(From Roadsidepictures' Flickr Photostream)
Because the current economic situation has overshadowed all good things, I have decided to share my scrappy, creative ways to save some cash without totally loosing your sanity. My first tip is a product of a few of my Goals 2009: (1) spend less money on food and (2) get back into planning meals and eating healthier.
Over the past year, we have begun to rely WAY too much on eating out/take out. It started with yucky morning sickness (cooking=bad) and carried through low energy, postpartum recovery and moving with a 5 month old. No more, I say. We will have a stocked pantry and we will not spend half the weekly food budget on one meal.
So, to aid me in my quest, I had to create a shift in my grocery shopping habits. My new tactics include searching through the grocery sales flyers online and stocking up like I am preparing for Armageddon.
The first step for me was to make a list of things that I buy at least monthly. Then I spent a week going to all of the stores I was willing to shop at (Albertsons, Safeway, Costco, Good Food Store, Food Farm) I recorded the "daily" price of all of the items on my list (meaning, no sale prices). For things I knew I could find in bulk at the Good Food Store, I also recorded the cost per ounce, pound or serving.
Now I had a baseline for all of my regular purchases. I knew that $2.99 was the average price for ground beef and the 64 ounces of organic raisins at Costco was the best deal in town at just under $.11/ounce. I was ready to shop...
In my research, I also learned that the big chain grocers all publish new sales flyers on Wednesday. This is helpful because I can just get on their websites and view the flyers, making a list of what I need from each place. My favorite thing about my new system is the time it saves. Last weekend, I left my house, hit two different stores getting some amazing deals and a few staples that we needed and was home again in 35 minutes. No more walking up and down the aisles just because I didn't really know what I needed. No more spending an ungodly amount per pound on meat.
So, now, when whole chickens are on sale for $.69/lb, I call up all my friends to make sure no one misses out...