Oh man I hate Grocery Shopping. Well I hate the way I use to grocery shop. Same things every time. Go through the aisles and guess how much I needed. Well I always ended up with a lot, and if I hadn't eaten a lot of junk. So I decided to do something different this month. It's not easy or quick but so worth it!
My first step was to create a menu. Since we get paid once a month, I made it for a month. To do this I started with favorite meals. I allowed for them to be served no more than once a week. The only thing that is served that often is Saturday is Pizza night - it's the day I have my glass blowing slot and I'm too wiped after that than do much more than throw a frozen pizza in the oven. I'm also trying some new recipes this month - if we like them they will go into regular rotation. If you grocery shop weekly or every two weeks - plan your menu accordingly and follow the steps.
Then I looked at every recipe and listed out the ingredients and made a tic mark for every ingredient used more than once. Then I created an excel spreadsheet. With 4 columns: Ingredients, # Needed, # on hand, # need to buy. Once I had everything in the list with the first 2 columns filled out I went through my pantry, spice cabinet, refrigerator, and freezer filling out the third column. Simple subtract needed from on hand and put that number in the fourth column. From that I made my shopping list. Now granted I can be slightly anal at times, so when I made my shopping list I organized it - Meat, Produce, Dairy, Canned or boxed goods which included Spices (basically anything in the middle of the store.) Yes, I know it takes time, but nothing worthwhile is ever fast.
My shopping list has 5 columns, (just make a second sheet in Excel): Ingredients, then the 4 stores that are close to the house. I used my computer to look through their sales adds (Note: If you shop at Publix when you create a shopping list you can print it and it will tell you what aisle the items are on. You can also get a free account and "clip" digital coupons. Just input your phone number at the check out!) Enter the price for each item in the correct store. If things are BOGO or B2GO make note of the amount saved according to the ad. Do that for each store. Again not easy or quick but worth it. Now I knew what was on sale and where. I also know who is in general cheapest usually. So if I didn't see the item on one of the sales I bought it at the cheap place and use coupons if I have them.
At the stores that I was in for the sales - I ONLY bought those items. A little lesson in grocery stores I found out years ago, but never used until now. Sales ads are filled with Loss Leaders - basically the store takes a loss on these items figuring you'll buy the rest of your groceries there - but YOU DON'T HAVE TO! It's federal law, use it to your advantage.
My monthly budget for food is $500 - but with the old way I ran out of food before I ran out of month. Now every day has a menu, as you see in the menu planner. Here is the break down for this month.
Savings With Coupons $9.25
Savings on Loss Leaders $85.11
Total Savings: $94.36
This allowed me to splurge on Filet for my steak dinner and for my Beef Stew!
If I continue to save at that a month for a year $1,132.32! To me that is worth the work as we live on a fixed income.
I have just started using coupons. I've seen the extreme coupon thing and it's not for me. I don't have room to store stuff. But that is up to you. But I only clip for what I actually use.
If you have questions feel free to ask in the comments.