Save Money With These Homemade Spices and Seasoning Blends

The cost of living is increasing all the time but our wages are not increasing at the same rate. We’ve gotta find as many ways as we can to cut costs. One simple way you can do this is by making your own homemade spices and seasonings.

For many of us, groceries account for a huge chunk of our monthly budget. Small changes like this can really add up. Many of these homemade spices and seasoning recipes cost significantly less than purchasing a jar at the store.

Some of these recipes are pretty close to the same cost; however, that one-time cost makes significantly more. This will save you from having to buy those spices or seasonings again for a long time.

Spice & Seasoning Recipes

Making your own spices and seasonings at home is surprisings simple and can save you a ton of money. You can make a large batch of seasonings you use frequently like taco seasoning, for example.

 I like to store mine in a small mason jar and then I have it on hand whenever I need it. If you don’t have any mason jars you can find them for around $5 at both WalMart and Amazon. You can also purchase clear, plastic spices containers for less than $1 a piece.

You can find an amazing deal on some perfect jars for your DIY homemade spices on Amazon. Ill link to them below if you want to check them out. 

There this this simples DIY tutorial from Hometalk that shows you how to make container labels. You can easily scale this down to make perfect labels for your new spice jars.

For this DIY label project, all you need is some packaging tape and the ability to print on a regular plain white sheet of paper. Check out the video below.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links. This is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Homemade Spices & Seasoning Blends

  1. Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe by
  2. Homemade Basic Chilli Powder Recipe by
  3. Homemade Ranch Seasoning Recipe by
  4. Homemade Italian Seasoning Recipe by
  5. Homemade Jamaican Jerk Blend Recipe by
  6. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe by
  7. Homemade Seasoned Salt Recipe by
  8. Homemade Sloppy Joe Mix Recipe by 
  9. Homemade Poultry Seasoning Recipe by 
  10. Homemade Fajita Seasoning Recipe by 
  11. Homemade Cajun Seasoning Recipe by 
  12. Homemade Citrus Herb Seasoning Recipe by
  13. Homemade Garlic Bread Seasoning Recipe by 
  14. Homemade Ramen Seasoning Recipe by 
  15. Homemade Burger & French Fry Seasoning Recipe by 
  16. Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning Recipe by
  17. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning Recipe by 
  18. Homemade Guacamole Seasoning Recipe by 
  19. Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning Recipe by 
  20. Homemade Pizza Seasoning Recipe by 
  21. Homemade BBQ Seasoning Recipe by

Not only do these homemade spices and seasonings save you a ton of money, but they also assure you that you know what is going into the foods you are eating and serving your family. You may be surprised at the amount of added ingredients in your everyday spices.

Save Even More On Your Groceries

For more ways to save money on your groceries, you may want to check out my other posts:

7 Simple Ways To Save Money On Groceries

10 Cheap Meals On A Budget

If you have some money saving tips you use when grocery shopping, I would love to hear about them in the comments. You can join me on Facebook here where I am always sharing money saving tips and tricks and ideas to make extra money.

When Money's Tight | Melissa Vogt

Save Money – Dine In With These Copycat Recipes

When you are trying to get your finances in order and you sit down to create a budget, it often feels like you are giving up a ton of the things you love. For many people, things like eating out, have to be one of the first things to go. Frequently dining out can be a huge monthly expense. 

Although it can be super important to get out and spend some quality one-on-one time with your spouse or significant other, you don’t have to spend a ton of money at a restaurant to do that.

Dine In
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links. This is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Make It A Date Night

Think of some no-spend ways to get out of the house for a bit just to get away  together, then come home and recreate your favorite restaurant style meals at home. Have fun trying to recreate the recipes yourself or turn to the internet and find an amazing copycat recipe. 

I have found some of my favorite copycat recipes that I am sharing below. These are amazing and taste just like they were made in the restaurant, but at a fraction of the cost.  

If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas of things to do without spending any money, go to Pinterest and search “no spend date ideas”. You will find a ton of clever ideas to keep you busy and keep your budget happy.

Copycat Appetizers and Side Dish Recipes

  1. Panera’s Mac’n Cheese by Amanda’s Cookin’ 
  2. Texas Roadhouse Rolls by Deliciously Yum
  3. Pizza Hut Breadsticks by Plain Chicken
  4. KFC Coleslaw by Pear Tree Kitchen
  5. Red Lobster Biscuits by Creations by Kara
  6. Chili’s Skillet Queso Dip by Cupcake Diaries
  7. Applebee’s Spinach Artichoke Dip by The Cozy Cook
  8. Olive Garden Breadsticks by Cincy Shopper
  9. Outback Bloomin Onion by Domestic Superhero
  10. Texas Roadhouse Fried Pickles by All She Cooks

You may also be interested in checking out my post 10 Cheap Meals on a Budget.

Copycat Main Dish Recipes

  1. Chili’s Molten Lava Cake by Life In The Lofthouse
  2. Cracker Barrel Fried Apple Recipe by i Save A to Z
  3. The Cheesecake Factory Original Cheesecake by Southern Living
  4. Cinnabon Cinnamon Stix by The Slow Roasted Italian
  5. Wendy’s Frosty by Mom Foodie
  6. Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts by The Worktop
  7. Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls by Twins In Town
  8. Starbucks Lemon Loaf by Food Chase
  9. Applebee’s Blondies with Butter Sauce by The Country Cook
  10. TGI Friday’s Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by My Heavenly Recipes

If you have some favorite copycat recipes or some no-spend activities that you would like to share, I would love to hear about them. Feel free to leave a  comment below.

When Money's Tight


10 Cheap Meals On A Budget

Groceries can be one of the biggest monthly expenses for families. To help with those expenses, I have put together a list of 10 cheap meals on a budget. Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Cheap Dinner Recipes

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links. This is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Save Money By Batching Your Meals

Coming up with clever ways to save money at the grocery store and lower your monthly grocery expenses, can make a big difference in your overall monthly budget. 

Aside from the 10 cheap meals listed below, one of my favorite ways to save money on meals, is with meal planning. Starting with inexpensive recipes that share some staple ingredients is a great place to start. 

I remember when you used to be able to buy ground beef really cheap and almost everything I made had ground beef in it. Now it is way cheaper to get chicken and a lot of times pork. Lately I have been buying chicken breast for $1.28/lb – $1.48/lb.

I buy a package of 6 – 7 chicken breasts (halves) for around $9. and cook it in my Instapot for shredded chicken! If you don’t have an Instapot it is absolutely worth the one-time investment. It will save you tons of time and money in the long run.

It is seriously one of the best kitchen related investments I have ever made. You can even throw your frozen chicken breasts in the Instapot for 55 minutes and have perfect shredded chicken. 

If you do not have an Instapot, you can throw your thawed chicken breasts in your crockpot on low with a little chicken broth with some salt & pepper (or any seasonings you prefer) in the morning and it will be ready to shred in 6-8 hours.  

The shredded chicken I get out of the one package of chicken breasts typically makes around 3 meals for my family of 6. Some of our favorite cheap and easy dinners we make with shredded chicken include:

  •         Chicken Quesadillas
  •         Chicken Nachos
  •         Chicken Enchiladas
  •         Chicken Tacos
  •         Chicken Pot Pies
  •         Chicken Sliders
  •         Homemade Chicken Pizzas

Get creative, even include your kids. You would be surprised what they can come up with.

The first five cheap meal recipes below all use shredded chicken.

Must Try Recipes - 10 Cheap Meals On A Budget

  1.     Chicken Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Rolls by Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen (note: The recipe calls for thinly sliced deli chicken. These are delicious with the deli chicken as the recipe calls for; however, I have made these several times using the shredded chicken I make in batches and I find this even better and more cost effective.)   
  2.     Chicken Pot Pie Casserole by Cincy Shopper (again I use the shredded chicken I batch ahead of time to save money.)
  3.     Easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole by Mom on Time Out
  4.     BBQ Chicken Tostadas by Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  5.     Easy Baked Chicken Taquitos by Home Made Interest
  6.     Crockpot Red Beans and Rice by Bubbling Brook Budgets 
  7.     Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet by House Of Nash Eats
  8.     Best One Pot Beef Stroganoff Ever by Hip Foodie Mom 
  9.     Broccoli Fettuccini Alfredo by Budget Bytes
  10. Pepperoni Pizza Casserole by The Diary of a Real Housewife

If you have some favorite budget friendly recipes, I would love to try them! Feel free to share them in the comments section below.


7 Simple Ways To Save Money On Groceries

Save Money On Groceries

We all know money does not seem to stretch as far as it used to. I remember being a kid and thinking about all the amazing stuff I would do with $100. It seemed like the possibilities were endless. Now, I can use most of that just by filling up my gas and grabbing some snacks at gas station. 

I’m not sure what the actual statistics are, but I think it’s safe to say that the cost of living has increased at a much faster rate than any increase in wages. As a result, we’ve gotta get creative and come up with new ways to save money on groceries. 

For many people, groceries can be one of the biggest monthly expenses aside from their mortgage/rent. I live in a house with my husband and four boys ranging from 14 to 19 so food cost is definitely a huge monthly expense for us.  

I wanted to share a few of my favorite FREE apps that I use all the time to save money on groceries. Not only are these apps free, but they are also super easy to use. Several of these apps can also be used to earn some extra cash.

Free Cashback With Your Receipts

Ibotta – Ibotta is definitely my #1 favorite money saving app. It’s a cash back rewards app and it’s super easy to use. I use it every single  time I shop. IBotta is setup to be used with major retailers around the world. It is very similar to using coupons, but you do not have to print anything and take them to the store with you. 

Once you download the app you can login and checkout the participating stores near you. It will show you all the items that are currently available with cashback options. After you go shopping, you simply select the items that you purchased from the offers available and scan your receipt.

Ibotta will verify that you purchased a participating item and then it will upload that credit to your account. The credit is typically loaded into your account within a couple of minutes. Once you have $20 in credit you can request a cash out. 

I have cashed out several times and currently have another $78 to cash out. Not bad for products you are going to buy anyways. You can even find participating convenience stores near you. You can even score cashback on alcohol purchases. 

You can click the image below to download the free app. By using my link, you can get up to a $20 Welcome Bonus.

This will also create a referral code for you to share with your friends and family. When your friends sign up with your referral code, you will earn a referral bonus, this is typically $5.

Checkout 51 – This app is very similar to Ibotta. It’s super easy to use. You can scroll through the current available offers and if you purchase any, are planning on purchasing any of those items (there are TONS available) simply upload a copy of your receipt to the app to earn your Cash Back. 

Right now Checkout 51 is currently offering 3,000 bonus points ($3) to get you started when you sign up through a referral link. Just like Ibotta, once you sign up you will be given your own referral link that you can share with friends and family. 

For each person that you get to sign up with your referral link, you will earn 3,000 bonus points. Fetch Rewards requires a $20 balance in order to cash out but this is not hard to reach. They even make it easy to share your link on social media so you can use the app to save money but also as a little side hustle if you want to earn some extra cash.

Fetch Rewards – Fetch rewards works a little different than the rebate apps listed above. With Fetch Rewards you can turn any grocery receipt into savings, regardless of the items you purchase. Fetch Rewards, does offer bonus points for specific items on their list which are changed out frequently. 

Fetch Rewards does NOT payout directly to a bank account like the other apps do. With Fetch rewards you can exchange your points for gift cards (instant online gift cards) and you can cash out with as little as $5 in points (this is equivalent to 5,000 points).

Points can add up very quickly. There are currently a ton of items that pay out thousands of points at a time. I like to save up throughout the year and then cashout for an Amazon gift card to spend on Christmas gifts. 

You can sign up through my referral link below to score a signup bonus of 3,000 points ($3) to get you started. Like the other apps, you will then get your own referral link to share with friends and family. 

Each time someone uses your referral link, you will earn an additional 3,000 points. Fetch Rewards often runs promos where they will increase the referral points, which is a great time to share your referral link with everyone who you think can benefit from it.

Simple Ways To Save Money On Groceries

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links. This is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Save Automatically When You Shop

Dosh – This is an amazing free app that I absolutely love, and it is totally different than the others. Once you download the Dosh app, you will be asked to link your credit and/or debit cards to your account. If you have multiple cards you frequently use, you can link them all, so you know you won’t miss out on any cashback offers.

Once you have linked a card to your account, Dosh will automatically look for cashback offers on any item you purchase with a linked card. With Dosh you do not have to search for any specific items or upload any receipts. Just use your card as you normally would. Dosh will do the rest of the work for you. 

Just like the other apps, Dosh has a really good referral program. Currently they are offering a $5 bonus when you sign up through a referral link. ONce you have created your account and linked a card, Dosh will create a personal referral link for you to share with your friends and family. 

Dosh frequently runs promotions to help you earn some extra cash. Around the holidays Dosh was running a promotion where they offered a $15 referral bonus. The person who made the referral and the person who signed up and registered there card each received $15. 

Watch for these promos and you can earn some serious cash while you are saving money. Click on the image below to get started with Dosh today.

Drop – Drop is very similar to Dosh. You simply download the free app and link your debit and/or credit card to your account. Just like Dosh you just make purchases as you normally would. Drop will automatically search for cashback offers at participating retailers. It takes no further effort on your part. 

As an example, I took my kids to Burger King the other day. Shortly after that I got a notification on my phone that 683 points had been added to my account. It really is effortless and I would highly suggest it. The great thing about this app and Dosh is that you can be earning points on both of them at the same time for the exact same purchases. 

Drop’s referral program offers a $5 bonus when you sign up through a referral link. Once you have created your account and linked a card, Drop will create your personal referral link for you to share with your friends and family. You will then start receiving a $5 bonus for each person you refer who signs up using your referral link.

Walmart Grocery Pickup

Walmart Grocery Pickup App –Initially I was really skeptical about ordering my groceries online and picking them up at the store. The thought of a stranger picking out my produce kinda freaked me out, but I decided I would give it a try and I LOVE it. 

Not only is it super convenient but it is a really good way to stick to your list and to know what the final cost will be before you checkout. The app keeps a running total as you add or remove items from your cart. This app has helped me stay within my budget. 

The WalMart Grocery app also makes it easy to look at all the items that Ibotta and Checkout 51 are offering rebates on to see if you may want to pick some of those items up while they are offering a rebate. 

Currently if you sign up through my referral link, you and I will both get $10.00 off our next order. Once you download the app and create your free account, you will be given a referral code to share with your friends and family. You can earn $10 discounts on all your future orders up to $200. 

We all need groceries, why not save $10 on each trip.

Find The Best Deals On Groceries

Krazy Coupon Lady – First, I am NOT someone who carries around a big binder full of organized coupons. If you are that organized and can do it, more power to you. You can score some seriously amazing deals. If you want to learn more about couponing, I cannot think of a better person to learn from than The Krazy Coupon Lady. 

Even if you have absolutely no desire to get into couponing, I still highly suggest downloading the app. When it comes to finding amazing deals, she finds them and shares them to her website. She also shares great information about when and how retailers mark down items and the best times to shop for different items.

If you would like to check out the Krazy Coupon Lady, you can find her website HERE.

If you have some great free apps that you like to use to save on your groceries, please comment below and share the details.