Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Devil is in the Details, eh?

Are you on a budget? Trying to save money off the monthly grocery bill? I've cut our bill by more than 65% over the last two months. We are eating so much healthier by cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients.  Here's how:

Now that Mama is working from home, there are no more quick runs out to dinner because everyone is too tired or too stressed to cook! I have found that having a weekly meal plan is imperative.
Make a list of your meals for each day of your shopping period and then stick to it! Planning in this way helps you to purchase all of the ingredients at one time that you will need.

Additional trips to the grocery add to grocery costs in a huge way (can you say...impulse buy?) Not sure about this? Read the book "Why we Buy" from Paco Underhill This amazing book explains the science and psychology of shopping. Stores capitalize on a number of strategies to get you to buy more...(don't think the candy shelves at the checkout are accidental!) It's a daily struggle not to fall into their trap!   With smart planning and smart shopping, you can beat them at their own game!

If you are just starting with menu plans, as i was just a short time may want to start with just your dinner plans. Living a more frugal and simple life requires more time spent in planning but so much time and money savings on a day to day basis that we'll never look back!

I start with my grocery fliers....what is on sale right now? Do i have any coupons or store rewards that I can use to plan my meals around? I then go to the cookbook where I keep my family's favourites recipes. What meals will fit the items on sale at my local stores this week?   I try to incorporate a new recipe or two each week. 

As I decide which recipes I'll make, I make a list of ingredients required for each. I try to make sure that i have a couple meals each week that include the same on-sale ingredients. For instance, if we have spaghetti with a bolognese sauce, I will also plan hamburgers or a beef stroganoff. Casserole type dishes typically work best for our family, as the hubs takes leftovers for his lunch. Our little guy is still very picky, so I try to make sure I offer at last one item that I know he likes (green beans go down a lot easier with spaghetti, you know....)

Once I have a list of meals and ingredients, I start going through ads and coupons matching up sale prices with our needs for this week. I typically shop at 2-3 stores to maximize my savings. The trick to saving money is that once you've gone for your time period (whether you shop weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) don't go again. I cheat here a bit,  as I set aside money to buy bread & milk every 3 days. We do not currently have a second freezer and our fridge is quite full on a regular basis.

When you've made your list, matched up your sales and your coupons...Shop Baby Shop!!!


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