Tips & Tricks to Save Money on Your Grocery Budget

Now that my husband has retired from the military and we no longer live near a commissary I’ve had to relearn some of my frugal grocery shopping habits. While I love the easy savings of shopping at the commissary, you can save almost anywhere you live.

You can save money on groceries and still have time to make dinner. Saving money doesn't have to be time consuming or overwhelming there are simple ways to save on groceries every week.


Years ago I mistakenly believed that saving on groceries is a full time job. While it is for some of those extreme couponers, regular shoppers like us can also save a significant amount of money every week but doing a few simple things.

You don’t even NEED coupons (although they can help!)

So, whether you are a military family who depends on the commissary for cheap groceries or you just need a grocery budget/plan overhaul, take a look at all these different ways to save on meals and groceries for your family!

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

homemade english muffins

Cook at Home (Don’t Eat Out and Don’t Buy Convenience Foods)




Always Have a Menu Plan

meatless meals

Additional Ideas to Save on Your Grocery Budget

And, if you haven’t read my story, then definitely check out my personal tips on how I stay under $600/month for groceriesKeep in mind that this was from 2008, so grocery prices are higher, my kids are older/bigger, and we have 7 kids now.  So, my budget looks more like $800/month for all 9 of us (for groceries, toiletries, household products, pet food…everything included)!

What tips do you have to save money on groceries that we haven’t included?  Add your ideas in the comments below!

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Common Military Acronyms – Making it in the Military

Common Military Acronyms - Because learning what all those letters stand for makes military life much easier - Making it in the Military
Yes, the military does speak a different language. In fact, when I was researching this post, I found out that there are over 12,000 military specific terms and acronyms. No wonder family members get confused!

Learning what all those letters stand for makes military life much easier. Below is a list of common military acronyms. If I left any out feel free to add yours in the comments, as long as they are “G” rated. 🙂


  • AAFES – Army and Air Force Exchange Service (This is the tax-free department store for military members, retirees, and their dependents.)
  • ACUArmy Combat Uniform
  • ADActive Duty
  • AFPFTAir Force Physical Fitness Test
  • APFTArmy Physical Fitness Test
  • APOArmy Post Office (Address used for overseas duty locations. Mailing to an APO costs the same as mailing to a US address.)
  • ASVAB – Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (Test recruits take that helps determine what their job will be in the service.)
  • AWOLAbsent Without Leave
  • BAH – Basic Allowance For Housing (paid to a service member based on location and dependents.)
  • BASBasic Allowance for Substinence (The money a service member receives for food.)


  • CDOCommand Duty Officer
  • CINCCommander In Chief
  • COCommanding Officer (The one in charge.)
  • COLACost of Living Allowance (Extra pay given to service members in high cost areas, based on area and number of dependents.)
  • CONUSContinental United States
  • DEERS – Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (You must be enrolled in this to be eligible for benefits.)
  • DITYDo-It-Yourself move
  • DODDepartment of Defense
  • DSDrill Sargeant


  • EFMPExceptional Family Member Program (Program for military dependents who need have special physical and or mental needs.)
  • FPO Fleet Post Office
  • IGInspector General
  • JAGJudge Advocate General (Military Lawyers)
  • LESLeave and Earning Statment (This form, which is available online is your pay stub.)
  • TDYTemporary Duty (Military member is temporarily assigned to a different duty station, may or may not involve travel.)
  • MAC Military Airlift Command
  • MCCSMarine Corps Community Service
  • MEPSMilitary Entrance Processing Center (Entrance point for your military career.)
  • MPMilitary Police
  • MWR – Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. (Comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of soldiers, their families, civilian employees, military retirees, and other eligible participants.)


  • NCONon Commissioned Officer
  • NCIOCNon-commissioned Officer In Charge
  • NEXNavy Exchange (Same thing as AAFES, but for the Navy)
  • OCONUSOutside Continental United States (Used to describe duty station location)
  • OCSOfficer Candidate School (Boot camp for officers)
  • OPROfficer Performance Report
  • PCSPermanent Change of Station (time to call the movers!)
  • PFTPhysical Fitness Test
  • POAPower of Attorney (Every military family must have one of these!)
  • POVPersonally Owned Vehicle (Your car, truck, van, bus, etc)
  • PRT – Physical Readiness Test (Navy)
  • TADTemporary Additional Duty (Marines & Navy)
  • TAP –  Transition Assistance Program  (Program to help separating service members during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services)


  • USAUnited States Army
  • USAFUnited States Air Force
  • USCG United States Coast Guard
  • USMCUnited States Marine Corps
  • USN United States Navy
  • WOWarrant Officer
  • XOExecutive Officer (Second in Command)

Didn’t see what you are looking for? Check out this site for a comprehensive listing of military acronyms.

More Making it in the Military

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Gov Vacation Rewards: Discounted Travel for Military

This post is in partnership with Gov Vacation Rewards. All opinions and vacation photos are my own.

One of the things I loved about our life in the military was taking advantage of all the travel discounts offered to active duty personnel. Especially during our early years, finding military discounts was the only way we could afford to go on vacation.


I remember one year we combined a military rate on a condo with Veterans Day free admission at Williamsburg,Virginia for our first real family vacation!

I use to spend hours trying to find the best military rates for our family, but now there are sites on the web that do the legwork for you.

Gov Vacation Rewards is a travel discount program available to government employees, retired veterans, and any active military personnel. You need to register on their website to see the deals (it’s free) on cruises, hotels, airfare, tours and more.


GVR leverages its large buying power to provide wholesale rates for military families to make travel affordable. They are also the only program that allows members of the program and their families to use their Military Star® Card to book travel needs – including airfare.


Not only can you find low prices by booking through this site, you also earn points that you can apply to future vacations. You can earn up to $300 towards your vacation savings. I highly recommend programs that allow you to earn points/ discounts for doing something you would do anyway!

My own family has saved a lot of money and been able to take trips we would otherwise have not been able to afford because we made sure we took advantage of programs that let you earn points for future savings.


GVR also has a best price guarantee so you can be confident you are getting a great deal. In fact, if you find a lower price within 48 hours of booking they will match the price.


There are also no booking fees or blackout dates which is great for military families who often have a hard time planning trips due to deployment and travel schedules. Your friends and family can also use this service so the whole clan can travel together.


When you sign up you receive 2,500 Reward Points worth up to $150 off travel. They are also giving away a 7-Night Resort Stay ($1,000 value) at a location/hotel of the winner’s choice.

Head to the Gov Vacation Rewards website to learn more and enroll today.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Free Tax Filing for Military and Non-Military

Paying for tax filings are a thing of the past. Whether you are Military or non-military use these following options for easy free tax filings.

Free Tax Filing for Military and Non Military | The Happy Housewife

Options for Free Tax Filing

Military Tax Filing:

H&R Block is offering free Federal and up to 3 State Filings for the military! The service is only offered through Military OneSource. If you haven’t heard of Military OneSource before you should definitely look into them now.  If you filed through H&R Block last year they should still have all your information. You must go through Military One Source to get this deal, so don’t sign in to H & R Block until you have logged in to MOS.

Non-Military Tax Filing:

If you are non-military you can file simple federal returns for free through these three options:

Online - H&R Block Online Free Edition

H&R Block Online Free Edition

Absolute Zero. $0 Fed. $0 State. $0 to File with TurboTax Federal Free Edition. Start Now.

Free to prepare. Free to print. Free to e-file. TaxACT – Start your free federal tax return!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.