Take the pressure and stress off meal planning with these tips and tricks. Meal planning is already done for you, no matter what your diatary needs or restrictions. Quick and easy, Paleo, Gluten-Free, vegan and more. #mealplanning #busymoms #feedmyfamily #happyhealthywealthy

The Busy Moms Guide to Epic Savings on Groceries

Am I a broken record or what?  I feel like every post I write is teaching you guys to save either time or money.  Really though, aren’t those two of the most important aspects staying sane while running a household on one income with little kids?  I think both commodities are pretty dang important!

Everyone wants to save time in the kitchen and save money om groceries! Check out this list of foods to stop buying, helpful and healthy recipes (that even your kids will love) and a few awesome meal planning resources!

So here I am again, with another money saving guide!  This time we are dealing with groceries and what you need to STOP buying right now!

A few disclaimers before we jump in.  This guide is meant to help save you money 1st and foremost.  However, I do add in a few other reasons that I have included certain items on my list which are mostly health related.  I think fueling your families bodies with healthy, nutritious food is SO important because the HEALTH of your body directly impacts your pocketbook as well!

Secondly, this post mentions The Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle which is currently not available for purchase.  It is a FANTASTIC resource and I will let you know if and when it becomes available again.  However, I also include links to the individual resources that were included in that bundle and you CAN still get those resources individually.

Lastly, I have provided a freebie list at the bottom of the post that contains my favorite non-traditional places to buy food.



This post does contain affiliate links.  Please see my full disclosure here.

Stop buying expensive, premade, sugary breakfast foods



It’s bad.

Cereal is sugary, it’s not filling and it’s just bad for your health. Have you ever even tried to eat just the suggested servicing size of cereal? It’s impossible because it doesn’t fill you up. You are still hungry again in an hour. Plus you add milk which just means extra calories.

One box of cereal is like $4-$5 and it will only last my family two days.

My family cut out cereal about a year ago and we haven’t even missed it.

Pop Tarts

It’s just a big sugary pastry wrapped in plastic. This is not something that is going to fuel your body.  I know they are totally delicious BUT you have got to STOP spending money on something that is making your kids bodies unhealthy.  And yours too, because I know pop tarts are a total guilty pleasure!


So this one makes me so sad.

Either make it yourself or just skip it. If you are just going to a typical grocery store you are not likely to find a granola that isn’t loaded with sugar. Even the ones that “claim” to be healthy are loaded with sugar! Loaded!

Prepackaged Oatmeal

Its FULL of sugar and its way more expensive to buy it in a package. Put regular, non-sweetened oatmeal in a container with a scoop! Add dried fruit and cream and it’s just as tasty as the other.

Jessica at Jessica in the Kitchen has a TON of great recipes for overnight oats and a very tasty Pumpkin Spice Granola on her blog.  Her Ebook, It’s that Easy, which I found in the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, has become one of my FAVORITES.

Make your own staples

Why should you make your own staples?

First off expense.  Open your fridge and check out all the bottles of junk you have on your shelves? How much do you think you spent on all that garbage?  Probably quite a bit.  I bet a bunch of the items have been in there forever because you had to buy a whole bottle even though you only needed a tiny bit.

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar. I could preach this all day.  Did you know that food manufactures use sugar as a filler?  To make the item take up more space they add sugar.  Not more of the actual item, just more sugar!

Plus shelf stable items include TONS of preservatives. I mean why would you want to eat something that has a shelf life of 2 years? 

Mandi at Life your Way has a great Ebook called Easy Homemade (Which is currently included in the Ultimate Meal Planning Bundle) and she includes tons of recipes on how to make your own staples. Like ketchup, ranch and salad dressings. She also includes how long each item is good for! Which is awesome because most recipes are like here you go, just use it till it smells bad.

Everyone wants to save time and money when it comes to time spent in the kitchen. Check out this list of foods to stop buying, helpful and healthy recipes (that even your kids will love) and a few awesome meal planning resources!
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Create back up meals in the Freezer and Pantry

How many times have you opened your fridge, seen nothing on the shelf and just ordered pizza?

We always end up going out to eat because we have nothing convenient at the house. Going out to eat generally costs us about 4-5 times more than eating at home! The cost of eating out in Florida is pretty expensive!!!!


We love to make meals ahead of time. I am a huge fan of soup so I will make a huge batch and then freeze the rest in family sized portions.

Pie Crust

I also really like to make a bunch of pie crusts ahead of time. I can throw a quiche together with random things we have in the fridge for a meal that works any time of the day. I also keep the fixings for pot pies in the freezer so I can pop those into a pie crust and have a fantastic homemade meal for dinner.


I also have a real weak spot for almost everything at Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t been you MUST find one near you and check it out. We always keep fried rice and mandarin orange chicken in the freezer.  While eating prepared foods like this isn’t something we do on a regular basis, it is still nice to have on occasion.

Pantry Staples

For pantry meals I keep sauces. Pesto, Vodka, Garlic etc. They are easy to throw on a pasta, zucchini noodles, or into a stir-fry.

I love the premade sauces from Trader Joes but Aldi has some great ones as well.  Their pesto is awesome and they have several flavors of curry sauces that I use pretty regularly.

It’s important to keep a variety of options, that way you can have something that you will actually eat, no matter what you are in the mood for.

Everyone wants to save time and money when it comes to time spent in the kitchen. Check out this list of foods to stop buying, helpful and healthy recipes (that even your kids will love) and a few awesome meal planning resources!
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The Ultimate Way to Save Money

Meal Planning…duh

Everyone already knows this right? It’s supposed to save time, money and help us to eat better. Somehow the planning part always seems to be way more trouble then it should be though.

Well, that was until I got The Dinner Daily service to start taking care of dinner for me. I’ve got a full review on it here, but the short version is that for about $1.50 a week, they create a meal plan, based on your dietary preferences AND your store’s current sales. They email the list, allow your to make any changes and then you just print the menus and shopping list. IT IS AWESOME.

Sorry Y’all its currently not available!  -> Another awesome resource is the Ultimate Meal Planning Bundle. Its only available for a brief period so grab it while you can. It includes ebooks, courses, and recipes in 9 categories like paleo, vegan, quick and easy, slow-cooker etc. I use several of the resources in there to help me with my breakfast, lunch and snack planning. There are also over 3,000 recipes included in the bundle so if I do want to stray from The Dinner Daily I’m covered for dinners and desserts too!

Healthy Meal Planning

Did I miss anything?  What ways do you save time and money in the kitchen?

Don’t forget to grab your list of Non-Traditional places to score food!





  • Emma January 22, 2018 at 5:16 am

    I love your tips! Sometimes we get lazy and go for what’s convenient. I remember back when I was a broke college student. We had to improvise and DIY on almost everything because we couldn’t afford anything.

    • TheGracefulOlive February 23, 2018 at 2:25 am

      With two little girls running around sometimes I am just too exhausted to make good choices! Planning ahead will save me every time!

  • Jessica June 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Great tips you have here, Zhade! 🙂 This is very helpful Meal planning is helping me a lot, I love that I always have something to eat especially on those busy and lazy days! 😉

    • TheGracefulOlive June 27, 2018 at 12:46 am

      Me too! I’m 17 weeks pregnant and I never know how I am going to feel from one day to the next. Some mornings I wake up with a ton of energy and some days I can barely function! Those are the days where I am so thankful that I have my meals already planned out!

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    About Zhade

    About Zhade

    Hi Mama

    I’m wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to three little girls: Everleigh, Magnolia & Juniper. I LOVE motherhood, holidays and hot chocolate. I crave efficiency and NEED to figure out the easiest and best way to do EVERYTHING. Life is short & I refuse to waste it on being boring.


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