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Five Star Home Foods for Home Delivery

2014 disclosureWe are officially customers of Five Star Home Foods. This past week we accepted our first delivery of natural and organic foods while avoiding the grocery store, coupons, long lines and unloading from the car. Five Star Home Foods is the largest home delivery grocery service in my area but they are growing.Five Star Home Foods Home Delivery in Delaware

Five Star Home Foods brings quality and convenience to your door with a customized menu of Certified Angus beef, organic vegetables, wild caught fish, prepared meals and more. You get restaurant quality ingredients without the high costs of eating out. This is key for our family as we don’t eat out very much. As a family of five it’s impossible to stay on budget when spending $12 on burgers or $7 on fancy desserts.

Our initial delivery included what is explained to be a 3-month supply for a family of five. Our family of five is going through this food pretty quickly. Since we don’t tend to eat out much and I’m not one to serve breakfast or sandwiches for dinner we’re flying through our order. I prepare more traditional dinner style meals but so far have been pleased with the quality of what we received.

This is what we received as our 1st 3month supplyFive Star Home Foods Home Delivery in Delaware

16oz London Broil
8 burgers
1 lb Beef Fajita Strips
6 Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops
4lb Boneless Center Cut Pork Roast
1lb Pork Sausage
2lb Country Style Ribs
1 Whole Roaster Chicken
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2lbs Cod Filets
8 Chicken Thighs
8 Split Chicken Breasts
4 Crab Cakes
40oz Chicken Pot Pie
2lb Manicotti
6 bags Frozen Organic Vegetables
3 bags Frozen French Fries/Potato Products
Frozen Onion Rings
8 Twice Baked Potatoes
64oz Vanilla Cheesecake

We’ve enjoyed a few items already. I’m going to share a couple recipes I prepared with the meats we received. Be on the lookout for that.

See if Five Star Home Foods is in your area? Try out their free sample pack that includes chicken breasts,  pork chops, chopped steak and 1 bag of frozen organic veggies.Five Star Home Foods Home Delivery in Delaware

Five Star Home Foods Home Delivery in Delaware
Here’s a peek at what we did with that delivery. It feed all of us easily with the addition of a side dish.

Five Star Home Foods can be found on Facebook too. Reach out and see if their coming to your community.

Time is Money – Top tips for Budgeting Both

Living on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean doing without.

Being a savvy shopper takes a little practice sure, but I spend around one hour per week looking for coupons and discount codes at and other similar sites. This is not only very little time, but because I always go shopping armed with a precise list it takes me no time at all.

budgeting money

photo courtesy 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

Keeping my house warm and cozy

Our gas and electricity bills seem to take a huge chunk out of our monthly expenditures budget. I spent a little time shopping around for the supplier that would offer us the best deal and came up with First Utility.

Not only were they cheaper than our old supplier, but with a First Utility voucher code we are now expecting a lovely £180 in cash back at the end of the year, which will go into our Christmas fund.

Feeding myself and the family

I steer clear of expensive ready meals and takeaways and instead plan all our family’s meals on a monthly basis. That way I can shop at the cash and carry in bulk and have cut our grocery bill almost in half.

I then cook more than I need and freeze the rest for those days when I’m too tired to cook a meal from scratch.

To give myself more time with the children I always get them involved in the cooking process. Even the younger one can manage to mix up some batter or toss a salad and the eldest knows enough about safety to chop vegetables and stir a sauce.

We all spend a lovely hour or two of quality time together and the children eat everything in front of them full of pride in their own culinary skills.

The Dreaded Xmas shop

Spreading the cost of expensive holidays, particularly Christmas, over the year makes them easier to handle and often saves cash as well – I used to spend a small fortune panic buying last-minute presents the week before Christmas with little or no thought going into whether they were quality gifts or good value for money.

I signed up to our local supermarket’s loyalty scheme and saved up my points all year last year. Come December I was able to do our entire Christmas food and drink shop without spending a penny. I now always get the girls’ stocking fillers in the January sales, as well as all my cards and wrapping paper for the following year at a fraction of the price.

If I spot a bargain over the course of the year that I know a friend or family member would love I snap it up there and then, even if I have to put it away for almost a year.

Not only does this save me a fortune, but in December I have so much more free time than I used to as I’m never frantically dashing round the shops searching for the elusive ‘must-have’ toys.

I Disclose

Tips for Budgeting as a Family

Starting a family can be expensive – particularly if you don’t properly keep tabs on your money.
Budgeting should start from the early stages of pregnancy and deciding on baby names in order to make sure you’re prepared for the huge change in circumstances that comes with having a child.

Putting a budget in place, though, requires a strategic approach, so here are a few suggestions on getting started.

Do the Basics First
Before you can start saving money you need to work out where your money is going at present if you don’t know already. For instance, do you know how
you much you spend on food every month? If not, why not? Break your budget down in different subcategories like entertainment, accommodation, pets, children and food, detailing all your outgoings and incomings. And try and do budget forecasts months in advance to factor in upcoming costs.

budgeting for a family

photo courtesy 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

Identify How You Can Save Money
With the state of your finances laid bare on a spreadsheet, it should be easy to spot which areas you’ll be able to make savings. You spot that you’re spending far too much money on, say, takeaways, so straight away you can either cut down or cut it out completely. Set yourself a target for saving yourself a certain amount each week, month and year.

Plan, Plan and Plan Some for the Imminent Arrival
Take advantage of bulk-buy discounts on products that may come in handy once your little one arrives as you may not have the funds to afford them further down the line. Kitting out a nursery can cost a small fortune, so ask around amongst friends and family to see if you can borrow items instead of having to buy them outright.

Carry on Saving After the Birth
Keeping a tight control of your finances following the birth of your child is important or you may risk running into debt. Search online for discount codes and money-off vouchers on everything from your shopping to vacations to ensure you get more for your money.

Stop those Impulse Buys
Unless money is no option then you can no longer afford to splash the cash as and when you like on impulse buys. Instead, you should shop round to make sure you get a good deal or wait for the price of particular items to drop over time.



Planning a Family Vacation on a Budget

Over the last few years we’ve been taking more vacations, getaways and adventures. Doing this as a family of 5 becomes very stressful with packing, traveling and of course the high expense. I’ve been doing some independent research for some low cost, low stress, low maintenance trips. Whether it’s finding ways to stretch the dollar or find destinations that don’t require many extras or “outside the box” ideas.

Use Alternate Transit
Traveling by air is definitely the fastest way to get from point A to point b but lately with all the extra fees and high costs airfare can take a huge bite out of your travel budget. Look into traveling by train or bus. Depending on how far your destination is and the final cost of airfare, fees, luggage and parking you can hop on a train for less money. The travel time is definitely longer but train rides tend to be more quiet and comfortable, have less waiting around time(terminals) and offer many amenities like dining cars, amazing scenery, plenty of restrooms, ample leg room and space to walk around.

train instead of plane

image provided courtesy Gene Bowker via Flickr

Kids Eat Free
When you’re choosing you final vacation location use the internet to your advantage to find hotels where kids eat free. This can drastically reduce your overall budget especially if you have multiple children. Complimentary breakfasts are a bonus too for the entire family.

Kids Stay Free
If you are going for all-inclusive resort vacationing take it a step further and look for Kids Stay Free programs. Since activities, beverages and food are already included in your package imagine the money you can save when you find one that offers kids under 12 stay free.

Skip the Hotel
Hotels are plentiful and are usually the first thought when planning a vacation. Did you know that there are plenty of homes, condos and cabins for rent that not only get you in the same area but also offer comforts you won’t get in hotels or motels. Patios, comfy furnishings and having a full kitchen are great homelike accommodations. Some are also great ways to cut costs on meals and snacks. Making a quick run to a grocery store and having the ingredients for a simple breakfast is a great way to save money for something more fun like attractions.

Ask for Extras
Call ahead to the hotel or rental property you are visiting and ask about what extras they do and can provide. If you are headed to a beach location ask about sand toys, chairs and umbrellas. Strollers, bicycles and wagons are some things that are supplied upon request only and often at no extra charge.

sand toys

image provided courtesy of Megan Meza via Flickr

Who needs a souvenir?
Do your kids really need another stuffed animal, inflatable character on a stick or bag of beach glass? Snap pictures of the family in front of a  famous tourist attraction, add a magnet and you have an instant souvenir for the fridge that can last a lifetime.

Have a Staycation Instead
Staycations are a great way to become a tourist in your own backyard. Visit the local historic cities , museums and zoos that you may not have visited in recent years. Don’t forget to check out the deal sites for reduced admissions, parking and even meals.

No matter if you decide to stay close to home or venture across country there are steps you can take to save some money or spend that money on the fun things when you reach your destination.
I Disclose

Let’s Talk Tasty Food on a Budget

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Mission Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
3 kids, 2 adults equals mini squabbles at dinnertime. Shae doesn’t like sauce, Shaun doesn’t like chicken, Sabreena doesn’t like beans, Rob and I eat almost anything and expect the kids to eat what’s on their plate.

Most nights are pretty successful, I know what the kids like and try to offer some choices with veggies or sides but our main meal is for the most part not up for discussion. If I want a meal to go off without a hitch I go for Mexican. Mission Tortillas are my godsend. Food stuffed in a tortilla the kids will eat. From tacos to enchiladas to most recently beef and bean burritos, Mexican food is a hit. Always on our grocery list we go through about 2 packs a week, small ones for lunch (cheese quesadillas, peanut butter and jelly rolls) and big ones for dinner. I find Mission brand tortillas fresher, softer and tastier than other brands and low in fat and calories making them a guilt free meal or snack.

Beginning today Mission Foods kicking off the Mission Menus Challenge; a contest encouraging consumers to submit their budget conscious recipes for a chance to win a $10,000 Dream Kitchen Makeover and to participate in a LA area cook-off. All recipes must be original, include Mission Flour Tortillas and feed a family of 5 for $10 or less. Quick this contest ends August 9, 2010

Visit Mission Menus Challenge for all the rules and details and to also learn about Mission’s commitment to end childhood hunger through Share our Strength.

10 Products to Always Buy Generic

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.
Shopping for a family of 5 isn’t always easy. Costs are on the rise but salaries aren’t. Buying generic products is one of the simplest ways to cut down on everyday costs. I just read an article; 10 Products to Always Buy Generic and I agree with most of them.

  1. Over the counter Medications
  2. Cereal
  3. Pantry Staples
  4. Soda
  5. Gasoline
  6. Electronic Cables
  7. Make-up and Beauty Products
  8. Batteries
  9. Salad mix and produce
  10. Baby Formula

Looking at the list I can tell you right off the bat what we did save money on; Baby Formula. When Shae was born we purchased one of the most expensive formulas out there because it was what was given to us at the hospital and it claimed to be the best. We realized one day that once we compared labels the nutrition content was either equivalent or higher in the store brand formula. We made the switch and immediately noticed the savings on the first purchase. She ate, she thrived, and everything was good. We went ahead and made the switch with other baby products such as diapers and wipes and even noticed “Puffs” had some store brand competition.
Throughout our house you’ll find a mix of name brand and store brand items in every room. The kids and I like name brand cereals but my panty is filled with store brand choices from baking needs to paper products to snack foods. My husband even agrees that less expensive cables ARE just as good as the pricey items we’ve purchased in the past. You have to be comfortable with every choice you make, check labels, check packaging, check pricing; buy what makes sense for you and your family.