Monday, March 5, 2012

The B Word!

The B word...budget...or how I cut our grocery bill in half!

Budget...not a nice word in many a vocabulary, but oh, so needed!  I want to teach my children to live within their means, possibly even below their means, and be good stewards of their money.  To do that we ourselves must be faithful!

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little cwill also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"  Luke 16:10-11(NIV)

We use to spend a lot of money at the grocery store.  I mean, A LOT!  Like that was one of our biggest expenditures.  And yet we never seemed to have any groceries in the house.  The "there's nothing in this house to eat" kind of nothing to eat.  Drove me crazy!

Fast forward three years...
Our pantry, fridge and freezer are full, there are no more echos of there is nothing to eat and we are spending about $400.00 a month for a family of six, toiletries included.
I am not an expert at this, nor do I spend hours a week concentrating on this area of life.  Not my hobby, just a necessity of life.  So while there are plenty of useful guides out there, here's how I did it:

1- Coupons!  Seemed like a waste of time to me, but it does work.  I would not qualify for that silly show on TV, nor would I want to, but I have been stopped several times on my way out of a store by people wanting to know how I just bought that many groceries for that low of a price.  It's a cool thing.  At first it was a personal challenge to see what percentage I could save, then it became a silly family game with even CP asking each week if we had beat our savings record.  I know, we are silly like that...easily entertained.  See the things that will entertain you when you get rid of cable?  haha
Anyway, you can cut all the coupons out at once, use what you need and send the extra ones to an overseas military base, or keep all the flyers and cut out what you need as you go.  NOTE-  Don't use a coupon just because you have it.  If it is something you use or really want to try, then buy it.  Otherwise don't buy it to just to buy it with a coupon... a waste of money.

2-  Look for sales and then use coupons on top of those sale items.  Some of my friends are awesome at identifying these on their own...not me.  I cheat.  I started getting my cheat sheets at, free trail.  I now pay a small fee each month for their lists (I love how organized their lists are), but there are also tons of gals out there who do it for free and are just as helpful.  A few I use are Thefrugalfind, Streachingabuck and moneysavingmom.  They will also save you lots of money on tons of other items- you will not be sorry if you subscribe to their sites.

3- Use the grocery store customer cards!  Ya know, those free little ditties you hang on your key chain.  One of my latest trips to Kroger started with a total of about $140.00 and once they scanned that little card the total was about $70.00- and that was before coupons.  So if the gal behind me bought the same things and did not use a magic card for whatever reason she would have paid double.  Crazy!

4- Another site I love...$5 Dinners.  Erin is awesome.  She has lots of money saving ideas, but what I love is that her recipes are geared for the budget minded mom or dad.  Let's face it, if a recipe calls for a million expensive ingredients you just broke your budget on one meal.  I have both of her current cookbooks and love them.  (she does giveaways..I won them both!)  Check her out...again, you won't be sorry.

5- Learn how to get free stuff, especially at drugstores and on double coupon days at your local grocery store.  A lot of my stockpile comes from these free items...haven't paid for toothpaste in forever!  Dish soap, air fresheners and salad dressings are also often free.

6-  And that brings us to stockpiling.  Forget that silly show for a minute and stay with me.  NO one needs 100 tubes or cans of ANYTHING!  That is just crazy!  But, sales do tend to run in 6 week cycles so when things (and here's the key phrase) that you use are on sale, buy enough to last your family about 6 weeks.  That way you never pay full price again.  You can "shop" from your pantry when you need ketchup or you can run to the store and pay full price at the 9th hour.  You choose.

7- Shop for a week at a time, or two if you are brave.  The more you go to the store the more money you spend.  Menu planning works for that reason,  Nuff said.

8-  Use cloth napkins and towels in the kitchen.  We started this for fun, not really to save the planet, but hey, every little bit helps.  For larger families, those things are big ticket items!

Two final notes...since we started this journey we have gone to a less processed food lifestyle.  Because of that, I do not use as many coupons I use to, but you can still find them for milk, eggs and other organic products.  They are out there, promise.  Because we grind our own wheat and make much from scratch these days, there are less canned goods to buy.  That money saved goes towards buying bulk grains and fresh produce.  In season veggies and fruits can be found cheap.  I have found a $3.00 bag of potatoes makes a lot more side dishes, and more diversified, than boxes of scalloped potatoes, no matter how cheap I could get them for.  Just works for us.  I tease my family that my goal is to have a bar code free pantry!  ;)

Also, we eat out a lot less these days.  That will eat up a budget faster than you can say eat out!  Seriously.  Our goal, and mind you this is just a goal, is to eat out 2 lunches a month, usually after church, and one dinner.  A family of 6 in a restaurant = big bucks!  Because I do menu plan, we do have less panic moments of what can we eat which helps a lot.

OK, so ask away...what questions do you have, what can I help you with and what do you do that works for your family?  We may have to have a part 2 to this post gals!  There's a lot more we could cover!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this one! Thanks for the encouragement to keep on couponing and stockpiling. I often get so "exhausted" with trying to keep up with it all, but it is so worth the money saved. Also good reminder to ONLY BUY WHAT YOU USE! When I started out, I would buy things that were "good deals" just because of that and then we would end up giving them away.....this did NOT save me money! Thanks again for the encouragement and extra websites to check out. I plan to get on the $5 Dinner one....hadn't heard of that one before!


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!