Ok, so who is living in a whirlwind already since school started up this year? I see preschools are starting back this week and we are all still adjusting. My oldest is in Kindergarten as I have mentioned a few times. We also have Cheer practice 2 times a week and Dance once a week. Thankfully it is just one activity a day, but that has Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday pretty busy, as well as our Saturdays for games. Meal planning and sticking to our budget and food allergy restrictions can get crazy if we don’t make a plan.
First of all, we coupon. I am not a crazy coupon person, but If I only get coupons for the items I already purchase, it is still saving me money. I do shop at several different stores, but I make a plan and make it worth my while. Here is a basic idea of what I do so maybe it can work for you.
1. I work near Bi-Lo and Food Lion.
a. Bi-Lo doubles coupons up to .99 each day. So I stop by there with items that I have coupons for and pick those items up so as not to waste gas.
b. Food Lion near us has awesome varieties of meat marked down on Mondays. I grab up several cuts usually under $5 each to make up any meats we need for the week or if an exceptionally good deal, to freeze. Also to grab up some generic items like breads, milk, etc
2. Aldi’s has awesome deals on veggies and fruits that are in season. I stop by there once a week to pick up the bags of fruit, onions, potatos, and even the frozen fruit. Most of the time, they have the cheapest milk and their bread is free of HFCS which is HUGE for us.
3. Walmart is where I usually grab our diapers and formula. I have found it to be the cheapest to buy their brand of both, unless I can combine a sale with coupons somewhere. We also cloth diaper so that helps too. Baby food- I pick up their brand of baby food as well.
4. CVS is also by my work so if I am low on formula or bottle liners, I will pick it up from there so save us running around to waste gas.
Now, I do not make any special trips for any of this, and I use a list. If it is NOT on the list, I do not get it. Hubby and I do tend to forget items, but we usually can find a way to survive without it most of the times, until the next trip. We make our stops based on where we are already heading to or from. So on nights we have cheer practice we pass Walmart and Aldi. Heading home from work, I stop by CVS, Bi-Lo, or Food Lion.
Once I make my list- I see what coupons I have. I know that I already have only clipped coupons or printed them out from coupons.com if I know I will use them. These could be for creamer, yogurt, snacks, etc.
I like my list to be cute and fun, so I use this one I found. I like that it is separated by group or department.
(get this list by clicking the link above)
I make every trip count. My husband and I work hard for our money, and I would rather spend it on something fun instead of throwing it away because we could have been smarter about things. We like Dave Ramsey and have followed his program to get out of debt. One of his quotes stands out; Live like no one else, so that you can LIVE like no one else. He also points out what we COULD be doing for others, for the church, if we were debt free- then we could GIVE like no one else. I don’t know about you, but when I think of things in that context, it makes it hard for me to throw money away on frivolous things, when I could give that money to a worthy cause. It may not seem like much, but even if I save $5 at the store using coupons, I could use that money to purchase food items for a backpack ministry, or that could be $20 a month to give to something like World Vision or other monthly charities. It is easy to carve out money to give with just a small amount of planning!
Next week I will share with you how we keep meal planning simple, budget friendly and healthy.
(Some of the links included in this post help support my shopping and savings habit. Thanks for your support!)