Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How I Save Money on our Groceries

It's work. But, it fun work. I love knowing that I have saved our family over $120 a week on groceries. I love knowing that the money can go for something else just as important. So how do I do it?

I was recently asked by someone, how I save so much money on our groceries when I have to buy soy milk, etc. By the way, I enjoy your questions! Don't be afraid to ask!

I will try to give a few bullet points on how I save our family money on groceries:
  • I know I am going to get 5-7 gallons of milk a week, PLUS 2-3 half gallons of soy milk each week. Our milk per gallon around here just went down to $1.98. And our soy milk is $3.19 at Meijer. So, I figure each week, milk is important to us, so we will almost always spend $24. on milk & soy milk. There aren't many circumstances that will change that total. Although I have been getting catalinas (coupons that print off as you purchase your groceries) for $1. off 3 Silk soymilks. So, I take advantage of that. Also, Meijer Mealbox has $1. off of 2 Silk Soymilks. Other then that $24 bucks for milk...
  • We don't eat much junk food! I do purchase cake mixes, brownie mixes, very rarely potato chips, and hardly ever a 2L of soda. What do we snack on? Well, with boys, you definitely have to have food to snack on. But, here is what we do. We don't even do a lot of snacking! I make sure the boys get full at dinner time. If they complain an hour after dinner that they are hungry, I make them eat some more of what we had for dinner. Sometimes they decide they aren't that hungry (THAT is called boredom). We do need snack sometimes though. And we eat organic carrots (often on sale at Miejer for $1, like this week!), yogurt (also on sale & coupons- purchase when there is both!), pretzels (also a $1 on sale at Meijer), and fruit like apples or bananas (whatever is on sale that week).
  • I make a Meal Plan each week according to the items that are currently in my cupboard. I make sure all ingredients are present in my house before I put the item on my Meal Plan. Along with that, I keep track of what I am going to need on a Grocery list that I hang on the fridge. That way I know what I am running out of, and I make sure I look for it to go on sale.
  • Have 1-2 meatless meals a week. Or include a meal that has a can of tuna in it or canned chicken, this can be cheaper then having fresh meat.
  • I buy meat when it is on sale or marked down. By marked down I mean meat that is 2-3 days from it's expiration. Then as soon as I get it home, I divide it up into meal size portions and freeze it. I will also label the meat with the date that I froze it on.
  • I make almost everything from scratch. By this, I mean, I make biscuits, I make all dinners from scratch. No pre-packaged deals. I think those taste like they are high in sodium, and low in taste usually! If I say I am having Tuna Noodle Casserole this week, that means I will have a can of tuna, a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, some noodles (either homemade or store bought) and I will top it off with Parmesan Cheese. I don't need to buy a pre-packaged meal, especially because I don't know what is in it!
  • If my kids don't like what is for dinner, they don't eat. Well, actually that never happens. They are hungry when dinner time comes around (because of NO SNACKS!), that they will EVENTUALLY eat their dinner. We don't make anything special to cater to a picky eater. Then eventually the child learns to either like the meal or at least tolerate it!
  • And last, but not least, I shop sales with coupons, and stock up! I usually get multiple insert each week, and I try to keep all of the coupons organized. I then look for sales in our local paper or on the Internet. I combine the sales with coupons, and if it is a good deal, then I get several. I save this in my "Stockpile". This just means when one runs out, I am not going to have to run to the store to get another one and pay full price. I will already have several in my pantry. Then I try to keep that pantry stocked up. I make sure to add anything to my list that I have only one or two left in my cupboard. Then I can be watching for them to go on sale. For more on this, go HERE.

I hope this helped to show you how the show is run around here! And maybe encourage you to start saving more money on your groceries too. And enjoy it! It can be a challenge, but it can be fun too! I enjoy see how much I can get for as little money as I can! I am proud to be able to stretch our one income household a little further. You can do it!


Jennifer said...

Thanks for explaining how you do it. I am somewhat limited in what I can cook and how I can cook and I do have to cook separately for my dd sometimes - she has a dairy and egg allergy. BUT your ideas have been so helpful.

I have a lot of snack foods in the house. Normally I cook from scratch for the most part. But snack foods are a big downfall. If they don't eat their meal they don't get snack and snack does not happen automatically. But when things like triscuits, pretzels, animal crackers, etc go on sale I stock up. Probably too much. Like I said, we have a lot of snack food here.

I really appreciate your tips and am always encouraged by other people's low budgets to get mine even lower. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanations! I just have to tease you though...using canned food isn't from scratch. :)

Sarah said...

I said MOSTLY from scratch! ;) And it is more from scratch then a premade meal! geez... =P Is that the sign for me sticking my tongue out at you? Cuz that is what I am trying to do... hehehe.

Anonymous said...

this is so helpful. I guess when it comes down to it we really do spend alot of money on crap. Im going to take your advice and start cooking much more from scratch.

Julie Tyra said...

I love your theory, "this is what's for dinner, take it or leave it" I did the same thing for my kids when they were growing up, same happened for me when I was growing up, and we learned to like things. Great job!