My sweet sister asked this question: "How do you get special things for yourself diet wise without driving up the cost of your grocery bill?"
We started couponing again in January. We have cut our bill just about in half. This helps us to buy the things that we don't eat, at a much better cost, allowing us a little wiggle room to get things that cost a bit more. I have also been able to get some things that we do eat for a much smaller amount. Example? I picked up 5 boxes of whole grain pasta for 25¢ a box. Also, getting our 'basket' every other week for $15...that saves us quite a bit in the veggie/fruit department! I am also having to learn that just because that cut of meat seems expensive, it's really not that bad when you break it down into price per serving. If I can get a pound of meat *beef for example* at $2.99/pound and am able to stretch that to feed all five of us, then it's only 60¢ *roughly* per serving, plus whatever we have for sides. The goal for me is to have meals that cost less than $1/serving *gosh...I'm starting to sound like my hubby when he's at work!!*
I am constantly comparing the sale ads to Sam's Club too because there is often a savings at one or the other. The example? I'm planning our menu for March and 90/7 ground beef is on sale for $2.99/lb, but I can get ground turkey at Sam's for $2.75/lb. Yeah it's only 24¢, but if the ground beef is sold in larger value paks, then I'll end up paying a wee bit more. And, we prefer ground turkey over beef anyway. Sam's also has the best deal on flour *at least right now.* I'll be snagging another 25lb bag of flour this month. I can't believe that in 2 months time, I've gone through an entire 25lb bag, but I have! Between the pancakes, the bread, and the pizza dough...we've certainly used it. And *just a small pat on my own back*, I told hubby that I wasn't going to buy bread for the girls in January and I've now gone 2 months without buying a loaf of bread for them! I've been leaning heavily on my delay timer on my bread machine. Why would I ever make bread any other way again?
So what's on our menu for March? The staples: chicken *I'm getting a couple of roasting chickens this month too as I am about out of stock (aka broth) in the freezer*, pancakes, hot dogs, and the new favorite staple...mom's homemade pizza. I know you're probably getting sick of this same list, but my girls don't. It's a little predictability. To round out our menu, we're getting some pork, we're having the aforementioned pasta, and we'll alternate between tacos & sloppy joes *the homemade kind.*
Sometimes stuff just isn't on sale, but you do the best you can. In some ways, when you coupon, you can stock some things away for later use, especially when it's really cheap or in some cases, free. I picked up 3 tubes of toothpaste for free and we won't have to worry about that for a while. And like I said, if it's not on sale, sometimes one store carries it at 'regular' price, but it's less than their competitors. It can also be trial and error.
I think shopping should be fairly easy this month. That's certainly a change for us! I am happy that I haven't had to labor over the menu too much to come up with the healthy options that we can enjoy. Do what's best for you and your family. Budgeting isn't easy, but it is so worth it in the end!