I am doing my weekly grocery planning. I LOVE doing this. I love doing a little inventory of what I have, writing a menu, and then making up a grocery list. I like the structure. I like knowing where my money is going. If you are saying, “I don’t have time to do this” you are lying to yourself. If I said I wasn’t a bit of a nerd, I’d be lying to myself.
Some people make their list based on coupons. I covet their devotion. I do quite the opposite. I look at the coupons I have, and if they are for products required for a dish I like to make I add that dish to my menu, and use the coupons. For instance, this week there was a coupon for Campbell’s soup. I need Cream of Mushroom soup to make Tuna Casserole… so guess what we’re eating this week.
Snacks, this is where you can save a bundle, and keep some weight off. I buy peanuts in the shell, whole fruit, or make my own. That’s right, I make baked french fries, cookies, bread, among other things. Carrots (it’s cheaper to buy them whole and cut them yourself) and dip, apples, grapes, and homemade goodies save us a ton! Not only are the packaged snacks full of chemicals, they are expensive (yes even the generics) compared to making your own. This goes for breakfast too, oatmeal vs cereal. Minute oats go farther than the largest box of cereal, are healthier, and cost about the same as generic cereal.
Meats are generally the most expensive item on any grocery list. I can ALWAYS find coupons for “pre-cooked” meats, although I very rarely buy them. They are full of chemicals that are banned in other countries because they are proven to be cancer causing. That being said, I do have two sons and every once in a while I do use one of those coupons. If you are a fan of chicken nuggets, or other frozen meats there is no reason to pay full price, EVER. Your Sunday paper will have coupons for these. It is much harder to find coupons for fresh meats. I suggest shopping the “Manager’s Specials” (generally each store has a “Manager’s Special” day each week). Manager’s Specials are the meats that are closest to expiring and are discounted, JUST BE SURE TO PUT THEM I THE FREEZER AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME! Due to the fact that it’s cheap, I use a lot of ground turkey, and once every couple of weeks I will buy a whole chicken or a rump roast. I also use canned tuna. When it comes to any type sea food I won’t compromise my brand choice. Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna is fished responsibly and without the use of nets. It’s my money and I am not going to use it to support the destruction of my husbands office (he is a “deep-sea” diver), and our greatest resource. It is important to have discretion as to who you are giving your money to. You may think you are voting with a ballot, but you really vote with your wallet.
So if you want to save SIGNIFICANT money on groceries, plan your menu THEN your list. Plan to make your own snacks, and shop for deals on meats. Not only is it gloriously fun to make snacks with your kids, it teaches them great habits. Don’t be afraid of couponing, it will save you money.