Monday, September 28, 2009

Money Pinching Monday

Save on food:

Look back through last month's expenses. How much money of yours was spent on fast food or restaurants? Add it up. Over the course of the month, how much did you spend on just eating out?? It's quite an eye opener. I would challenge you to sit down and total up your expenses in different areas. Eating out, shopping, groceries, utilities, etc. It will give you a great idea of where it's all going, and where you could probably cut back. Mike and I aim to spend no more than about $30 a month eating out.

Drink water. Soda, tea, juice, coffee, alcohol, and sports drinks are not cheap. They're not good for you either. Do your body and wallet a favor, drink water or milk, and leave it at that. Save the other drinks for special occasions. All you really need is water. Seriously. How many different drinks do you have in your fridge right now?

I used to go to the grocery store with a few items on a list, and a couple meal plans in my head. It was very aggravating to still have a high grocery bill, and not that many meals out of it. I have since learned that the biggest way to save money on groceries is to plan out your meals for two weeks. (By the way, I hate doing this, but it saves a LOT of money) I sit down, write out 8-10 meals, complete with what I want to serve with it. I go through this list and figure out what ingredients I have and still need, then create my grocery list. (including on that list, the basic essentials of bread, milk, eggs, cereal, yogurt, etc...things we use every day) This process used to take me a long time to do, but now it takes about 10 minutes. When you get into this habit, it goes quickly. Before I go to the store, I write out the meals on my big wall calendar. I plan it out by first using things that spoil quickly. Also by planning it out, I won't forget to use anything that just might get shoved in the back of the freezer.

The most expensive items on my grocery bill are meats. So I have learned to buy them in bulk and freeze them. I buy my 90% lean ground beef in bulk at SAM'S club. It is a couple dollars cheaper by the pound. I get over 8 lbs for only $20! (It would be at least twice that price at a regular grocery store for 90% lean) When I get home, I divide it into 1 lb servings. I wrap it up in wax paper (after rolling them into balls and flattening them *think giant hamburgers*--easier to thaw later) and put them in a freezer bag. Then they go in the freezer. I try to look ahead on my calendar, so if I need to use ground beef for dinner the next day, I take it out 24 hours in advance. Otherwise I have to use the microwave to thaw it out (and I just hate doing that...so time consuming!)

I buy a lot of other things of ours in bulk. All of our paper products, (toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues) dog food, cleaning products, vitamins, toiletries, frozen foods, etc.

Coupon clipping and sale shopping is another great way to save on groceries. I always look through our coupons and store flyers to try to plan meals around what I can get for cheap. There are many people who are very into 'couponing,' and I'm not one of them. I use them when I can, but don't spend a lot of time hunting down deals. This is something I've looked into, but never had the patience for. Although I am started to get interested in CVS-ing. We are finally getting one near our house, and I have been really impressed with some luck a few friends of mine have had with this. I'll have to learn about it.

1 comment:

Tate Family said...

Let me know if you have any CVS questions! LOVVVVVVVVVVVVE me some CVS!!! =)