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Thrifty Ideas, Part 1

January 5th, 2008 at 01:42 pm



Gone are the days when grocery prices were like those in the image above but grocery spending is one area that really is flexible and one where we can see substantial savings with a little planning and work. Of course, sometimes you're already down to bare bones and eating beans and rice and little more. I've been there a few times and didn't like it but managed quite well.

I've managed to feed two adults for $100 to $150 a month and a family of two adults and four teen boys for less than $250 a month. Compared to a lot of the nation, food here is low in price so you might not be able to spend as little as I do but surely there are things you can save on, some way or another.

If you haven't done so yet, start and keep a price book, at least for several months. Some people use them for years, some give them up after a few months. But they're marvelous and will help you keep track
of sales in your area. The whole purpose of that is to enable you to know what a good price is and how often certain things go on sale so when they do, you can buy enough to last until the next sale. Budgeting101.com has lots of information on price books, I believe. So does organizedhome.com. Mine is a spreadsheet on my computer but find what works for you.

Plan your meals around sales, loss leaders, and what's in your pantry.
Remember that loss leaders are the items usually (but not always) featured on the front page of the sales ads. They're put there to get your attention and lure you into the store to buy those loss leaders with the hope that you will buy other stuff while you're there.

When the sale papers come, sit down and mark the items that you will use that are priced right. This is where your price book comes in handy;you won't have to remember how much you paid for roast beef last time. Make a list with those items and seasonal veggies and fruits, canned items, to go with those dishes, etc. Get good rest the night before you shop, eat a good meal, get together any coupons you're going to use, grab your price book and list, and hit the stores! It's okay to go to one store for canned corn 5 for $2.00 and nothing else. It's okay to hit another when they have chicken leg quarters and pick up 15 lbs of quarters and nothing more. Take into consideration the amount of driving you have to do since gas is so high now.

Say what want about Wal-Mart's practices and ethics - I don't agree with some things they do, either. But we buy most of our groceries there because they price match the competing grocery store sales and it saves us time and driving. When you get to the stores, remember why you're there. You're not there to buy cookies, cakes, and soft drinks unless they're on your list or you have a real need for them. And come on, how often do you need those? You're not there to spend all the money you can. You're on a mission and that mission is to get the best, most nutritious food you can for the least amount of money!

Shop the perimeter of the store first because that's where the fresher,
healther food is, avoiding the inner aisles where the more expensive food is. If you need something on one of those aisles, go for it last, find it, get it in the basket, and leave that aisle quickly!

More to come!

3 Responses to “Thrifty Ideas, Part 1”

  1. baselle Says:

    I use my price book on my PDA (even a little notebook works), shop at the perimeter of the store, and have a little rule - go for something at or under $1/lb.

    The only thing I would add is that a number of grocery stores have their deals on their website, so if you miss the paper deals, log in.

  2. denisentexas Says:

    Baselle, those guidelines sound great, too! Yep, I need to add that about the websites. Thanks!

  3. luxliving Says:

    Keep these coming!

    I have to keep telling my kiddos we don't NEED pop and cookies.

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