Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reduced for Quick Sale

Now that were home and back in the swing of things, its time to deal with groceries again. I had been really cutting back when hubby was job-hunting, since it was something I could do to help our finances. However, now that he is working again we both agree that eating well and eating HEALTHY is our top priority. I have bumped our grocery budget back up! Before the layoff, I really wasn't paying attention to what we spent and was very surprised when I went back over receipts and found we were spending $800-900 per month. Now that I AM paying attention, I think we can eat the way we want for $500-600 per month. This includes all health/beauty items, diapers and vitamins/supplements as well.

As I've mentioned before, we try to buy mostly organic and mostly fresh items to cook from scratch. That makes it hard to use alot of coupons, thought there are some out there. I concentrate our organic items to milk, eggs, flour, pasta, the "dirty dozen" fruits/veggies, meat when I can find it cheap enough, and whatever cereal or crackers we buy. I have found that the best way to get deals on these items is to find them reduced for quick sale. We have popped in and out of grocery stores more often than usual in the past week due to all the traveling and party preparations. This gave me alot of opportunity to scour the aisles for reduced items, and with good results. One store tends to mark down the organic milk every so often, and when they do I stock up. Another has a large organic section and periodically marks items down on the shelves because they aren't selling. I have also found that when regular milk or meat are on sale really cheap, people buy less of the organic and if I go in towards the end of the sale cycle, I'll find that they have marked down the organic stuff since it didn't sell. This week, I got 4 packages of organic chicken, 5 half gallons of Horizon milk ($1 each!!), and 4 boxes of organic cereal. I was happy to find a coupon for one of the brands of cereal online and print it, so two of the boxes cost only 99 cents each. I also got a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $1.00. I made organic yogurt from some of the milk to stock us up. I later went to Target and bought 4 pounds of Laura's beef for $2.99 a pound and 3 packages of frozen wild-caught salmon, 1 1/2 pounds per package, for $6.99 each. At a third store we had popped into, 8 oz packages of shredded cheese were $1 each, so I stocked up on those. This will really help with entrees for the next couple of weeks!

For other shopping, I focused on fresh fruits and veggies in season. I LOVE spring, since all our favorites are in season and on sale! Fresh asparagus, broccoli crowns and tomatoes were all .99 per pound. Organic strawberries were $2.99 per pound, and cataloupe were 2/$1! ( I bought 6--my kids love cantaloupe!) I also got mangoes 3/$1 and a fresh pineapple for $1.25 after a coupon printed online. I rounded it out with 6 pounds of organic apples that cost way too much and some regular bananas. We are fortunate to have fresh organic spinach and lettuce from my parents garden, so we are in good shape.

My only other great find was diapers. The Kroger brand were on sale for $5.99, and I had printed two coupons for $3 off, so I got them for $2.99 each. I was pretty excited about that.

After a quick run through the aisles for brown rice, beans, a few frozen veggies, some pesto, coffee, etc we are set on groceries. This was on Monday, and I made a menu plan of entrees to last two weeks. I will need to restock fresh fruits and veggies this coming Monday. I total I spent $143. The total saved through sales, coupons and reduced items is $92. I'm glad to be eating a better variety again!
In my next post, I'll run through our menu plan and talk about some of the items I was able to batch-cook and freeze using these sale items.

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