After weeks of reading other's Frugal Friday tips over at Biblical Womanhood, I have decided to jump in and participate in the fun.
This week, Crystal has some good recommendations for those that are just starting out on the frugal lifestyle. She states that starting slowly, keeping it simple and setting parameters are things that we need to do in order to start the frugal lifestyle. I totally agree! You definitely don't want to overwhelm yourself when you are just starting out. She goes on to ask us to write about how we use our time wisely when it comes to frugality? and also what methods we have found to work effectively and efficiently for saving money but still getting the good deals?
As for using my time wisely:
- I do all of my shopping in one day! I take about 4 hours to get the shopping done.
- I prepare myself the night before by looking through the weekly ads and making a spreadsheet as to where the good deals are and then when I am done I start to make the decisions as to what stores to go for that particular week.
- I have made up a master grocery list that is posted on my fridge so that when I am out of something or low on stock I can circle/highlight that item so that I know to get it at the shopping trip.
- I have made a master meals suggestion list of breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, and snack ideas so that when making menus it is just a matter of plugging it into the day that it will work best.
As for methods I have several that I use when thinking about grocery shopping:(in no particular order)
1. Only go to the stores that have more than a half dozen items as good deals or loss leaders! This way I only end up going to maybe 3 stores for all of my shopping needs for the week rather than a half dozen or more stores!
2. Make and use a price book so that I know I am getting the best price possible.
3. Buy in bulk. I go to Sam's Club once a month and get certain items(meat, and baking supplies) that I know it is the best price rather than getting it in the grocery store.
4. If I find a good deal/loss leader, stock up!(if the budget allows)
5. Shop in the morning hours if possible, so that I can take advantage of the markdown meats and produce. For instance, one of the stores that I go to around the 10am-11am hour is discounting meats by 30%-40% that have a sell by date of that day or the next day. I usually will look through and get a few packages of discounted meat and take them home and put them in freezer right away or use them for dinner that night.
6. Make menus out of what I have on hand in the freezer or the pantry BEFORE I look at the weekly ads. This way, I can just shop the good deals/loss leaders to help fill in the gaps in the menu. Also working with what you have on hand before going to the store helps to rotate the stock that you have so you don't end up with food that you will have to throw out because it has gone bad(hence wasting money and time)!
I have found that these methods are what works best for me. For others' frugal tips, resources, and thoughts head over to Biblical Womanhood and check them out!