How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!

This How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day! article is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Suntrust. Opinions and text are all mine. #mysunnyday
How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was working crazy hours as an associate at a law firm and my husband had just been downsized.  I knew I wanted to stay at home with my kids, so the scramble began immediately to figure out how on earth we could make it work.  ("Dear Google, Can I afford to be a parent?").  I began taking inventory of what we spent and saved like crazy.  My husband started to expand his small business and also enrolled in the engineering program at our local university.  We figured out that it would be tight, but we could make it work. Thankfully we had saved for a rainy day.

I didn't realize until after the baby came, that we hadn't thought about saving for a sunny day.  What is a Sunny Day?  It’s the feeling of optimism, confidence, and control around your money.  It’s a moment in life when a goal or aspiration becomes a reality.  For me, it was the ability to take my kids out to lunch occasionally, or have annual passes to our local zoo.  Being able to afford these things gave me sunny days, and unfortunately while I had planned for the stuff like mortgage and insurance, I didn't consider how important sunny days are too.

Since then, I have become a master of saving for sunny days, and thanks to careful, mindful spending and saving, our sunny days just keep getting better.  I have lots of tricks - as one girlfriend says, I could probably get a rock to bleed money, but here are my favorite kitchen savers!


How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!

1. Buy in Bulk - But Don't Eat in Bulk. 

What I mean by this is that if you're not conscious about what you do with the food you buy in bulk, it will end up squandered ("hey friends, I just bought 14 pounds of ground chuck - come on over!") or spoiled ("hmmmm, maybe I didn't need 96 ounces of shredded cheese"), which actually ends up costing you more.  I know this from experience.  So now, whenever we go to the warehouse store and stock up, I immediately partition things out into normal sized portions.  Then we freeze (or prepare, then freeze) the rest.  It makes for a lot of work on that one day, but it saves me incredible amounts of time and money in the long run.

2. Create a Menu Plan, Generally.

Okay, I struggle with menu planning because I'm very temperamental about what I eat.  I cannot calendar out a month of meals and stick with it.  By day three I'm screaming at the calendar and ordering pizza.  "Calendar, you CANNOT tell me what to do!  Hah!"  Instead, I create a general plan with my proteins and veggies.  For example, I will say, this week we are having chicken breast, steak, and ground beef.  We will also use broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, and squash.  Whether those end up in soups, or curries, or roasted, remains to be seen.  But the important part is you've planned and prepared enough so that you won't be scrambling and running out to dinner ($$$) because there's nothing in the fridge.  

3. Don't Be Afraid to Buy Used Items.

I really really really wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Like reaaalllllly.  And my husband being the awesome guy he is (and also the guy who can't say no to me), suggested I get one for my birthday (have I mentioned my birthday is next week).  So, I ooooh'ed and aaaaaah'ed over the $300 mixers for a bit, and then went to my town's local Facebook page and asked if anyone had one gathering dust.  By the next day I had three mixers (one for me, two for friends) in almost perfect condition and had spend a grand total of $225.  Total output for myself: $75.

4. Don't be Afraid to Sell Your Unused Items.

By unused, I mean things that you're not actively using in your kitchen.  I actually had a KitchenAid stand mixer when we were first married.  But at the time, I didn't really cook and I definitely didn't bake.  So, after the babies came and money was tight, I sold it on on a local board.  The $125 we got for it did a whole lot more good in my pocket at the time than it did gathering dust on my counter top.

5. Make Gifts in the Kitchen.

When a friend gets pregnant, don't buy a bunch of baby stuff, instead double the recipe you're making for your family one night and bring dinner to them.  Bake cookies and bread for holidays.  Create cinnamon keepsake ornaments or homemade vanilla.  These are things that will save you money, but they are also things people will remember because they have a personal touch.

How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!
A Sunny Day sightseeing with the kids in New Orleans!

What will your Sunny Days look like?

How to Use Your Kitchen to Save for a Sunny Day!

Sunny Days start here.  At SunTrust, we have the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Start here to find out how we can help you enjoy the things that matter to you.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day.   Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

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