Incidents of an aimless mind.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stretching Your Grocery Dollar: Part 3

Organize! This is by far the most important piece of the puzzle. So important it takes two parts in itself.

I start by making a weekly menu based on things I have, especially those things that need to be used soon. Of course, life happens and I don't always follow the menu. Many time meals get bumped from one week to the next. However having a game plan makes my life much easier in many aspects.

Once I know what we are planning to eat AND I know what I have for those meals, I can make my list of what I need. I should say at this point that I improvise a lot. If a recipe that calls for eggplant and leeks, but I HAVE zucchini and celery, I am not going to stress over it one bit.

After I've made my needs for the week, I pull out my store ads to see whats on sale. The majority of what I buy each week is based on what is on sale and what I have coupons for. I focus on the produce that is on sale. When I see good sale on non-parishables I grab as many as I can. Usually as many as I have coupons for. By stocking up on staples like pasta, toothpaste and paper towels when they are at their cheapest I maximize my dollar. The added benefits of stocking up when prices are down is that I get to stick with my preferred brands and I keep my "needs" list small. Plus I don't have to run out to the store on Wednesday night because I'm out of shampoo. All good things!

Wondering if you can't just wing it? Not without ripping your hair out. Many grocery stores have tons of different combination sales every week that can be difficult to analyze while in the store. Buy 4, get one free or buy 10, get $5 it really a good deal? Remembering to buy the exact number required to maximize the deal. It gets pretty involved.

Which is why, rather that pour over ads and coupons for hours each week, I cheat and subscribe to The Grocery Game. For less than $2 a week they do the hard part for me and it's not a drop in the bucket next to what I save weekly. You can read my previous review of The Grocery Game here.

Don't head to the store yet, there's more!

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