Sunday, October 11, 2009

A New Beginning

I went to a family get together Saturday evening and had a wonderful time. While the adults (12 of us) sat in the garage telling old stories of family (theirs), eventually the conversation got around to the cost of groceries and how they are going up and up and how severely it is affecting families. As the majority of the people were well older than me, naturally there were many stories of how they didn't have this and that when they were growing up and the recession reared it's head briefly. Now my husband and I live comfortably, but I started thinking about how the economy is going today and really started wondering if I was doing all I could do to save money on the groceries and whether I was truly doing my part for our family to be as frugal as possible but still creative. Obviously, I use coupons constantly, but was I really doing the most I could with the food I was purchasing. I had to confess that I wasn't. Now don't get me wrong. I routinely get 65% or higher off on my groceries, but I have to honestly state that I eat out for lunch wayyyyyy too much and the evening before trash day includes dragging the kitchen trash can over to the frig to throw out the leftovers from the week that didn't get eaten. And, for the last couple of weeks, I had been so busy, I hadn't been paying as close attention to the sales as I should have and I haven't really used my coupons a lot. Obviously last weekend (due to a 4 day event for me) I didn't even get my coupon matchups posted. Today I decided to venture out into a new quest to save the most money that I could and use the food in the most efficient and nutritious ways possible. According to the all of the economic reports that I am following, next year is going to be worse than this year so might as well get into the habit now right?

I trucked off to Krogers to get my papers and because it was such a beautiful day outside I decided I wanted to smoke something on the grill. I purchased a chuck roast for $6.25 and a whole fryer for $3.25. Now I stocked up on charcoal and lighter fluid back in June/July when the promotion was going on and SuperValu had the 13 lb bags of charcoal on sale for $5.99. I had a $3 off coupon on the charcoal and purchased a two bottles of unopened lighter fluid at a yard sale for $1 total in May.

I decided that to really see how I am spending the money, and to truly be creative that I needed some serious help. I was going to have to open the left cabinet above my stove which is where all of my cookbooks have been sleeping. I say sleeping because honestly, some of them I haven't opened in years. And to be totally honest with myself and you guys, I started a spreadsheet to keep track of everything I purchase and when I use it, etc. O.K. more stuff to do on the computer, but to do this correctly, it will take some serious effort and tracking on my part.

Now keep in mind that there are only two of us so I should be able to make the roast and chicken last the whole week or at least most of it with some creative thinking. Let the quest begin.

First, I took 1/4 of the roast and shredded it ($1.56) and added 1/3 of a package of Ortega Taco Seasoning (got Free at Meijers a couple of weeks ago during a sale with a coupon good for $1 off any two Ortega items.) I had six hard shell taco shells left over which I got on sale for $.89 after coupon for a box of 12. So for lunch my husband and I each had 3 tacos. My husband put some sour cream on his which I had gotten for $.19 after coupon at SupverValu last week. So for a total of about $2.50 we both had a lunch of 3 tacos ea. My husband who we all know is the pickiest eater in the world was impressed with the taco meat made from roast. He had never had it before and I had many times in Texas.

So for lunch the total came to $2.50. Not a bad start for the quest considering hard or soft shell tacos at Taco Bell cost $.89/ea. for a total of $5.34 + tax. Off to a good start. Now to keep the pace.

I still have 3/4 roast left and a whole chicken so now I have to figure out the rest of the week. Creative thinking and cook books here I come. Now I am really going to pay more attention to what I am purchasing and what is on sale to see how I can make meals out of what I find on sale at the stores each week. This should be an adventure and my husband, poor fella, will of course be the test piggy. Thank goodness I have dogs in case I turn into Ellie Mae Clampent (sp?). Stay tuned to the next chapter of Making the most of my purchases.

Now I'm off to do the matchups for the week to see what I can do for next week's meals. Have to start planning now! I'll have the matchups done shortly as I scanned through the flyers and there doesn't seem to be a great many deals this week.

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