November 13, 2010

Changing Direction from Stocking to Using to Facebooking

I was at the grocery store on Thursday morning and the store was packed. Okay, I know, if I am living out of the pantry and freezer, why was I at the grocery store?  We needed milk, eggs, bananas and some salad fixins.  But, I was also there for flour at 97 cents a 4 lb. bag (limit of two bags) and Campbell's Cream of Mushroom and Chicken soup was on sale for 66 cents a can and I had the following coupons:  $1.50 off 3 cans and three $1.00 off 4 cans.  I also picked up Swanson broth at 50 cents a can and I had two coupons for 75 cents off five cans.  These were on my "watch" list of items to buy as soup and broth especially are at their lowest price at this time of year.  Also, Folger's coffee was on sale for $5.99 and I had a $1.00 off coupon.  People were really loading up on the coffee as this was an absolutely great price.  The last thing on my watch list is a spiral ham for Christmas.  The best price in the past few years on spiral hams happens before Thanksgiving so hopefully when the grocery ads come out on Wednesday, they will have some better deals.

I have never really set a grocery budget during this time of eating from the pantry and freezer as I was still looking for some key stock up items such as the ones I mentioned above.  My grocery weekly budget was about $40 for the last two weeks as I was stocking up on annual sales items such as flour, canned soups and broth, along with buying produce, eggs and milk.  Yes, I was still giving myself a generous amount so I could still take advantage of those once a year stock up items.  I've met my goal.  My grocery budget now  is $25.00 a week for produce, milk and eggs.  I have set aside $15 in a jar to cover the cost of a Christmas ham. 

But there is something I must confess to you.  It is very hard when you have been bargain shopping and in stock up mode for several weeks or months to refrain from buying good deals.  I am sure some of you that have read my blog for awhile were thinking this.  Hey, even I was thinking this.  It is difficult to change from stocking up to using up, but follow on in reading this post and you will see what I have done to correct this.  First --- another item I stocked up on this week.

Brown sugar was on sale recently but I didn't buy any as I have a lot of brown sugar.  It was weird walking past that display as I knew it was a good sale, but I have a big supply at home and didn't need it.  But then it happened..... On my way to pick up some eggs, I passed by the meat counter at our local Hy-Vee and I noticed a sign.  "80% lean ground beef $1.19 a lb. - while supplies last."  This was an unadvertised special.  Yes, if you look back at my post for contents of my freezer, you will see that I have a lot of ground beef in our freezer.  I couldn't resist this sale.  That price is the price I paid for 80% lean ground beef about 4 years ago.  I bought 20 lbs.  I didn't break my weekly grocery budget doing this and I knew if I repackaged the beef into 1 lb. packages and pressed them flat, they would fit in my freezer.  I went on my Facebook page to report what I had found and received comments from friends that were heading out to pick up a good deal on meat.

Incidentally, if I would have bought that "great" deal a couple of weeks ago on pop, ham and turkey, I wouldn't have had the money to buy this great deal on ground beef.  I'm so glad I recognized that I should save my money for another day. 

What did I learn?  I learned two things.  I learned that I have to change my thought process about good deals.  I am in very good shape with what I now have on hand and I have met all of my stock up goal items, except for the Christmas ham.  I can sit back and relax. 

Second, I learned it is a lot of fun to go on my Facebook page from my mobile phone and post any great deals I find so that others can take advantage of those deals.  I am going from stocking up to using up to finding those great deals and posting them on my Facebook page to help friends.  I have a great deal of knowledge about our local food prices so why not use that knowledge to help others?  When I come across a great deal, especially an unadvertised special, I pull out my mobile phone and make a quick entry on my Facebook page and let my friends know. 

I realize that this isn't something new for a lot of bloggers, but in my community of about 10,000 I am not aware of one person that does this service.  So I will continue to watch for great deals and post them on my Facebook page so that others can take advantage of them.


Joan J said...

Although I always thought myself to be a "frugal shopper", recently I've been trying to cut my grocery bill in half via coupons, meal planning and stocking up on loss leaders. I did manage last wk to spend $86 and save $87, so I'm making progress! I'm curious how many hours a week you spend on all this, and do you do a menu plan?

First time on your blog, but I'll be back. I think we have a lot in common! :)

Martha said...


I spend about 45 minutes on Sunday afternoons to clip the coupons from the Sunday paper. I usually get two Sunday papers - one is free with a gasoline fill up. I also go through any online coupons that I may want and print and clip them at the same time. Then I put them in my coupon binder.

On Tuesdays the grocery ads come out in the newspaper. I pull the two grocery ads and sit down at my dining room table with my laptop. As I go through the ads I circle anything interesting and type it into a possible grocery list. I flip through my coupon notebook to look for any coupons. Any coupons I may use I put into a velcro envelope in the insert in the front of the coupon notebook. This takes about 20 minutes at the most, as I have come to know when a deal is a good deal.

The next day, I take my grocery list and look it over and start to delete things that I really don't need and then I print it off. Then I head to the grocery store whenever I feel like it.

As I type the list into the Word document, I make sure it is grouped according to where things are in a grocery store. Since both of our grocery stores ad match each other, I only need to go to one store to get the great deals.

I usually am not in a big rush when I do the actual shopping, which is my choice.

The key is to not let coupons pile up to the point that you have a lot to clip and sort. Then it becomes a big chore.

Martha said...


I forgot to add that I don't sit down and do a big weekly menu plan. I usually plan about three dinner meals at a time. It is easier for me and it helps to make sure we use up the leftovers.