If you gave me $50 and asked me to go to the store and buy a week’s worth of groceries using only that money, I couldn’t do it. If you then told me I had to add in cleaners and diapers I’d look at you funny. If you’ve always thought that each week I grab $50 and head out to the store in search of all our groceries for the week and cleaners and diapers and toiletries, then I’m here to shatter that illusion. It just ain’t possible. Instead here’s what I do: I shop the sales. I buy food when it’s cheap or sometimes free and then I meal plan around it. That’s the key to all of this. A friend recently told me,
This is how I shop. I never just go in and spend money on what we need for just a week. I shop and freeze. Check out this post. Ok so how do I do it:
Firstly: Free Toiletries. if you haven’t been getting free things from Walgreens or CVS because you think it’s too hard, may I encourage you to start. Straight away that will chip off a good portion of your grocery bill. Through using coupons on already Free items I’ve been able to have money over to buy toilet paper, cleaners or anything else we need thus making that cheap or even free.
Secondly: Watching out for FREE food items. For example a few months ago I got cheese shreds 7/$1. This is virtually free to me and as it’s something we use a lot I was excited. That means that recently we’ve been planning meals around cheese: Cheese enchiladas, tacos etc
Another time I got free pasta sauce and free ice cream. Seriously, if you’ve been wondering what I’m gonna do with all of it the answer is simple: use it gradually. Consider this post about how I saved $5.45 on tacos one night by buying ahead and freezing.
Thirdly, plan your meals around these items. Last night I walked down to my basement with pen and paper in hand and considered the stock piles. One for dry items, another for snacks, and then my deep freezer. What could I make from all these items? How could I use them effectively without running out for lots more.The dry items stockpile. (Yes the picture is haywire!)
Fourthly, I then made a meal plan and a list of extras we’d need to fill in the gaps. The extras are mostly produce because we can make do without some things. Instead of hitting the stores each week and risking impulse shopping, I think I’ll try and be creative and instead go to farmer’s markets for produce and maybe ALDI for a couple of fill in items. Running into ALDI is usually safe: They don’t have a ton and even if I’m tempted to impulse buy it’s not expensive!
Finally, I’m going to put the meal plan on the fridge to keep me on track. If we get off a day I’ll just switch meals around – no biggie!