Friday, December 16, 2011

My groceries ate my wallet...

Groceries. They cost. Usually more than we would like to be paying. Okay, always more than we'd like to be paying. Is eating really that important anyway?

When we made the decision that I would stay at home we knew this also meant less eating out and more home-cooking. Up to this point meal planning was unheard of in this household. So the day we sat down,  jotted down some meal ideas and made an itemized grocery list... well, that was a pretty big day for us. The day I planned out our meals for a complete week I felt like a champion. :) {We won't discuss the fact it took a entire day.}

Somehow it seemed we weren't saving as much money as we had originally thought. So, we set a budget. Really I should call it a "suggested spending limit". My goal was to get everything I needed while trying to stay around  that limit. Pretty soon this was easy.

However, when sitting down to discuss and reevaluate our financial goals {as well as making our money "work for us"} once again that grocery budget was revisited.  So I found some other resources to help.

 Grocery University  - Caught this when it was on sale for $5 one day. Though I am not a "coupon-er" per say, I am  a person who occasionally uses coupons. This was great information for learning how to better use coupons, but my favorite part of this was the "Rock-Bottom Price List" that you can download. For those {like me} who aren't really certain what is a good deal - this will get you started. I also appreciate her view of a monthly budget rather than splitting it into weeks and her perspective on saving in your individual situation. Good info.

This got me thinking... how do I know that I am saving if I don' know what I'm spending? And if I'm getting a good deal or over-paying if I don't know the cost? 

So here is something new we are trying.

Using Money Saving Mom's printable Shopping List, I made my grocery list. Once at the store my husband would read it off, I would take us to the item and read him the price per pound/ounce {something learned from GroceryU} and then he would fill it in the empty price blank on the paper. At home we add those prices to the master Store Price sheet {also from MSM}. This will help me keep track of what our items cost and make me aware of any screaming deals.

Something else we're now considering:

Last night I used the price sheet to calculate just exactly what our dinner cost.

Tortilla Soup {Mom's Recipe}

  • Chicken breasts- {amazing deal at Safeway- they we're $1.69/lb- I bought 8lbs}
  • onion
  • garlic
  • spices {already had in pantry}
  • Mexican style tomatoes
  • Chicken Broth {oops.. not a great deal on these}
  • Juanita's Chips
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Shredded Mozzarella
Total cost to make this pot: $8.87. Let's just say $9.00.
But wait, there's enough here  for at least three dinners. 9/3= $3.00 for last night's dinner. Can't beat that! And because we love it so much we're having leftovers tonight. :)

We're still learning. Still working through it. Still trying to find ways to whittle down our expenses.

What are your favorite money saving ideas? What are your favorite go-to resources for coupons/budgeting/planning? 

1 comment:

  1. I do the grocery shopping 'round here, so here's my "frugal mom" tips.

    1. Don't have a weekly budget. Try monthly, if it's at all possible. That way you can buy a ton of that meat that's on sale and not feel bad for going over by $20.

    2. Eat dark meat chicken. The nutritional value is hardly different from white meat. Or buy whole chickens. Should be able to catch sales on these for 69 or 79 cents per pound. Way cheap.

    3. Eat potatoes...a lot. Potatoes go with almost anything as a side dish. You can cook them a thousand different ways and change it up by getting Yukon Golds or Reds if you need the variety.

    4. Shop at more than one store. Just about every grocery store pretty much tells you the items they're losing money on. It's on the front page of their weekly ad. (called loss-leaders) They are willing to take a loss on those items because they plan on you buying other stuff while you're there. DON'T. Instead, buy the cheap ground beef and run back to the car to go to the next place.

    5. Do NOT buy non-foods from the grocery store. Get them at a box store where they're way cheaper.

    6. Do NOT get processed or prepared foods at the grocery store. When I say processed foods, I mean basic things like cereal, tater tots and mac & cheese. (We all know that people on grocery budgets don't buy HungryMan TV dinners and other money wasters.) Get them at one of those weird overstock places like Grocery Outlet or Big Lots.

    There's a half-dozen. I could probably think of more, but I'm sure I've said enough.



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