Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grocery Store Prices Got You Down? I found some secrets!

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When I started blogging a year ago this is one of the blogs that encouraged me. I decided I wanted to get totally debt free. We had built our own home and the housing market had just started to plunge~so we were having a hard time selling our old home. It was very stressful for two very budgeted people! We managed to keep everything going for about a year and a half until our home finally sold and we took much lower than we really needed to take to come out sitting pretty~if you know what I mean.

My Brian and I were excited to move into our new home but with sadness that our put in order finances, we had been careful with all our years of marriage, was now in topsy~turvey. I am not one to sit around in a pity party~no~ I decided I needed to do something about it~ I was going to make money by saving it! I had always been an Aldi shopper~big money savings. I shopped the Dollar Stores and did not mind Vintage Shopping~Thrift Stores one bit. As a Mom who has made a commitment to stay home and educate my own children for 19 years ~it has taken some frugal living to live off one income.

But I was seeing Moms~like Crystal~ on her blog here at Money Saving Mom~take it even further. I was seeing how they were doing even better than being an Aldi shopper.

I signed up for her News Letter and I get several e-mails from her a week. She keys me in on the very good deals. Thank you Crystal~you are a blessing to many!

What I have learned from her blog and others like hers:

*Every store has a cycle where everything has a rock bottom price~usually every 6 weeks. Buy and stock for a month or so until it hits its rock bottom price again. Don't buy as you need it~ when you will pay twice as much. I am saving huge amounts on toilet tissue, paper towels and personal items such as soap and make-up!

*I have almost eliminated Walmart from my shopping almost all together. I have to go there about one time a month only. WHY??? I STARTED SHOPPING WALGREENS AND CVS!!!!
If you don't know about shopping at these two stores you are missing out. You can go to Money Saving Mom to see how it works. It would be silly for me to explain it when she has it all neat and tidy. You only buy what is on sale~use a coupon. You can use a coupon on the ad at the front of the door with a manufactures coupon. Many times it ends up being free or next to free. I can tell you ~I have cut the bill in half and many times better. They both give you cash coupons back for the next trip~Walmart does not give you money back. And to tell you the truth it is so much nicer to get in and out without the crowd and lines. I buy all our make up, shampoo, paper items, school supplies, holiday candy, soft drinks, medicines and sometimes gifts at these stores. It is amazing and well worth looking into the secrets~ I am Sold!

* I started making my own Laundry Soap~ I love my Laundry Soap. I have tweaked it some during the year. I make 5 gallons for about $2.00. Our clothes are bright and clean. My Fabric Softener is wonderful. My recipes are on my blog! I make almost all my cleaners from my pantry. I love them all except for homemade dishwasher soap~still have not mastered that one. These recipes are mine and sometimes it is a bit of a science that you need to learn how you like them~experiment you will find your own niche! I save big money here.$$$$$$$$$

* I started serious coupon clipping~NO~ I hear you!!! I tried it before and it did not work because I did not research the art to the coupon game. It is a game. I now get the Sunday Paper and the Wednesday paper.

* I plan our menus around what is on sale. If it is not on sale I buy it at Aldi. When it is on sale I buy enough to hold me over until it becomes on sale at that golden rock bottom price.

* I cook most everything from scratch. I can make a homemade pizza faster than driving to the Pizza Restaurant!

* I planted a garden. The small victory garden will save a family $2,000.00 a year. After planting our first garden last Summer~I think it is correct. This year we are planting two gardens. I can't tell how wonderful free food is~and oh how wonderful it taste. I learned to can~ it was easy! I made pickles and jam for the first time~yummy. I canned Salsa and Spaghetti sauce. It was so much fun!

* I bought a laying flock of hens. I love my girls and the eggs taste wonderful. Although this year I think we may have to fence our garden to keep the girls out. They have taken over the whole 1o acres as their own~that is another post!

I want to to tell you making money by saving money has lessened my stress instead of added to it. I want to to get better~Money Saving Mom is helping me. She does most of the work for you. You can pay her a visit here!

If you are still making excuses why you can't cut your spending ~so you get your cents and dollars back~ here is Crystal's post for today. She has started a series 31 Days To a Better Grocery Budget. I considered myself a Master Spender/Saver~but I am still learning how to cut even more. One of the things I heard at our Marriage Retreat is that this economy may not ever turn around. I learned that every household owes right now~ $240,000 on the national debt. I don't know about you but I want to get debt free and stay debt free so I am not a slave to Man's Economy. I want to live on God's economy! A year later~ I am here to tell you it works!

And now for Money Saving Mom's post~you don't want to miss her 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget~

“A budget??”

I can hear the groans right now. You were all pumped about these great new money-saving ideas you were going to learn and implement from this series; the last thing you wanted to hear about was a boring topic like budgets.

Remember how you promised me yesterday that you were going to stop making excuses and commit to change? Well, setting up a budget is your first opportunity!

Why You Need a Budget

Without a budget in place, all the money you save is pretty superficial. I’d go so far as to say that without a budget in place, bargain-shopping, coupon-clipping and deal-hunting are likely not going to save you any money. In fact, you might be spending more money in an effort to save money–which totally negates the savings, right?

A budget gives you the ability to track your spending and saving–and hopefully to see an increase in savings and a decrease in spending. Without a budget in place, your money will just be running through your fingers with no set objectives. A budget gives you parameters and purpose, it gives you boundaries and it gives you freedom to live creatively within those boundaries.

How to Set Up a Workable Grocery Budget

1) Average Your Grocery Spending From the Last 4-8 Weeks

How much have you spent at the grocery store over the last 4-8 weeks? Average that amount out and use it as a basis for your initial grocery budget. Ultimately, you’re likely going to want to whittle it down quite a bit–since saving money is one of the big purposes of having a grocery budget!–but now is not the time to worry about that. It’s a huge step just to start with a concrete budget in place.

2) Be Realistic

Don’t put undo pressure on yourself to come up with some crazily-low and impossible-to-stick-with figure for your grocery budget. This is not a contest or a competition and if you want to persevere and see long-lasting benefits, you’ll want to give yourself some breathing room.

3) Challenge Yourself to Slowly Lower Your Budget

Over time and with practice, you’ll likely be able to reduce your original grocery budget figure fairly significantly. But just remember: it takes time. You’re not going to cut your grocery bill in half this month. However, if you slowly shave off 5% here and 5% there, within 6-10 months, it’s very possible you can have it lowered by 30-50% or even more.

Always give yourself grace, though. If you’re ever feeling frustrated or stressed about it, step back and remind yourself that it’s just a grocery budget. The world’s not going to come to an end if it’s $5 or $10–or even $30 or $50!–more than you’d like it to be.


Patty said...

I started doing this about five months ago along with a group of ladies. I have learned much, but I am still trying to master the process. It does take quite a bit of time. We don't have an Aldi here or a CVS but Kroger and Walgreens works pretty well. We've been on a budget for a long time. Accountability really does make a difference.

Thanks for the reminder about the Money Saving Mom site. I'm going to go over an take a look. I also use the site a good bit for information.

Have a great day , Carrie.

Camille said...

Great post Carrie! Thanks for sharing the wisdom you have gleaned and the links to where you gleaned some of those tips from! :)

Have a lovely day!

Cassdie said...

Great post, thanks. :)

Marla at Always Nesting said...

It was so much easier to budget when we had all the kids at home because the funds were so tight. Now that the budget is getting a bit easier for us, and we only have one left to finish college, we splurge more on groceries. I'd love to put those dollars into my decorating instead of my waistline :)

Carol said...

Great post, Carrie. Thanks so much for sharing!

Crows, Suds & Cinnamon said...

I copied this from a blog and although I haven't tried it yet, I thought you might be interested. You mentioned you didn't have a recipe for dishwasher soap. Maybe after trying you could tweak this one to your liking. Let us know how you like it. Thanks for the great tips on your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Carrie, thanks so much for this post! I used to coupon all the time and saved thousands of dollars. I love to go to message boards for my info. If you haven't heard of it, I encourage you to check it out. I haven't couponed in about a year. I have decided to start it back up. Thanks for the encouragement in your post. Blessings, Lisa

Horse Filled Days said...

I have been coupong heavily for about 1.5 years, and while I save tons of money, I do not have a budget, and that is something I need to consider doing. I too shop at Walgreens and CVS for just about all my Health/Beauty items and most of my cleaners and toiletries. With the ECB's and RR's, I come out much better that shopping just sales or at WalMart. Now to work on that your blog.... :)

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Carrie - you American mums are so blessed to have so many options for stocking up and for cheaper groceries. Our grocery prices in Australia are a lot higher, as are many other goods. Thank goodness Aldi came here and has opened stores in regional areas, not just the cities. I try to convince my friends to try Aldi (not easy - they think it will take too long to pack their own items or say the range is too limited) as it has saved me so much money and time - I just whip around in 20 minutes with most of my children in tow!
I do shop at the Farmer's Markets, actually my husband does in his lunch hour as he now works in the city. I miss going to the markets but it saves us in fuel. He asked if we could buy our bananas in bulk and the grower keeps aside a box for us which is discounted. Right now we don't need to buy bananas as we are harvesting our own and I'm running out of room for all the bunches waiting to ripen - there are some advantages for living in a semi tropical region!
We are now being more selective with what we choose to plant opting for what flourishes here - if it grows well we plant more, if it fails after several attempts we try something else.
The other bulk item I buy is wheat grain, it is cheaper than flour and freshly milled flour is so much better for you. I use freshly milled flour in all of my baking, not just for bread. The Whisper mill was one of our best kitchen investments and they are a lot cheaper in the States - less than half of what they cost to buy here. It is worth considering if you do a lot of baking but are also health conscious.

Horse Filled Days said...

Oh yeah....I searched and searched and tried many different dishwasher recipes, and I couldn't find one that worked for me either. They either left a dusty, cloudy film, spots, or just didn't clean the dishes. I finally found something that works for me, I can't remember where I read it, but I found the tip on a blog somewhere. You can use this trick with any type of dishwasher bought or homemade either one. About 10 or 15 minutes into the wash cycle, I open the door and add about 2 Tablespoons of bleach to the water, and Voila, my dishes come out sparkling clean every time. They have no cloudy residue, no spots, and I also feel like it is sanitizing the dishes too. And, it leaves my dishwasher smelling fresh and clean. I guess you could add it when you put your detergent in and start the cycle, but I like to add it after the detergent has had a few minutes to work. Some people may not like the thought of using bleach, but I have had no problems and it works really well with my dishwasher. It doesn't take but just a little, and it makes a huge difference for my dishes!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Thank you! I see lots of saving-money blogs, but usually I don't take the time to read what they have to say. If you recommend this, I will read it because I trust you. I'm up for this challenge!

Jeff9 said...

I know a way to save more on toilet paper than any coupon or special. This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without feeling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but remember the water use of industrial users far exceeds the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.



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