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
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