99(save other half & make again next week)

1 green pepper – paid .62

1 can kidney beans 15 oz. – paid .89 (rinse)

1/2 can tomato sauce 15 oz. – paid .99 (save other half & make again next week)

1/2 tablespoons chili powder paid 1.99 for an entire bottle (estimate .20  per use)

*optional*Dried red pepper-I don’t use because I make mine kid friendly, but some like it spicy.

(Most ingredients were purchased at Target using my REDcard to get an extra 5% off my purchase, the green pepper was purchased at Walmart.)

Yummy Cheap Chili

Fall Chili Recipe Directions:

1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef & drain grease

2. Add green pepper & onion to the meat and cook on medium heat until soft

3. Dump the rest of the ingredients in and stir-See, I told you.. easy, peasy

4. Simmer and stir on low for 30 minutes or longer

*I’ve made this ahead of time and left on the stove top for up to two hours.

Optional: Sprinkle with shredded cheese & dollop with sour cream

Yummy cheap chili
Yummy cheap chili

Enjoy Your Chili Fall Budget Meal!

Serve with crackers or garlic toast and ENJOY!!!!

For a family of four, this makes two meals. I have leftovers the following evening, cutting the meal cost in half and the mess! I love serving chili nachos the following day! Just top your chili over tortilla chips and add cheese and sour cream and you have another meal you don’t have to cook! The total cost was $7.67 (this includes my target red card 5% discount) or 3.83 per a meal. This chili is sure to be a winner and it is cheap and filling!

Budget-Friendly Food Related Post:

Don’t forget your free meal plan packet!!

Click here to grab your Meal Plan Packet


How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds Recipe (So Easy)

Super Easy How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds Recipe:

Are you ready to carve your pumpkins? If so, don’t throw away your seeds just yet, Did you know pumpkin seeds are easy to clean and cook, to make a yummy, nutritious snack? Here is my easy recipe:

Save money in snacks and cook up those pumpkin seeds!
Save money on snacks and cook up those pumpkin seeds!


Pumpkin Seeds – The Money-Saving Snack

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the fall! Yes, that time of year is right around the corner (of the corn maze).

Our favorite fall activity is visiting the pumpkin patch and picking a perfectly round, orange pumpkin off the vine! Our favorite farm has kid’s activities, a corn maze, and a train!

Since we are buying our pumpkins at the patch, they are usually cheaper than the supermarket so we save a little and have some family fun. My kids absolutely LOVE this family day trip!

Nonetheless, what better way to save money than to use something you were already going to buy – your great pumpkin! Don’t let the seeds go to waste. Be ready after carving to scoop them out and rinse them off.

You may be tempted to toss them, but they are super easy to cook and make into a yummy, healthy snack.

After you carve out your pumpkin, rinse those babies off, pat them dry, and stick them in the oven!! You now have a healthy snack (seeds are loaded with magnesium, potassium, and zinc). Depending on how many pumpkins you carve, you’ll have a yummy, nutritious snack for days. Enjoy my simple recipe! 

Easy “How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds” Recipe

1. Rinse your seeds well and pat dry. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get off the pumpkin guts, but you want all of that gunk off your seeds before your cook them.

2. Grease your tray with olive oil (or cooking spray) & lay seeds in a single layer so they cook evenly.

3. Season (use salt or cinnamon & sugar for your sweet tooth). You can get crazy with your seasonings and mix it up with whatever y ou have. Nutmeg or something spicy will work too, but I’m a boring old salt kind of girl.

4. Cook at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

5. Cool & enjoy for around five minutes and enjoy.

6. Seal your leftovers and they should stay good for around two months in the refrigerator if you use an air-tight container, according to Allrecipes, or a week at room temperature.

Pumpkin Seed Recipe Final Thoughts…

Pumpkin seeds are an easy, delicious snack. It is a fun treat to keep the Halloween excitement going all month.

You can take “snacks” off your grocery list for a few days and enjoy your yummy treat! I hope you enjoy the recipe and have a great snack with your family! Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween-Costume Savings

Halloween Costume  Savings
Halloween Costume Savings; learn how to save on your costumes this year!

Happy Halloween!🎃

What are your kids dressing up as this year? Did you pay full price for those cute costumes? Hope not, but if you did, there is time to save for next year!! Here are five ideas to help you!

1. If possible, the number one way to save is to buy one year early! This works best for younger kids that can be swayed or if you already know what they are into! My son is wearing a Captain America Costume that my mom bought on clearance last year for $5 (marked down from $22). Just buy a size or two up and you are set! No stress next year!

2. Check mom to mom sights or sales. I just started using these on Facebook and I’m addicted! I see costumes all the time and some people are just giving them away to get rid of them!-Way to spread the love!

3. Sign up for a store email list. Many major stores offer free shipping and discounts around the holidays. I am on the Party City email list and they have had free shipping all week!

4. A fairly new way to shop online is Jet.com.  I bought my husband’s and my Halloween costumes on this sight last year. The sight actually shops around, will find you a great deal and offer a discount if you wave your right to return your item.

5. Another great idea is to costume swap with friends, family, neighbors or mom’s groups. Many moms are just trying to get rid of old, no longer used costumes.

As always, I hope this post was helpful!! Don’t forget to stock up on Halloween candy next week when it all goes on clearance!  YUM!


10 Easy Ways to Save Money Every Day

Easy Ways to Save Money Every Day


Easy ways to save money every day - Learn these easy money saving tricks and save more. #savemoney #moneytips #money
Easy ways to save money

Saving money isn’t always easy. In fact, many of us have no choice to save money and are living paycheck to paycheck. Nonetheless, there are many easy money tips and tricks to help keep your budget on track.

So learning to save money means keeping more in your pocket. Not to mention, you can build up your savings account with these simple tips. And it doesn’t have to be hard. There are ways to save money on a tight budget.

Unfortunately, over half of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover one month of expenses. According to a recent study by Bankrates.com, 20% of Americans don’t save anything and 47% only save 1-10% of their earnings. Yes, most people are one emergency away from going over the top into debt.

Saving money is important and some of the best ways to get on top of your money problems are as follows:

  • use a spending journal
  • create a budget
  • find ways to save more money
  • find a side hustle
  • create sinking funds or separate accounts
  • plan for retirement

By starting a budget, you will learn how to save money on a daily basis. If you are stuck on starting your budget, get your free budget template here:

No matter what you are saving for, it is best to have a goal in mind. Learning money tips and tricks will help you keep money in your pocket and you will reach your money goals.

The list below features many ways I use to save money. With a family of four, it is easy to go over budget, especially on groceries for kids.  However, I have found that if I continue to practice the tips below, I have a few extra bucks in my pocket at the end of the month and I hope you will too.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you, so thank you. This site uses cookies for better user experience. For more information read our disclosure policy here.

Related Saving Money Posts:

Ways to Save Money Every Day

Use these tips to save more and build your bank account.

#1 Save Money by Finding Free Activities

There are so many fun activities in cities or local areas that are free.  Local parks, libraries, bike rides, and family walks are just a few.  Many times libraries offer classes and celebrations that are free, but you must sign up in advance. If you are at a loss for ideas, here is a list of 55 Summer Activities for Kids that are Frugal or Free and 20 Free Family Holiday Activities.

# 2.  Couponing

Couponing does require a bit of work but can be fun and an excellent way to save money.  One great way to coupon is to use online couponing sites.
Coupons.com and Betty crocker.com are just a few of my favorites.  You can also follow blogs that match up coupons to sales at your favorite stores. Krazy Coupon Lady does a great job of matchups.
Not a couponer? That’s okay. There are still amazing ways to save money every day, especially on groceries. You can use rebate apps to earn cashback on items you already buy.
Double your savings by signing up for this rebate app too. I like Checkout 51 because it NOT store-specific.

# 3.  Wait a week before buying

It is hard not to buy something we like, especially when credit cards make it so easy.
However, patience is your friend when it comes to saving money.
The next time you see something you are really eyeing, wait a week and see if you still have the desire for that new purse or pumps.  If so, set aside an envelope to save up for your favorites.
Better yet, try the 30-day rule before making a big purchase.

#4.  Pay off your credit card monthly

I admit I use credit cards. Yet, I pay my balance off each month. I keep track of how much I am spending and set a spending limit for myself. In this way, I am not overspending and getting a surprise bill later.

Then I pay off the bill each month.
This might be tricky if you already have a lot of credit card debt, but paying the minimum on your credit card will just not cut it. Think of it this way, you are now paying 10-20% more per purchase (depending on your rate) for everything you buy. Would you buy it in the store if it cost that much initially?
Make a plan to pay off debt and pay cash until you can. Here are some money posts to help you on your debt journey:

The main reason I use credit cards is that I get discounts and rewards points, but I make sure to pay it off in full each month and once you are out of credit card debt, you can do the same.

# 5.  Shop ahead of time

Have you ever needed a gift for a party and had to run out to the store the day before? Once in this position, we will usually spend more, because we literally have no choice. Yet, if we estimate the number of gifts we will need each year, we can stock up and be ready.

You can also buy things on clearance at the end of the season for next year.

Winter clearance starts after Christmas.  I once bought my son a $30.00 winter coat for $8, on clearance at Target. You can also get great deals on summer stuff in July.
I will admit, it takes time to look through clearance. That is why I will often search clearance online. Then I use my favorite online rebate app to save on top of clearance prices.

#6  Pack a lunch or make your own food to save

Buying lunch at your work cafeteria or going out daily can add up and eat up your budget. If you want to save money, it is time to start “brown bagging” it.

Moreover, my hubby packs his lunch daily, as did I when I was working.  This will save you a tremendous amount of money each week.

Need More Ways to Save Every Day? Keep Reading…

#7 Make dinner at home tonight

Going out to eat is such a fun treat and a treat it should be. Set aside money to eat out twice a month.  Cook at home the rest of the time. This alone can save you hundreds each month and you can still go out to eat, so you do not feel deprived.

#8 Save Money Daily – use of kids eat free

Many restaurants offer “kids eat free” day/night.  Check out your local restaurants and take advantage of this if you are bringing the kids along.

#9 Save Money Daily -Make use of local selling groups

There are many groups out there that allow you to make purchases from local people for a very discounted price. An example of this would be a mom-to-mom Facebook site.  You can stock up on needs for your kids at a lower than retail price and sometimes even find items that are brand new. If you want to make some extra cash, consider selling items you no longer need on these sites.

#10 Set a budget for grocery shopping

First, I recommend using meal planning. I have saved SO much money by planning out my meals monthly and using a grocery list to make sure I have my ingredients on-hand and I’m not running back to the store daily spending more money. Sticking to your list is key.
It also helps to pay cash when grocery shopping.
Once you make your list, total your list out. This may be an estimate when you start out until you can learn the prices at your favorite stores. Then only bring that much cash with you to the store. You are then forced to stay on budget.

Need some help in this area? Here are a few of my most popular meal planning posts:

Check out my free meal planning pack:

Also, I find making a list can help keep me on track, but I allow myself a limit for a small impulse buy. For example, Maybe I’m craving pop chips but wasn’t planning on buying them this week.  I could use my impulse $5 to cover this.

How to Save Money Every Day Conclusion:

I’m hoping my post helps you save money!  Consider saving money each month by setting aside money from your monthly salary and start living a frugal life. You will build your savings and have more money in your pocket. You will have less money stress in your life and be better prepared for an emergency.

Check out some other posts listed below on budgeting and making extra money.  What tips does your family use to save money? Leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you. Until next time!!

Thanks for checking out my first blog post at I Heart Frugal! Look out for many more to come and comment with any questions. Happy Saving!!!

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