A big tip for saving dollars at the grocery store: DRINK WATER.
I know what you're thinking. Slow day for recipes, huh?
It's not that. (Well, it's not JUST that). An acquaintance asked me for advice on saving money on drinks - specifically juice boxes for school lunches. I had no advice to give, as I always pack my son off with a bottle of water.
Each of us has a water bottle to bring wherever we may go. Daddy has blue, Mommy has purple, our older son has Spiderman, and the Toddler of Terror has Thomas the Train. Simple.
(To be honest, the Spiderman and Thomas ones are getting kinda grungy. We're replacing them for Christmas).
There are a lot of benefits to packing water bottles in lunches, briefcases, and backpacks.
1) Water is good for you. It helps keep your organs functioning well, flushes toxins from your body, and a lot more stuff. Just ask the Mayo Clinic. Water also has no calories, no fat, no sugar, etc.
2) Water doesn't stain when spilled. Anyone who has tried to scrub fruit punch out of shirts, pants, carpets, or MY CAR can understand why this one is important.
3) Water doesn't sour if you forget about it. There is nothing worse than pulling the scary, forgotten sippy cup of milk out from under the couch, or the seat of MY CAR. Twice the kids have spilled a cup of milk and either not noticed, or chosen not to tell me. (Weeks. That stench lasts for WEEKS. No matter how hard you scrub.) Nothing beats driving a long commute to and from work in the vomitous stench of decaying dairy.
4) Water bottles are refillable. So we might spend ten bucks on a bottle, but it will last for years with very little maintenance. Ten bucks worth of juice boxes would likely last a week or two at best.
5) They're eco-friendly. The absolute worst is looking at a mall trash bin filled with disposable, single-serve water bottles destined for a landfill. Pointless.
6) CHEAP! (C'mon. That's why you're reading this blog, right?) Think of it this way: I buy a $10 Nalgene bottle and don't pay for a single drink after that.
Every single day at work I drink 32 ounces of water and don't pay a dime. Years ago, I used to buy a bottle of water or a soda from the drink machine. That was between 12 and 16 ounces, and cost me a dollar a day. With 180 days in the school year, that was $180 a year. Now, I'm down to $10, and it will last me several years.