Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grocery Challenge

Ok. So as most of you know, we used to spend $1000 a month (can you say credit card debt?) on groceries (that includes cleaning supplies, toiletries and diapers). I have been able to cut that down to about $600 a month (we are still going just a bit over) for our family of 6. How did I do that?

Firstly, we stopped using the credit card and started using cash.
It is so easy, even with a list and a budget, to spend more on groceries when you are able to use your credit card. Not using the credit card and only having a certain amount of cash makes you fully aware of every penny you are spending. My 8yr old daughter is now in charge of the calculator and adds up everything while we are shopping.

Secondly, I found bargains. Ask around with your frugal friends. I was able to find TWO discount stores here in our area that sells even organics for half price the regular store is selling them for. And when I did goto my regular grocery store, I started looking in the deal bins first, as something I might need might be there for half price. I also scanned the perimeter of the store (produce and dairy and meats) for mark downs (i.e. manager's specials). I was able to get organic meat for half off, organic eggs for just over half off, and organic produce for much much less. We also signed up for a Costco membership. I went through and wrote prices down in a price book (my first one!). I can already tell that we will be saving more than our membership back (even with my using coupons). :) More about that later. I got plugged in with those in my area who knew where to find good deals on healthy food.

Thirdly, I became friends with the produce guy and the butcher. They are so helpful in letting you know the days things are usually marked down, as well as be willing to mark it down for you, even if it is a day early! :) Especially the produce - because it needs to move so fast, I have gotten organics marked down because they were too ripe.

Fourth, I got into finding out deals. The best site I have found for this (do I sound like a broken record yet?) is Organic Grocery Deals. They list deals in stores like Walmart and Target as well as your local grocery store (Kroger or Albertson's for example). You can search for coupons, even TRADE coupons (or ask for them, some one might be willing to give them to you, it never hurts to ask). :) Again, getting plugged in REALLY helped.

So I have gone from $1000, down to $600 (which honestly isn't bad, it is about $3.33 per person per day). But this month I am hoping to get it down to under $400 a month. So this month, I am going to focus on stockpiling. Learning all I can about it and practicing it. Of course, I know that stockpiling really does take some time to get it going, and I might have to wait a bit to see the benefits from what I start this month. But I am excited!

Last week I created a menu based on what I have in my pantry (Part 1 and Part 2). When I went to the bargain store, I stocked up on some items we use almost daily (sardines, tomatoes, cereal, bread). So everything we bought so far this month has been stockpiling! YEAH! :) It worked really well! This week, I have done the same thing. :)

1 comment:

Teri in CO said...

Good job on getting it down to $600! I don't think that's bad at all!