So following up from yesterdays post, here is part two of what I am doing to try and save money to help pay down my debt..
Food Shopping: The Man and I food shop once a month, yes, Monthly. We live on a fixed income so it is easier to budget this way and it saves money too. Just remember, every time you go to the food store not only are paying for your food but your’e also using more gas and paying sales tax each and every time. Where I live Sales Tax on food is 9% which usually adds an extra $10.00 to my monthly food bill. Imagine if I food shopped once a week and had to pay that 9% each time? It adds up.
I buy a lot of store brand items. I am not brand loyal. I don’t use a lot of coupons because for what we buy there generally aren’t any. Myself and the Man do not eat processed foods, junk food etc. I shop at Walmart Superstore and even though I dislike Walmart for a few reasons the truth is they are the cheapest around where I live and I have to go where my money will go the farthest.
We also shop at COSTCO once a month but only for a few items. Every six months or so we will stock up on meat such as steaks, pork loin and pork chops as well as garbage bags of which I buy the Kirkland brand and one box usually last me almost all year long.. We also don’t eat beef chopmeat (yuck) so I buy turkey chopmeat. Our favorite brand is Shadybrook farms so this I will buy at Walmart. As for chicken, I wait to see when that is at it’s lowest price and I will stock up on that at Food Lion. This past Easter, Food Lion had huge hams on sale for $0.99 per pound. So I bought three of them. One we had on Easter, I also got a huge pot of split pea and ham soup out of it. The other two are frozen and out of those I will get dinners, sandwich meat and soup. I do the same thing when turkeys go on sale.
I dont peruse the isles in COSTCO because thats how you get in trouble and I only buy what I know we need and use. Each month is the same. I buy paper towel, toilet paper maybe, if we have run out from the month before and most times I only buy this once every two months. Swiffer wet refills (with 7 dogs these are a must have) and the Man loves loves loves COSTCO muffins so we get two trays of muffins in what ever flavor he likes for $6.00..I also purchase six gallons of milk each month at COSTCO because where I live it’s the cheapest around at $2.79 a gallon and then I freeze them and take them out when needed. We use about six a month. If COSTCO has good coupons on dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, body wash etc I will also stock up on those but again, these I only have to buy maybe twice a year when I buy in bulk.
Before I go food shopping: I shop my kitchen!.. I make a list of everything in my pantries, refrigerator and freezers (we have two)..I see what I have first. This has saved me A LOT of money in the last few months.
I meal plan. Now I have to admit I was the worst when it came to this. I couldn’t understand how this could save me money so I pretty much resisted it for a long time. Once I tried it, I won’t ever not do it.. By planning out meals for the month before going food shopping, I can then see what ingredients I already have in my kitchen so I don’t buy doubles or even triples. Before meal planning I would do that a lot.
Lastly: I freezer cook. Over the last months few months I have cooked full meals on weekends that includes the main portion be it meat, pasta whatever as well as sides, Vegetable, potatoes, rice etc… I also own a Food Saver. After I have cooked I then break everything into meals, pop them in the food saver bags, mark them and freeze them. Now when dinner time rolls around, I grab a meal out of the freezer, put it in a pot of boiling water for a few moments it defrosts, it’s hot and ready …Maybe two nights a week I may make something that I haven’t already cooked for the freezer but mostly its freezer meals and they taste as fresh as the day I cooked them. I can’t stress enough the value of owning a Food Saver.
Our monthly food budget is $500.00. I know some people spend more than that because they have large families. It’s just the Man and myself and we dont eat alot. Believe it or not, most of the that budget is used on the dogs. Between food and medicines. Two of my furry ones are diabetics and they need special food to the tune of $60.00 per bag. I usually only need one then there are the other guys who’s food is $40.00 a month for two, 40 pound bags, I also have to buy some canned food because two of my other littles have tummy troubles and this seems to agree with them when mixed with the sixty dollar food. Plus Insulin costs about $26.00 per bottle and if I need two per month, well you do the math. Insulin needles are $13.00 per box you get 10 packages with 10 needles per pack. We use four needles per day times that buy 30 or 31 and well, you do the math again so sometimes I have to spend $26.00 a month just on needles.
Most months I try very hard to save on the food budget so that I will have enough left over to run over to Food Lion (I only buy my produce there) and grab some tomatoes, lettuce etc for salads if the Man feels like having one but I stick to my monthly food budget. I do not buy anything that is not on my list. If it is not a necessity , we don’t need it..
Is it easy living like this? No it’s not..but it’s very possible. I am trying little by little
have to drag the Man kicking and screaming still to learn and put into practice, ‘living below our means’..We are just beginning so it’s a work in progress. I do hope you’ll stay with me as I make this journey.