Saturday, October 15, 2016

Groceries on a Budget

Do you ever wonder if it is possible to do what those extreme couponers do on TV?  I often think those people are crazy, seriously I think it is because I relate to them.  Deal shopping is addictive, and I have to admit when you have a great savings day you do acquire a shopper's high.  I am not as extreme as you've seen on television, but I do like to save money.

I used to think that you couldn't eat healthy on a budget.  On top of that I have a gluten sensitivity and that is an added expense at the checkout.

We feed our family on approximately $400 a month.  The secret is to stock up when things go one sale, to use coupons, and shop multiple stores.

I had once assumed that it would take too much time to save like the crazy coupon people or to go to multiple stores. Contrary to my initial thought it doesn't take that much more than making a list each week. Here is how we shop to save more than a few bucks:

It doesn't takes too much time to clip coupons, if you only clip the ones you'd typically use.  There are multiple ways to coupon and some of them do take a lot of time.  I have developed a method that doesn't take much time or cause us to over spend on unnecessary items, like 10 tubes of tooth paste.  I filter through the coupons and pull the out only the coupons for products we normally use: cereal, meat, dairy, and select hygiene products.  On average I spend 15-30 minutes going through the coupons and ads each week.  I put them in an organizer and watch for those products to go on sale. Then combine sale and coupon for maximum savings.  This week's coupon savings totaled $17.75.

I used to think I didn't have the time to drive all over town to go to multiple stores.  Once a system has been established like sticking to only the items on your list, with laser focus your grocery shopping does get more efficient.  I can't claim to be efficient it is a trait I inherited with marriage.  We shopped three grocery stores this afternoon and it took approximately an hour total.  We saved $31 by using the store discount cards. Finally, we save 10 cents for using canvas bags (believe me every little bit counts.)

My total time clipping, driving and shopping was about an hour and a half.  I will round up to to two hours for easy math.  Two hours of savvy shopping to save our family $48.85.  That is would be at least four hours of work at a part time job if I were paid over $11/hour.  And I would still have to grocery shop on top of the time I worked outside of the home.  Spending a little extra time saving is worth being able to stay home with my children.

This week's grocery store visits totaled $86.55.  It consisted of:

8.5 lbs of ground beef
3 lbs of bacon
8 boxes of Cheerios
4 59 oz Minute Maid OJs
1 lb of kale
2 zucchini
7.58 lbs of bananas
3 Old Orchard Frozen Juices
2.29 lbs of squash
.32 lb of baby boo chop
.58 lb ginger root
3 red bell peppers
5.04 lbs of red grapes
3 large pumpkins (for carving)
Renew Life Ultimate Flora 30 ct Probiotic supplement

Most of the list above will be consumed this week but some of them are stock up items.  We only buy them when they are on sale and freeze them to use when we need them.  Some weeks we buy other items that compliment our meal plans.  I hope to post a stock up price list in the future so keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Clear Away the Clutter Challenge

I dread the organizing process of moving into a new home.  Once all the major unpacking was done, I shifted to the sorting of the random objects.  I have found that I had created piles that would migrate through the home until they found a temporary spot in our office.  I began to call it Mount Catch All.
Organization has never been my strong suit.  Many of my childhood memories are of my mother and I in conflict over my messy room.  In fact, one of my mother's favorite school projects that she saved is a laminated children's book I wrote in sixth grade, titled: Cleaning My Room Is So Much Fun.  Uh, that was a big fat lie I told myself, my teacher, and my mom.  I can thrive in piles of papers and books.  That is until they somehow multiply like ciaos causing gremlins.   Mount Catch All had taken over the whole office and was flowing into the kitchen, leaving me overwhelmed and unfocused.

Copyright: <a href=''>solandzh / 123RF Stock Photo</a>I have to give a huge thank you to my dear friend Amy, who came to my rescue.  She came over this week and helped me organize our office.  If I am the Hot Mess Mamma, she is the Organizing Ninja Mom.  In less than two hours she stealthily sorted, delegated tasks and advised me through the office.  What had once been the landing pad for the miscellaneous office supplies, bills, homeschool curriculum and any other random objects, (Mount Catch All), were now neatly sorted placed and orderly stored.  I had been chipping away at the pile for weeks and thought I had weeks ahead of me.  Nope she had the floor cleared and left the desk functional, in a matter of hours.  Woo Hoo!  I love Amy, she rocked it, but why couldn't I do that on my own.  Am I hard wired to be messy?

I love when my home is clean and clear of clutter.  My brain actually is relaxed and calm when my home is organized.  So why don't I keep it that way?  I am on a mission, yes the impossible kind to find a system that works for keeping up with the clean up!  Join me as I relearn how to be domestic.  I would love to hear from you about your organizing tips and tricks.  Obviously I have a lot to learn, and I am ready to get started!!