Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Headaches And Our Total Grocery Spending For The Past Four Weeks

First of all, I have a headache that started yesterday and is still continuing this morning.  I went to bed at 6:30 thinking that would make it all better and it is still present.  I am thinking that my glaucoma medication is causing it because I have had it before and I ended up being allergic to the medicine and just switched medication 2 and a half weeks ago.  I am okay unless I make a quick move or bend over and then it hurts very badly.  I canceled my appointment with the eye doctor today and rescheduled it for next week so that I could get some bulk shopping done before my in-laws arrive next week.  So, please pray that I at least figure out what is causing this headache.  Motherhood does not stop because I have a headache.  I am normally not prone to headaches.

Now, enough talking about myself and on to more important matters, grocery shopping.  You may find your self asking, "how did she do for the month with the $25 a week challenge?"  The answer is, "great!"  The four weeks of the challenge I spend $19, $26, $19, and $28.  Totaling $92!  However, for me to be completely honest, I also did bulk shopping for baking supplies twice this month $25 and $89.  Figuring all of the spending together, I spent a grand total of $206 this month to feed a family of 7!  Not bad!

How did it all work?  Stockpiling.  Last summer and fall, I would spend an average of between $150 to $200 a week on groceries that would be valued at around $400 because I shopped sales, used coupons, and stocked-up.  An example of something that I would do was to purchase olive oil when it was on sale for $36 a case.  It normally cost around $18 a can and I got 4 large cans for $36 saving me $36.  I also buy meat when it is marked down and cook and freeze it immediately.  I found chicken quarters at 49 cents a pound and stocked up.  I also found chicken tenderloins at $1 a pound and stocked up.  No, I did not only buy chicken products, I also purchased a large variety of meats.  I stocked up on pork chops, roasts, pork roasts, kielbasa, bacon, shrimp, salmon, chicken, and turkey.  I did the same thing when it came to vegetables, both canned and frozen.  As for fruit, I have recently found it to be cheaper to buy it IQF (individually quick frozen) in bulk at a commercial sales warehouse that usually sells to resteraunts but also sells to the individual (you must just be brave enough to walk in and place an order).  Just yesterday, I purchased IQF diced peaches  $29.95 for 22 lbs., IQF whole strawberries $33.95 for 30 lbs., and sweetened coconut flakes for $21.95 for 22 lbs.  Usually I also purchase IQF blueberries $29.95 for 30lbs.

How can you do it?  Just look around, shop around, and ask around.  Now you may be saying that you live in a small town and do not have access to these resources.  I live in a town of 200 people in the Adirondack Mountains and I had previously moved from a city of a million.  I drive quite a distance to get our food, but in the long run it saves us lots of money.  If you plan accordingly, then it is all possible and you can save lots of money.  Just yesterday, we drove 4 and a half hours round trip to purchase our bulk supplies, but on average we usually drive 3 hours round trip (because of lack of grocery stores where we live and the high cost of the one that we do have).

Let it be a challenge to you to try and reduce your grocery spending this month, stock up, and then sit back and enjoy all of your hard work.  It is best to plan ahead, because you do not know when the day is coming that you might not be able to do any grocery shopping for a period of time.  Things might become tight financially, you might have unexpected medical bills, you or your husband might lose a job, paychecks might be reduced, unexpected bills may come in and it is best to be prepared.  Start slowly and do not try all at once to do everything that I have suggested or you will find yourself overwhelmed and give up in the process.  Take baby steps and maybe try and spend $10 less this week and purchase a few more of one particular item each time you go shopping and then overtime you will have a large stockpile.

I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.  Please feel free to send me your questions or comments about grocery shopping, stockpiling, and saving.

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