I haven't shopped except for sending my husband for five peanut butters for .99 each and two Nathan's hot dogs for 3.49 less two .55 coupons.
Last night I made vegetable bean soup, or , rather, I made the soup in the crock pot in the morning.
We love that soup and it's easy. Our weather is more like summer this week, so I suspect we will be eating more picnic type foods.
The first of the month basics didn't happen. I'll bullet them for lack of time. I am gearing up for a card party( making cards, not playing them! ) and have a card class in making cards for the troops at the rehab center. I still have to make our Christmas cards.
I digress. The bullets
- The basic idea of groceries on the cheap is to never pay full price for your groceries. I want to average 1/2 price. It's a different way of buying your food. You aren't buying a weeks worth at a time. You are buying what's on sale and keeping a pantry. You never are without some food in the house. This is possible because you are spending less than the person that buys a week at a time, and you have more volume because you are spending less.
- The best thing you can do is know the price of the foods you eat on a regular basis. Track these prices so you know what is a RBP. ( rock bottom price. You can use a spread sheet or a notebook, by now, I have them in my head. But, I can remember numbers better than I can remember names! LOL
- Buy foods when they are at rock bottom prices. Buy as many as you can, as many as the store will let you ( limits) or as many as you need to replenish your self imposed ceiling. I have spaces on my shelf. For our target foods. I can tell at a glance what we have used.
- Obviously, you have to identify the foods you eat on a regular basis that are stock items. In our house that would be diced tomatoes, beans, refried beans, green beans and corn ( not much corn) chili, chicken noodle soup, pasta, pasta sauce.
- Meat usually goes on sale in a rotation. Inexpensive ( laugh) cuts of meat are usually on sale in a rotation. Pick the one your family will eat when it happens and buy enough for a month of that meal. Assuming you fond a meat a week. Cook it and divide it onto meal sized portions, usually for us that would be eight meals.
- Plan you meals, I use a matrix to make sure we have variety and everybody is happy. It is 2 beef, 2 pork or chicken, 2 vegetarian and 1 fish or shellfish. Your families matrix may be different. Adapt it to your families preferences and the cost of protein. Plan your meals. I plan a weeks worth, but not necessarily day by day.
- Most coupons are for premade, expensive foods. There are, however, so,e that are for things you can purchase on a budget. Computer coupons come out once a month on the first of the month. You can print two of each coupon. They are limited in quantity, you snooze, you loose. Print them as soon as they come out. The newspaper has some. I get the Sunday paper at the dollar store. My friend brings me her inserts. I save the inserts to match up with a coupon match up site. The one I was using isn't there, I'll have to find a new one. They match the ads to coupons. Some direct you to the coupons or tell you which insert it is in. I put the date of the insert on the cover and file them by month. I only cut the ones I am going to use. I can manage to get toothpaste, deodorant, and soap for free. The last time I bought toothpaste they paid me a quarter to take it out of the store. I always buy toothpaste when it's free or nearly free and save it up for the women's shelter.
- When the grocery stores ads come out, gather them and analyze them. I take a sheet of computer paper out of the recycle and divide it into sections. Label the sections. Our variety of grocery stores is shrinking. Top closed and ALBERTSONS and Safeway are merging or ALBERTSONS bought Safeway. We are hoping to get a Winco in the top foods building. I digress. Divide the paper and list the perishable in season that are a good price, the "loss leader of protein" and the stock items that meet your RBP criteria. Now pick the two stores that have the things you want to buy. Plan your trip to save gas, go, bring your list, the ads, and your coupons. Get in and GET out! The more time you spend in the store,the more impulse buys you are bombarded with. Impulse buys account for 70 percent of the grocers sales.
- That's not to say that you don't keep your eyes open for unadvertised specials. I got chickens for .50 a pound at QFC once! Most of the good veggie and fruit buys last week at Fred Meyers were not advertised. Just don't buy junk. Keep it to the proportions your family will eat before it goes bad. Divide your grocery money onto sections, Less than ten percent should be drinks and chips, cookies etc. the majority should be dairy, protein, and fruits and veggies.
This takes some planning and some discipline. But the rewards are good food on a budget.
Thanks for stopping by and for sharing,