Monday, December 6, 2010

My Journey to Save on Groceries...

So...on Cyber Monday I was doing some online shopping and took a break to read some blogs.  I came across a blog that I usually read that was advertising a special for the Grocery University program.  The Cyber Monday deal was a great savings.  You paid $9.00 for something that was normally $24 something.  I had just started using the Grocery Game website again and thought I could spring for the $9.00 program to help get me motivated and maybe learn a few extra tips.

At first, I was VERY motivated.  I made a new filing system for my coupons and started asking friends and relatives for their coupon inserts, if they weren't going to use them.

Now...well...I'm not so motivated.  I know why.  After a few discussions with other moms who are trying to feed large families and doing a little research, I'm not convinced that coupon shopping is for me and how I'm going to save the most money.  My cousin-in-law suggested a few books and I downloaded some samples on my Kindle.  I will probably end up getting the whole book sooner or later to read more ~ but I am starting to think that saving money may involve me changing where I shop and what I buy...and how I cook and menu plan.

I would love to have a pantry stocked with food that I could shop from instead of having to go to the grocery store all for EVERYTHING I need for a week's worth of meals.  I would love to be able to just need to go and get the staples and buy everything else when it is at a rock-bottom price.  I just know that it is going to require me to plan a lot better than I am now - and I'm looking for tips.  Here's what I've discovered so far:

1)  I need to start thinking MONTHLY as far as my grocery budget goes...not weekly.  That way, when there a good deal and I need to spend a little more to ultimately save a lot I can do it without feeling guilty about going over my weekly budget - I can just work it into my monthly budget.  I've also thought about grocery shopping with cash!  That way, when the envelope is empty, I have to try to make due with what I bought.  I'm sure this will take practice - but what an incentive!  Maybe, if I end up with any extra money that month, I can use it to treat myself and/or the kids to something special at the end of the month!

2)  I need to start taking stock of what I have better.  I'm one of those people who just buys things because I'm too lazy to check and see what I have.  I think in the back of my mind I figure that if I do have it and use it I will just need to buy it again so I might as well buy it now and make it easy...Most of the time I have no idea what's in my freezer.  Having a pantry that is better stocked will help with this, too!

3) I need to stick to my menu - I need to think about MONTHLY menu planning.  That doesn't mean cooking once a month (which really sounds appealing and may be something I work up to) but making a monthly menu so that I can look for sales BEFORE I need the item and buy it when it is at a good price.

4)  I need to really look at the product and not just the savings.  Sure, a great deal is hard to pass up but if it isn't something that I'm going to use it doesn't matter what price I got it for . . . it's too much!

5) I think the main thing I need to do is RELAX and take the time to learn what I'm doing and make it work for me.  This isn't going to be something that will be easy right off the bat and I'm so stuck on trying to do everything the way it SHOULD be done that I'm not stopping to realize:
1) I'm not getting a grade on this
2) No one is really watching (except maybe Jerry)
3) All I really need to do is whatever works for my family and gets us fed every night.

Okay - with that being said, I'm off to clip some coupons and figure out what is for dinner tonight...I'm probably not going to do much with all this info (except keep taking notes and searching for more tips and clipping coupons) until after New Years.  I plan on starting in January and really working on it for a year and then looking back and seeing what worked and what didn't.

I'll warn you, though - I'm not known for sticking to resolutions.  I'm hoping that I will have fun with this . . . and therefore will want to stick to it.  I will let you know what I come up with and PLEASE if you have any tips or ideas or things that you do PLEASE share!!!