Meanwhile…Melissa needs a Mentor

Happy 2009 my fellow blog sisters… I know this is probably an anticlimactic salutation since it is already January 7th and all of us are back in the hectic swing of life. I don’t know about you, but I love a new year and all of the hope that it represents. It’s sort of like a new binder or a new journal. I love blank pages. I even love the smell of blank pages. Well, on our drive from Houston to Atlanta I was full on in my dreamy state thinking of all the lofty things that I want to get right this year…like, I am going to pray WAY more often or I am going to call people rather than text them (already buried that one in the grave). And then it happened…GASP. Colin said to me, “Darling, we need to talk about the budget I have planned for us for 2009.” Budget? And then I opted for the semantic argument which I hoped would stop him dead in his tracks by saying, “What exactly do you mean by that word, budget? Can you exegete that for me?” He ignored my question entirely and later handed me twelve envelopes with labels for January- December 2009. Yep, folks, Mr. Fitzpatrick wants me to gather each of my receipts, no matter how mundane (like a pack of gum from the convenience store), and place them in the month-appropriate envelope. And he is going to review them. Can you imagine? I haven’t been this terrified since I took my SAT’s. Now, don’t get me wrong the two of us don’t spend heaps of money (we simply don’t have heaps of money) but Colin’s point is that we can do better. Apparently a new year is about living more skillfully, more wisely. And so, in light of me being the very submissive wife that I am, I have gotten my heart in gear and I am really trying to jump on my husband’s bandwagon. I even ran out of Nordstrom right after I met my friend for lunch at Nordstrom Café…I kid you not, I was like Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39. One more minute in Nordstrom and I would have been a very fashionable sheep fattened for the slaughter. Sigh. You really should have seen that jacket I passed up. It was oh so fine.

Okay so this is my specific question for you: How can I save money at the grocery store? Obviously I know how to avoid the Mall (though at times it appears to draw near to me) but I am downright lost as to how I can save serious bucks at the grocery store. What do YOU do to save money on groceries? How do you make your food last the longest? Do you have any tips or any secrets to offer me? If your resolution for 2009 was to mentor a fellow-sojourning woman this year, now is your chance. Mentor me. Please? I would have asked my Mom who is normally the ultimate mentor but as it is she avoids the grocery store at all costs.

Are we almost to 2010 yet? I’m exhausted.

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201 Responses to “Meanwhile…Melissa needs a Mentor”

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Kendra says:

    Melissa
    There is a blog I read and as her title states she’s a granola (lots of natural food, etc), but on her following post she lays out her grocery budget and illustrates how she sticks to it. She does Menu Plan Monday every week and has some good recipe ideas as well. Hope this helps!
    http://frugalgranola.blogspot.com/2008/12/real-food-grocery-budget.html

  2. 152
    Tara says:

    I am a coupon mom:) http://www.couponmom.com and http://www.mygrocerydeals.net are some good website’s to help you in your quest:) I have found them very helpful in trying to learn how to use coupons effectively. Good luck! It can be done!

  3. 153
    Sisters says:

    I’ll be short.
    #1 use a list
    #2 use coupons
    #3 and most useful to me-use cash!!
    I’ve only had to put stuff back once. I have saved a ton of money by just using cash!
    Julie

  4. 154
    Mrs.RGS says:

    Perhaps someone has already said this to you somewhere in the 630 comments you’ve gotten but I will restate it if they have.

    A budget is nothing more than a SPENDING PLAN. You could have bought that jacket if you had planned for it.

    Everyone thinks they can save money on food. Food and clothing seems like the only flexible categories.

    Are you consumer debt-free? If not go to Dave Ramsey’s website and browse for awhile. It’s a great place to find freedom.
    Rita

  5. 155
    Erin says:

    I do coupons & try to stock up on things when they are on sale. There is a website that I've found really helpful with this, especially at first when you are just learning. It's http://www.thegrocerygame.com. It requires a subscription, but it's pretty inexpensive and I've saved enough in 1 shopping trip to pay for months of the subscription.

  6. 156
    Anonymous says:

    U need to make a list and only buy what is on the list as well as go to different stores to get the best deals. I know extra work, but it helps!!!

  7. 157
    Dara says:

    The best thing to do to save money at the grocery store is to make out a menu for the week or two weeks. Write down what you need for each meal, check what you have in the kitchen, then list and shop for what you need. This method has saved me so much money. It also keeps me from stressing out over what we are going to have for dinner. It is already in the house. No need to run to the store to pick up anything and then spend extra on the things you want or think that you want. It’s great and it helps with our budget. Hope this helps.

  8. 158
    Veenstra Family says:

    I have read much of the great advice given to you- the best thing for me is to clean my "pantry" & freezer to see what I have on hand. Then challenge myself to make something with the need to use items- my husband is pleasantly surprised at some of the concoctions! I do shop for on sale meat only- and always looking for bargains on itmes that I can use. In the winter we eat lots of soup & casseroles-a great way to use up leftovers and I share some of the soup with others in need.

  9. 159
    Anonymous says:

    I read cookbooks or women’s magazines and pull out the recipes I’d like to try then make out weekly menu’s and a shopping list. I also try to stock up on 1-2 items that are used all the time like cans of mushrooms, or crushed tomatoes to keep my pantry stocked. This year I’m going to try to eat more fresh foods. I’m learning that if you buy it you will eat it, so no more pop tarts for the boys! What can they eat on the run as they catch a school bus at 6:30 a.m.? Good luck, Melissa!

  10. 160
    Christine L. says:

    How about you shop with the husband OR…how about he do the shopping and YOU take out the garbage! Does this work? I’ve never been married. I also only spend $50.00 every two weeks on groceries. You will not find boxed food in my house. Everything is fresh or frozen (or canned veggies out of season). No hamburger helper type stuff. It’s so easy to brown up hamburger and toss anything and everything in it to make it like HH. SPICES!!! That’s the key to flavor! I make a bunch and freeze. I very rarely eat out and I brown bag it. My lunches are way better than anyone else in the office. I “try” not to eat junk….only happens three days or so out of the month if you know what I mean! Live simply so you may simply live.

    Christine in Fort Madison, IA

  11. 161
    Christine L. says:

    I see one comment says don’t send the husband shopping as he gets the wrong thing or overspends….which is why I suggested that HE does the shopping. He needs to experience the strategy of cutting costs. If he wants to watch the budget, then he needs to see where you are coming from. Might be good for you to trade something he does to experience what he has to contend with. Like I said, I’ve never been married, so I don’t know how this would pan out. Sounds like this would be something fun in a relationship if handled with love and laughter, but what do I know?

    Christine in Fort Madison, IA.

  12. 162
    Anonymous says:

    when I was first married, over 40 years ago, we put our money in envelopes for each week! Fun times.
    For me it was: Make a list, don’t make impulse purchases, shop the sales, and buy in bulk – freeze, and use coupons. A freezer is really a great investment.
    GOOD LUCK!
    Bonnie ins GA

  13. 163
    Ashley says:

    Hi Melissa! You have to shop the store ads! I don’t know what grocery stores are in where you live but I love Publix. They are typically more expensive than say-Wal Mart BUT if you shop the ad you can save loads of money. For instace, this week fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts are on sale for $1.99 a pound. (That’s more than half off.) So I have bought about 15 pounds of chicken this week and I will freeze it and use it as needed. They also have great buy one get one free specials on virtually everything(cereals, berries, frozen dinners, pizzas etc…). Also, the Publix brand is a good way to go for organic products. Their brand of organic milk is 5.79 a gallon (on sale for $4.79 this week 🙂 )
    The new ad usually comes out on Wednesdays and is usually in the newspaper. If you have a couple stores in close proximity to each other, check out all the ads. It can really become a hobby! I have gone to Winn Dixie and spent $40 and saved $60…My finest shopping moment – 🙂 Coupons also help of course!
    Oh and I should mention that you must be careful because they try to trick you with the beauty stuff! For example, one time Albertson’s had Softsoap buy one, get one free but they were $2.29. They’re only $.97 at Wal Mart!! Also, when the other grocery stores have canned goods on sale, it’s usually still cheaper at Wal Mart.
    I will pray for you and your husband! My husband and I are taking Larry Burkett’s How to Manage Your Money and it is very eye-opening. We are trying to create a budget also.

  14. 164
    Sarah: says:

    I just found your blog, how fun! I have done many of your bible studies and love them because you explain the bible so that I can understand it. Praise God!

    It is so funny to read your blog because I am reading it with your voice and southern accent! Love it!

    Thanks Beth so much! I have grown so much in God through your bible studies, thank you for being obedient to Christ in writing them!

    -Sarah

  15. 165
    Kristen says:

    My husband and I have been married for a year and a half, so this past year and a half as a been a big one with learning how to save money!
    Some of my favorite things to do to save money:

    1. For recipes that call for meat (like ground beef, chicken, etc.), I don’t put nearly as much meat as they call for and we don’t notice much of a difference at all. It allows us to stretch our meat out for awhile!

    2. Apple Juice is my thing in the morning. I only put a little bit of juice in the glass and I fill the rest up with water. It’s not as sweet, it still tastes good, and I’ve done it for so long now, I’ve forgotten what “real” juice tastes like.

    3. Give store brand a try

    4. Coupons if they have help you. I use them when it allows a name-brand item to be cheaper than the store brand of a product I was already planning to get anyway.

    5. Freeze leftovers! We’ll have leftovers for a day and then we’ll freeze the rest after that if there are still any. It’s so nice to pull that out later!

  16. 166
    steffsgarden says:

    So… I have a friend who has just shared with me a web site thegrocerygame.com
    Last week she spent $210.00 and saved $300. Not to shabby; it is worth a look…
    Shalom

  17. 167
    Melissa says:

    From one Melissa to another:

    Sister, I feel your pain! We did very much the same thing in 2007, and now that we’re to 2009, I’m feeling much more comfortable in my own budget-approved shoes. 🙂

    Specific to the grocery store, making a menu for specific meals you’re going to make each day helps to save, for me, since I don’t go in thinking I’m going to need to “stock up” on anything. I know specifically what I’ll need to make food for the whole week.

    Also, on things that don’t really matter to you, like, for instace, flour, you can buy whatever is the cheapest. I DON’T recommend trying to save on things you really care about the specific taste for (i.e. Baked Cheese Crackers versus Cheez-Its), because then you just have food you don’t want to eat, which will then probably be thrown away, thus, throwing away that money!

    Also, I don’t know if you and Colin have talked about how exactly the budget will work, or what the ultimate goal of it is (ours was to know where all our money was going, as well as to get completely out of debt), but I really recommend the book “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. We read the chapters aloud to each other in the car (we had a 30 minute drive to church at that time) and it totally changed our lives.

    God bless you in your endeavor to serve Him with your stewardship of the blessings He’s given you!

  18. 168
    Melissa says:

    Melissa – I’m a personal chef and have had to keep a close eye on dollars and cents when shopping for clients (in addition to doing the same in my own household!). I’d be happy to give you some suggestions if you’re not already feeling overwhelmed by what you have here – but they may take more space than appropriate for the comments section. E-mail me at melissa(at)myveryownchef(dot)net if you’re interested!

  19. 169
    Anonymous says:

    Shop with cash ONLY. Seriously. Leave the plastic at home and shop with cash. Make a list, bring a calculator if you must and only use CASH. I’ve managed to trim over two-hundred bucks a month on worthless overspending at the g-store using this method (I’m ashamed to admit I over-spent that much, but it happens when you’re not paying attention!) Good luch!

  20. 170
    Cary & Leah says:

    Melissa, I've been married for 4 years to a banker. The past 6 months his favorite quote has been "no, we aren't getting that. we are in a recession." My mom gave me the BEST advice; "save some of your own money!" Sometimes men don't understand the NEED for a new top or window treatments. But when you work hard, you should be able to reap the benefits from it as well. It's an empowering feeling to be able to purchase something with no questions asked. Just set up the guidelines and percentages/amount with your Sweetie now, early on in your marraige. Clear & open communication is the best!

  21. 171
    Anonymous says:

    Have you heard about Angel Food Ministries? Check out their website to see if there is a distribution center near you. It’s a food co-op that delivers what you pre-order once each month, great savings and great food.

  22. 172
    Terry says:

    Melissa, I can SO relate to the sudden budget suggestion from your husband! Mine did the same thing when we were first married, but the real test came when we became a one income family. I wanted to be able to stay at home with my children full-time, so about 5 years ago I swallowed hard and prayed for wisdom in how to live more simply. I had more time on my hands because of being home full-time, which is reflected in how I’ve saved. You’ll need to give yourself permission to adapt as needed to your circumstances, of course. So, here goes:

    1. I grow and/or preserve much of our food. We have 2 freezers and 2 refrigerators (the second fridge was given to us). I garden and raise the vegetables that are way better home-grown than store bought, like tomatoes, green beans, green peas and (when I feel like it) sweet corn. I prefer to freeze most of them rather than can, because they taste fresher. I buy my broccoli at the store. Tastes great, no bugs, a whole lot easier. Same with potatoes, onions, etc. What I don’t want to grow (or can’t) I buy from a local farmer’s market by the bushel to put up. I buy my fruit (berries, etc) from local orchards or a local fruit market and freeze or can them to use all year long. HINT: This would be a good option for non-gardeners!

    2. Whenever possible, I buy in bulk. LARGE bags of sugar, flour; 5 lb blocks of cheese, etc. I just cut the cheese into one pound blocks and freeze them in quart size bags. We have a “scratch and dent” type of store locally called Sharp Shopper that sells bulk and discounted food. I shop there first, and buy what I can there before going to my regular grocery store. You’d be amazed how much you can save (cheese for under $2/lb; sandwich meat – frozen – for $.99/lb, etc.).

    3. When I have energy and time, I make what I can: bread, butter, cheese (we have a dairy farm). The high cost of flour the past year or so made homemade bread as expensive for me as store bought (but certainly better tasting). It has become a choice based on taste and time, though, not savings.

    4. I reuse and recycle things that I used to throw away. We now use cloth napkins instead of paper. Our family is small enough we know which is ours, and use them for several meals before I have to wash them. I wash out my ziploc freezer bags and reuse them. I also started buying heavy duty aluminum foil (which stands up better to washing) and wipe it clean and reuse it later. I minimize the paper towels I use by trying to wipe up spills with old kitchen towels/rags.

    5. I try to plan menus around buying food that is in season. For example, I rarely buy tomatoes in the winter. They taste terrible and are way too expensive. One new solution I found this year: I froze whole tomatoes in quart bags this summer and now defrost a quart when I want to make “fresh” salsa. Drain off the extra liquid, put the tomatoes, some onion, fresh garlic, salt and hot peppers in the blender, and you have an awesome fresh tasting salsa in the middle of winter, without styrofoam tasting winter tomatoes.

    6. We grow our own beef and raise chickens for eggs since we have a farm (of course we have all the milk we want then, too). (No, I’m really not gloating!) For urban or non-farm families, you can try to purchase a quarter or half of a steer, pig, etc. from a farmer near you. If you have the freezer space to put up the meat, this is an economical way to go. (By the way, we send it off to be butchered; we don’t take that job on, although many of our neighbors do). If you’re interested in organic or grass-fed meat/eggs, you can check out http://www.eatwild.com for a farm listed near you or start asking at your local farmer’s market for nearby farmers that sell meat in this way.

    My sister told me recently that she had been doing some of these things to save money. “I still don’t wash out my baggies, though!” she laughed. I think she finds that a little over the top.:) It works well for me, though, and I enjoy the satisfaction of not just living within my budget, but having the luxury of being generous with that which I have left over! I feel like I am also being a good steward of the resources God’s given my family. Like I said, pick and choose what might work for you without getting too hung up in guilt! Hope you find a way to enjoy making the budget work,

    Terry
    Dayton, VA

  23. 173
    Shawna says:

    One thing that helps me is to shop at a plain old grocery store instead of a megastore like WalMart. This way I don’t buy any “extras” that call out to me…like makeup or sale items I don’t really need.

    I also do a lot of meatless dishes and things with turkey…ground turkey is amazing, and so cheap!

  24. 174
    Christy says:

    I’m late on this and there’s a good chance everything I have to suggest is on here already, I mean there are 651 comments BEFORE mine! But as an Army wife on a VERY Strict budget, mother of 4 (well 3 living), and a husband who’s in Iraq who has to have a few things to get by on….here’s a few things I do…

    Make a menu! Sit down and all the meals you’ll be preparing from breakfast to dinner and INCLUDE any snacks, make the menu. Realize that you don’t have to be strict on the menu (you can flip flop days, come one sometimes we’re just NOT in the mood for what we have on the menu, but the next days sounds awesome!!)

    After you make up your menu, make up your grocery list! Are there those things you find you have to often run back for throughout the week(s). Well grab some extra’s. Realize that you may still have to run to the store for those staples that don’t last between the big grocery runs (fresh fruits and veggies, milk, bread, etc) but this is important…INCLUDE Them in your initial grocery list, write DOWN The price and be prepared for what you’ll spend on those items when you make those purchases later!

    Next, coupons! Now I admit I’m not big on them, but when I think about it, oh they’re a great money saver. Since you’re in the states and you’re not stuck using primarily a military Commissary, you can go to stores that will do double couples and some even do triple coupons (find out if there are certain days they do this).

    Do you have a cheaper grocery store you can go to? Such as Aldies or something like that? If so, use it! We’re saving money here and they WILL save you.

    Stick to your grocery list.

    Go to the store after you’ve ate. When you go hungry, you’re far more tempted to throw in to the cart something you don’t need or really want, but your stomach’s growling and it looked good at the time! So eat something, be it a meal or a snack, just don’t go hungry!!

    Can you go to a Super WalMart and get other things and save Gas money? If so, make sure you write down those needs too that are just outside of the grocery realm. Don’t be tempted by that sell on that item you actually don’t need though. Run, just like ran out of Nordstrams!!

    Comparison shop! By that I mean, is the off brand cheaper, even a penny? It all adds up and most off brands taste just as good, and at times better than the name brand and quite often they’re made by the same company anyways the labeling is just a little plainer!

  25. 175
    Peaceful Chaoz says:

    #1~ Plan your menu. And if you don’t already have meat in your freezer from say a hunter ;0) then try and base your meal plans on what meat is on sale.

    #2~ Do you have an Aldi? Great store! Store brand is just as good for most things. And I try and buy local as much as possible when the farmers market is available season wise!

    #3~ moneysavingmom.com and many other sites can help you figure out how to coupon it up and get the most for your money!

    #4~ Come down in small amounts. If you normally spend $100 a week and would eventually like to get to $50 don’t just start that right away, it could get overwhelming, just go down by $5 each week!!

    Good for you for wanting to take on the task of being more money wise!! Hard choice but definetly worth it!! :0)

  26. 176
    Hartman Family says:

    Here's what I do…I make menus for the week and, accordingly, a LIST before I go. Then, I strive to stick to them. I know it sounds simple, but it avoids all those spur of the moment purchases that really add up. Additionally, when making menus for the week, I try to pick recipes that use lots of the same ingredients to minimize waste, especially pricey waste (like what to do with that extra cup of butternut squash?!?). Alternatively, I freeze the extras or make up a new recipe with them. My last suggestion is to know your numbers…if you have a set cost that you want to keep your grocery bill below, keep a running total throughout the month, and, at the end of the month, if you're going go over…honor your husband, tell him you're having PB&J (or another simple dinner from your pantry) because you're striving to meet your budget goals…he'll probably give you a big kiss…guys are really weird like that. 🙂

  27. 177
    Mom B says:

    If you haven’t heard of thegrocerygame.com you must try it out! Go to the website and read all about it and I promise you will be saving big bucks by having them match the store sales with coupons, all the while saving you lots of time and energy. I spent $164 and saved $102 last week…the cashier always has to get approval from the manager because the savings are so much! Publix is awesome in GA, and they are a part of thegrocerygame, so read up on the website and get started shopping in the store you love, spending much less per week, and getting great food.

  28. 178
    Anonymous says:

    I find buying up items when they are on sale. I buy pork loins, chicken and hamburger when they are BOGO. Example: I will fix both pork loin and same on the rubs and spices I use. We will eat one and slice the other and freeze for 2 sandwiches at a time.
    Pick your meat and ask for it to sliced how you would like it and even ask for it be wrapped how you would like.
    I make a habit of keeping an inventory of what I have used and what i need. It helps in making my menu. Cook more from scratch instead of mixes. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes,root vegetables etc. go along way. Always pack your lunch. Carry your own drinks with you in a mini cooler to work. Just stopping to get coffee or a fountain drink adds up.

  29. 179
    freedoyle says:

    As a mother of five children. I am feeding seven people every night and WOW it gets expensive. Get a membership to Sam’s or Costco. Buy a Food Saver, pricey up front but well worth it. Buy things in bulk, ground meat, chicken breasts, pasta, they have it all. You can separate it into servings to fit your family and freeze it. Those stores are even carrying organic items like milk, chicken and more. They have books written about how you can ultimately save a ton of money at stores like this. They also have great sales on other items too. Don’t be afraid thinking your family isn’t big enough to buy in bulk. If you are like me I can do some damage in a Super Target or Wal-Mart buying things I absolutely did not go there for. Shopping at one of these stores helps with that also, and will cut down on how often you have to actually go into a store. Good Luck and I am happy to share with you anytime. Courtney

  30. 180
    Anonymous says:

    We are trying the same thing…and asked the same question except we placed a monetary amount of $100.00 per week for CA. The common response was 1. plan menu, 2. hunt for sales 3. stay in store only for what you need 4. use Costco, Winco and Walmart in our area. Which means on my part, yeah…I get to be more disciplined in another area of my life….okay was not ready for this area yet. If you looking for recipes, try http://www.cooklight.com, or www. epicurious.com or http://www.allrecipes.com. You can type in an ingredient and it pulls up all recipes that use the ingredient you requested.

  31. 181
    Anonymous says:

    Has anyone mentioned Ellie Kay’s books and tips? I’ve heard her speak on Moody Radio’s Midday Connection program and she’s had some great ideas about thriftiness and good stewardship. Her website is http://www.elliekay.com.

    Michele

  32. 182
    Anonymous says:

    There are so many great ideas here, but I haven’t seen anyone mention the most outstanding website I have found- savingdinner.com. They have made it their passion to get me organized in the area of planning, shopping and preparing meals. I love their menu-planners as well as their freezer meal concepts. If you have some time to invest (HA_ who does?) it will save you so much in the long run in both the money department as well as the time/stress and headache of having something yummy on the table to enjoy.

  33. 183
    Kristie says:

    shop Avon for your toiletries, when Avon is running a sale on them. Avon’s deodorant, hair spray, shampoo, lotions, and mineral make-up are all department store quality, at “Wal-Martish” (or lower) prices…if you find a rep near you who has a website, you can use the coupon code FSANY to get free shipping, and there’s also no sales tax if you make your purchase online….if you need an Avon rep, I’ll be glad to be yours, but you probably want one a little closer than 4 hours away. 🙂

  34. 184
    ForCryingOutLoud says:

    1-Stay out of the center aisle of the store, and shop the perimeter, where the “healthy” food resides. 2-Buy in bulk, make full dinners, even if there are only two of you, and then vaccuum seal the rest for the freezer in portions that will make one meal.
    3-Cook these big meals on days you FEEL like cooking, so you don’t wait until the last minute to cook.
    4-Tell me to follow my own advice!

  35. 185
    [email protected] gottawearshades says:

    Mentor Eleanor, here. Melissa, you don’t even know me, but you’ve come to the right place! You see, a few years ago I turned in my Sam’s Club card and cancelled my membership even though EVERYONE in this town goes to Sam’s Club. More is better and bigger is cheaper, right? Wrong! First of all, Sam’s Club’s book department is right inside the front door, so that would be my first stop every week. Irresistable bargain books – several at a time – I can still feel them and smell them – but I never could feed them to my family! Then off to the snack aisle where I’d buy such huge quantities everyone in the household would be sick of them long before we finished them. Then on the way out some towels, perhaps an appliance – I even brought home a coffee table once!
    Finally I realized that this “wholesale club” was NOT saving me money!

    Now I go to the one grocery store where I know I’ll find everything I need in one trip. It’s not the cheapest one in town, but it’s certainly reasonable, has great store brands along with national brands, has frequent buy 1/get 1 and other specials, and has GREAT service so the otherwise grueling task can actually be downright pleasant.
    Here’s the key: Once a week I sit down and plan my dinners for the next 7 days. I check the calendar for the week, note who’s going to be home what nights and what’s going on before and after dinner. This menu planning is by far the worst part of the process for me, but it is crucial. I write down an entree, starch and veggie for every night. When necessary I plan to “grab fast food” or “eat out” or I write down “EMFH” (Every man for himself!). The best part is, if for some reason we don’t prepare and eat a meal I planned, I already have a jump on the next week!
    I actually write all this down on one side of a sheet of looseleaf paper folded in half vertically. Then on the flip side I make my list for the grocery store, arranged the way the store is laid out so I’m less likely to overlook something. Then I look at the sale flyer from the newspaper (I should probably do this first) and go through the coupons that I put aside the Sunday before. I only use coupons for things I need now – I rarely save any for later, nor do I use them to buy things I don’t normally use. I flesh out my list with sale items and breakfast/lunch staples and off I go with the hardest part of the job already behind me. I also keep a memo pad stuck on the fridge so I can jot down things throughout the week that need replacing or replenishing.
    Having a complete plan and list is so liberating, and it saves me loads of money and loads of time. It feels great to say to the cashier, “See you next week” instead of “See you tomorrow”!

    As for getting the most out of what you buy – every once in a while I don’t do my normal shopping for one reason or another, and we’re always amazed at how long we can last on the food that’s in the house, when we thought we were down to nothing. So I guess my answer is, neglect the food shopping occasionally and you’ll find you’re able to use up what you didn’t even know you have!

  36. 186
    jamie says:

    Have you looked in to Angel Food. It is a wonderful program that lets you purchase “restaurant quality” food at a very reasonable costs. It has saved us lots of money. Just go to http://www.angelfoodministries.com, click on host sites and search for a church near you.

  37. 187
    Suzanne says:

    http://www.e-mealz.com/
    has changed my life.
    Sale items/Shopping list/recipes!!!

    My family got out of the boring food, wasting money and time in the grocery store pit!
    There are several options at different grocery stores, low fat, low carb, etc. It costs 1.25/week (3 month/$15 commitment). Though there are some samples on there if you look. It puts what is on sale into 1. a shopping list 2. quick recipes. What could be easier. We don’t go to the store extra, we eat in more (saving money), and we use the sale items (more saving money). These folks are geniuses. Also the “I’m Debt Free” guy endorses it.
    Best of luck!!!

  38. 188
    Double Dubbin says:

    Oh, Melissa! I just got married in September so I am hearing what you’re saying…my husband and I are having lots of fun as we figure out exactly what “eating in our budget” looks like…

    The main things I have learned about the grocery store is to make a list before I go with the ingredients that I need for the recipes I will be making that week…and then I try and get all our “inner store aisles” needs (dry goods, etc.) at Wal-Mart…prices are reasonably less there…and then get our “around the rim of the store” needs (produce, meats, etc.) at Publix. We do the math and figure out how much we want to spend on food and then once we buy a certain amount at the store, we know that we have to watch it on the eating out…

    Hope that helps! Fun that we’re going through this together though…I smiled so big when I saw your post 🙂

  39. 189
    Ruth says:

    I so know how you feel and am going to read the comments for tips myself! You do not walk alone, dear siesta!

  40. 190
    seesawfaith says:

    I’m probably the biggest financial disaster you would ever hope to meet, much to my hubby’s dispair, but I have a money savin’ guru friend that posts hints and ideas to her blog all the time. check her out!

    http://ramblings-of-a-mother-and-wife.blogspot.com/

  41. 191
    Sarah says:

    Sarah S.
    Louisville, Ky

    I also struggle with this, but I have found that if I go to Whole Foods, I really only buy things that are fresh and healthy. They don’t sell a lot of snacky type foods that I would get at a regular grocery store. I buy exactly what I need for the week, for each meal, and I don’t spend money on a lot of junk. My brother commented once on our fridge and said, “wow, your fridge is really clean”. He was being sarcastic, but we have what we need and never go hungry. We just eat really fresh foods. It takes a little planning, but I have found that this helps us save money.

  42. 192
    Anonymous says:

    Tupperware!!! They have fruits and veggies keepers called Fridgesmarts..they seriously keep fruits and veggies good for a month!!! And all their modular mates are on sale this month…they kept our animal crackers fresh for 3 months!!! Amazing products!!

  43. 193
    Rachel says:

    I just saw this post for some reason. I can’t give you too much grocery store advice, but I am PASSIONATELY in LOVE with budgeting. I know, weird, right?!?
    However, I tried to portray my thoughts and why I loved budgeting in this post: http://rachelzcallahan.blogspot.com/2008/07/budgeting-beautiful-freedom.html. You may not need all the technicalities if your hubby is taking care of the actual budgeting, but maybe a bit of my geeky passion for it could rub off on you to curb your budget exhaustion.
    Here’s to loving budgeting!!

  44. 194
    Rachel says:

    p.s. – I just had to type “siner” – yes sinner – as my word verification to leave that comment. Is blogger trying to tell me something?!?!? I’m feeling convicted.

  45. 195
    PHH says:

    My husband and I follow a modified version of the “envelope system.” We use cash to pay for groceries, restaurants, and miscellaneous items (tolietries, etc.). Sticking to a budget at the grocery store has become pretty natural after 12 years. I look like a big nerd at the store because I take my list on a clipboard (much easier for marking off my purchases) and a calculator. I plan meals and grocery shop for two weeks at a time. I love to plan meals and cook, so at the end of every two weeks, I decide what options I want us to have (I try to make at least one new recipe each period). Then I make a list and stick to it! I also add up what I’m spending so there are no surprises in the checkout line. Of course, I often pick up extras while I’m there, but if the total is close to exceeding my budget, then I put back the Häagan-Dazs Peppermint Bark Ice Cream.:) I usually try to hold back about $40 to use during the two-week period in case I need more produce or we run out of milk, etc. When we are faithful to the budget, this works very well.

  46. 196
    kari says:

    Someone may have said this already but the best is to buy large cuts of meat. Especially the ones with a bone in. They can be roasted, then the bones can be made into stock and from there you have the makings of a very good soup, stew, ect. If you are creative you can make many meals from one roasted chicken. It takes learning to cook with every last scrap you have. You know, the way our grandmothers used to cook.

  47. 197
    Amy says:

    I was a home ec teacher (now teaching Precept studies) and I still struggle to do this thing well. Here are some tips for you and me:
    -shop the fliers that come out in the paper to prepare your menu for the next week(s) and stock up on the good sale items (meats, paper goods).
    -know the store layout and arrange your grocery list in order to save time and wondering where you don’t need to go.
    -use coupons at stores that will double them but only use coupons for the items you normally buy. If the storebrand is cheaper than the item with a coupon, buy the storebrand
    -buy produce in season
    -frozen fruit/vegies are more nutrionally sound than canned but again, look at the price
    -don’t shop hungry
    -buy only what you need
    -soft drinks and even paper products (other than toilet paper) are luxury items at times. You don’t have to have them. Omit them from the list.
    -call me if you need help (I’m down the road in Columbus, GA and friends with Kim Andrews. She can give you my number. )
    -WalMart will match the sales fliers from Winn-Dixie and Publix (Kroger in Atl). While picking up toiletries there (cheaper than grocery store) you can pick up some groceries, too.
    -prepare one meatless meal each week
    -don’t beat yourself up. You’re still learning.

  48. 198
    skcwmom says:

    Okay I have never posted a comment before, unless you count leaving verses for Scripture memory. So … I had to laugh when I read you blog … we have been married for 13 years and I STILL dread that January talk. There has been lots of great advice on saving money at the store — my only advice is this because it is so HARD for me to do and yet life is so much better when I do it … giving all the receipts to my husband for Quicken. I don’t mean to not give them to him, but when men are working on the money they don’t like for “unknown” (to them) expenditures to be out there. So that is all the advice I have — I know you are probably doing great now saving your receipts — keep it up, sister! Oh – and when we were first married he thought we needed to SHARE a can of Chicken noodle soup for dinner. Now I am just a normal sized Siesta but I can eat an entire can of soup by myself Thank You Very Much! So after the “newly” wore off of the “wed” I had to break it to him that I was Starving. The funny thing was, so was he.

    Good luck.

    Elizabeth E
    Houston, TX

  49. 199
    Monica Janzen, Nampa Id says:

    Hi Melissa, sorry this comment is so late, but I was searching the site for the January memory verses and found your comment – very funny I might add. I clip coupons and scour the Sunday paper for sales. Example, I had a coupon for $2.00 of Wheat Thin Crackers (my kids love), our local grocery store had them on sale for $1.66 each, so I bought two boxes and only paid $1.32!! Now this is not always possible, but whenever possible especially on cereal I buy on sale and with a coupon. And as many other women have mentioned, buy the store brand whenever possible. Good luck!!!!

  50. 200
    ~Trina~ says:

    I find that making a menu and then a list helps me a lot. I even made a table in Word with the different catagories of food to shop for (a map list around the store)ie. fruits, veggies, dairy, meat, boxed, canned, frozen, etc) to make my shopping more organized so I don’t wander around in circles, which usually leads to buying too many things not on my list.

    Unlike most men, my husband is best at doing the little extra runs to the store. He buys what is on the list and nothing more. I on the otherhand will see half a dozen other things that I might need to get, running up the bill. He saves us money on the extra trips for milk.

    I also try to go to the store when it’s not as busy so that I can take the time to look at prices and nutritional values. If I go during peak times, it’s too crazy to spend much time “shopping”. I just get it and get out.

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