Friday, April 15, 2011

Frugal Friday - On a mission

To answer a few questions first:
Stacking = using a store issued coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. So you can use two coupons per item. For example = Target issued coupons for $1 off Dove men's care, and the newspaper had a coupon for $1 off Dove's men care. At target you use both coupons and get $2 off. You can also do this at walgreens using their newspaper coupons and coupons in those coupon books you can get in their stores. The target ones are available on their website, but it must say TARGET WEB COUPON on the top, some of them on their website are manufacturer coupons and will not stack.

Are we buying things we wouldn't otherwise buy? A little. BUT (and this is a big but), my grocery budget is always so tight that I generally buy NO extra stuff. No cookies, crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. With coupons I have been able to add that kind of stuff back to our pantry.

Now, that might seem like an unhealthy move, but (here's the second part of the but), not having that kind of stuff often leaves us feeling like "WE HAVE NOTHING TO EAT IN THIS HOUSE."

Which leads to a lot of eating out. Which is crazy expensive. And totally blows my food budget and gets me in an endless cycle of short on grocery money, too much eating out, and nothing to eat in this house.

Which leads to this month's frugal mission (I want to do a different frugal mission each month) -
NO EATING OUT.

I would really like to get us into a rhythm where we only eat out once a month. That's it. As of April 15th we are right on track. No matter how exhausted I have been at the end of the day I have not given in to the urge to just eat out. My pantry is much fuller thanks to those coupons and I have been able to make something work every day.

It has meant a few more trips to the grocery store to buy more lunch meat and more produce and make your own pizza fixings (which are our new Saturday meal) so that when the weekend rolls around we are not tempted by the drive through.

And it has been hard! It's a tough habit to kick. (A new chick fil a opened by our house. I love chick fil a, and I used to have to drive far to get it. Sigh.) But progress is good and our wallets are fatter for it.

Here's hoping we can hold tight for another 15 days!

6 comments:

  1. We dramatically decreased out grocery bill by meal planning. I post it on the fridge and it leaves little chance to eat out. Using a list at the grocery keeps the impulse buying down and prepackaged food to a minimum. I create my own snack size bags for my kids by breaking down the bulk size items. We only eat out once a week on the weekends and the kids look forward to it. It works out to rotate who will pick the place. Sadly, this also feeds my OCD...smiles...Renee

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  2. My family is always complaining about how we NEVER have anything to eat!! Sarah could live on Oreos and chocolate milk(I don't buy chocolate syrup or oreos because they're gone in less than 2 days), Ryan on canned soups and baked potatoes(butter and salt only), but Amy will make sandwiches, wraps, and other good things from the "lesser" ingredients we have. Their latest favorite cheap snacks is quesadillas. I layer chunks of queso quesadilla(in the Hispanic dairy section) between two flour tortillas and bake in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Sometimes I will add drained, canned black beans to the cheese if the kids are needing to be filled up more.

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  3. We used to eat out 1-2 times a week, but now it's maybe once a month. Sometimes I miss it, but oh well. I've been thinking about menu planning, just havent done it yet.

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  4. Have you ever seen that show on TLC, Extreme Couponing? I just caught a few minutes of it the other night, and there was a guy who buys tons and tons of things with coupons, and has enough shampoo, deodorant etc. to last 3 lifetimes. And toothpaste. But if you're buying food, even snacks, I see nothing wrong with that. A full pantry is a GOOD thing! And I think a Mom of two small ones deserves to go out to eat once in a while!

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  5. We go on no eating out kicks every now and then to reign in the spending too. Can't say we are too consistent. But, during the lean months I buy a few bags of Bertoli Pasta that comes in the freezer section. The Chicken parm is my absolute favorite. They can cost about $7 in the freezer section, so they are pretty pricy for what they are, but they taste good and are ready in TEN minutes tops! So if it saves us a meal out it's a good deal.

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  6. I know it's not healthy (and I prefer homemade pizza too, but it's time consuming) but by having a few frozen pizzas in the freezer, we avoid the temptation to go out.

    I do miss the days of eating out, though. It was not only good food (Indian, Thai, Ethiopian) but a social thing.

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Hi there. What say you?