Posts Tagged ‘groceries’

How fresh are your jars of herbs and spices

Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:29 Comments Off on How fresh are your jars of herbs and spices

Since many of us give our jars of spices and herbs a workout during the holiday season, it is a good time to check and see just how fresh your herbs and spices are.  I don’t know about you, but can you remember how long ago you bought that jar of parsley or thyme?  Here are some tricks o the trade to help you figure out whether that jar is fresh enough or whether you should toss it and buy a replacement.

Color check
Does the color look fairly close to what it was when you bought it?  If your parsley was once a vibrant green but it’s now a dull grey or brown, it definitely needs replacing.  If you aren’t exactly sure what color it should look, make a note of the spices and herbs you need to check and have a look at them next time you are at the grocery store.  Then you can see just how true to the color that jar at home really is!

Smell test
Take a pinch of the herb or spice from the jar and rub it between your fingers.  Is the scent still strong or is it a barely lingering scent?  You should be able to smell it well.  If not, it needs replacing.  For example, when you crush basil, you should really smell the basil.  The intensity you smell when you crush it will relate to the intensity of the herb or spice in your dish.  If you can barely smell it, then you will barely taste it either!

Date it
Many herbs and spices need to be replaced every 6-12 months.  When you buy a spice, write the date you opened each one on the label, or put a small sticker on the top or bottom with the date.  That way you can wait until you notice when spices and herbs are on sale at grocery stores and replace what you know needs replacing, rather than having to pay full price because your rosemary doesn’t smell like anything when it is time to do your holiday cooking.

Comments Off on How fresh are your jars of herbs and spices

This was posted under category: Cooking, Grocery shopping Tags: , , ,

Stretching out your fresh milk with powdered milk

Monday, November 3, 2008 1:24 3 Comments

This is one of those tips you probably won’t want your family (especially your kids!) to know about, because even though they might not taste the difference, many will complain once they know!  It also won’t “taste” powdered milk, like it can when it is 100% powdered milk.

First, you need 1 gallon of fresh milk and 1 empty gallon milk jug that you have washed out thoroughly.  Divide the gallon of milk into the second empty container, so each container has 1/2 gallon of milk.  Then mix up 1 gallon of powdered milk according to the instructions, making sure you stir really well, then add 1/2 gallon each to the milk jugs.

You will now have two milk jugs that are filled with 1/2 fresh milk and half powdered milk.  If the date on the outside of the second milk jug you used have an expired date on it, you can gently scrub it off with soap and water.  Kids usually don’t think to check the expiry date on a jug of milk, but they might notice it if it is sitting near the top in an obvious place, and a jug of milk with a two month old expiry date is a dead giveaway!

Also, if you tend to use a lot of milk in cooking, you might want to keep a small jug of all powdered milk in the fridge and use that in your cooking instead.  When it is mixed in with many other ingredients, it won’t be noticeable at all, and you’ll save money when you use powdered instead of fresh milk.

Also, there are several different brands of powdered milk, so you might want to try a couple of different brands until you find one you prefer.  And don’t worry, powdered milk has come a LONG way since the powdered milk you probably remember as a child!

This was posted under category: Cooking, Grocery shopping Tags: ,

Start buying your holiday groceries now to get the best prices

Saturday, November 1, 2008 4:11 3 Comments

Yes, we all know how it makes so much more sense to buy Christmas presents early, but people never seem to think about the advantages of starting your Christmas grocery shopping early too.  If you waited to buy all your ingredients until the week or two before Christmas, you would not only be spending a fortune, but you’d also be dealing with a crowded grocery store full of people all trying to get their Christmas grocery shopping done to.

And, when you start your grocery shopping early, you can take advantage of the sales in the weeks leading up to the holidays and picking up items as they go on sale.  This makes much more sense than buying them the week before Christmas when not as many grocery items will be on sale – and might not be in stock, causing you to go to even more grocery stores during this chaotic time.

So MomsBudget has made this handy printable that all busy women will love! 

All you do is plan out your holiday menu, and then go through each recipe, writing down all the ingredients that are non-perishable.  Then, in the weeks (or even months!) leading up to Christmas, all you need to do is check your holiday grocery list with the grocery flyers to see if any of the needed items are on sale that week.  And you can bring the list with you incase you find any “in-store specials” that were not advertised.  And as you buy each one, check it off so you know you have it.  An don’t forget to see if you have any coupons that you could use for any of the items on your holiday dinner list.

Ready to get started?  Get the free printable here.  And don’t forget to recommend this to other busy moms so they can take advantage of all the free printables too… not to mention the joy of getting most of the holiday grocery Christmas shopping nearly done with!

This was posted under category: Grocery shopping, Holidays, Printables and worksheets Tags: , , , ,

Coupon Stash Tuesday – Free Coupons Available

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 3:23 12 Comments

This coupon stash is closed.  Click here to find the latest new coupons available!

We have a bunch of coupons up for grabs, first come, first served :)

Some are US only, some are Canada only, some are unspecified (but all in $ so likely redeemable in both US & Canada, but not sure where else).  You can try using Canadian coupons in the US, as I have heard some stores do accept them (especially near the borders or for stores with offices in Canada too), but use them at your own risk :)  And we’d love to know US stores that are Canadian coupon friendly!

Here is this week’s Moms Budget Coupon Stash! 28 coupons in all!

Simple Green coupon
Save $1 on Simple Green 16oz or larger
US – Exp. 12/31/08

Yoplait Tubes coupon
Save $0.50 on Yoplait Tubes 8x60g
Non-specified country (but dedeption mailing address is Canada) – Exp. June 20/09

Yoplait Kids Coupon
Save $1 on two Yoplait Kids Cup Yogurt or Yogurt Drink
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Old Orchard Coupon
Save $1 on Old Orchard Healthy Balance 64oz juice
US – Ex Dec 31/08

Oxy Products Coupon
Save $1 off any Oxy product
US – Exp. 10/31/08

Purina Dog Chow Coupon
Save $1 off any formula, any size of Dog Chow or Puppy Chow
Canada – Exp February 28, 2009

Stouffers Lean Cuisine Spa Coupon
Save $1.50 on any two Lean Cuisine Spa products
Canada – Exp Dec 31, 2008

Michelina’s Lean Gourmet Coupon
Save $1 on any 5 Michelina’s Lean Gourmet Entrees
US – Exp. 11/18/08 (still 2 coupons left)

Reynold’s Parchment Paper
Save $1.25 on any Reynold’s Parchment Paper Roll
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Dole Squish’ems Squeezable Fruit Snack Coupon
Save $0.75 on 4x90g box
Canada – Exp June 30, 2009

Butterball Ground Turkey Coupon
Save $1 on any 1 package of Butterball Ground Turkey
US – Exp 11/18/08 (still 2 coupons left)

Ricola Cough Drops Coupon
Save $1 on bag (17-19 lozenges per bag)
Canada – Exp April 30, 2009

Maple Leaf Coupon
Save $1 on any 2 Maple Leaf bacon, ham, hot dogs, sliced meats, fully cooked roasts or fully cooked strip products
Canada – Exp Dec 31, 2008

Muir Glen coupon
Save $1 on any flavor/variety Muir Glen product
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Kellogg’s “Convenience Food” Coupon
Buy 2 & Save $1 on Pop Tarts, Special K Bars, Yo-gos, All Bran, Nutri-Grain
Canada – Exp June 30, 2009

Trix Cereal Coupon
Save $0.55 on Trix cereal
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Scott paper towels
Save $1 on Scott towels package
Canada – Exp January 31, 2009

Progresso Soup Coupon
Save $0.55 on two any flavor Progresso Soups
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Canola Harvest Margarine Coupon
Save $0.50 on Canola Harvest (original, Flax Oil, Olive Oil)
Canada – Exp March 31, 2009

Sinupret for Kids Syrup Coupon
$3 off 3.38 fl.oz. bottle Sinupret for Kids Syrup
US – January 1, 2009

Stouffer’s Bistro Italiano
Save $1.50 on any Stouffer’s Bistro Italiano Product
Canada – Dec 31, 2008

Bonne Bell LipSmackers Coupon
Save $1 on any two Lip Smacker Products
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Olay Body Wash Coupon
Save $0.75 on any Olay Body Wash
Canada – January 31, 2009

Old South Premium Coupon
Save $0.50 on Old South with easy-to-open tetra top pack
Canada – Dec 31, 2009

Thyme Maternity Coupon
$10 off purchase of $10 or more
Exp Dec 31. 2008

Butcher’s Select Canned Dog Food Coupon
Buy one, get one free
US – Exp. 11/18/08

Melitta Coffee Coupon
Save $1 on any Melitta coffee
Canada – Exp. Dec 31, 2008

Litehouse Coupon
Save $1 on any Litehouse product
US – Exp. 11/18/08

So, how do you get them?  Pretty simple.  Just post a comment saying which coupons you want, and we will mail them off to you (no, we won’t sell your name to anyone else!).  In return, all we ask is that you either tell others about MomsBudget and the MomsBudget Blog (the site has been around giving tips to women since 2001, but our blog is pretty brand new), whether on your own blog or just sharing our site with friends and family, or by sending us your unused coupons for the next coupon stash day!

We will also include an envelope addressed to us when we mail out your coupons, and we ask that you send us back your unused coupons (like Pampers coupons when your kids are all school-aged, or coupons for the certain spaghetti sauce your family doesn’t prefer) so that we can continue to offer coupons to more moms in the weeks to come.  Think of it as a coupon exchange without you having to do much work other than picking out what you want, and popping your unused coupons in the mail back to us.  We do ask that coupons have at least a month prior to expiry date on the postmarked date.  We will also keep track of the coupon values you send, it will help you get higher on the priority list when we post our weekly coupon stash, and we will have a couple really awesome giveaways for those who send us the highest $ in coupons as well as the highest number of coupons, and one for the blogger that sends us the most traffic… watch for the pics of what we are giving away later this week.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for our RSS feed, so you will know the moment we post our next coupon stash!

Note: We may be slightly behind in approving the comments made for those requesting coupons, but comments are time stamped, so we will know who commented first :)  I will try and update the list as they are taken, although some we have multiples of.  Make sure you can reply to the email request for your mailing address within 24 hours, or we will go to the next person.  Be sure you add email from to your allowed list so your spam filter doesn’t catch it by accident.

This was posted under category: Coupon Stash Tags: , , ,

Grocery Challenge: Buy “No Name” Generic Brands

Monday, October 20, 2008 0:39 1 Comment

Monday Morning Grocery Challenge: No Name Brands

Grocery Shopping Challenge
Your task for this week when you grocery shop is this… when you have completed shopping, look at anything in your cart and pick out five items that you could get the no name brand instead of the brand name.  Whether it is cereal, frozen vegetables, Hamburger Helper, the pizza you picked up for a treat or even your supply of Crystal Light, pick five items and go and exchange them for the (usually less expensive) generic brand.

Here is a handy shopping list printable, the Buy Generic Shopping List Printable, which includes handy checkboxes to remind you which items you were planning to buy the cheaper generic version for… and this is handy as a shopping list reminder even when you aren’t doing the challenge, too!

Always double check your coupons… you might find that it is cheaper to buy the branded one with the coupon.  If this happens, pick another item in your cart for the generic item.

Think you have a tough sell when it comes to convincing your family that generic is just as good as the branded version?  You could always switch out the contents and put it in a box or packaging that the branded one came, because that can fool many, especially if you decide to try a different flavor or style.  If your family always eats Rice Krispies for example, switch it up with the generic version of cornflakes for a few weeks, then substitute in the generic rice krispies a few weeks later when it won’t be as obvious.  Or if you still have half a box left, combine the two to make it a gradual change.

Don’t forget to sign up for the RSS so you can get our weekly grocery shopping challenge.  Feel free to spread the word ~ if you post our challenge on your blog and include how much you saved, we will include it in our Grocery Challenge Hall of Fame so you can have awesome bragging rights, and a cool little award to put on your blog too!  Want our Grocery Challenge image for your blog?  Here it is!

Helpful Hints for this Grocery Shopping Challenge:

Smart Tips for Buying Generic Brand Groceries
List of Groceries You Should Always Buy Generic
More grocery shopping printables!

This was posted under category: Grocery Shopping Challenge Tags: , , , , ,

Are you wasting money buying in bulk?

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:27 1 Comment

With the current economy crisis, buying in bulk is one of the things many people are turning to as a solution to save money.  But some people actually waste money buying in bulk… are you one of them?

One of the big problems with buying in bulk is the fact you might end up with a two year’s supply of  something.  So you need to ask yourself, since you won’t recoup the cost of that for two years, would that money be better spent filling an immediate need? 

For example, let’s say you bought two years worth of tomato soup, and for arguments sake, you spent $40 on it.  Now, what if you bought only six months worth on sale – even if it costs you more per item – for, let’s say $15.  That means you have an extra $25 to spend NOW rather than on something that you won’t finish using for 24 whole months.

Now, sometimes the deal is too good to pass up… let’s say that two year supply of tomato soup would cost you $18 versus $15 for the six month supply, then it should be a serious consideration.  But you need to consider the pros and cons when purchasing in such bulk that the supplies are lasting for 2+ years, and decide if that money is better spent on something your family has an immediate need for, such as extra pounds of ground beef or some fresh veggies.

Lastly, also consider freshness… does the soup expire before the two years are up?  Does the product tend to go stale, such as some cereals, before you would use it up?

Still wondering?  Here are some more thoughts on buying in bulk.

This was posted under category: Grocery shopping Tags: , , ,