When I sit down to do our weekly meal plan, my thought isn't: what am I in the mood for this week? Instead it's: what's on sale this week and how can I fit that into my meal plan?
This is how it works. I think Monday and look at the meats that are on sale at the different grocery stores I frequent (provided I don't already have meat set aside in the freezer). This week at Harris Teeter, Whole Fryer Chicken is .57 a lb, that means that next week we'll probably be having some kind of roasted or baked chicken for a meal. Now, our meal can't just consist of chicken. We need some kind of veggie. So, I look through the adds again for veggies that go well with the chicken and notice in my Kroger add that broccoli is on sale for .99lb (we usually get 1/2 lb of broccoli and it feeds us fine). Perfect. So, there's my Monday meal. Then I go back through the adds again for the rest of my week. It does take time. It's not easy, it takes creative planning, but if you REALLY are in it to save money and keep things healthy then it's very worth it.
**Side note: I know, in my past FF post I said I buy local veggies and talked about buying veggies at Kroger in this paragraph--I buy where I can get something fresh and inexpensively and sometimes that does mean purchasing from the grocery store. You just have to be aware of the prices both places.
Part two of this Frugal Friday is buying with a coupon. In addition to sitting down with the weekly adds, I also sit down with the weekly Sunday paper and look through online adds for coupons. I have a coupon organizer where I keep all of my coupons by their kind (grocery, meds, cleaning products, etc). I then look at my weekly adds and see if I can combine any of the store deals with the coupons to make them cheaper.
I also look for products that we use all the time in the coupons to see if I can get them cheaper. For example, my 8 month old L-O-V-E-S yo-baby yogurt. She has it every morning for breakfast. The only problem is that it's not cheap. This week I found two coupons for yo-baby: .75/1 and .50/1. Then I shop around and find the store that sells them the cheapest (since they are manufacturers coupons and I can use them anywhere). I know that Harris Teeter will always double my coupons if they are under $1 so I know that with these coupons I can get it cheapest there. If I use the .75 coupon then I can get my yo-baby yogurt for $1.49 (they are $2.99 full price, the .75 doubled makes it $1.50 off and leaves me with the new total). I can only print this coupon and use it once so in addition to that one, I'm going to use my .50 coupon and get another batch of yogurt leaving me with the new total of $1.99 (again, .50 coupon doubled leaving me with new total). This leaves me with a total saving $2.50 and I've got enough yogurt for two weeks. Whew!
Couponing is tricky and you really have to know the ins and outs. I had to be taught how to use them most efficiently and am still learning. BUT, they are a wonderful tool if used correctly and can save you a lot of money. In my last grocery trip I tendered close to $30 worth of coupons. Keep at it and you'll be saving the big bucks soon!
Do you have a frugal friday tip? Post a FF post on your blog and leave the post address in your comment.
Do you coupon? Let us know how it works best for you in the comments--I always love to learn new tricks!