I'm trying REALLY hard to be disciplined in my spending. In October I put myself on a pretty strict budget for our consumable items. $125 a week for grocery/household purchases. $80 a week for gas for our two vehicles and $20 spending money on whatever (this usually spills over into grocery spending or going out to eat.) When people hear this they usually gasp in disbelief. Is it easy? Not always, but it is possible.
I have become quite proficient at being able time the manager's specials at our local Kroger: Monday-Bread, Wednesday- Meat, Friday- produce, dairy and dry goods. I only go to the store once a week, so I try to alternate the days so I can stock up and those $.25/ loaf breads or those 40% off packages of meat and stick them in the freezer for the following month.
I've also started using coupons again. It's by far a tedious task that I often assign to my children to organize, but it really is worth it in the end, especially on toiletries and household goods. Since I'm not at all brand loyal, coupons make all the difference. I've been tracking my coupon saving for a while and usually save $50 a month using them. Worth the time? Maybe not, but that is 10% of my monthly budget, so I'll take it. I hope to get more proficient this year with coupons, but only have limited time to devote to them.
Perhaps my favorite way to save is by shopping at a scratch and dent grocery downtown. They have a large variety of items that changes regularly. The large majority of it is organic and all natural grocery items. They also carry gluten free convenience foods and mixes for a fraction of the regular cost. It's a half an hour drive and I inevitably get lost every single time, but I always come home two hours later thankful for the blessing of such a valuable resource for our family.
Just to show you the value. Today I took the kids and purchased all these items for $94:
- Three boxes of all natural fishy crackers (12 indiviually wrapped packages in each)
- 2 gluten free pancake mixes
- 6 boxes of gluten free mini chocolate chip cookies
- 20 small lunch sized bags of kettle chips
- 20 frozen Bosco breadsticks
- 12 frozen ball park microwave bun/hotdogs
- 1 huge can of organic diced tomatoes
- 2 bags of pumpkin granola
- 3 boxes of kashi instant oatmeal
- 2 bags of huge chipotle sandwich wraps
- 4 bags of small soft tortilla shells
- 6 boxes of organic chicken broth
- 3 boxes of Little Debbie Snack Cakes
- 6 pounds of organic no salt butter
- 2 bags of candy
- 2 boxes of wine crackers
- 2 boxes of Glutino crackers
- 2 boxes of Hodgkin's Mills organic
- 2 boxes of tea
- 4 boxes of Starbucks mini vanilla scones
- 3 bags of organic corn tortilla chips
- 2 bags of gluten free soft tortilla
Yes, a lot of these are convenience foods, but they are saving me a bundle. We pack around 20 lunches a week. I figure that if I would go and buy all this at regular price I would spend well over $500. I thank God for little blessing such as these that continually remind me of His provisions for our every day lives.
If you live in the Indy area check out Angelo's. Trust me, it's worth the trip.