I grew up in a house full of women. Too much DRAMA for this mama! That's why I always hoped that when I had a family of my own, I'd have BOYS! Boys are so much easier, I reasoned: no delicate self-esteems to worry about crushing, no makeup, no fashion trends, no boyfriends, no drama, right?*
Well, there is one thing I didn't factor in while pining for penises: boys like to eat. A LOT. So now that I have three of them to take care of, I pretty much live at the grocery store. Yes, sometimes I nap amongst the snack crackers and Ding Dongs, just waiting for the call that we're out of something else. And what do I have to show for it? Well, some pretty impressive rack burn and one puny bank account! These days, prices are WAY up, and package sizes are WAY down.** When I consider world events, I feel pretty sure that this isn't going to change anytime soon.
Until prices started getting crazy, I never gave a whole lot of thought to how I buy groceries. I clipped coupons and shopped at the commissary, and I thought I was probably getting the best prices I could get that way, overall. Thanks in large part to my friends Jen and Racheal, I know now that I was wrong.
I feel I should say this: I think the commissary is an awesome benefit to military families. I still go there every week for things like produce, meat, and milk if I can't find good deals in town. I'm grateful I have the privilege of shopping there. That said, I've realized that if you shop sales and clip coupons, you really can beat the pants off of commissary prices on lots of things. Check out my recent trip to a local supermarket. I got all of the stuff in the picture above:2 boxes of Triscuits
2 packs of Jell-O Temptations
2 packs of Jell-O Pudding Snacks
4 64 oz. bottles of Juicy Juice
1 box of Ritz Munchables
2 8-roll packs of Brawny Paper Towels
2 boxes of Post Pebbles Treats
1 bag Rold Gold Pretzels
1 package Arnold Healthful bread
1 package Double Stuff Oreos
The price before coupons (plus tax) for these items was $51.78. I paid $23.33, AND I received a coupon from Jell-O for $3 off my next grocery order. So essentially $20.33!!! That's a savings of over 60%!
I went to the commissary for a little comparison shopping. After tallying up the prices there (DECA policy prevents me from listing individual prices here. I ain't losin' my commissary benefits to satisfy your curiosity, peeps. Sorry!), I would have paid $38.88 after coupons and the 5% surcharge. So, by smart coupon strategy, I saved $18.55 over even the commissary prices! That's still a savings of more than 47%. HUGE!
The only things you really need to do to start saving money are: 1) clip coupons, and 2) read sale flyers (don't overlook the pharmacy ads. Those pharmacies usually offer great deals on things you use all of the time). Oh, and pay attention to double coupons! That's how you can best maximize your savings. I shop every Wednesday now, because that's when my local store doubles up to $1. I wanted to get this up now because tomorrow's Sunday paper will have TONS of coupons. Check out what you can expect to find by going out the Sunday Coupon Preview. The coupons will vary by location, but most of them should be in your paper. You should get one.
I'll publish a second post soon with more resources to help you cut your grocery bill. It just might not happen today since I have a Super Mario Brothers wonderland to finish creating in the boys' room. The Salty One has a swing set to finish assembling, so I think I'm painting alone. We'll see how this all shakes out! Either way, Happy Saturday, peeps! Enjoy your day.
*Yes, yes...I can see now that my logic was completely flawed. For all I know, I'll end up with sensitive, style-conscious, gay cross-dressers with tumultuous love lives. Sure. It could happen. But seeing as how both of them are consumed with thoughts of snot, farts, pee, and poop, I don't think we're headed down that particular road. Looks like I win! Wait...
** FOOD package sizes, that is. I feel the need to clarify, given the earlier subject matter...
I went to the store again Wednesday. I got full size bags of Tostitos for .99, another box of Ritz Munchables for .49, and 6 boxes of Kelloggs cereal for $1 apiece. As a result of the cereal purchase, I also received two coupons for a free gallon of milk on my next trip (these will be awesome combined with those $1 off cookies and milk coupons I snagged this week). This stuff isn't just a sometime deal, folks. You can score serious deals just about EVERY WEEK! If you're not already doing it, start clipping coupons and start reading flyers!