Budget Friendly, Belly Filling

I haven’t cooked for two weeks. While I’m currently in a season of convenience and relying on the generosity of others, I’m also a strong believer in Mandy’s money-saving cooking method:  Budget Friendly, Belly Filling. I’ll be getting back to these ways in my kitchen soon enough!


Frugal living is a journey, and there is always something else to learn. The online community is a fabulous resource for discovering new ways to do things or new ideas for saving money. Although I absolutely adore my list of frugal coupon bloggers, I am also super grateful for those ladies who constantly challenge me to think outside the box when it comes to saving money! Couponing is not the only way to save money on groceries or to shrink your food-buying budget!

One way to save that I have experimented with over the past several months is that of making things at home, instead of buying them from the store. That sounds like such an easy concept; right? But have you ever thought of making your own condensed cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soups? Or refried beans from scratch? Or even a homemade version of some of the Starbucks treats we all love so much?

A year ago, these things would have never crossed my mind, quite honestly! {And I hope I’m not alone in that!} When I started following so many foodie bloggers and seeing these amazingly simple recipes for things I continually stocked in our pantry, I began to wonder what the cost comparison was. I was seriously shocked to discover that, even though I generally only paid around $0.50 a can for the condensed soups, I could make them at home in bulk for about $0.08 per portion!


Our family also has a fun Friday night tradition of “Pizza and a Movie Night”, which usually consists of ordering pizza either for delivery from Papa John’s ($25-30 each time) or pick-up from Ci-Ci’s ($10-12 each time), plus the cost of renting the movie. Multiply that expense times four {Fridays per month}, and that’s a pretty huge chunk of change! Although I had considered making our pizza at home before, I had never really found a recipe that was a winner with our family. When I found this recipe and read the rave reviews of it, I thought I’d give the idea another try. My family and I are both so glad I did! Not only does it save us a TON of money each month, but the recipe is so simple and the kids have a blast helping me assemble the pizza before baking!

Freezer cooking is definitely the one thing that has impacted our grocery buying budget the most, outside of couponing and deal match-ups. Sometimes also referred to as “once a month cooking” or “batch cooking”, this concept has seriously changed my life! I love to cook – honestly, I do. But our family life is always so crazy insane busy that there is just not always time for gourmet meals at home. By taking one or two days out of my monthly schedule to cook feverishly for several hours, I am able to prepare enough meals ahead that we eliminate the need to grab meals on the go or purchase “junk”/quick foods at the store. We now lovingly refer to Freezer Cooking as “Budget friendly, Belly filling”. 🙂

Of course, there are other perks to doing all this cooking and preparing at home. Not only does it cut our expenses, but it also allows our family to eat much healthier than we were before. I can put in just the natural ingredients we need or want for each and every recipe, with no added preservatives, chemicals, or additives in the mix. I know what goes into each dish, because I’m the one putting it there!

Our budget and our bellies are healthier and happier!

Mandy is wife to her hero, mom to three blessings, and daughter to the King of Kings. She is also an avid writer, coffee-lover, and Jesus-worshiper. Mandy can be found regularly at both her personal blogs – Pennies and Blessings where she shares ways to save money, spend wisely, and live well; and at Brokenness into Beauty, a site focused on the beauty in the miraculous reconciliation her family has experienced.

Linked to Frugal Friday.


  1. Ever since I found a pizza crust recipe I like, I never buy pizza out anymore. Homemade is soooo much tastier and really easy. When I make the pizza dough, I always double the batch and freeze the extra. I also make and freeze the sauce, so now when we want pizza it’s always on hand!

    • Marianne, I too love to double (or triple) the pizza dough recipe and freeze it for later use! It works great during my Once a Month Cooking Days! 🙂

  2. 8 cents a serving??? That is awesome!!

  3. Thanks for sharing, I looked at Mandy’s site and already found several cute ideas!!


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