I am starting a “Frugal Friday” series this week. This series will discuss what we have done recently to save money and how we have managed to trim back our budget. This week’s edition is all about grocery shopping.
Back in May, we had a set budget of $125 per week for our family’s groceries. Invariably, however, we would come up to the check-out counter (usually without any coupons) and pray that the bill would be manageable. More often than not, it would reach $150 or higher. Our grocery bill was steadily climbing to $600 a month! And to top it off, we would shop on Friday, and by Wednesday, we were searching the fridge and pantry for food as the shelves were almost bare.
My husband and I knew that we had to make a change in order to keep our budget manageable. I started buying the Sunday paper and clipping a few coupons. I also began surfing the internet, looking for coupons to print off. As the weeks passed, I began to see the grocery bill creep down a bit, and I felt encouraged by my efforts.
Around this time, I was looking through money saving blogs, and stumbled upon the concept of stockpiling. I had never heard of this line of thinking before. The basic idea of stockpiling is such that grocery stores price their items in a cycle, and during certain weeks of this 10-12 week cycle, these items hit a rock bottom price. It is at these times, when a wise consumer should take their coupons and purchase a multiple number of these items. This will ensure that the customer has enough of this item until it hits rock bottom once again. By utilizing this method, shoppers should never have to pay full price for the great majority of products.
So, armed with my coupons and my new plan to stockpile, I approached June with a whole new attitude. I decided to keep my grocery budget at $600 for the month in order to jump start my stockpiling efforts. By the end of June, not only had I stayed within that budget, but had managed to create quite a store of extra items including chicken legs, pasta, and boxed noodles. I felt that I was on the right track.
The following month, my husband and I decided to cut the grocery budget back to $500 a month. I felt a little concern that I might not be able to cut back so much and still be able to provide adequately for my family’s needs. I prayed over this decision, and asked God’s guidance in my efforts. I slowly began grocery shopping each week, stockpiling on the items that were at their lowest prices, and clipping every coupon that I thought might be useful. As the end of July rolled around, I realized that my efforts had been more than fruitful. I had not gone over my $500 budget which was a HUGE accomplishment in and of itself. However, I had also stocked up on so many pantry, frozen, and personal care items, that I was scrambling to find extra storage space in my house! I felt so truly grateful for God’s provision and His answer to my prayer.
It is now August. We have cut our grocery bill for this month down to $360! Almost half of what it had been three months ago! It is week one, and we are right on track. With only $90, we have purchased more groceries than we used to for $150 a week. We hope to trim our grocery budget back even more in the upcoming months, until we reach a level that is manageable for us. It’s been an eye-opening journey so far!
What have you done recently? Share with us the money saving ideas your family has used, and what has or has not worked for you.