My grocery budget is $160 every 2 weeks. This includes dog food, cat food, bird food, kitty litter, toilet paper, paper towels, and all cleaning supplies, including laundry products. Oh, and all personal products like, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, contact solution, deodorants, etc. There are only 2 humans in this house, but there are 2 dogs, a cat and one really mean Senegal Parrot. The only time of year that my budget gets a boost is for Thanksgiving. Not Christmas, but just Thanksgiving. In fact the week after Christmas my husband practically guts the budget and freaks if I spend the full amount because he thinks there should be a huge savings from all the left overs. I think I have a small cushion, so lets stock up.
The second step is to find the best priced places to shop. Notice I didn’t say cheapest? Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it is just as good or not as good. I shop once every 2 weeks. My mornings take me to a place called Thrifty Produce. This is in Melbourne, Florida. It has very good priced produce and good quality meat at a decent price. That is not to say they are cheapest around, but for the quality, they are the best. I won’t buy dairy products there. They are a bit higher than Aldi’s.
The next stop is Aldi’s. Their milk is Hormone free, and the cheese is very good. I purchase all of my dairy products there and I buy the majority of all my groceries there. If you purchase dish washer detergent, theirs works great. I am using the home made stuff right now. The thing with Aldi’s is you have to be careful with what you buy. Some of the groceries there are just as good as the chain grocery stores. Some not so much.
My last normal stop is to Wal Mart. What little both stores don’t carry, I finish up at Wal Mart. Petfood I normally get at Publex because the Publex brand is of equal quality to at least Dog chow. I actually think it is better.
Now my herbs and spices come from a few places. I love Badia brand spices and if I can find what I want in the store of theirs I buy it, but that is not too often. Now I order the majority from http://www.myspicesage.com. I love this place! Decent prices and so many things I can’t find anywhere else! Free shipping, an1 ounce free sample, and usually another free sample if you spend $20 or more. My last order got me free Madagascar Vanilla Beans. If I am looking for herbs of any kind (mainly medicinal) I go to the The Herb Corner in Melbourne Florida. They have teas and all kinds of stuff that are interesting and fun. So if you are in Brevard County Florida reading this? Visit Thrifty Produce and The Herb Corner.
I do have to say that only shopping every 2 weeks helps cut the budget. Less impulse buys. I take a very detailed list and still make impulse purchases. What seems to help is making a list. Everyone tells you that too. Most people tell you to make a list based on the isles of the grocery store that you shop at. What do you do when you shop at 3 stores? I tried making lists based on each store, but then I got confused and missed stuff, bought more of what I wanted or less. Yes, I am easily confused.
My list is in order of categories. I list meats, dairy, pet food, breads, cleaning stuff, personal stuff, produce, frozen foods and general grocery. This way when I walk down an isle in any grocery I can find what I am looking for. Right now my list is made from a planned menu. That is I take a calender and plan my meals according to the day. I hate doing this this way. One of these days I am going to stock up and just buy groceries based on what we are low on. Stock up on stuff when there are sales. We in the US are gearing up for Memorial day. Hot dogs, burgers, ribs, sausages will be on sale. Stock up on those things and you won’t need to purchase again until Labor Day when they are back on sale.
I don’t do coupons. Yes, I know how much you can save when using them, but what coupons do I use. Cleaning products? No, I make my own. Laundry products? Maybe, I do use a pretreater once in a while. Cereal? Nope, I use oatmeal, homemade pancakes, waffles, toast, the list goes on and on. Snacks, nooooo I weigh enough now. Besides, if I make them then at least I know what is in them! I know yogurt! Nope, I make my own with rare exceptions (I mean rare exceptions). Shampoo and conditioner, maybe, for a while anyway. When we come back from Mexico I am going to try the baking soda shampoo idea. To me saving money with coupons only works if you actually use the products.
I complete freebie offers. I have found a site that has scam free freebies. I’ve gotten lots of coffee, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, cleansers, laundry soap, etc. This is wonderful. You get happy mail and free stuff! I don’t fill out questionnaires, I just fill out them name and address stuff. The site is http://www.scamfreesamples.com/latest-free-samples. It is the only one I trust. Although right now the samples aren’t that great.
Give me your ideas. I would love the feed back!