Monday, May 5, 2008

Grocery budgets and COUPONING

I have successfully managed to reduce our $50/week grocery expenses down to $40/week. Whew. Fortunately, the challenge of working meals around what's on sale, and comparing prices between stores, is one my brain appreciates and enjoys.

Unfortunately, I think that to get our food costs down to $30, my real goal, will take something a little extra -- especially with rising food costs. I fear it may take COUPONING.

Don't get me wrong, I use coupons. Sometimes. When I see them in the paper for something we buy anyway and remember to take them to the store. But I don't... I don't coupon. Coupon, for me, is not a verb. And I'm not sure I have what it takes.

Anyway, this week, for 37.32, we bought: three cans of broth, four cans of frozen juice, four little yogurts, arborio rice, 3 bell peppers, gallon freezer bags, 2 boxes of eggo waffles, a pound of squash, a gallon of organic milk, three pounds of onions, three pounds of grapes, a bunch of spinach, a bit of chile powder, 2 pounds of bananas, a pound of carrots, a bunch of celery, two mangos, and a bunch of cilantro. Oh, and a mother's day card.

As I look at that, I guess couponing won't quite be necessary. Granted, this week we had a full pantry that meant we didn't need to buy any beans, rice, or nuts, and we were all set on butter, cheese and eggs... but still. The rice and the mangos were luxuries (for a total of $2 -- yeah, I'm crazy like that), and the organic milk was a combination of my guilty conscience and a serious sale, but was still several bucks more than the good-old-fashioned hormone-filled junk. If you subtract those and the mother's day card, that would put us right about at $30.

And while we usually need to buy a few more staples, we also usually don't buy as much produce. So maybe I can do this without becoming a coupon-downloading, coupon-doubling, fanatic savings-seeking COUPONER. I mean no insult to couponers, really. In fact, I am jealous of your mad skillz. But I think these are not skillz I was meant to have.

(If you have sharp eyes, you may have noticed the arborio rice... oh yes. I am going to make risotto. I don't believe I have ever even had risotto. And all those vegetables? Yup, I'm going to make my own stock, too.

Ambition, thy name is Camila. *wibbles*

1 comment:

Steve said...

Hi Camilla,

If you'd like to read some great cost saving advice both for food and for other areas of life see if you can borrow The Tightwad Gazette (Volumes 1-3) : promoting thrift as a viable alternative lifestyle, from your local library. Some of her tips include buying staple foods in bulk or when they are on sale, cooking from scratch and calculating the cost per serving of your meals to get a feel for what a serving of your favorite foods really costs.

- Steve