Sunday, February 3, 2008

Grocery Triumph

Many of you were interested in our my attempt at penny-pinching would go at the grocery today, so I thought I would give you an update. It was a total success. I was amazed.

Special thanks to Jessica for recommending I check out Money Saving Mom for ideas. Crystal had some great ideas for saving money, and most of them required making a plan. Which as most of you know, is my forte.

I recommend you check out Crystal's website for her drawn out plan, but I'll tell you what is working for me so far. Crystal recommended first, to make a meal plan for the week, including dinners, lunches, breakfasts and snacks. I always do this, so it was not a big stretch for me. There were a couple of differences in her recommendations however.

First, she recommended looking at your pantry and fridge to see what you already have, and work from that to produce a menu. This actually made my meal planning easier, because typically, I'll sit on the couch, and Cory and I will wrack our brains for meal ideas. Instead, the meals practically planned themselves. Oh, the pepperoni I froze a couple weeks ago? I should use that in Stromboli...the canned salmon I bought on sale a few weeks ago? I should make salmon patties with that... you get the idea.

Second, Crystal recommended writing absolutely everything down that you need to buy, and then not deviating from your list. This took only a few more minutes to include on my normal list, and would actually save me time in the long run. Last week we didn't buy any eggs because I didn't know if we needed them or not, if I had checked when I made my list, I would have known that I did need them. No more extra trips during the week, no more excess eggs, you get the idea! My list writing took me about 15 minutes total.

I bought the store brand on absolutely everything that was available. I will let you know how that goes, seeing as that we haven't eaten everything yet. Instead of buying ready to microwave in the package steamed frozen veggies, I bought the store brand, big bag of veggies. The directions differ slightly and will take a few more minutes work, but should be fine. I divided them between freezer bags and put the day's name on the outside so that Cory could get it started if I needed him to.

We didn't buy any carbonated beverages or beer. Which is not a huge stretch for me. Most of you know I stopped drinking cokes when Moose started eating with us regularly. He was always very interested in my coke because I was having it. So I started drinking milk with him for dinner or snack (or lunch, if we are together). I still order coke at a restaurant, or drink it when it's available. But it did occur to me, that this might be affecting my weight loss as well, it's not like coke is good for you, even the diet kind! Cory made the decision about the beer, I just nodded when he told me about it. Plus, he typically prefers more exotic beer than our store offers anyway. He has a stock pile of different things in his garage that a friend picked up for him, and he is slowly working his way through that.

We typically alternate our "baby" purchases, so they are not a huge hit on the total bill. Week one we buy a big pack of diapers, week two we buy a big pack of wipes, week three we have off, then we start over. This week was our week off.

Here is our dinner meal plan for the week:
Beef Tacos (we had fajitas in the fridge)
Italian Potato Pie
Breakfast Burritos (fajitas and half a tube of sausage in the fridge)
Salmon Patties (can of salmon in pantry)
Stromboli (pepperoni in the freezer)
Hamburger Helper

Our total grocery bill was $50 for six days, for our family of three.

This may have been a fluke, but I hope it is just a beginning. According to Crystal, if you keep track of sales, and stock up on those things as they pop up, it is totally do-able.