Monday, February 23, 2009

Shopping for Groceries


Today is grocery day.  Grocery day is a new thing for me - it used to be grocery days, grocery every-other-day, grocery twice a day...  I used to buy groceries whenever I had the craving to try something new.  I probably visited the grocer four to five times a week.  And although I am feeding six people one week, seven on the opposite week (my Grandma lives with us every other week), my grocery bill was wildly out of control!  

My new plan is far more structured which is something that, on most occasions, I thrive on.  

~First of all, I keep a running list next to my laptop in the kitchen which everyone is encouraged to add to when things run low.  I have gotten quite good at writing things down as soon as I either open the last of something or notice I am out of an item.  I find that if I don't write it down right away, I will most certainly forget~

~Second, I plan out my meals for the week and make sure I have what I need.  That way I can see the entire week together and make sure that I am planning a variety of meals for my boys.  I love looking through my cookbooks for different ideas, seasonal inspiration, and fun desserts that we haven't tried.

~I then separate my lists into the different stores that I shop at.  In the winter I shop at Trader Joe's for as much as I can get there, Costco for the larger things that I know I will use (I only visit Costco once every 3-5 weeks), and the regular grocery for things that I can't get at Trader Joe's.  In the spring, summer, and autumn, I try and grow as much as I can in the gardens, and also shop at Yakima Fruit Market. Yakima opens in March (the 4th this year) and for me, it really marks the start of spring!  I am counting the days...

~Of course, I ALWAYS bring my own re-usable bags to the grocery.  I keep a supply in my SUV, and also have a cute little nylon bag that I keep in my purse for emergencies which unfolds to the size of a plastic grocery bag.  I refuse to use plastic bags due to their effect on the enviroment (I will take paper if I don't have a bag and it is available) but have been known to carry my groceries out in my cart without a bag if I have forgotten mine...

~There are times when I don't have a meal plan, and as I won't go to the grocery on my non-grocery days (okay, I would if I desperately needed something, but really am trying to keep to my schedule) I am really enjoying going through my pantry and back freezer and getting creative about meals.  It helps me use things that I don't often use - things which I bought PB (pre-budget) spontaneously, without a plan.  I love using up things that I haven't had a need for and turning over my supply!

We just received our first visa bill since I had begun my attempt to be economical.  Granted the budget started part-way into the bill, but I was still down about $300-400.  I am really looking forward to the coming bill!

Happy Shopping my friends~

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Making lunches, saves us bunches...

Every week day morning I make four lunches for our family to take along for the day. We keep it easy and simple: wraps, sandwiches, leftovers, apple sauce, chips, cheese stix, nuts, meats, crackers, fresh fruit and juice in containers saves our family of four so much money every week!

Our family favorite lunch boxes from the Container store:
These little juice containers are great and save money compared to packing juice boxes for the kids everyday. You just have to remind kids to flip the straw closed when they are done, or they leak.
Also handy are these freezer packs to help keep things cold.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coupon Web Sites

I have put together a list of websites that have advice on coupons as well as saving money online. To be honest, I have never been a coupon girl.  That being said, our local news station just had a story in which they showed a receipt where two women who shop together spent just under $2 for over $100 worth of groceries.  Seriously.  Thus, I have decided to do a bit of research and see what it takes to accomplish what they do.  I am always up for a challenge...  

I found this article which offers five websites that help you save money through coupons:

There are also some existing blogs that are great for advice/coupons/money saving tips:

We are always happy to hear your thoughts and have you share your personal stories on saving money and being frugal with style!


A quick FYI...

On Oprah today they are showcasing thrifty families and advice on clipping coupons and saving on groceries.

Definitely worth seeing!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who Knew?

This morning while visiting my daily blog list, I came upon this post, which made me laugh, but also made me wonder how many of us didn't know about it.
Did you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Beginning

I think that this has been coming for some time now.  With the present economy and most people we know being affected in one way or another, there has been a need to regroup - to network and to find new (and old) ways to keep things rolling when our lives are changing.  The sharing of information is incredibly powerful.  Add to that the survival instincts of women, and you have a knowledge base that can keep people afloat in difficult economic times.

Wanda and I were talking this morning about how to reduce our monthly costs.  Okay, we were actually discussing high grocery bills when one must feed a house FULL of boys.  We were passing ideas for saving money back and forth and discussing who else we knew that would be a good resource for ideas.  I mentioned that it would be nice to have a web-based resource that a group could contribute to with their fabulous ideas and suggestions.  Thus, the Kitchen Co-op blog was started.

I hope that people will freely share their thoughts and ideas so that we can all benefit from the experience and knowledge of such an incredible group of (mostly) women.  I look forward to seeing where these ideas take us and how much we are able to adapt to this new way of sharing information to continue living these amazing lives that we do.