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.

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