Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Living a More Frugal Life

One of my goals each month to see if I can save more money that the previous month.  The only thing is the money cannot come directly out of a paycheck, bank account, or so forth. (Though that is great to do!)  The money I save has to be something that I have done to work for in order to make my life more frugal.  Oh what a challenge this has been, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it.

Well March has arrived.  Tonight I sat down to see how much I saved in February.  I saved my highest amount of money so far!!! Almost $150!!! ($147.15 to be exact)  You may ask how do I do this?  It is done in many different ways, but let me tell you what was almost over half of my savings - savings on groceries!  Yes I have fallen a victim of extreme couponing.  Let me tell you it takes time which as most of you may know I don't have a lot of, but somehow I have fit it in my schedule.  However, that's not all that has helped me with my grocery shopping.  Here is what I have started to do:

1) I made a plan back in January to only go to the grocery store twice a month.  I was going once a week, and I dreaded it each and every time.  Now, I have started going around the 1st and 3rd weekends of each month. 

2) Before I take out for that not so fun trip, I sit down and plan enough meals for a two week time span.  I make sure to plan for some easy meals, crock pot meals, desserts, and so forth.  I try to make sure that some of the things that I plan to cook will have enough for leftovers, because that allows Kevin and I to use it as lunch for the next day. 

3) Once I have my meals, I create a list of all the things I need for the meals I have planned for, everyday necessities, and other wants.  Everything from the ingredient list for a recipe goes down, because I do not want to get ready to cook the meal and not have it.  I go through our refrigerator and cabinets in order to mark things off the list that I may already have. (I wish we had a stockpile room, pantry, or something, but I will have to live with my few cabinets for now.)  With my list I know how many eggs I need, how many cups of flour I will need, and so forth.  I can easily mark things off my list that I have enough of already in my kitchen.

4)  With my final list, I sit down and go through my coupons.  (I will have to write down all my couponing tips later, but I carry a small organizer in my purse that I sort my coupons in.)  I pull out the coupons that I know I will use or think I may use.  I make sure that if I have more than one coupon for the same item that I pull the one that has the closest expiration date to my shopping trip. 

5) After I have my coupons ready, I head out to the grocery store.  Here is where my most life changing event has taken place.  I have always bought groceries in Brownsville at Wal-Mart, but I realized a few months back that I can save so much more by going to Kroger.  So, I typically travel to Covington to there Kroger.  (I would love to support my hometown, but this has been my best choice for myself.)  Kroger not only doubles coupons, but they also allow you to save lots of money by using your Kroger Savings Card.  I, also, can concentrate more on my grocery shopping, because I am not constantly seeing people I know.  (I am Queen of spending more time talking to other people than shopping when going to the local Wal-Mart. Joys of being in a small town.)

6) While at Kroger, I almost 100% stick to my list.  I try not to stray from the list.  I took a lot of time to prepare that list, and I know that I will have everything I need if I go by it.  A big mistake is if you go to the store and think something is a good deal and buy it just because.  Don't buy it unless you have a plan for it!

This is how I have saved $100 this past month just in grocery shopping alone.  I cannot wait to see how much I can save next month.

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