Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grocery Shopping and Menu Planning for Dummies (Like me!) Pt.1

So being a competitive grocery shopper is a big deal on the Internet, if you haven't noticed. It seems like every where I turn is some new way to cut your grocery bill by "(enter obscene number of $$$)". But most of the help found on the front page of Yahoo isn't really helpful to the family who's trying to REALLY cut their grocery bills. People who are not doing it because its a fun hobby in a time of economic crisis but because they have no other option in their current financial situation.

So I headed over to the blogging world.

There are thousand upon thousands of blogs out there advocating extreme couponing, playing the "drugstore game", and becoming an tightwad of Olympic proportions. Not that there's anything wrong with those money saving measures but...they're not for me. Especially, if I need to practice them on a longer term basis, like the duration of Law School.

If you are at all inclined to research those methods of saving money, you need to consider a few things first-

1) What is your personality?
Are you very competitive? Are you motivated by a feeling of victory when you get a deal others might feel guilty about getting? (I'm not saying you are doing something wrong but some people feel guilty for various reasons in that situation. I am one of them.) Do you like the idea of cooking more than scouting for coupons? Are you a homebody? Are you easily overwhelmed or confused? Does the grocery store stress you out?

2) What is your Husband's personality?
Does he think this would be a huge waste of your time? Even after showing him how great the deals are? Does he disagree with stockpiling items you might not need in order to get a deal you do need? Does he like home cooked food or convenience foods? Is he willing to join in a grab deals when you can't make it out? Is he willing to learn the ropes too?

3)What stage is your family in right now?
Can you afford the time to learn the ropes of competitive shopping? Can you afford the inevitable mistakes you will make? Do you have to much on your plate already, be it that you're in the toddler stage or the driving your teens all over creation stage? Do you live in the city/suburbs or in the country? Do you know how to cook or do use a lot of convenience foods? Will this be a short term adjustment or will you have to practice it long term? Do you a car available for you?

All these things are very important to consider when choosing how you will attack your grocery bill. After struggling with trying to be like those amazing extreme shoppers, I've finally made peace with where we are right now. And surprisingly, our target budget and bills are comparable to the extreme shoppers without the hassle!

So I'm going to try and explain in the next few weeks/posts how I do it. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you.

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