A lesson in saving

Since embarking on my temporary voyage as a married single mom last month I’m all about saving money. Having not one but two households solely dependent on one income means I’ll be budgeting to the max. While Cycling Papa (aka formerly known as Hubby, shortly to be known as CP) assures me that all is well I did notice he went out to dinner twice this week and attended a housewarming party that surely required a gift. (Whether he bought one or not is a different story. Do men think to bring a gift?) As is customary in Germany (or so I’m told) he also eats out for lunch in the cafeteria or the biergarten daily.

In a Woman’s Day magazine my mother in law had lying around I came across a featured cover article on saving money on groceries entitled Kitchen Confidential. (April 09 issue, p. 112) Sounds good right? I thought so too.

Eagerly I turned to the article anticipating some great ways to save money. However after reading the article I felt like saying DUH! It’s not that the tips are bad, some are quite good but they were really along the lines of things most people already know.

“Don’t pay for convenience”

Individual portions of crackers in a ‘value pack’ are really just more costly than buying the full size box and dividing it yourself into appropriate portions. I think most people already know that.

“Buy big and freeze”

That was another tip. It sounds great in theory but have you ever tried it? You end up with tons of tiny freezer burned Ziploc baggies of who knows what cluttering up the freezer. That’s one tip I’ve tried and abandoned.

All in all it was a worthwhile article to remind me what money saving ideas there are. But I didn’t learn anything new or helpful. I would much rather ask all my readers for their advice on saving money be it at the grocery store or elsewhere. I’m learning that the box of Cheerios I bought the last time I shopped in America 3 ½ years ago costs quite a bit more in today’s market.

So what do you do to cut costs and save money day to day? Can you offer up better tips than Woman’s Day?

15 thoughts on “A lesson in saving

  1. Ok, here are my tips. Coupons. Not just one from the Sunday paper. BUT 3-6 Sunday papers, then also online coupons. So, you wait and save to use those coupons when the item is on SALE! Like the BBQ sauces I just got onsale for .99. Pulled out my 8 BBQ sauce coupons at either .50 off of 1.00 off! So half of my BBQ sauces were only .50 the others FREE!! ANd I am stocked up with 8 bottles of bbq sauce for the next few months! I was just thinking of doing this this stuff on my food blog. When school gets back in session and I have more time.The other idea… is what you don't like to do. Famiy packs of meat, chicken, etc. I place them in quart size bags, with how many pieces, etc. Then rebag again into a gallon size bag. So, each small bag will say 3 chicken breasts bought on 7/30/09. bigger bag will say 4 bags of chicken breast bought on ….. cant wait to see other ideas.

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  2. I need to read your comments! I am all about paying for convenience. I hate pulling skin off chicken. And if I buy a big bag of chips, I'll eat the whole thing. So we only buy the kid sized bags.My big money saving tip is to use the library. A few years ago when we got out of debt that was the big thing that I agreed to do. No more buying books unless the library doesn't have it. I love going to the bookstore. With pen and paper in hand. I make a list…check it out more on amazon. And then reserve at the library.As for saving at the grocery…we do secret shopping for Publix…so that gives us a very little bit towards the grocery bill. Ummm…that's all I have. For the moment!

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  3. I paraphrase Misty re:things on sale, “Can you afford to save that much money?”Also, we've trimmed our grocery budget quite a bit by eating vegetarian more and by really planing menus so that I use the entire bag of carrots instead of just 2 before they go bad…

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  4. I hear your commenter about just because it's on sale doesn't mean you need it, but there's the counter point: if it's a good deal and you use the product, STOCK UP. Yes, that week's bill will be higher, but overall you'll save.(This works really well for non-perishables like paper towels or TP or the like.)

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  5. I recently have started following coupon blogs! They have given me great ideas to get started with! And like an above reader said don't buy it if its on sale but you don't need it!! However, if its on sale plan your menu around it! I shop at discount groceries, and farmers markets! I make a 2 week menu and shop for only what I need! This helps so very much!!!

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  6. Um yeah. Gotta love those women's mags. Their sex tips are just as ridiculously obvious. (“Wear something sexy to bed!” Really? I thought I'd toss on my dirty workout clothes and sweaty gym socks!)I'm definitely for coupon cutting. And have you gone over to BJs or one of those types of clubs? I am still on the fence whether you save money with some of those super-size items. But things that are non-perishable like paper towels, TP, garbage bags, etc are always in need and probably a decent deal in bulk.Good luck!

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  7. I do what Debbie does. I make a menu for two weeks and then make my grocery list off of that. I also do what Missty does with the extra papers (one of my sil's delivers them so she shares-and my my mom and mil save me their coupons) and I'll get coupons off the internet. Unfortunately there are no places less than 45 min that does double couponing but if I happen to remember when I'm in town, I'll hit up Albertsons or even Kmart which does. We have a Wally world here and they accept other store coupons so I search for those when its grocery day. It seems like a lot of work at first but really only takes a few minutes once you start. Some of the stores are even letting you put the coupon directly onto your perferred card so that's a little less clipping! Good luck, tell us how your budgeting is going.

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  8. I hear coupons can save you a bundle, just hasn't quite worked for me too well. I will however buy the store brand vs. the leading brand for lots of products. I love hearing the cashier say 'You saved $20 today' b/c I bought Safeway baggies rather than the Glad kind. Good luck!!

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  9. No comment? No, I do buy and package myself. Not only does it save money, but it is so much better for our environment. I always use reusable containers for lunches, so they throw very little away. We buy our beef and pork fresh, and it saves us a ton of money and is so much better tasting {or so hubs says. I don't eat red meat!}

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  10. This wasn't so true a few years back, but I've noticed lately that the “store” brands of stuff usually taste just as good as the “name” brand stuff. Especially with items like cereal, soup, pasta. And it's usually a lot cheaper.

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  11. I've tried the coupon route (I'm too disorganized for that), and the cook and freeze (small freezer, and hate freezerburn). We just got a new grocery store by us, Aldi's. I'd been driving about 45 minutes once a month to stock up there, but now that there's one around the corner? I can do an entire week's worth of grocery shopping (for myself, hubby, teenager, SIL, and SIL's fiancee, and whoever the extra is for that day) for well under $100. That's including breakfasts and lunches. If I'm just buying meal ingredients for dinner? It's usually under $50. They don't accept coupons, but their prices are so good, you don't need them.Comparison:Giant Food Store – lettuce $1.59/headRedner's Warehouse – lettuce $1.19/headAldi's – $0.29/head(That's the one comparison I remember off the top of my head 🙂

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  12. Seems like you've gotten your saving tips from your readers. I agree..coupons do save you more, if you remember to use them before they expire. These days the grocery stores have paper coupons in their store and they will even give you coupons attached to the receipts to go towards your next purchase. You will have to be organized though and plan ahead for those purchase. There are also coupons you find online.

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