I wanted to add a post early this morning and will follow up with an update later today. I made a decision this weekend to spend more on groceries this month. Okay, that doesn't at first glance go with the title to my blog. However, it would appear that the two grocery stores we have here in town are both doing everything they can do to get business away from Super Wal-Mart. It is like we are having "grocery wars" similar to the gasoline wars in the 1960's. Over the past month I have been able to purchase 5 lb. bags of flour for 88 cents; 4 lb. bags of sugar for 99 cents and the savings go on and on. All sorts of baking supplies go on sale at this time of year but these stores are offering real deals right now. All of the flour I have purchased has a use by date to the end of 2010 - not that I will wait that long. Also, my husband believes that the only cookie God intended for us to eat is chocolate chip. Name brand chocolate chips - Hersheys and Nestle - have been on sale for as low as $1.00 and when you team them up with a coupon (50 cents off) it is a real deal. Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese was on sale 3 for $1.00 at one store. There has been a lot of sales on Kraft Cheese, produce (large bags of baby spinach for 99 cents, red peppers 99 cents, carrots as low as 49 cents a lb.) and deli meats. These are only a few of the great deals these stores have been offering and when I have teamed them up with coupons the savings have been great. Of course, this adds to my pantry and I have had to come up with some interesting ways to store and keep track of all of my stock piled items.
So I have increased my grocery budget to $100 a week for the next month in order to stock up for the future. Come January you will not see flour and sugar this cheap. Whole Wheat flour has not been on sale as much but I have noticed that the prices have gone down somewhat and have been able to purchase 5 lb. bags at $1.99. I have changed my goal for the time being by increasing my grocery spending now in order to save a lot more come January. I know that by then flour will be back up to $2.00 for a 5 lb. bag and so will sugar. The additional $25 I am spending is giving me easily $50 or more in groceries.
I will post this evening (hopefully if not interrupted) about my savings with pictures and I will also post my new way of keeping my coupons. I have gone from an envelope system to a notebook.
Today I am taking a meal to a family that attends our church. The husband had knee replacement surgery on both knees last week. With a stock pile of food in my pantry and freezer I didn't have to make a trip to the store for something to make for them. On the menu for them is meatloaf; scalloped potatoes; steamed broccoli, buttermilk cornbread, and rice krispie bars for dessert. As to the cost of this meal - the ground beef (85% lean) was purchased on sale at $1.59 per lb., the scalloped potatoes is not homemade but from a mix purchased on sale at 78 cents and then I had a 40 cent off coupon; green giant vegetable steamers were on sale for 99 cents and I had a 50 cent off coupon; I always have cornmeal in my pantry and I had the buttermilk from another recipe; and as to the crispy rice cereal - purchased extremely cheap about 2 months ago knowing it would get used in something.
I guess the point I want to make here in this early morning post (now it is not so early) is that sometimes in order to meet financial goals you have to look ahead. Spending some money now may save you a load of money down the road. Fortunately I have some flexibility in my grocery budget right now but if I didn't have the flexibility I would find money in my budget in order to buy flour at such a low price. Also, hospitality doesn't have to cost a lot of money. I have a lot of nice budget conscious casserole recipes to choose from that might have been cheaper but I thought that the above menu would be a nice change from hospital food and would give them some leftovers for sandwiches tomorrow.
I know that macaroni and cheese and scalloped potatoes from a box are convenience foods and have a lot of sodium in them and such BUT these are used within reason. Nearly everything I make during the day is made from scratch but it is nice to have some convenience foods on hand and as I have posted before I donate several of these items to our Ecumenical Food Cupboard for their use.
Well, this whole journey has been interesting. Come January or perhaps by mid December when the sales are not as good, my grocery bill will be down considerably and should remain low for a very long time. I need to come up with a goal but I would say that I should be easily able to keep my grocery bill down to $60 a week for a very long time. Actually I would like to get it down to $50.
Every day I struggle with spending money. I track all of my grocery spending on a spread sheet so I can stay on budget. I am prone to spend and I could easily get carried away with stock piling too much food and over spending by having to throw something out that expires. So far I have had a good handle on it.
Well it is Monday and Monday is laundry day in our house. I need to get started. When I became a SAHW I decided that the housewives of years past had the right idea with Monday being laundry day and it works for me.