Mar 24, 2010

Thursday: Market Day

Now I'm on a day that I've had quite a bit of success with in the past. When we first moved up north 12 years ago, all the grocery stores were allowing double coupons, even triple coupons. There were weeks when I was able to combine the loss leaders with the coupons and saved between 75 and 90% off my grocery bill! It was quite the adrenaline rush.

Since then, I've moved away from using coupons very much and I don't see that kind of savings any more. A lot of the coupons that are available in our area are for processed foods which I'm *trying* to be more vigilent about. The stores here also don't allow coupons printed from the internet. It's like they don't want me to pay less.

There are many, many, many websites that offer fantastic advice on saving money on groceries while eating well, though. (One of my very favorites is Farm Home Life.) I won't address that level.

Since I no longer use many coupons, I have to do things a bit differently. How did they do things in the past, before coupons and loss leaders and major competition? For me, here's how I've worked things out.

  • In the "old" days, they cooked from their supplies until they ran low.
  • So, I "shop from my pantry." Everything in the freezers and pantries are listed on my private blog. As I use things, I delete them. It's easier than standing in front of the cold freezer and digging around! The Modern Retro Woman gave a great piece of advice regarding this: shop the loss leaders for this week and then use them in NEXT week's menu planning! (I highly recommend her 30 days of money management tips emails. They're free!)
  • In the "old" days, the ladies had standard meals that they served regularly. Variety was NOT nearly as much of an option as it is today. When they went into town, they took a list of items they knew they needed to have on hand for those meals.
  • So, after I've completed my menus for the week, I use a grocery chart to write down what I need to buy. (Click HERE to see.) It's grouped by general areas rather than store layout as I don't always go to the same stores. I DO use different colors for different stores if I'm planning on stopping at more than one.
  • In the "old" days, most everyone lived within a budget. There were no credit cards. They did have charge accounts, but those usually had to be paid by a certain time or the credit would be cut off. Knowing this, the ladies made sure to keep their purchases well in their allotted amounts.
  • So, since I'm trying very hard to budget, I add up what I need to buy and see if I can keep it under a set amount. If it goes over, I look through and see what I can change or do without. Then I go to the bank and withdraw a rounded figure. I have my debit card with me in case there's a "must" purchase that needs to be bought, but that is now rare.
  • In the "old" days, (in this particular I'm talking about when *I* was young!), the shoppers used a little tally calculator to keep track as they went. My mom used one, and so did I when I first moved out on my own. It looked like this (anyone remember?):

  • So, at the "market" I keep a running total of the actual figures. I've tried to use a calculator, but I always end up bumping it and losing the info. I've also noted on my list a sort of running total (son does this for me), which is good for both of us. I do, though, really, really want one of those tally thingys! One day I'll break down and buy one.

I have to say that I've always hated grocery shopping. It's quite the drawn out process. It's a necessary one, though, so the more efficient I can make it, the better I'll like it.

Next time: Cleaning Day

Click HERE for all the days.


Packrat said...

Just a quick note for now. Coupons don't work here either. Like you said, most coupons are for processed foods. Also, most are for items that our local stores don't even carry.

I've been told that small store owners hate "manufacturers" coupons because the "manufacturers" often require a certain number or dollar amount before the store is reimbursed. The coupons also create quite a bit of paper work.

Mary R. said...

Yeah, I don't think stores really like them. Cute calculator! Yes, in the old days, my husband remembers his grandmother making a bit pot of stew, and that was for the week. No, you are right, there wasn't the variety we have today.

Eva Girl said...

Thanks for the modern retro woman link and I have to agree about the coupons - I've stopped using them.

Rebecca said...

I love the money tally! But I have a knack for keeping track...I'm like a sideshow freak for my family. Whenever we eat out, I predict the amount on the bill and I'm almost always within 50 cents. And at the grocery store, I keep a mental tally of what is going into my cart. Once...just once...I declared the total to my then pre-teens who were shopping with me, and when the total came up we were all astonished to hear that I had hit it EXACTLY! (Yes, you may call me amazing.) ;)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for mentioning me:)

I like your point about not having a lot of variety. Sometimes variety is not all it's cracked up to be.

It's probably safe to assume that most of us in our growing up years didn't have a lot of it and it's not like it was the end of the world.

I like the idea of making the same meal each week on a certain day. For example: Monday could be meatloaf night, Tuesday could be tacos, Wednesday porkchops. Boy, my hubby would love something like this -- he only eats one "real" meal a day and looks forward to it all day long!

Roxanne said...

Packrat--That's what comes of living on the frontier! That's what it feels like, sometimes. I went from the Big City in FL to Tiny Town LOL! We may not have as many conveniences, but I don't want to leave, either.

Mary--I'm torn. I like having the variety and looking forward to the culinary results. I also like the idea of food taking a "back burner" (HA!) to the activities and the meal being mostly for nourishment. Maybe I could alternate weeks and have the best of both. It would certainly help use up the leftovers from the week of feasting.

Eva Girl--You're welcome. Read through her whole blog--it's awesome!

Rebecca--COOL! You ARE truly amazing.

It takes a lot to impress pre-teens with "Mommy Powers." Do you know if you can pass this gift along? (I'll send my address if that will help.)

Organizing Mommy said...

YOu have a lot of good ideas here! I need to menu plan. Why do I fight it so much?? ugh. Thanks for commenting on my blog!

Roxanne said...

Organizing M--I do OK from the planning through to the shopping. It's the COOKING that brings me up short. I absolutely hate to cook and would eat macaroni 7 days a week (with a pizza thrown in once in a while) if I could!

Love your blog!

Packrat said...

I said I don't use coupons. Well, I guess I do sometimes and not only for food.

Here is a timely blog post:

You'll need to copy and paste - sorry. Anyway, I love these gals. Not all ideas work for us who live in the boonies, but they do have great ideas.

Roxanne said...

Packrat--I think I got that link from you when they first started. I pop over there from time to time and they ARE good!

Not being able to use the coupons from the internet is very limiting. Our Sunday paper coupons are pretty lame, too.

That doesn't mean that I don't use them when I can, though. I've just started "J" (son) into cutting and organizing them for me. He loves it. Works for me!

seesaw said...

love the little counter.

Roxanne said...

It IS awesome, isn't it? I'm on a serious search for one now...

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