January 03, 2011
Grocery Expense and Coupon Savings for 2010
I didn't use a lot of coupons in November and December as I was cutting back on what I was buying and frankly, although there were coupons for things I normally would buy, I didn't need to add to my pantry.
So, for a family of three I feel I did pretty good. Not only did I average $77 a week on groceries, this $77 includes money spent to contribute to stockpiling food in my freezer and pantry.
When I worked full time, I used to go to the grocery store with a short list that I would add to as I went throughout the store throwing things into my cart. I rarely used coupons and I never had a plan. I would have some things in my pantry, perhaps a few cans of tomatoes or tomato sauce, but that was about it. I just bought food and came home and put together whatever I could with what I had bought. And I spent a lot more - close to $500 to $600 a month.
What have I learned? I'll never go back to the old way.
I know my prices, so I know when a sale is a sale and how to match coupons with sales' items. I have learned something else. Groceries in Iowa are cheaper than many places in the United States and in the world. I have access to good prices on fresh produce and on meat. Perhaps it is due to living in a primarily agricultural area of the country, I'm not sure. I just know that I am getting better prices on food than a lot of people and that is why I can stretch my food dollar and feed my family and stockpile on $77 a week.
I have tracked my grocery prices and coupon savings since November 2009 and I am glad that I have been disciplined to do it.
Today I will be going through my freezer and pantry inventory lists making note of expiration dates and will make up a list of possible meals to make from what I have on hand. I never like making a weekly or monthly menu plan posting what we will have to eat on a specific day. Instead I prefer to make up a list of meals and then I can pick and choose what I want to cook for my family that night.
I have always preferred to make up a "meal plan" this way than the traditional calendar out what we are going to have to eat for each day of the week or month. When doing this I also come up with the side dishes or salads and note what I will need to purchase from the grocery store to add to that menu, keeping in mind what can be substituted with sales' items. Then when I go over the weekly grocery sale flyers, I look at the list and pick out a few menus noting anything else that I will need to purchase. This works well with our schedule, and especially, my personality. I think it's just the creative side of me not liking to be boxed into a particular schedule.
If you are interested in stockpiling food for your freezer and pantry, go to my label section of the blog, to the left and click on Pantry Challenge and Pantry Principle to see more information on how I did this. If you are just beginning to develop a stockpile of food and have never done it before, I would suggest starting out small so as you don't become overwhelmed with storing the food and keeping track of what you have on hand. I started out with stockpiling canned goods, then I started to stockpile baking supplies and then meat for my freezer. Now I buy whatever is on sale at a good price and add to my pantry and freezer as needed.