Monday, October 27, 2008

Grocery Shopping for a Month

I am going to try this in December. I have read about it and thought about it and wanted to do it, but I've never gotten the nerve. Finally, after doing the math over what I could save if I could just get everything I need from Sam's (mostly) for one month. And that includes about $20 in gas for a round trip - $10 if I have a partner in crime for the trip.

Step 1 - know your prices: my mom wanted to go to Sam's one day last week when I spent the week with her, so I made notes of prices of things I buy so I could do the math

Step 2 - meal plan: in order for this to work, you have to have your meals planned in order to make sure you get enough in your trip that you not running out to the grocery store all the time during the month

Step 3 - write out your list: base this on your meal plan, AND add a few convenience items or extra lunch items just so you don't run out

Step 4 - set a date: pick a day and hopefully pick a 'date' and take someone along that's not a kid

Step 5 - leave your kids at home: little ones make you rush and make poor decisions, plus they don't want to be there anyway

Step 6 - cargo space: make sure the vehicle you take can fit plenty of stuff, and that it's free of clutter which can take up precious cargo space (especially if 2 or 3 of you are going)

Step 7 - cold storage: coolers and ice for refrigerated and frozen items

Step 8 - plan a snack or lunch: picnics are still fun unless it's cold, then you may want to take this opportunity to go out to lunch with your girlfriends

Step 9 - fill your tank: if you start out your voyage with a full tank, then upon return, you can refill it and you'll know exactly how much gas money to collect from everyone

Step 10 - have fun with it: saving money is serious business, but don't let it be a downer - take some friends, have some friendly conversation, and just enjoy each other's company while you ride. You may also learn some secrets to saving money here and there from your friends.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Power of Will Power

Okay, I admit it, I have been a little slack in my money saving creativity lately. I've even gone so far as to allow a couple of my feet to drag off the back of the proverbial wagon. But, here and now, I vow to not only get back on the money-saving wagon, but to push my way to the front and grab the map and give out directions. I hope this means that I will come up with some new and creative money saving tips, tricks and ideas.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Benefits of a Coop

I am a member of a local coop. It participates in the distribution of all natural and organic foods, health products, nutritionals and cleaning products. Generally speaking, those items are not the cheapest on the market, but they tend to be better for you, and buying them through a coop makes them a bit easier on the wallet. Of course, there are many types of coops out there, and I suggest calling your local cooperative extension office (there is usually one per county or group of counties) and asking about coops in the area. Some require a membership fee, but many do not. Most will also allow you to review the catalog for free to determine whether or not it's something you are interested in before you sign up. Remember it only costs time to ask a question and review information, and this may benefit you greatly in the end, so give it a few minutes and see what you come up with in your area.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Convenience Foods

As an all-natural ingredient, from scratch as much as possible, chemical fearer type of person, I am naturally of the belief that homemade is better. And quite frankly, I can't think of one instance where that is not true. But I do have to remember that this is a money saver blog so I am going to delve into the issue of convenience foods from that perspective.

I do not believe that convenience foods are all bad, just those purchased through a drive through window at 6pm because you don't know what else to do. Total drive through cost for a family of 4: $15 if your 2 kids are 2 & 4, $25 if your kids are 12 & 14, and of course, much more if you have more kids or if your family tends to get all of the supersize, extra bacon tack on options. So what's a mom to do at 6pm when she has no clue what to do: Stouffer's frozen lasagna $8, Freschetta Frozen Pizza $6, Voila Frozen Meal Bags $4. Any one or even 2 of these is better for you than fast food fare, AND is better for the wallet.

If you can, cook and freeze your own convenience items like the lasagna homemade, but if that's not your style, then check out stouffer's. The goal here is the highest quality the fastest and for the lowest price. I'm not saying every meal should go down this way, but it does happen on occasion to all of us, even me.


I have been reevaluating my money, habits, spending, saving, etc. for the past couple of weeks when the markets starting heading south. I am currently formulating new tips, tricks and plans to post as soon as possible.