1. Make a list. I know, time and time again you hear it. “Make a list and stick to it.” But writing a list on scarp paper and then losing that paper isn’t going to help. Instead make the list practical. I like using technology and since my phone is usually in the kitchen on the dock, it is very practical to keep my list there. The free app that I use, is Grocery Pal but there are dozens of list apps out there. I add items when I need them, when I start to run low, when I know it is time to restock. I love that after I buy an item at the store I check it off on my phone and it disappears. It keeps my list clean and easy to use!
Commissaries.com has a Grocery List. I haven’t used it; so, I can’t speak to it’s practicality but I do love that you can pick your military installation and then it shows all the products by department that they have. If you do use it what do you think? Leave a comment to help other military-families.
2. Don’t shop when you are hungry. Anyone that was part of the military family in the late 80s and early 90s knows this AFRTS commercial: “It sounds so simple but what a difference. Plan your shopping right after a good breakfast or lunch and you will be surprised at the little extras you /don’t/ bring home. Of course this tip brings me instantly back to Keflavik NAS, Iceland … “Don’t shop when you’re hungry! No, no, no!” The AFRTS commercials on the radio and television stuck with us… and still stick with me twenty-years later. I suppose their mission is accomplished.” – The Grocery Bill
3. Make a menu for the week. I use Google calendar to make my menu, coupled with Pinterest, freezer cooking, a regular schedule (hot sandwiches once a week, meatless once a week, soup another day etc etc). I dive deep into the whole ‘menu plan’ and getting comfortable in the kitchen as a means of saving money in this post: Money Saving Idea: Getting Comfortable in the Kitchen. The menu plan is your starting point. It’ll keep you from going out to eat dinner as often. It’ll take some of the stress of 4:00pm out of the picture. Having a plan is such an integral part of saving.
4. Peruse the circular-ads. We get quite a few grocery-store flyers in the mail or newspaper here in NE Ohio. There is Giant Eagle, Aldis, Heinens and Marcs, all within 5 miles of me. All are very different stores but they all sell groceries. Two stores are cash only (Marcs and Aldis) and low end but easy on the wallet. Heinens is like I’m reliving Commissary days where they load up your car with your groceries at the end of your shopping trip and the car-cart is a big hit with the 2-year old. Giant Eagle is somewhere in the middle of all that.
Once a week I’ll take 5 minutes to go through all of the ads with a pen or highlighter and circle what looks like a good deal, especially if it is something we could use. Mental notes, notes on paper, flyers reviewed and tucked away for when I need it that week. It is not practical to hit all four stores each week (on top of our usual BJs-run, which is our bulk-food of choice, similar to a Costco or Sam’s Club). So somethings have to really stand out for me to make a trip into one of the stores. But when I can get a pint of blueberry’s for 99 cents, as an example, knowing that my boys eat them like candy then I know I want to run in at some point that week to check it out.
5. Clip coupons, smartly. Don’t overwhelm yourself! Clip coupons for things you know you will need. I’ve talked about it before but if you are clipping coupons for things you don’t need you aren’t saving any money. In fact, you are spending more. But if you see a coupon for dishwasher detergent, just as an example, and that is on your list or you just want one or two stored in the pantry for when you do run out, then clip away! (and then compare prices at the store, too)
Leanne is the mother of four boys from 2 1/2 years old to 18 years old. The wife of a soldier. The daughter of an airman. A believer in Grace, Hope and Love and leans deeply on her Christian Faith. She writes for MilitaryAvenue as a reminder that we’ve all ‘been there, done that’ in one way or another. You can read additional blogs by her by clicking here: Leanne