Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grocery Hunting - The Power of 20 Bucks

Tonight I was so encouraged to have some downtime to meet a friend for coffee and just catch up. On my way home I was able to hit three grocery stores to gather up the best deals they were offering this week that fit our needs and small budget. I often do this with three young children in tow so this was so refreshing to be alone and to concentrate on my list, coupons and deals I hadn't planned on and to get in and out of the stores quickly. I had $19 to spend and I did, indeed, spend every dollar and some spare change, too, but this is what I came away with.
3 packages toilet paper
4 boxes of cereal
9 cups of organic yogurt
1 laundry detergent
1 marinated pork tenderloin
1 lb. butter
1 bag of Doritos
2 bags pistachios
6 lbs. bananas
1 1/2 gallons of organic milk
1 cup of soup
1 bag of lettuce

While this would not be enough to feed the five of us well for a week, when we combine these items with our well-stocked pantry we'll be able to get by and some of the items pictured will be used in future weeks. Also, please note that we do usually have more to spend on groceries so to the grandmothers of our dear children, please don't worry about us. :) Our kids will be nourished and no one will go hungry. With the exception of the Doritos and perhaps the cereal ($2.99 of the $19), these are pretty good foods - lean meat, organic milk, nuts, salad, fruit.

Total Spent: $19.70
Total Saved (according to receipts): $53.58 - It was actually more than this, though, because store computers don't seem to compute marked-down items as savings, such as the milk and bananas I purchased tonight.

So, why do I do this? I wish I could say that is for my own enjoyment and the challenge this is to me. Some days that is true, but moreso it is to achieve specific financial goals that my husband and I have set. The grocery budget is one of the few budget categories we have that has flexibility to be reduced.

And how do I do this? First, by the provision of God's hand and by His grace. The strategy I most often use is combining advertised sale items with manufacturer coupons (which are doubled at two of the three stores where I shop). Beyond that I am always on the lookout for marked down items, especially meat and dairy items. Tonight I scored the organic milk (which I had coupons for) for a total of $2.03 and 9 organic yogurts for a total of $2.25. And beyond that, yes, I do try to shop without children whenever possible.

I'm writing this post as a reminder to myself about the power of $20. It really can go far with some work and restraint. There were many deals advertised this week that I did forego because we did not have designated funds above the $19. How easy to spend $20 on dining out that will fill our tummies for one meal, to spend $20 on something for the home, to spend $20 on gas (what is that anyway, half a tank these days?!), to spend $20 on a lot of different things. But when times get lean, $20 at the grocery store or stores can go very far, even farther than the illustration above. Notice I even didn't include any beans and rice in this shopping trip and I will still have enough to make a week's worth of meal, rounded out with ingredients we already have on hand. I thank God for this reminder tonight. Even when I get discouraged, He shows me again that He has provided enough.


Rebecca said...

I love it! I too do the grocery hunting for a great bargain. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to keep on!

Suze said...

Great job!
I too love to bargain hunt!
Keep up the great work!

D said...

Praise Him! He is so faithful, and may His Blessings rain on you for showing His grace and provision, and giving Him the glory!

Mom2Drew said...

Did you get your camera yet? You bought ALL of this for $20? Seriously're so much better than Martha!

Simple Family Supper lady said...

God is always soooo faithful! Keep up the great attitude and dedication! Found your site through homespun heart... have really enjoyed my time reading. You have been such a blessing to your family as you have "spring cleaned" your house!!!!! Way to go!