So here we are a month into the new year - how has everyone been doing with their New Year's resolutions? I have probably been keeping up with half of mine, half the time...which I am actually pretty happy about. I'll do a post update next week.
I am assuming whether it was a resolution for you or not, most people would like to save more money. (Me, me, me!!!!) But the trick to doing so WITHOUT sacrificing quality of life or the things you like to buy and it takes some learning.
I went on a savings quest 2 years ago. Since that time, I really have just learned how to coupon. This has been wonderful at helping me still get what I want (organic milk for instance, most of the time), but I pay less money. I consistently save more than I spend (spending $65 for instance but saving $75). My favorite part of couponing is getting most of our toiletries for free (shampoo, lotion, toothpaste/brushes, etc) so that I free up "real food" money. I am still learning, though. I don't like how I do some months - this past one I spent $497 on groceries and household needs - so all drugstore (not Bailey's Rx) and grocery trips. Now, when I started this journey I spent upwards of $150/wk, so spending $500 a month would have been good! This past month I had to rebound from not couponing at all through December, so we went through some of our stockpile - esp meat and I had to replenish. This next month, my goal is to spend $400 - all of the things we need and to continue to build my stockpile.
Anyway, here are a few things I just implemented this year to save more at the store.
*No more lunchmeat at the deli counter. Even at $4.99/lb which is a SALE price for Boar's Head turkey, that is just too much! I was spending at least $10/wk on Kevin's lunchmeat. So now I am cooking up an extra serving or two of whatever meat I am making that week - chicken breast for instance, or london broil, and I slice it thin for his sandwiches. I also have been making egg/tuna/chicken salad a few times, and he gets pb&j at least once a week. I have 2 turkeys in the freezer that I got for .39/lb at Thanksgiving time that I look forward to cooking soon and saving some of that meat for his sammies.
*Speaking of meat, I have been stretching it with more veggies and sides. I have been making soup once a week also, which helps too - soup is a frugal meal.
*I stay on top of what's in the fridge. I used to waste too much! I'd have high hopes of my kids eating blueberries let's say, and maybe we'd make it through one pint not two. For shame! Now I flash freeze the berries (and any other fruit/veg that can freeze) after a few days to insure it won't go to waste. Our fave way to eat fruits that are in the freezer are in smoothies and waffles, and for veggies - soup.
*Buy big, and separate. This new year, I have switched most of the girls yogurt to organic. When they were babies/toddlers they ate organic, but I got away from it in favor of Gogurts for school - so easy to pack! Well, I'll still buy go-gurts once in awhile but they eat yogurt every day, so now they are getting organic and I buy the quart size and separate it into reusable containers for their lunches and freeze the night before so it stays cool until lunch. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy small and use a coupon (ie - if a coupon says $1 off, any size - use 4 coupons and get 4 of the smaller one that's on sale for $2, than buying the bigger one that's $8. So you spend $4 for the same amount of product, than buying the bigger one and spending $7. See?) but in instances such as the yogurt, it's cheaper to buy big. (Stonyfield Farms has coupons on their website by the way - you can still coupon with organic!)
*Speaking of couponing organic, look through your circular!! Last week at ShopRite I scored Gala organic apples (my fave!) and organic cut baby carrots for .99/lb with a coupon that was in the circular. No limit was on the apples, so I got a huge bag, apples last for a while.
*I made a list of products I like, and am going to be emailing the companies. I have done this a few times, but want to do more of it. My favorite coupon I received from emailing the company so far has been Eggland's best - they sent me 4 .50 off coupons. I waited for a sale - SR then had Eggland's best for $1.77 - the .50 doubled (most grocery stores double coupons, drugstores and supercenters like Target and Walmart don't) so I got the eggs for .77 each.
Do you have any tips? I'd love to hear them!!