Step 2: Grocery Shopping

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For months I’ve been reading blogs about saving money, especially on food. My Google Reader is populated by Money Saving Mom, Sense to Save, and $5 Dinners. Not to mention the many bloggers that advocate living a frugal lifestyle (or are forced to!).

In case you haven’t been able to tell by my blog, I favor myself to be a bit of a foodie! I like fancy restaurants. I LOVE cooking new recipes, especially from magazines like Cooking Light and Southern Living. Unfortunately, these recipes often include a lot of different ingredients, some of which I may only use once, or not use up, etc.

So step 2 in my effort to keep my home better is try to limit my grocery spending. For two people I’ve often spent $80-$100 a week–and that doesn’t count any meals I take to anyone, eating out, breakfast for Sunday School. It just seems a lot for two people, even if one is breastfeeding and very hungry! So I’ve decided to make a concentrated effort to spend only about $40 a week on groceries, at least for our regular meals.

This week I sat down with the coupons, grocery ads, and a notepad and actually planned out meals based on what is on sale. I always plan out our meals for the week and then make a list, but this part of it was new to me.

Then I marched around Publix, calculator open on my cell phone, adding up prices as I went along. I had to forgo a few luxuries I would have liked to have and were on the list (ice cream, a frozen pizza–probably better for my hips!) but was able to buy everything I needed for meals for $36.19 plus tax (about $39.62). I will confess the only meat I bought was a can of chicken I had a coupon for, because I had chicken for one meal already for the week, plus some frozen shrimp.

I based my menu on things I already had in the cupboards or could get inexpensively. Publix is not the cheapest store to shop at, but they have great “buy 1 get 1” deals, where you can just get 1 and it is 50% off. I used that method to buy tortilla chips, salsa, Hebrew National hot dogs, and mayo (which I also had a coupon for, so it was a super cheap stock up item). Publix also always has a penny item on Sunday and Monday if you have the coupon from their ad and spend $10. This week it was grape juice.

I was also still able to make two dishes that I had salivated over in the new issue of Southern Living! (Well, I haven’t made them yet, but I have the ingredients to make them.)

I promise this will not become a budgeting blog, but I know it’s an issue for many people, especially with food prices rising and the economy being what it is. For us, adding diapers, daycare, and other baby expenses to the mix means we need to hold our purse strings a little tighter. I feel I can honor my family by trying to save money where I can.

If you’re interested, here’s what I got for under $40:
1/2 gallon skim milk
Tostitos salsa
hunk of fresh ginger root
hot dog buns
jasmine rice
blackberries
Sweet Sue canned chicken (coupon)
8 oz. sour cream
cilantro
Hebrew National 97% fat free hot dogs
salt
small bag of peanuts
1 can organic black beans
light coconut milk
Dijon Mustard
1.16 lbs. cherries
2 limes
family size tortilla chips (tostitos brand)
whole wheat tortillas
1 bag yellow onions
Hellman’s Canola Oil Mayo (coupon)
White Grape Juice

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