It's been said "a penny saved is a penny earned." Past generations mastered the art of saving a buck but somehow along the line the materialistic desire to keep up with the Jones' sent us into a nasty spiral of spending. We think spending less time in the kitchen is solved with buying convenience foods to just pop in the microwave. We buy boxed meals instead of cooking from scratch. We buy the bulk bag of brightly colored munchies on the end cap cause we think its cheaper. We fall for the latest fads and run to the malls for the perfect accessories. Our world is filled with the constant output of advertising just to get us to buy the bigger and better. Who decided the "name brand" box was better for you than the plain labeled generic. I had two different boxes of Rigatoni in the cabinet last week and compared them. Believe it or not they were EXACTLY the same ingredients, nutrition facts, & everything! The one cost almost .55 more!
Even better don't you love the "pre" packaged gimmick! Nice little packets of munchies, cheeses, mixed fruits for your fast paced lifestyle. If you ever sat down to do the math you'd see it would be cheaper to buy the big uncut block of cheese and divide it up yourself. "But it's fast and it's easy to grab!" Yes exactly and that's what you're paying for the ease of convenience.
Isn't it funny that most envision the "frugal" or "cheap" as the crazy lady with all the cats who pays with change or the old guy with the cases of canned fruit and the twenty coupons. Welcome to the next generation!!! We still use coupons and we are just a wee bit crazy! No we don't run around abandoning hygiene and new clothes for the sake of a buck. This generation is doing it in a whole new way! We have the advantage of the web to get exactly the coupons we need. We've got pretty little reusable shopping bags. We have entire networks of bargains right at our fingertips. We don't have to wait for the leftover coupons to get passed from the neighbor only to find the ones we needed someone already cut. Internet Baby! Print 'em, Cut 'em, Use 'em!
It's not about just saving a penny but creating a better lifestyle for ourselves, our wallets, and our stomach. Use what we can & reuse if possible.
Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.
That should be how you approach your incoming and outgoings. Look at everything you use and see what can be done with it.
So how do we save money on groceries, its fairly simple.
- Don't buy name brand unless it proves to be cheaper than generic. The only exceptions to this are some basic ingredients like flour which I refuse to buy cheap stale white crap.
- Clip coupons. Get you coupons HERE
- Stick to the list. Just like you have to train and discipline children you MUST stick to your guns in the store! It's easy to go in for a few items and walk out with a cart load. If it's not on the list don't buy it!
- Cook meals that are economical and healthy. If your time is limited cook meals to freeze and just thaw when needed.
- Buy fruits and veggies that are in season.
- Shop local farmers markets and discount grocery stores
- Dress up the leftovers. If the family doesn't like leftovers, give it a makeover. Spaghetti takes on a new taste by tossing it in a frying pan w/ olive oil and a few spices.
- Cut back on meats. (That's a whole other blog!)
- Invest in a bread maker or make fresh bread by hand. You'll never pay $4 for a loaf that you can wipe out in one day! It's super easy really!
- Ditch the cabinet full of cleaning supplies and go with the basics. Vinegar is key! (another blog!)
- Use cloth napkins and have a bin of kitchen "rags" (bar towels) for quick clean ups instead of expensive paper towels.
- Pack lunches in reusable containers Check out Easy Lunch Boxes HERE
- Compare local grocery circulars Giant Food Stores and Redner's Warehouse and Country Harvest (doubles coupons) and Target coupons! and Walmart
- Cut back on sweet treats and stick with healthy easy snacks... dried fruit, carrots, dried nuts and seeds.