“How can you keep a $100 a month grocery budget for the four of you (3 people – 1 cat), that includes your personal care items?”
Yes, I am a couponer – but I will share a few tips here BESIDES couponing, that will help you cut your grocery bill in half!
1) Selling cycles.
EVERYTHING at the store has a selling cycle. That means there is a HIGH price and a ROCK BOTTOM price over a period of time to purchase that item. It might take a bit to figure out your favorite store’s selling cycle but is easy to do if you simply save the weekly ads for a few months. The trick it to find things at the low end of the cycle, add a coupon and purchase it.
Here is a quick guideline of what I consider decent prices to pay, combining sale+coupons
String Cheese — $1.00 for 6 ounces
Sour Cream — $1.00 for 16 ounces
Yogurt (multi-pack) — $1 (but I aim for free)
Yogurt (single cup) — $.25/individual cup
Eggs — free
Cereal, granola bars, cake mixes, crackers, cookies, fruit snacks — $1.00 or less
Hamburger Helper, Boxed Potatoes — $.50 or less
Pasta — free
Canned/jar pasta sauce — $.75 or less
Peanut Butter — $1.00/16 oz jar
Salad Dressing — $.50 or less
Canned Soda –$1.00 a 12pack, or less
Frozen veggies — $.50/# or less
Personal Care Supplies — FREE
Laundry detergent — $2.50 or less for 100 oz bottle
Air Fresheners/candles — FREE
Foil/waxed paper — FREE
TP — $.25 or less per double roll, 2 ply (Whomever invented 1-ply should be shot…)
2) Here comes the dirty word: Stockpile.
It is simply a FEW extra items that you pick up at the store, at the lowest part of that selling cycle, to tide you over until the next time they are that low. It is NOT supposed to be a shrine to your shopping skills, or a reason to kick your children out of their bedrooms. Forget what you see on the crazy TV shows – we are talking 1-2 shelving units in your basement, that is all.
Why do it?
Easy: when you get an item FREE, pick up a few extras so you don’t have to pay full price for it the next time you want it.
Meat is one of those items that rarely has a coupon…so, what do you do?
What does this mean?
$14 is $14 in my world, LOL! Just think of saving $110+ over 8 weeks on meat!
The next week, whole chickens might be on sale for $.79 a pound when they are normally over $2.75 You can get a whole chicken for about $3.00, cook it off and harvest the meat. This should get you 2-3 pounds of meat which tastes a LOT better than the 8oz can of chicken for $4.00
We like chicken for tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, chicken chili, chicken ala king over biscuits and more so we need to buy at least 8 chickens when they are on sale.
If you are not keen on this — just keep this rule in mind…4-3-2-1
- $4 or less for seafood (frozen)
- $3 or less for beef roasts and bacon
- $2 or less for pork, ground beef, ham and boneless skinless chicken
- $1 of less for whole chicken, split breasts, turkey, ground turkey or ground chicken
4) Fresh Produce.
I had a reader comment on my post about my $1 a pound or less guideline for fresh, seasonal produce. Here is a quote:
- bi-color sweet corn $.25 each
- whole watermelon (15# average) $3.88
- bananas $.48/#
Yes, I know they can take a little time to clip and use – but they are FREE money from the manufacturers (People who make the products). If you are lucky enough to have stores by you that double coupons – you are getting even MORE FREE money!
A quick example on this?
When my Copps store has Double Double Days, I can get up to $120 off my grocery bill. That is $120 of possibly FREE stuff for our family or to bless others with.
I am not talking about something full farm sized that is hard for you to manage. I have a brown thumb myself and do “container” gardening in the summer. A few pots of tomatoes and a few pots of beans are easy to do. If this is totally NOT your thing, make friends with someone who DOES have a garden or post on FREECYCLE that you are looking for garden leftovers. I have scored some amazing zucchini, lots of heirloom tomatoes and more! Zucchini, grated and put into 2 cup bags, freezes beautifully for those winter bread baking urges. We make cranberry zucchini bread (recipe HERE)
7. Gardening leads to Canning/Freezing.
I am not talking about huge blocks of time devoted to a tedious job… my apple butter is made over night, in the crock pot! I simply add it to clean jars and process. Your home made jams/jellies are going to be SO much tastier, SO much less expensive and SO much healthier than what you find in the stores.
8. Bring Your Own Bags
Just one thing – please wash them occasionally. You could make your family slightly ill with the issue of cross contamination.
Blessings to you –