With the recent HUGE drop in the stockmarket, it's really hit home to me that I want to start saving and conserving as much as possible. The word SAVE does not have to be a "bad" four letter word!! I have never met a family who would not like to save money grocery shopping, or have an organized pantry at home so that you aren't duplicate buying something you already have, or completely forgetting to buy something you need.
Today I want to focus my blog on some simple things you can do to save money at the grocery store, and neat ideas I've seen for pantry organzing!! Now these are just basic ideas, I know I was in my thirties before I ever figured out how to do this, so if this blog helps anyone start to save and make their home more organized, then I am a happy camper :)
I've read many many articles over the years of basic "pantry" essentials and how to "stock" a pantry. Because of the way my "logic" works, their ways are always impossible for me to do and make sense of.
I can't stand to have lots of miscellaneous jumbled items in my pantry. My pantry has pretty much only items we will use and they are organized into categories.
*Pastas and Rice
*Soups and Kids canned foods
*Crackers, Kids snacks
*Boxes of kids drinks waiting to go in fridge
Just this week I have come across an idea that I ADORE for making a pantry that much more organized
Put baskets in your pantry and in each basket place the ingredients you will need for a complete meal!! That way you know for sure that at a moments notice you will always have a meal available and you will realize when you need to restock for meals that you tend to eat a lot of!! Suggested bins that would be easy to do
I realize those are all very simple basic meals, but the possibilities are ENDLESS!! I'm ready to go buy my bins today!!
I'm also currently thinking about putting one of these in my pantry as well...
This way I can make sure the oldest is cycled to the front and the newest goes to the back, and it 's so much easier to see when you are about to be out of a certain type of canned good.
I am currently in the process of cleaning out my laundry room to make a "stockpile" area. I am not trying to be like those ladies on Extreme Couponing, whom I admire because they are very talented.... but rather I just want to buy extra when it's on sale, and items that I know my family will have a need for, because these are truly uncertain economic times.
I intend to buy a small chest freezer to have a spot to put items that I find on sale. Right now, my freezer in the fridge is really so tiny that even if I see a fantastic deal...I have nowhere to store it. If you have the room to put one, I would highly suggest buying a small chest freezer. They are about $135 at Lowe's....and I truly believe you will regain your money in the savings you get at the grocery store.
With that being said, it brings me to a few pointers about grocery shopping.
Many years ago I read about this idea, and took it to heart and used it consistently, and saved lots and lots of money. Does it take some dedication?? Yes. Is it worth it?? Ohhhh yes.
Either get online, or go to your local grocery stores each week and READ THE CIRCULARS. Get out your notebook, and make a list of the "loss leader" items they have. The "loss leader" term means the things that are put on sale at a pretty big discount to get you into the store to do all of your grocery shopping. What I would do, is go buy the loss leader items, and LEAVE, unless they also have other items that are a pretty good price and then I would continue to get some of my other needed grocery items. If they didn't, I would continue on to the other grocery stores and purchase my loss leader items there as well. I once saw where someone suggested carrying a cooler to put your "keep cold" items in while you are out and about.
Some balk at this idea and say...ohhh but it will use so much gas to travel all around...no, it really doesn't take that much more gas...especially if your stores are all in the same town and they are not that many miles apart.
Also, don't be too proud to buy some snack items and canned goods from stores like Sav A Lot and Dollar General. I have found that the price of snacks and cookies at Dollar General is WAYYY less than at regular grocery stores, and that the price of veggies is so much cheaper at Sav A Lot that it warrants a trip to just go buy them there, and they are still of a good quality even though not name brand.
An example of a few Loss Leaders in my circulars this week
Pilgrims Pride Whole Chicken .69/lb...that is a great price
if I buy a pkg and it weighs 4 lbs, it's 2.76. I can feed my family multitudes of meals with chicken. This is one of those "stock up and put in the freezer" prices!!
Steamed Vegetables 10 for $10, another "stock up and put in the freezer" price!!
At another store, they have buy one get one free bread in the brand we like. You can freeze bread, and it tastes the exact same when it thaws...so it's time to stock up for me!!
The same store has buy one get one free Ball Park franks. Hot dogs are a great "whenever you are in a hurry and need a quick meal" item. You can freeze hot dogs, so I will buy some to freeze.
It's totally worth it to READ THE CIRCULARS each week!!
Do I use coupons?? Yes, and No :)
I made myself the most beautiful coupon binder that would rival any that you see on extreme couponing several years ago. I was "couponing" when it wasn't cool :)
The most I have ever saved on any one trip is about $30 and I was super proud of that. I will never be one to take in GIANT stacks and then try and get all of my purchases free. I suggest you buy a few Sunday papers, clip the coupons that you might actually use, and then use them. It's a great way to save, and if you check out some of the great coupon sites, they fill you in on what stores to match your coupons with to get the best deals.
This is not my binder, but this is EXACTLY what mine looks like on the inside. I bought trading card pages and put them inside a three ring binder. Simple as that. Great way to store coupons. I used page dividers and labeled an idex in the front to what "types" of coupons go with each "page". For example Divider 1 is Canned Goods. Divider 2 is Snacks etc.
Don't forget that you can use coupons at your drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. Many times they have some pretty awesome offers and sales as well!! Make sure to read their circulars as well. Recently CVS had their bottled water, 24 count on sale for $2.50. I stocked up!!
Here's a few of my favorite saving sites that I get updates on every day, and follow here on Blogspot and on Facebook!!
Don't be scared to buy in large quantities if you are indeed saving money. After you've shopped for a while, you start to recognize what the normal price is on something, and you can kind of calculate in your head if buying in a larger quantity/size is really going to save you money or cost about the same. Stock up on good quality freezer bags to freeze great meat deals you find....it doesn't help if you find chicken or hamburger meat etc. on sale, and then freeze it in the large quantity it came in, and then when you thaw it out it's way too much for your family to eat at one time and you end up throwing it out. Divvy it up into what you think your family will eat and freeze it like that.
If you have a friend/family member who wants to shop with you and share the cost of these great "stock up" deals, it makes life that much sweeter!!