September 10, 2010

Frugal Friday

I received a ton of questions after this post where I let you in on our family budget. The biggest question, how do you keep your grocery budget so low?

I'll be honest with you, it's tight, really tight. I shop several stores, buy as much as I can in bulk and use up everything that we have... often creating recipes to use left-overs and doing experiments in freezing.

For me, keeping things organized is always key. When they get out of hand, I can actually see my money slipping away.

One of the things we do that saves us a tremendous amount of money is buying things we know we'll use in bulk and at rock bottom prices. Last weekend we came across bags of locally grown pears for $1. We bought gobs... and I know we won't get to them all before they go bad, but I also know that I can cook them up in a jiffy and make some yummy pear sauce that will last us for a while.

Since I actually enjoy making things from scratch (like cereal bars, dish detergent and laundry soap), this is probably less of a task for me than it would be for others.

I'm passionate about giving my family good, nutritious food, and locally-grown organics when at all possible. We buy our milk direct from a local dairy, use meat from a cow that Heath's grandfather had butchered and processed and get a lot of veggies from our CSA. It's more leg work, but it's good food for our family that also saves us a ton.

The rest of my rotation shopping is done weekly, in this order: 1) Big Lots (I always take my coupon pack and match up sales on the spot. I never know what I'm going to find in their dry goods section, so I often build my weekly menu plan around my finds here.) 2) Our small health foods store (I hit them up on Wednesdays when they run double ads for the week. There are a few items that I always pick up here, but usually I go through the circulars and hit up their deep discount bins first.) 3)Kroger (this is where I buy everything else needed for the week's cooking - on a really good week I can skip this trip all together.) Throw a monthly Costco trip in for snack staples, turkey dogs and chicken and you've got our layout.

When things get too expensive, I try to find alternatives. That's how I wound up making the cereal bars, pure necessity. The kids were gobbling them and they were costing us a fortune, but it was a good food item for them (especially Stone who is an extremely picky eater) and I wasn't willing to just provide them with a different alternative altogether. Right now, I'm at that point with yogurt. The kids gobble it, and I only feel comfortable with them having the organic variety. Sometimes I can find it in the discount bin at the health food store, but not regularly enough for that to save us. I'm currently looking into options for this. Maybe I'll make my own? Has anyone done this?

Want to know more about how we save, just click here!


Anna said...

I am slightly overwhelmed by your structure and organization! I don't know that I'll ever get there. On the yogurt side, I do have a hand me down yogurt maker that a friend gave me. (She upgraded.) I've never used it (because I'm scared), but if you want to borrow it as a free 'try it out' bit, thats fine with me!

ASC said...

I think the crockpot 365 blog has a yogurt experiment on there...can't remember. We still buy the $$$ organic yogurt from the store for E. I haven't tried making my own and don't want to feed her anything else. Let us know what you end up doing!

ASC said...

By the way, I would love to hear (maybe a blog post?) how you keep your coupons organized and how you decide which ones pair up for the best deals with which stores. I know everyone has their own system for this, but I'd love to hear how you handle it!:)