I wanted to make sure that we talk about a few necessary rules and tips. It's ok to feel slightly overwhelmed in the beginning. Our first trip to the store we only saved around $30.00 and that was saving almost 50%, but as time went on our savings increased. Our highest savings was when we should have spent $229.87, but only spent $47.02. That's $182.85 in savings!! This is just like training for a marathon. At first it is hard work and many times you might not be in the mood to do it, but if you push through you will win!
1. Do not stray from your list.
No matter how delicious that tortellini that's on sale sounds if it is not on your list don't get it.
I really can't say it enough that sticking to your list really does help you save. Some "sales" can be only .20 off and that's not very good compared to what you could get if you wait it out. Your list has all of the best sales on it so don't get caught up in the excitement of "SALE" signs. If by chance the store is having a clearance or a great sale that they did not advertise then make sure to look at the price and only buy if it really is that great of a deal.
2. Be flexible with your menu .
While you do want to set a menu you should adjust it depending on sales and coupons. If we are planning on having sun dried tomato pesto one night and I do have a coupon for the pinenuts, but its not on sale I'll move it off our menu until I can use my coupon when it is on sale. I may notice that they are having an awesome sale on meats and I have a store coupon for $5 off meat at that store, and I happen to have all of the other ingredients already to make Tastes Like Lasagna Soup. That recipe now replaces the pesto.
3. Keep a budget.
Remember that number that you got from cutting your average grocery cost in half? It's important that you strive to stay within that budget. By sticking to it you will be forced to search out the best deals and not do unnecessary buying. Soon enough you will have spent even less than you had budgeted. I promise that having a budget not only is good for your bank account, but it really will help you to be a smarter shopper.
If there is an awesome sale and you have coupons then you need to buy up a few of that item. This rule actually helps you to save more. Let's say we are running low on deodorant and there happens to be a great deal going on. I will grab a few of them so that I never get stuck needing something and having to pay more for it. Last month I bought 8 deodorants and spent just over $5.00. The lowest it has been since that time is more than double what I paid. At the same time, I had not kept up with our medicine cabinet and when we all got sick we found our selves still saving a little on the medicine, but we paid more than we should have if I had stockpiled last time.
I'll touch a little more on everything in the "Tips" post next week. Please also feel free to ask any questions or share any concerns. I'll answer those in a question and answer post. There is so much to touch on so I will try my best to cover a lot, but some things you learn by doing it yourself.