Monday, January 24, 2011

How We Make It Work, Grocery Shopping...

Groceries are expensive!  This is always the area where we spend the most money.  I try to stay away from convenience meals, mainly because they are gross so Nathan won't eat them, but also because they can be expensive.  This month, I decided to buy a couple of "convenience foods" because Asher has the flu and I'll be doing a lot of babysitting once he gets better.  On days when I babysit, it's nice to have something easy to prepare or else we may be eating PB&J sandwiches!  I guess what I'm trying to say is that a convenient meal is better than eating out or no meal at all!

Practical Saver: I subscribe to an online newsletter that tells me all of the best deals in my area and how to couple coupons with the deals to get these items for free or for just a few cents.  This is a really good way to save money on food but it does require (at least for me!) a lot of time and preparation.  I mentioned before that I haven't been utilizing this service since I have felt overwhelmed with other responsibilities.  I'm thinking about starting back up this month just because it is so hard to miss out on those deals.  Hmmm... sanity or savings?  SAVINGS!  Haha!

Price Matching:  I almost always do price matching, at least for fruits and veggies.  I save an enormous amount of money this way, often getting blueberries, strawberries, and pineapples for .99, romaine lettuce for less than a buck, and apples for around .69 a lb.   I just grab my ads (usually 5 in all) circle the item on the ad, and write down than item and the price on a cheat sheet.  I am amazed at how much produce I can get for so little utilizing this method of spending.

The 99 Cent Store:  Lastly, I often shop at the 99 Cent Store-- not to be confused with the Dollar Tree!  The 99 Cent Store has buyouts-- items stores are getting rid of.  I get cookie dough (convenience, I know!), yogurt, and crackers for cheap!  Occasionally, I will buy the boys lunchables for a treat.  The lunchables I bought last time were a great deal considering that they were the large ones that included a drink, the meal, and a snack; these are normally twice the price I paid.  I also buy my flour tortillas and enchilada sauce from there.  You just never know what you will find at the 99 Cent Store!  I once found those Vita-balls-- the vitamin gumballs-- and bought up the entire shelf for my sister who's children will only take vitamins that are chewy and wrapped in sugar and food coloring.  Hey, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down-- right?

From the 99 Cent Store
(Athenos Yogurt was .25)

These are a few of the ways our family stretches our food budget.  So, we aren't the greatest at saving, but we aren't the most frivolous either-- we do what works for us :)  There are many more websites and blogs that know much more about this kind of thing than I do.  If you would like more information, leave me a comment and I'll send you a link to one of those websites.


Davene Grace said...

I wish I was better at couponing, but I just haven't figured out how to make the time to do it. Some people are so good at it!

We loved the 99 Cent store when we lived in San Diego...miss those days! :)

New Mom said...

Davene, I just went grocery shopping yesterday. Got the stuff on my list that I had coupons for--name brand stuff, mind you, that I would not normally buy-- and forgot to give the cashier the coupons. That is so like me! It is hard to find the time to clip and organize coupons, which is why I gave it up over the holidays :)

Bonnie said...

Yeah, I hardly ever remember my coupons either.
We have one grocery store to shop at out here in the boonies. And since they have money off gas (which I still say isn't what it seems to be) for every so much you spend (and now you get money off your grocery bill, for every so much gas you buy, which to me still seems to good to be true), thats where B. has me shop. It gets my frugal/cheap knickers in a knot, because I *know* I could probably do better elsewhere.
I've started mostly "shopping the perimeters" (where all the perishables are), and that has cut way back on my budget. I wasn't buying a lot in the rest of the store, but when I do need to, it adds up fast!

I have to admit to a strange fascination with convenience foods, mostly because we never had them growing up. Except for the occasional T.V. dinner as a special treat.
B. had them pretty frequently, his mom is more of an open a can of this and box of that cook, and he hates them too.

Wow, I do like to ramble, don't I?