Monday, October 12, 2009

How I save Part 2

Grocery shopping has gotten a makeover at our house. I have done fairly well with saving money but still felt like we are spending WAY to much on groceries. I have been feeling like there has to be a way to save even more.

In addition to clipping coupons and ordering from the sites I have mentioned, I have almost eliminated all processed foods. Which keeps me out of the middle aisles of the grocery stores.

Let me share some of our ideas.

1. We no longer buy cereal. With a family of 6 buying organic cereal we were going through 8-10 boxes a week. Even with a coupon the cereal would still be almost $2 a box. So 8-10 boxes x $2 a box is $16-$20 or more a week. We now eat eggs, pancakes, waffles things that are much healthier and I typically have on hand anyway.

With the pancakes and waffles I no longer buy pancake and waffle mix. I have found some great easy recipes for things I already have on hand. It's much cheaper and it tastes better too.

2. I have become much better with making a menu and buying groceries based on that list. In the past I have gone back and forth with menu making. I am trying to be very diligent about this.

3. I have a calculator with me. I use the one on my Blackberry. I add up everything that goes into the cart. I have an idea of where I would like to be budget wise based on what I want us to spend a month. Last week I had a goal of $80. I spent $90. This week I wanted to spend $140 I spent $154. I over spent this week because I needed Clorox Wipes and they were on sale for almost $10. My overall goal for this month is $500-$600. Which is about $200-$300 less than it has been.

4. I have decided that no matter how crowded the commissary is, I have the right to be there. I have the right to take my time and save my family money. In the past I have always felt rushed when the aisles are full. No more being rushed.

5. I am shopping once a week instead of every other week. Regardless of if I only did big grocery shopping every two weeks or plan it out for each week it comes out about the same. I actually think I am saving some money this way. I get what we need for the week. When I would grocery shop every other week I was still in the grocery store for milk, bread, etc. and would end up with more in my cart because I thought we needed it or it was on sale.

6. As I mentioned earlier we don't buy hardly anything from the middle aisles of the grocery store. I used to buy the Keebler prepackaged cracker packs. They are easy to grab and better than some alternatives. But it's so much cheaper to buy a large package of crackers and have real cheese or peanut butter on those crackers than to have all the preservatives.

I now bake almost all of our bread. I'm not sure how much, if anything, we save but I can control what's going into the bread. I used to think this was difficult or not worth the time. I was wrong. It is fairly simple and while it does take time for the dough to rise, I am here anyway. Plus the house smells so good on the days I bake bread.

I also bake our cookies and sweets. Since I home school the boys we can use this as a learning lesson.

7. We don't buy fruit drinks or juices. Our kids drink diet consists of water and milk. They RARELY get Capri sun or anything like that. If I have coupons I will buy orange juice. Juice is expensive and can make your budget fat before you know it.

8. I am trying to buy meat when it's on sale and use what I have. Right now boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale for $1.70 a pound. I stock up on sales like that. Normally they are $1.95 or $2.05 a pound.

9. I triple coupon at Harris Teeter. You can get a ton of stuff for next to nothing on triple coupon days. Most of it is processed foods. I do save coupons for these things in case I can get them on sale during triple coupons. Things like Chex Mix Bars, granola bars, soup, all the middle aisle stuff. If you don't have a Harris Teeter by you check out the local grocery stores to see if any of them offer double or triple coupons.

10. I am willing to adapt for the benefits of our family. As our family ages our needs change. The kids are older and eat more. Which means that our food budget goes up. I am basically feeding 4 adults and 2 children now. Some days it feels like I am feeding 6 adults. The boys usually eat more than I do for dinner. (not to worry, they are healthy. They are not overweight)

I feel a bit of victory when I walk out of the grocery store and stay close to my goal. Before I never had a goal I just threw it in the cart. But by paying closer attention to what is going into the cart it does save us money.

Share your money saving tips!

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