I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amount of money we spend each month on groceries and have been feeling slightly mortified. Let’s just say, I’m not at the $50 per person, per month level that the Grocery Shrink is at. Heck, I’d be ecstatic if I were only at twice that!
I used to try to use the grocery store inserts to determine what I’d buy for the week and I kept a price list so I’d know when good prices came up, but then I became a vegetarian and half those inserts became useless to me and I stopped.
While I’m no longer a vegetarian, we only buy humanely-raised meat (from our local butcher) and I’m trying to buy more organic produce, so we are buying some pretty expensive food and I had half-resigned myself to just spending a ton on groceries.
Lately, though, I’ve been seeing lots of bloggers talking about saving money on groceries and this morning I saw a few links to couponing sites (Mrs. Money Saver and Madame Deals) and I started realizing that I buy a lot of things that aren’t produce or meat that could be potential money savers for me.
After perusing the above sites for a few minutes, I found deals on some things that I actually needed (including $.25 for 24 packs of Crayola crayons at Fred Meyer/Krogers! Run! Run!!!), so I decided to take another stab at this coupon thing.
I ran down to my recycle bin and grabbed the grocery store inserts and clipped out a few coupons for things that I actually use and wrote down a few more in-store deals that looked good. These deals were, of course, at three different grocery stores, but I figured “what the heck” – I’d give it a try.
This afternoon, I dragged Thing 1 and Thing 2 to these different stores and it actually went very smoothly. But the best part was I saved $22 with my coupons alone (plus another $20 on the Fred Meyer crayons deal and whatever my various membership cards would have saved me anyway).
The thing that has always bothered me about coupons is that you often tend to buy things you wouldn’t have bought otherwise – just because they seem like a good deal. Today, I made sure that I only purchased things I knew I would use (paper towels, spaghetti sauce, cake mixes), so I feel pretty good that those $22 were actual savings.
I also think I could probably have skipped going to Albertsons AND Safeway. It seemed like my Safeway (my go-to store) had all the deals (or extremely similar deals) that I went specifically to Albertsons for. So, I’m going to give couponing another go next week. Maybe if I just take it one week at a time, I’ll actually be able to make some progress!
What about you? How do you save money on groceries?