This is the first in a several part series of how you are going to start saving noticeably on your grocery bill. I'm not an expert or a Coupon Queen, but I have learned a lot about saving money at the grocery store, and I learn more all the time. I just want to share some of that knowledge with you so that you can put a dent into your own food bill.
(The bad kitty could care less about all this....he only wants to camoflage with the bedspread....)
There are a few things to keep in mind - rules, if you will - that will make this whole process work. Now, I live in a rural area, so my rules will be slightly different than yours, but once I share them with you, you can apply them to your own situation.
You know I like to write/talk, so this will be quite lengthy, but my hope is that I am being thorough so it can work for you. We are the stewards of our grocery budgets (Uh, yeh. I'm not good at this part, and I fail, fail, fail, but it is an ideal toward which I strive.), and this is an area in which we should be able to carve out an extra $20/$30 or more a week to spend in other ways - your choice what those other ways are, but at least you'll have that choice.
Another disclaimer. I get tired of the preparation of shopping, tired of using coupons, tired of looking for sales and tired of limiting my trips to the store. So I go way over my budget and spend way too much and blow our budget to where Andy gets very red in the face at me. Writing all this out is my way of bringing myself back on track, so it’s a means of accountability for me for now. "Do as I say, not as I do..."
That said, let's begin:
1. Subscribe to the largest Sunday paper in your area. The one with the sale ads. You will make your money back on this investment after just one grocery run using the coupons and/or sale ads therein. Now, you could skip this step and plan to purchase the paper faithfully, week after week, but there are a few problems with this approach:
a. You won't go out every Sunday due to snow/sickness/laziness, etc.
b. Newsstand papers cost more than delivered papers - $1.50 a pop vs. $.50-.75 delivered.
c. When you go to buy a paper, you will buy coffee/candy/chips/something you don't need, and thus you will defeat the purpose of getting the sale ads!
d. If you find a great batch of ads in there you can always go buy another paper at the newsstand.
While you're waiting for your first paper to arrive, continue your preparation:
2. Buy or repurpose a hanging file folder holder. This can be a milk crate-style, a sturdy cardboard box, or, as I have, a plastic box specifically designed for the purpose. WalMart has these for around $9. You will also need some hanging files to go in it.