Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coupons and Meal planning

      Through out my 15 years of marriage I have always used coupons to some extent. It wasn't until about 2 and 1/2 years ago that I began to seriously clip and use coupons, I also changed the way I made out my grocery lists. As a family of five (with 2 of those 5 being a teen and preteen boy that could out eat a bear), I know I had to do better with our grocery budget. I started by revamping the way I make out my grocery list. I will look at the grocery store sale fliers to see what meat and veggies are on special.  Then I start at the beginning of each month and make out a monthly menu, using recipes that will incorporate as many sale items as I can. Planning enough meals for the whole month with a few extras in case I need to substitute a meal. After I have my final monthly menu I go to the pantry and the freezer to see what I already have on hand for each recipe. Next I  sit down and write out my grocery list specific to each of the meals I have planned for the month. I break down my list in 2 for the first half of the month and then the second half of the month. This has worked out very well

        After I have my meals planned and my lists written I print out and clip coupons for things that I need for my recipes that are not on sale. I also try not to clip or print to many more coupons than I can use in 1 or 2 grocery trips, simply because the printable coupons tend to expire rather quickly. Once I take care of the main meal coupons, I look for coupons for snacks that my kids eat and that my husband takes to work. I bake most all of our sweets and breads so I usually skip these coupons. We, do however eat a lot of yogurt and I have found that most of the yogurt coupons do take a significant amount of depending on the brand.

       Another thing that I started doing was when my kids want to try something new I wait until it is either on special or I find a coupon for a good bit off. My kids can be very picky so I have found that if I wait and get it when it is cheap I am not out as much if they don't end up liking it.

    By doing these simple things I cut our grocery budget by half. We were paying between $500 and $600 a month, which for a family of five does not seem to bad. Now  I am paying between $250 and $300 a month, this is much better.


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