Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Grocery Shopping My Way Out of Debt

Hello! :)  I am so, so, so excited to share this new blogger and personal friend with you.  Michelle is here today to share her story how she saved on the grocery bill!  She is a very passionate and loving wife and Mama!  She is a hard worker with lots of talent and wants to share all of it with you on her blog.

Grocery Shopping My Way Out of Debt

Want to know a good way to start getting your family out of debt? Stop buying groceries you don't need and throwing away spoiled food-that is literally money going out your garbage can!  I was this person once, and still to some extent am.  However, thanks to War on Debt, I am learning how to grocery shop my way out of debt.

While it's advised families should only shop one time a week, I'm not there yet.  But the $20/person/week budget I think we can adhere to.  Yes, that is $20/person/week.  Keep in mind, we are a family of four.  One family member is on formula (soon to be off), one family member can't have gluten, and two family members are trying to lose weight and eat healthier.  With that set up, it seems as though it could be impossible to do! But it's not.  Follow these easy steps along with me, and soon you'll find your way grocery shopping your way out of debt too!

What's in your pantry/cupboards? I'm an organizing freak, my husband is NOT.  So I've learned to live with the fact that my cupboards will end up looking like this most of the time until I organize again.  At first glance in my cupboards, this is what you see:

Compared to most people's pantries/cupboards, mine is actually bare! I do keep cereal in a different cupboard and snacks in another one.  I have a teeeny house and have to keep only what I need (ha!...TRY to keep what I need).

Claire is helping me out...nothing in here Mom!

STEP ONE is to go through your pantry and see what you have.  Start thinking of what meals you already have that you could make this week, or could make with just a few groceries. Here's some of what I found in my cupboards:

Before my husband, this is how my cupboard would look...

I even have dessert!

Then I looked through my fridge and freezer to see what I have, here is some of what is in my fridge:

STEP TWOmake a meal list for the week from what you already have.  We always do protein shakes or Kendall has her gluten free cereal for breakfast in the mornings, so that is easy (check out my dinner for breakfast blog-I have changed things up but for simplicity for you to follow, I'll keep this as is).  Do you have five different cereals? Do you have boxes of pancake mix, sausage, bacon, eggs?  What can you use up this week for meals? Think of lunch and dinner.  And make a list you will stick to! When you are prepared, this is much easier to do, and to stick to.  But most importantly, USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE!

One of the things I found in my cupboard is that I almost have the makings for spaghetti, all I need is seasoning mix.  

STEP THREE(as you do step two) start a grocery list.  I added Italian seasoning (I did check my seasonings cupboard and am out).  I also had makings for pizza, so I added sauce and mozzarella cheese and another topping to my list.  I had makings for tacos, so I just added taco seasoning and romaine lettuce to my list.  I still have gluten free chicken coating, so I added chicken to my list.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Find what you ALREADY have, get only what you need, and make meals with that!  Sometimes we think we need to do big grocery shopping and we don't.    

Kendall is starting school, so I was actually going to add snacks to my list! Besides her needing fruit and bread, I found these (in addition to the canned fruit I found above) in a cupboard, and they will last the few days she's in school for her lunch next week (those are pistachios in the bag):

Rather than letting what I have go stale while I buy more food, I'm saving money by eating what we already have.  This is where you can use that money you are saving by sticking to a budget and not overspending on food to pay off your debt!

STEP FOUR is to check and see what's on sale, and find coupons.  I'm not very good at this, I lost this week's ad and just didn't have the time to pull it online.  But I did have some coupons, and I got carrots and salsa for eighty-eight cents each! Score-carrots are great snacks and spaghetti add-ins, and salsa will be great for taco night.  Once my cupboards, fridge, and freezer are to the point of only having enough food for the week (plus a couple extras to plan for sicknesses, etc), then I'll start determining what to make for meals for the week based on what is on sale, and what I have coupons for.  

Additionally, some of the food above that I have in my pantry is not we normally eat in the recent month, we really stay away from a lot of carbs/boxed foods.  However, it's there and I don't want to waste them.  Plus, we can make healthier versions using what we have, ie. the tacos will be made with black beans, not hamburger.

STEP FIVE - STICK TO YOUR LIST.  I was in and out of the grocery store in record speed.  Well, I did buy a big thing of vanilla greek yogurt that was not on my list, but I didn't get bag of chips that WAS on my list so it works out.

Here are my bags of groceries.  One habit I NEED to get into is to bring reusable bags with me! I have tons of them.  I need to go put them in the trunk of my car ASAP!

And, here is a copy of my receipt. I'm proud to say that is $53.01, leaving us us just shy of $30.00 for the rest of the week's groceries.  Normally, I would have spent over $100.00.  I saved us almost $50.00!

A couple more tips that I want to add that I would incorporate, but for the sake of time didn't...I have rice and quinoa in my cupboard as you can see above.  I also have chicken broth and frozen veggies in my freezer.  Google these ingredients and find a recipe for them!  Do this with random things you have in your pantry, who knows the next dish out there that you'll love, and it will be FREE because you already have it!

When you get to the point of weekly shopping because you are using up all your food, be sure to stay to the outside of the grocery store-this is where all the healthiest food is!

And be creative and have fun! Do baby steps.  As you can see, this is new for me too.  But together we can make differences in our finances that will keep us in the plus!



Don't forget to comment with ideas of your own! And don't forget to follow me on Facebook - go there NOW and click like so you don't miss any of my posts! You can also follow me on via email-look to the right and add your email address.  Easy peasy!!

Thanks so much for sharing Michelle!!  Isn't she great?  What did you like about this?

Have a great day!

Bonnie :)


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