Monday, January 23, 2012

Moolah Monday - Groceries

I previously told you that our life schedule was changing.  We're now 1-week into our new schedule and overall I love it.  The best part about it is that my husband has taken it upon himself to step-up his game on being a dad and husband.  I mean big time.  I don't think the two are related, necessarily, but instead it's a coincidence in timing that makes this whole transition in our life just wonderful for mie at the moment.  In response, I'm trying to be very supportive of my husband as well as I know this change is major for him and has some not-so-great side effects for him that he's more than willingly taking on for the sake of the family.

He would tell you it's working for him too with all the extra cuddles from the kids he's receiving.  Last week I went to a focus group after work one night and he sent mie this picture.  Apparently after putting #10 to bed the kids all, on their own, joined him on the couch to cuddle and watch cartoons.

If you must know, I was happy for him but also wanted to punch him.  It is not cool that everything went so easy for him the first night he had them by himself.  Seriously...even Mr. Logan No Sleep went to bed on-time without fighting at all and was asleep before I got home.  But really I was happy for him or he wouldn't want to do it again!  

And yes, those are my stockings on the fireplace still hanging from Christmas.  And yes #9 is wearing Christmas PJs.  That's real life around here folks.

Back to the point of this post.

With the change we've had to figure out how to do some things differently in our schedule.  We used to go grocery shopping together mid-day on the weekends but that no longer works for us.  In anticipation of this change I decided a few weeks ago to start shopping 2 weeks at a time.  My thought was that this way I'd only have to take the kids with mie shopping 2x a month rather than 4 and maybe I'd also choose to buy less extras because I'd cut my chances down by half.  So far, only going shopping 2x per month (and still Costco weekly - for the tradition of it mainly) has worked out really well for us with Costco being a good shot at filling-in with fresh bananas and milk every week.  I have learned though that I need to find a different time to go.  Waiting until 6:30pm on Sunday night to head out with all the kids in tow was probably not the best choice of times, especially having to shop for 2 weeks worth which made it a looonnng shopping trip for all of us.

And, I have to say to the sweet lady who encouraged us at the store - thank you.  Except for one thing that was well meaning but not effective for us...she said "Just blink and they'll get older".  I wanted to say - NO!  They never get older!  They are always the same age.  We persistently have 1-2 year olds - they never get older we just start over with them every few months.  :)

As I was saying - my hypothesis was also that we'd spend less because we'd shop fewer times.  I believe we've found a winner with this strategy even though it's not necessarily the plan of hard-core couponers who shop when the deal is right.  Our plan is slightly different - we shop for what is right when we go shopping - meaning, we stock up on things that are a good deal but are shelf-stable when we're on our shopping trips and then try to minimize the cost of things we "need" when they aren't on sell but we need them.

For example, last night I purchased 10 boxes of health food Hamburger Helper.  That normally should have cost us $16.50 at this particular store.  Instead, it was on sale for a price of $10 and I had two coupons that saved us $1 each.  That meant we paid $8.00 and saved $8.50 off the regular price.  SCORE!  Will we eat all that in the next two weeks?  Not a chance - we will have hamburger helper ONCE in the next two weeks and I might decide to make 2 boxes of it to have leftovers for my lunches.  The rest will be good for a while. I also purchased AXE shower gel, the kind preferred by my husband and his son who wants to be just like him.  The price was $4.17, which was marked as a sale price but admittedly I don't believe it was a real sale.  Nevertheless, I had a coupon that was expiring before I go shopping again and it was buy one get one free.  My husband didn't need any new shower gel, but for $4.17 I got two bottles of it - $2.08 is a good price for that type of shower gel - and we'll stock that in the cabinet.

On the other hand, we needed to add some fruits to our selection.  I scoured the displays to find a few kinds that were good prices.  Rather than saying "we're out of apples so I'll buy apples" regardless of price, I found "Cuties" - those clementine oranges "for kids" - and grapes on sale for a good price so I bought some of those to last us the next two weeks.

We really stocked up yesterday.  I already had all the meat I needed for the next two weeks because I'd stocked up on my last trip when I found a few great deals (50% off the meats I'd purchased).  Now that I stocked up on several non-perishables (or, really items with long code dates, they will perish some day), I'm set for a while.

I did get a bit nervous as the clerk was ringing things up - the bill went all the way to $228.  That would be on-par with what we normally spend a week, not a savings.  That would be ok, but I was hoping to save both time (energy) and money going every two weeks.  Normally we'd spend about $120 per week at the grocery store and $75-$80 on stuff at Costco.  That adds up quickly.  Then I scanned my rewards card and he added my coupons in.  The bill went all the way down to $161.  I saved $67 or 30% off the regular bill.  That was cool and meant we're saving money with this tactic - about $160 per month just with stuff we're buying at the grocery store.  I've been really careful about what we're buying at Costco too.  With the exception of diapers/pull-ups, we usually only need about $10-20 more worth of stuff - bananas and milk and maybe a few other things like waffles or peanut butter or syrup (see the theme!).  So, we're saving a boatload there as well.

Now, if I can just figure out when to go I'd be set!


MamaFoster said...

i just don't seem to be able to stay out of the grocery store!

i coupon shop and have gone crazy the past two weeks. this week there are no AMAZING deals i can't live without so I am hoping I can stay out of there for a WHILE~!

love the idea of shopping every two weeks and i hope some day I can do it!

Dana Beam said...

I do the grocery shopping every 2 weeks now too and it's great! I don't know if I save a lot of money (although I must right??) but I do save a lot of time. And I do my very best to schedule it during a time that my hubby can be home with the kids so I can really focus on getting the best prices and using coupons and getting through it as fast as possible. It also feels like mommy time so it's a win all around.

Small Town Joy: said...

When my kids were very, very little I shopped once per month. It was SO much work, but my monthly budget was $200 for our family of four. It took two large carts and a ton of discipline. I spent an additional $50/month in diapers and wipes. I don't think we could stay under that now with a teenager and a tweener. But it worked for us at the time.