1.27.2010

Cha-ching

A few months ago I posted this about how I feed my family well for $200 a month.  I've recently made some changes and thought I would share.  I'm always interested in how others save money and do their shopping, and obviously this isn't for everyone, but it works for us.

First, I kicked Walmart to the curb (man I hate those guys).  It doesn't mean I won't ever shop there, or do price matching once in a while, but for now, I'm doing it the old fashioned way, which is to say, I'm going to several different stores a month, and stocking up on the best sales.  I decided this, because I noticed more and more stores offering store coupons for spending a certain amount of money there.  I realized that I was missing out on some great deals this way.

Here is an example of just one of my shopping excursions.  Last night I went to Vons and Glaziers.  I made my list, pretty much the way I always do.  I went through all the adds, and made a list of their best sale items, and them made some meal ideas of what I could make with these ingredients off to the side.  Almost all of the items I wanted were at these two stores, so I decided to spend a little extra on tomatoes, and to forgo one of the sale items at the other stores, so that I could limit myself to just two stores.  Here's what I ended up with:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

From Glazier's
5 lbs. of grapes
7.5 lbs. of oranges
6 cucumbers
4 heads of cabbage
5 limes
5.6 lbs. of apples
2 packages of thinwich wheat
2.29 lbs. tomatoes
5 lb. bag of flour (free for spending $25 at the store)
1 lb. bag of pasta (free for spending $25 at the store) 
1 jar of pasta sauce (free for spending $25 at the store)
1 broccoli bunch (free for spending $25 at the store)

Total Cost at Glazier's:  25.33

From Vons
2 gallons of milk
2 packages of frozen 1 lb. bags of mixed vegetables
2 packages of skinny cow ice cream sandwiches
5 lb. Boneless Cross Rib Roast
13 lbs. 80% lean ground beef
9 lb. pork tenderloin
15 lbs. Idaho potatoes

Total Cost at Vons:  52.79

Total Cost for Trip:  78.12

These will make some really good meals for us.  We'll have roasts, stews, soups, stroganoff, pasta, hamburgers, barbaque beef and pork sandwiches, loaded baked potatoes, stir fry's etc... We'll snack on fruit, and homemade bread, and we will eat well.  Even though, in reality, the meat I purchased will be spread out for months, along with chicken and other produce and canned goods we already have, along with some breakfast for dinner's and other good stuff, we could eat only this for a month along with some extra diary, and grains etc and do just fine...  I tried to do a rough estimate of how much more I will spend this month.  This is what I came up with:

Last nights shopping:  $78.12 (round up to $80)
Homemade bread for a month: $5.00
More Milk and eggs for a month: $15.00
Grains bought in bulk (oatmeal, cereal, beans, rice, etc.) $20.00 (I think this is a high estimate)
Another shopping trip for produce and misc.  $30.00

Total price for the month:  $150.00

And this is truly eating well.  There are two things that I noticed when I looked at my receipts and the table of food-- one, is that every item I bought was one of the stores biggest sale items, and two, with the exception of the free items I got at Glazier's and my ice cream sandwiches and frozen vegetables, every item was either fresh produce or meat.

I really think that for us, the cheapest way to eat is to do it this way.  We make most things from scratch, buy our grains in bulk, and buy only the cheapest store sale items, and work our meals around them.  The meals we eat are healthy and yummy (most of the time).  I also like to have some extra wiggle room in our finances, so that I can splurge a bit for things I love at Trader Joe's and Costco.  It's nice to have some flexibility.

So there you have it.  No more baby eaters for me (please refer to this post if you have no idea where that came from)!