Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Reduce Your Monthly Grocery Bills...Part 1

I have been sharing all my great pics of my grocery runs each week, so I wanted to start sharing with you how I do it, and how YOU can easily do it too!!!

Okay so I also realize that not everyone is into the whole "Coupon Craziness" way of life that I thrive on! So I wanted to start off this series with a few money saving ideas for those of you that would like to decrease your monthly spending at the grocery store but not clip any coupons. As I progress through the series I will explain in detail my whole journey through learning how "Coupon Craziness" works for me and my family. It does work differently for each family. Each family has their own budget, and different quantity needs. PLEASE never feel like that the way I do things is the standard...never feel like my budget and what we spend it what your family has to spend. Simply use this information to learn how to get more for you hard earned money.
I also plan to share with you what I have learning through this whole process and thing reason why I think how we spend our money is so important...

Here are some ways you can save money without clipping coupons!!!

1. Meal Planning- I know I have mentioned this before, but I think this is one of the most steps you can take to save lots of $$$$$$. If decide to do nothing else throughout this series this step alone with save you bundles....and you will see immediate results!!!

2. Stick to Simple and Inexpensive Meals- I don't think you need to serve your family a 6 course meal each night in order to meet nutritional and health needs. Be creative think of simple and easy meals you can make with items you already have in your pantry.

3. Cook from Scratch as Much as Possible- This is something I am still learning to do, I am enjoying the fact that cooking from scratch doesn't have to be so scary and intimidating. I didn't grow up learning about cooking from scratch, so this is a challenge.

4. Shop Once per Week or Less- The simple fact of this step is the less you shop....the less money you spend!!

5. Shop Aldi-If you have an Aldi's in your area you really should be taking advantage of your staple items here. I also use their prices as my "Price Book prices". Which means I know what things cost at Aldi and then compare that to what I can buy things elsewhere. If I can get things cheaper somewhere else because of a sale and using coupons then I know I am getting a good deal.

6. If Aldi is not an option shop at a nearby store that runs sales. Plan your meals around the sale items.

7. Garden- For the first several years of our married life I had my own garden. As I started having babies I guess I ran out of time and energy to put out a garden (having 4 babies in 6 years does that I think!!) During these later years my mom and dad have graciously continued to put out a garden, much larger than they needed in order to let us reap the benefits at harvest time. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!) This spring we are starting up our own garden again and I am very much looking forward to whole process of getting back into the groove!! So if you know you don't want to take on a garden yourself or maybe you don't have the space.....ask a friend to start a garden with you and share the responsibilities of taking care of it. Also you will the great joy in watching the garden grow and collecting things in the least know this could be an option.

These are the things we put up throughout the summer and fall:

*Corn, Green beans
*Spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, salsa
*Jams- strawberry and last year I did raspberry as well!
*Apple sauce and last year I tried pear sauce...yummy!
Another option is to go to U-pick farms and get your fruit when it is in season (saving you a bundle!) Then you have the option of freezing the fruit and keeping it for use later in shakes, smoothies, jam, baked goods, ect. I am hoping now that my kiddos are getting older this will become more of an option for us!! I am planning to U-pick some blueberries, strawberries, and maybe raspberries this coming year.

8. Hunting & Fishing- I also understand this is not a possibility for everyone but my husband, dad, and father-in-law all hunt and fish which helps to provide 90% of our meat supply. I know I don't need to explain to any of you how hard getting meat on a budget can be. Here are a few suggestions about saving money on meat.

*Get a cow butchered and split the meat and the cost between family or friends. If you aren't sure where to get a cow or how to go about this process ask around. I would recommend starting with a local butcher. I made a phone call last week to a butcher in my area and they offered this advice. (1) When you get meat from a local butcher whether it's a cow or whatever they can tell you where that meat came from, how it was raised, which can make a difference in the quality of meat. (2) They can package you meat to meet you families needs. For instance, if you buy some freezer beef they can put 6 steaks in a package or 2 steaks in a package whatever you need.
(3) If you don't want a full cow and you don't have anyone to split it with you can even buy a 1/2 of a 1/2 of beef!! I though that was a great option you might want to think about taking advantage of. The great thing about getting meat this way if you usually pay the same for hamburger that you pay for steak!!


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