Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frugality

We are still picking green beans from the garden. It’s our 2nd picking of the same plants. What a blessing! Mr. Steady is discussing how we’ll enlarge the gardens next year…. Preplanning now, prepping the ground so that it will be ready next spring. It’s quite a rush to sit down to a dinner where at least 75% of the meal came from yours or your neighbor’s garden.


I’ve taken extra time lately to update my grocery price book and work on continuing to trim the grocery budget. I have found The Grocery Shrink to be very interesting…. I purchased her Grocery Shrink e-book and while I have found that I already do a lot of the stuff she discusses in the first 20 or so pages, I do enjoy all the recipes at the end of the book plus the cleaning solution recipes so I believe it was worth the $10 purchase. We already have a family grocery budget of $60 per person per month but I am always eager to find more ways to save. Reading the e-book has spurred me to kick my menu planning up a notch….. especially since the horrid heat of the last few weeks knocked my menu planning for a loop. Anyhoo- I inventoried my fridge, pantry and freezer and put together a five week menu plan. I then made a list for each week of needed groceries and another list of groceries I would like to stock up on if the price is right and there is some extra grocery money. It is my plan to stay as close to these lists as I possibly can and not fall prey to purchasing items not on my list, like junk food, pop and prepackaged goodies.

I consider myself to be a pretty frugal gal. I do 80% of my grocery shopping at Aldi’s and the other 20% at the big box stores on sale items. We have a nice sized garden (especially considering we live in town) and swap our over-abundance of produce with other gardeners for yummy items we don’t grow…. I do a lot of freezing of garden produce (haven’t quite got up the gumption to can). We don’t eat out often, instead we have dinner twice a month with friends, taking turns hosting meals. Mr. Steady and I have grown quite fond of grocery dates…. Doing the grocery shopping just the two of us and sharing a frozen Coke or special coffee before coming home to the kiddos. We eat lots of casseroles and I just love my crockpot— my mom says every frugal gal uses a crockpot.

Overall, I don’t think that what I do to keep the grocery bills down is difficult. I don’t clip coupons, as I found when I did I purchased items or brands I wouldn’t normally buy and this didn’t seem like frugal spending to me plus I find coupon clipping tedious and we don’t get a daily or weekly paper (I read the news online). However, my mother-in-law is a coupon clipper and will sometimes give me coupons for things she knows we like and use but this only happens once in a blue moon. Besides, I do the bulk of my shopping at Aldi’s and they don’t take coupons. I don’t purchase a lot of prepackaged items like hamburger helper or granola bars or pop tarts or Hostess or Little Debbie. BUT- we do like our boxed mac-n-cheese (Aldi’s brand) and Mr. Conductor couldn’t make it more than a day without his favorite Oreos (or the knock-off Aldi’s brand that I purchase and we call Oreos). We don’t drink a lot of soda pop and we limit ourselves to drinking water between meals and sometimes, gasp!- we even only drink water with a meal. So far the kids have survived. As a rule, I don’t buy Kool-aid. I know it’s cheap but that’s a lot of sugar and my kids get plenty of sugar (see Oreos). In the summer we love to add sliced lemons or limes to our water and in the winter we use sliced oranges for added flavor.

Hmmm….. Interesting that how I started this post and where my writing has taken me…. Now I’ve got a bunch of posting ideas about frugality swimming thru my brain. So, perhaps I will be posting more of my family’s take on frugal living.

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