Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grocery Saving Tip #29




Tip #29 - Try EACH tip at least once!

I know that with all these tips it can seem a bit overwhelming! Maybe you don't know where to start. Or maybe you think all these tips seem like a waste of time, because it doesn't even make a difference in your grocery savings! 

But I promise that all of these things will save you money and time and will be almost effortless! These are possible for everyone to accomplish!

I feed my family of 6... Including my 2 picky eater children, my growing baseball playing 10 year old son and my husband who goes in and out of crazy no-carb diets and must eat a bazillion grams of protein a day, for only $50/week!!! Yes, you read that right! I feed my family nutritious, yummy, filling foods for only $200/month!!! 

How do I do this??? I do all these tips in some capacity (of course not all of the time, I'm not perfect)! I do use coupons, but those alone do not save me the majority of money... These tips are where it's at!


**What do you think you will try first??? Which tip was your favorite??? 



 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grocery Savings Tip #18 - #28

Okay so let's finally finish up this Grocery Savings Tip Series...





Tip #18 - Avoid


When you go to the store do you walk up and down every aisle???
Do you sometimes run out of things during the week and then run to the store for a "quick trip"???

This is accounts for a huge amount of extra money spent on unnecessary items!

Solution??? AVOID!

  1. As you write your shopping list, try grouping your items together by categories. This way you will know what aisles you don't need to go down and which ones to skip. This will not only help you to avoid buying extra unneeded items, but also shorten your shopping trips!
  2. Avoid the store all together! Do you really need to go to the store? Can you make due without for a few days, until your regular shopping trip? Can you substitute what you're missing with something else? Statistics prove you will buy more than what you originally go in for. Stores are designed to entice you to make impulse purchases! (Read more HERE

It's simple math... If you don't go into a store = You won't spend money!


    Tip #19 - Don’t buy boxed and packaged


    It’s expensive! Why? Because you're paying for convenience! Often times I honestly find that the "convenience" you're paying for really isn't worth it! A lot of times frozen items take a lot longer to cook and the portions are very small.

    By learning to make things yourself you will save a lot of money AND be serving your family more nutritious food. Or a good alternative to buy prepackaged snacks is to divide the food up right when you unpack your groceries. This way they are convenient to grab when you need them.


    Tip #20 - Don't buy "Trash"

    Plastic bags, foil, paper products, saran wrap, etc.... These things are all essentially trash. They are made for a one time use, so that you will go back and buy more! Once again, you're paying for convenience.

    Keep in mind that these things are not necessary! You can easily use other reusable items:
    • Washable towels and napkins instead of paper towels napkins
    • Plastic/glass containers instead of plastic bags, saran wrap, foil, etc.
    If you must buy these items at least buy and stock up when they are on sale! And try to use them sparingly!


    Tip #21 - Rain Checks

    These are key in adding to your savings! There are going to be times when you go shopping and the sale items you want are already gone! It can be very frustrating, but no worries... There is still a way to get the same sale, just at a different time.

    Simply go to the customer service desk and ask for a rain check! This means you can still buy the same item at the same sales price, just at a different date! (Sometimes they put expiration dates on them, so be sure to not let it expire before you use it.)


    Tip #22 - Don't shop hungry!

    This doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it can be a fatal flaw! Ok, so maybe a little dramatic... But if you're hungry, you will be easily swayed by your cravings to buy extra and full priced items!

    Go when you are full and focused. Think of it as a mission to save the most money, by filling your cart with as many of the healthiest products you can! You can do it!



    Tip #23 - Stick to the list

    How many times have you gone into the store with your list in hand and then when you get home and put the groceries away you realize half of the things on your receipt were never on your list? You pick up one extra thing here and there. It's only a few dollars right???

    It can be shocking how fast these "few dollars" add up. Now, I'm not saying that you should never divert from your list. Of course there are times when you forget something that should have been on the list or you will see a good deal that you just can't pass up. What I'm referring to is those extra things you just decide for no good reason that you want to grab! Say NO!


    Tip #24 - Buy Seasonal produce

    When you buy out of season produce it is more expensive, because it costs more for the store to obtain. They have to use more chemicals to keep it preserved longer. Also, you're paying for the cost of shipping.

    Not only is buying seasonal produce cheaper, it's also better for the environment! HERE is where you can find a list of what is seasonal!

    Tip #25 - Shop without kids

    This should be a no-brainer. Now, you may wonder why I would put this as a tip, since I often post about shopping with my kids.... But my kids are frugal-minded! And until yours are you need to leave them at home. (We'll talk soon about how to get them there.)

    Kids often find things that they "need" and will beg for. Or they may just distract you from finding the items on your list. Also, I know we've all had those shopping trips when you're only halfway through the store and you just want to be out of the store, so you grab a few more things, forget about your coupons and get home as fast as possible.

    Why set yourself up for failure??? Especially if you are new to shopping with a budget, you need to be able to focus! Leave the kids at home or take your spouse or friend to help occupy the kids or go while they are at school. Even if you still have one child left at home, while the rest are in school, this would be a better option than to take all of them.


    Tip #26 - Buy "old" produce and meat

    If you ever look at my shopping trips, then you've seen the evidence in my savings! this is one of the best and easiest grocery savings tips ever!!!

    This is food that they need to sell asap, so they mark down in order to make some money, instead of having to throw it out! Most stores put sticker coupons for dollars off or will mark down the price per pound. They normally stand out, because they are marked with a bright sticker. Also, some stores will have a separate shelf for "old" produce.

    Don't be scared of this food! The meat cannot be sold after certain dates, that is why they are trying to sell it fast! The freshness is still guaranteed. You do need to use is asap, though. So make sure you keep this in mind when you buy. Be prepared to either cook, eat or freeze right away! Produce is a little less guaranteed... I've never seen anything with mold or anything, but it could be bad by the next day. So I would suggest not buying more than what will be consumed in about 2-3 days. (Maybe a little longer with some things.)


    Tip #27 - Watch your items ring up.

    The register is an easy place to check out and just hand over your money. But sadly this is also the easiest place to rack up the price. It is not uncommon for things to ring up wrong. You have to watch that everything rings up at the right price. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    Also, make sure all your coupons ring up. A good idea is to count the coupons before you hand them over. This way you can count as you see them ring up. It can happen that they stick together or that the cashier thinks they scanned, but they didn't. Also, if your store doubles, watch for this too. Sometimes they may need to be keyed in.


    Tip #28 - Don't buy your groceries at the gas station/drugstore


    I know, I know this sounds like a dumb tip. But hear me out... How many times have you ran out of bread, milk or some other essential? Or your on your way to a cookout and need to grab a soda or chips? You just want to be in and out, so you stop by the gas station.

    They count on people doing this and that is why their prices are waaay high! They can be twice as high as a grocery store. 

    Does it really take that much extra time to run into the grocery store? In my opinion, it's worth the extra minute to run in and save! Plus, most stores have an express lane and self check out!




    Shared with:
    Making your home sing Mondays

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    My Meal Plan 02/20 - 02/26


    This week I am determined to make this ham!!! Lol I've planned it for like the last 3 weeks and still have yet to eat it! Also, I had a surprise Valentines Day dinner date with my husband, so I will be trying that new recipe this week. Besides those things I stuck to last weeks plans.

    I keep thinking that "things will get easier when (fill in the blank)"... Right now my husband is in the process of getting our church's 2nd campus ready for opening on March 11th, my oldest daughter is cheering twice a week, my oldest son has baseball 4 times a week, we are involved in our church on Weds nights, my husband is restoring his "dream car" with his friend, we're both enrolled in online college classes and we're trying to find another house to move into that will give us more space. And then of course there are the normal everyday things like kids school, homework, projects, house chores, bills to be paid, etc. It seems when one thing ends it just makes room for another activity to fill it. For example my daughter's cheering ends next week and then my youngest son will start with T-Ball 2 days a week.

    I really prefer to be at home. Not like I'm a homebody, but I hate driving all over the place. It makes me feel so much more pressured to stick to a schedule. Now I do love schedules, but I like them to be flexible. With our life right now, that's not possible! I guess I just need to get used to it... At least for the time being.

    One thing that is suffering is my meal planning. The problem isn't meal planning itself, without it we would just eat out constantly. But I don't have as much time in the kitchen and if I don't start early, it's not happening. So in an effort to make it work I need to plan quick or make ahead meals! I'll be sharing my findings later this week.

    What are your tips for eating with busy schedules? And what are your favorite go to meals???

    Here are the details:

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

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    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Grocery Savings Tip #17

    Tip #17 - Meatless Dinner



    Having one meatless meal a week can save you a ton of money! This something most people steer clear of, because they think you have to have meat in every meal. But you can get the same nutrition from other foods and actually increase some things you may lack, like vegetables and grains.

    Meat is always the most expensive ingredient in a meal... Imagine the savings of meal planning just one meatless meal a week!

    Here are some of my favorites:
    • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
    • Quesadillas
    • Pasta without meat - Alfredo, Spaghetti, etc.
    • Loaded Baked Potatoes
    • Pizza
    • Soups
    • Salad
    Sometimes I have a hard time convincing my husband these meals can still be filling for even him! Lol So I feed him some leftovers or make him something extra like a chicken breast. Still cheaper than feeding my entire family meat.

    Do you ever have meatless dinners? What are your favorite meatless meals???

    Be sure to check out the other tips in this series HERE!

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Grocery Savings Tips #11-16

    In the quest to save money on groceries, here are a few tips that are not very common and seem obsolete, but can actually make a big difference. Remember every little thing adds up!
     

    Phone Apps




    Now I'm sure this is a surprise for some of you. But this is so simple and easy!  I promise!

    There are quite a few phone apps that require very little work and a lot of savings!

    Here are a few I'm using:

    ShopKick - Download and earn points which will earn prizes like gift cards! Earning points is easy.... You can collect them from walking in a store, scanning items, buying items or linking your visa! I promise it's that easy. Check it out and let me know what you think!

    WeReward - Download and earn points for submitting pictures of yourself in stores or holding their products. This is rewarded with CASH! You connect it to your PayPal account. Again, so easy!

    Checkpoints - Again this is the same concept. Download, earn points for visiting stores and scanning items. Then redeem points for gift cards, airline miles, etc.



    FREE Samples


    Free samples are a great way to help supplement your grocery bill. Not only do you get to try out new products, but they normally always come with a high value coupon! Also, they are mostly travel size items. I love to have these on hand to take on trips or stash in my purse.

    Here are a few to get you started:


    I love opening my mailbox and seeing what goodies are in there. :)

    Also, I suggest having a "junk" email account. This is good to have even in you don't sign up for the free samples. Anything that requires an email address that you don't want to clog up your personal emails, send them to that one.


    Making Homemade


    I know that the thought of making things homemade can make some of you tremble. But I encourage you to attempt something! You may be pleasantly surprised! I definitely would not say that I am anything special in the kitchen. But I know how to follow a recipe and I'm not afraid to try new things!

    Through experimenting with different things, I have found that a lot of things are waaay easier than I thought! Other things tasted great, but I felt it wasn't worth my time or savings. And of course some things were just a plain disaster!

    But homemade products have more benefits than saving you money... Healthier! You decide the ingredients!

    Here are some great things to start with:
    • Salad dressing
    • Vegetable, chicken, and beef stock. It’s virtually free, you've already bought the bones when you bought the meat in the first place.
    • Fresh bread - loaves or dinner rolls
    • Desserts - cookies, brownies, etc.
    • Breakfasts - waffles, pancakes, egg sandwiches, bagels, etc.


    Use Your Freezer

     

    Remember when we talked the other day HERE and HERE about not wasting food. Well your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to this! 

    If you won't be able to use it before it goes bad... Stick it in the freezer.

    If you find a great deal that you want to stockpile, but know it will go bad before you can use it all... Stick it in the freezer.

    Get it???

    What can go in the freezer???
    • Meat
    • Produce
    • Breads
    • Cheese
    • Eggs
    • Fresh herbs
    • Butter
    • Yogurt
    • Cream Cheese
    • Milk - haven't tried this, we go through it too fast




    See the entire list of all 17 Grocery Savings Tips!