Friday, November 7, 2008

Grocery Budget Thoughts

Tonight while I was blog-surfing, I came across Laura's post over at The Peanut Patch discussing her food budget. After reading Laura's post, I realized that she verbalized many of the same thoughts I've been having this past month. As times are tight for everyone I know and holidays are just around the corner, my family is looking for more ways to stretch our monthly budget. (I'll be blogging about our Christmas budget soon.)

When we only had one child, we were organic everything - meats, fruits, veggies, milk, you name it! We were also two working professionals bringing in a pretty healthy income. Fast forward to now - more kids, less income. Yikes! And these kids are getting older which means more activities which all seem to have hidden costs - other kids' birthday parties, play dates, etc. What it comes down to is that I need to feed my family of 5 in the most cost effective way possible, and perhaps that means exploring some different grocery techniques.

I followed this blog for a week or two before I developed the courage to dive into the coupon world. Sarah at Fiddledeedee really broke it down for me in a way that I could make the most of my couponing and in the process become a savvy CVS shopper. Even my CVS clerk is impressed.

There are many, many blogs about CVS savings. With more CVS stores carrying food items, I've been able to score great deals on different broths, soups, cereals and other staples.

I've also become very familiar with my grocery store of choice (Publix), I don't need to wander around willy-nilly looking for things, tempting myself with impulse purchases. I like to make the most of my time in the grocery store. Our Publix also takes competitive coupons. I get weekly competitive coupons from other grocery stores, and I bring them with me to my Publix store.
I use a baseball card organizer to hold my coupons. This allows me to flip through them quickly while reading the grocery flier, and pull out anything that I'll be using.

I only cut coupons for items that we'll actually use. No fruit roll-ups, or other things of that nature. We aren't really convenience foods type folks. We don't eat much meat. We do eat alot of beans and meat alternatives. I do pack lunches for both big kids 5 days a week for school. After I've made my grocery list (using the store flier), I use that list to guide my menu for the week. So if pasta is on sale, we'll have a spaghetti night. If beans are also on sale, I'll add a couple of cans of tomatoes to my list (or check my pantry to see if I got any extra during the last sale!) and add black bean soup to my menu.
Overall, I spend between $100 and $120 a week on our grocery budget. Add in about $10 a week on CVS deals.


Laura said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog - and for doing this post of your own, too.

Emily & I love things like bean soup, plain beans, etc. etc. - but my boys don't care for them. David will eat them, grudgingly, because he knows he has to - but Michael has a SPD (sensory processing disorder) and cannot handle the texture of many foods, including beans. I can feed them to him in the form of chalupas, IF I mix the refried beans with leftover taco meat - then he'll eat a single chalupa and not complain much. But he has actually gotten ill on a pinto bean before, so I don't force the issue (knowing his SPD problems).

Emily & I often eat a bowl of pinto beans for lunch, with crackers or sliced bread and some cheese - very filling, and lots of protein.

And I totally hear you on the kid's activities thing - right now I'm waiting up for pumpkin muffins to bake, because I forgot it was my turn to take snacks for their soccer games tomorrow, and we don't have the extra cash to run out and buy boxed snacks at the store. Thank God I had the muffin stuff on hand :-)

Meg said...

You have inspired me...with a little more work, I can save more!

Leah said...

Mary - I love the baseball card holder idea. I'm gonna steal it! :)

The Day family of 4 said...

Hubby & I were just talking about this last night.... guess who needs to try to save some pennies, even though I'm right on track at about $100 a week. It's such a hard thing to feed your family healthy foods on a tight budget. I'll never forget the time I went to the store with a friend... she purchased twice as much food as I did and spent half as much. The difference was whole foods. Now if I could just find coupons for no name brand whole grain cereal & cheese sticks. :)