Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Great Summer Grocery Makeover

I admit it, I am addicted. I love cruising the deals every week, trying to get something for free. Thanks to our using several frugal strategies,, we are a year away from paying off both my new car and student loan, and 2 years away from paying cash for a new truck for my husband. We are 5 years away from a 25% down payment (not including our current home equity) on this dream house, an experiment with geothermal and solar heat, built-in bookshelves, and a nice parcel of land.

I've given a few lessons to friends, and I've started to wonder: can I take the strategies I've learned the past 10 years and help someone else learn how to reduce their grocery budget by 50%?

I've hornswaggled three willing victims: my coworker Kim, a newlywed who doesn't have kids yet but is planning on them; my mom's coworker Brieanne, a single twentysomething who wants to focus on healthy foods; and my Boss, married with children, and with a very busy career that has her traveling and working late quite often.

My plan is to meet with my Challengers weekly for one month each. At the end of the monthly challenge, they get a copy of one of my favorite frugal books, and my readers get to win a copy too!

Week One

This weekend, I met with my coworker Kim. I showed Kim my favorite couponing sites (buttons on my sidebar) and gave a run-down of how they work. She typically shops every two weeks, and spends $140. Kim has been a very quick study! She is lucky that her mother lives in a building where other residents aren't big couponers, and she has a huge stack of multiple Sunday inserts available for gleaning. I can thank Kim's mom for the Huggies wipes coupons that got me a great deal last week. After hanging out at the Krazy Koupon Lady's site, and using up things they already had, Kim was able to cut her grocery bill to $59 for two weeks! She and her mother have been hitting multiple Walgreens stores and now have $92 in Register Rewards to use up! The Force is strong within this one!

I feel confident that we can shrink that budget even more, and plan to use these strategies:

* Kim and her husband eat meat for dinner daily. Substituting a bean or legume dish for even one or two meals a week can cut down on grocery costs. The biggest challenge is that Kim is a die-hard bean-hater. I am plotting a bean intervention come this Saturday! Any suggestion for recipes?

* What to do with all those Register Rewards? We will discuss the fine art of using RRs to earn more RRs this week.

* Building a stockpile. Kim is bringing a list of what they have, what they want, and what they need. I am sharing what I think is the lowest price she should hold out for. Why pay $0.25 when you can get it for free?

My coworker Kim, for being such a good sport, is earning a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette. My US and Canadian readers can as well, by following me on GFC and leaving a comment on this post that you have done so, before June 9th, 2011. Earn an extra chance by leaving a comment with some great frugal advice for my challenger.


Martha (MM) said...

What fun! Good luck to the challengers! Of course I'm following on GFC already.

My frugal advice for you challenger - buy meats in bulk! My guys are big meat eaters. They look at me like I have 3 heads when I serve a meatless meal.

Buying meat in bulk saves lots of money. Another trick is to serve meals that incorporate some meat but much less than a usual serving - a little sliced chicken, pork or beef used in stirfrys or served over pasta or main dish salads.

Sandy said...

Don't shop on an empty stomach and double check the cashier for your coupons. Sometimes they don't ring up, properly.

Tina said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog. I'll definitely be back to read have some great tips on saving money that we can all appreciate!

Sarah said...

I'm following you on GFC. Just checked it out and looking forward to more!