A few years ago I needed to find ways to save on our grocery and health and beauty shopping and began in earnest on the coupon craze at the time. I did find lots of deals and managed to build a nice stockpile but now I have changed the way I shop. Coupon deals are not as good as they used to be. Stores around here no longer double and coupons are often of less value. I was finding I was working hours to prepare a list and saving only a few dollars.
Now, with this new school year, my time is even more limited so I have to shop and be done in one or two trips a week. And that is for all of our needs from pet supplies and paper goods to food items. Here is what I do now. I will share on average what I spend and it may seem a lot to some of you but with rapidly rising food prices, I feel I am doing okay. I shop for six animals and six people in this house. I cook every day with the occasional exception. Everyone in this house eats breakfast at home and takes lunches to work and that includes my husband. Dinner is for six or more people a night depending on guests.
I try to spend less than $150 per week on food and toiletries. I do go over at times but this is my goal. This last week I spent $138.29 at the grocery store and $24.12 at the produce store.
Now, for this week, I will go over as I made a Target run for pet food and toiletries, but for six people, three meals a day, and all our pets, I feel this is a reasonable amount.
First, I no longer plan my meals around the sale paper but the mark down meat section instead. I head there first when I shop and do my main grocery shopping each Friday. Some weeks I find loads and fill my cart and others I find very little marked down. That is why I buy as many good buys as I can on the weeks there is plenty to choose from. All the meat in the picture below was bought marked down. I bring it home and freeze or cook immediately. Meat can be the largest portion of my grocery bill, so I have to cut corners here. I fill in with meatless meals and you can find lots of our favorites here.
If something is marked down and I think we will eat it, it goes in the cart. Last week a dozen eggs marked 50% off. I have lots of fresh eggs but older eggs are best for hard boiling. They came home and I boiled right away. They became part of a potato salad and egg salad for the next days lunches.
A small beef roast and small pork roast were cooked in the crock pot together. I shredded one for BBQ sandwiches and the other for crock pot chili verde. Cook once, eat twice. With our new busier than ever schedule, I have had to really plan and cook more meals on the weekends to prepare quickly on busy week nights. Crock pot recipes are a favorite of mine for cook ahead freezer meals.
I just wanted to show you how a good meal can me made for so much less. Everything in this meal was bought marked down. My favorite produce store has a marked down section as well and I bought a bag of corn and red potatoes for $1.50. Mushrooms needed to be used from the fridge. Steak, bought marked down, was marinated and grilled and an over sized zucchini was grilled on the barbecue. The cost of this meal was:
zucchini - free
steak - 6.49
corn and potatoes - 1.50
total: 8.99 or $1.50 per person