For the last few months, prices have been increasing on many goods and services. Gas prices were nearly $5 a gallon in my state (even with a tax holiday). Grocery prices went up. Even yarn and other crafty materials became more expensive. So you may be wondering how I continue to blog regularly when the majority of the content is about food that I make and crafts that I’m working on.
This week, I thought I write a post about I was able to cut some costs and actively maintain the blog. While I’m sure none of these tips are earth shattering, I thought they may help someone feel “seen” or like “It’s not just me.”
Saving Money on Food Costs
While my blog has developed into being many different things, it is mostly a journey about food. Delicious dessert food to be exact! As I work my way through the Magnolia Bakery cookbook, I end up having to purchase many ingredients that I don’t keep on hand. And sadly things like heavy cream, milk, and eggs can’t really be purchased in bulk for my purposes. I wouldn’t go through everything before they reached their expiration date.
I Shop at Aldi
With the increase in prices, I’ve started shopping at Aldi for many things that I need to bake with. I can easily find heavy cream, chocolate chips (or other types of chips), milk, eggs at Aldi. Their prices are typically a fraction of what I would pay at a different grocery store. Aldi also has baking staples like flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and confectionary sugar for much cheaper prices. When I don’t have the chance to drive to Costco to buy these items in bulk, I run to Aldi.
I also buy non-baking things at Aldi as well. Aldi is known for low prices on many of their items. Fresh produce is no exception. Aldi is also great because they offer many organic options at reasonable prices. So if eating organic is important to you check out your local Aldi.
Want to know a secret? Aldi and Trader Joe’s are owned by the SAME company. While Trader Joe’s is slightly more “upscale” than Aldi, both of the stores are extremely popular due to their low price points and the uniqueness of items.
Other Grocery Tips
If you don’t have an Aldi or Trader Joe’s near you, I would recommend purchasing a membership to a wholesale club like Costco of BJ’s. Buying in bulk is a perfect way to save some money and it’s a great habit to get into for dry goods such as rice and other grains, pasta, flour, sugars, paper towels, toilet paper, and more. While both Costco and BJ’s does sell fresh produce, the packaging is often larger than traditional grocery stores. But, the prices are better overall (at least usually). If you know that you will go through the extra produce that is traditionally sold at Costco and BJ’s, then go for it. But if not, you can freeze things like berries for a later date. Apples also keep pretty well for a few weeks. Stone fruit (plumbs, peaches, nectarines, mangoes) can be kept in the fridge to slow their ripening process.
While not necessarily a “tip.” I’ve also saved money by not making as much food. Obviously as a hobby food blogger I don’t really maintain a posting schedule or worry too much about my page views or follower count. So, this summer, I just haven’t been making as many things to post about. While I know that for most people who still need to put food on the table regularly this isn’t an option for them. But if you enjoy baking or cooking as a hobby, just cut back for a bit. Instead of making something every week, only make two “hobby bakes/cooks” per month.
Saving Money on Crafts
Another, more recent addition, to the blog has involved by crafting endeavors. I’m never the type to only have one project going at time. Sometimes the projects even cross craft types. For example, I currently have three different crochet blankets on the hook while I’m finishing up a quilting project.
Saving money on crafting supplies could be an entire post on its own. Sure, you can find crafting supplies on Amazon or other online retailers but the quality of the produce isn’t always great. I tend to shop at JoAnn Fabrics for the majority of my craft needs. I used to go to Michael’s too, but lately they have started focusing on a different target audience and I keep finding less and less things there that I’m looking for.
JoAnn Fabrics is great, but the stuff is expensive when not on sale. Luckily they have sales all the time usually lasting about 10 to 14 days. Then there are also coupons to help with further savings. They even have a rewards system that gives you a coupon to use a later date after reaching a spending threshold.
I have a long-held, two-part practice when it comes to crafting items that I still use to this day. I only buy yarn or fabric with a specific project in mind. Plus, I try to buy the yarn when I’m close to starting the project. Part of this is financial, but I also don’t have a lot of storage for my crafting needs. I can’t have a stash of yarn or fabric just laying around.
The second part is I only buy things when they are on sale. Sometimes this can be tricky to coordinate. Here’s an example: I know that I will be making a blanket with a certain type of yarn as a Christmas present for a friend of mine. Recently the yarn went on sale, but I was tempted to purchase it. However, I wouldn’t be able to start that project until at least October. So I ended up not buying the yarn. I know that more than likely the yarn I need will go on sale at least once more before I start the project. Will it be for the same amount? I’m not sure. But it’s still a savings.
Sometimes for large projects I purchase things in “chunks.” For example, if I’m making a large crochet afghan that contains multiple colors in multiple skeins. I may only buy one or two colors at time. While not a money-saving move in and of itself, it does help to distribute the cost evenly. In fact, I’m currently doing this with a quilting project I plan to start at some point. Each paycheck, I buy one fabric needed for the quilt.
Well, those of my tips for saving some money at the grocery store and on crafting supplies. I promise to return to the regularly-scheduled baking posts soon.
Until next time, readers….