Triple Clicks

Monday, March 31, 2014

Preparing For the Next Grocery Trip

So we are at two weeks into the last trip. Like typical, we are running out of eggs and orange juice. And I'm out of flour, which means no pancakes, waffles, coffee cake, pizza and *GASP* cookies (or so my kids think)... Well, you get the idea. Normally I would the necessities at our local store, which costs more but a trip to the city for anything under $100 is just not worth the gas. However, I'm going to be in the city tomorrow anyway so planning on stopping at Sam's and getting eggs, orange juice and flour. We'll see about the flour. 

Usually about this time, I get a rough layout of a meal plan. I keep last month's meal plan so we don't eat the same food a lot. Except for spaghetti, we love spaghetti, it's cheap and usually gives us two meals out of it. I buy angel hair spaghetti, it seems to last longer. I would say we eat this staple at least 4 times a month. 

I have four main helps on my computer to help with the shopping trip:

1) A spreadsheet I have a calendar on.  On the columns I have heading of the days of the week along with the date separated into weeks. At the end of each week I make a list of what is needed for each meal. 

2) A spreadsheet to keep track of what I have in my cupboards. I keep a little notebook on my counter in the kitchen and write down every time I use something that way I don't buy something I already have.  I redo the inventory every three or four months just to make sure I have everything right. This spreadsheet has sections for each part of my kitchen: fridge, Freezer, meat, baking, pantry, canned goods, fresh produce, spices. 

3) A spreadsheet to keep price comparisons of the grocery store regular prices so I know when I get a good deal on a sale or not. This spreadsheet has different tabs (on the bottom) for each grocery store I go to. The bakery prices run pretty much the same-around $1.50 for each loaf of bread or package of buns, so if I find a sale cheaper than that, I pick up bread at that store. The columns on each tab are: item, price, amount in container and price per (oz, lb..whatever it comes in of the size I typically buy, if I need to get it down to smaller than the big container then I just do the math). 

4) A spreadsheet to keep track of sales I find. I don't get a paper in print, so I look at ads online. I know I could save some hassle if I would get ads because my favorite store (Fareway Foods) will price match if you have the paper ads. But something I have learned about Fareway is they price match anyway. When shopping there there are weeks you will see a few different sale tags, they either look at the ads or send somebody around because they will match if not go lower than the competitors.  They also are a full service grocery store-which means they walk out to your car with you and put your groceries in for you. Which means I can buckle kids while somebody else is putting groceries in. :D Usually I go to Sam's, then Fareway, then see if I even need the other three. This spreadsheet has sections for each grocery store, then column headings of 'item', 'size', 'price' and 'final price' for each grocery store. 

I would love to say that I don't have to cut things off my list, but usually I do. 

Things are easier now because my oven is fixed. We were without an oven for about 10 months. But now it's fixed and you have no idea how happy that makes me. I missed baking so much I went through 10 pounds of flour in two weeks. Which is good because that means we are eating more baked from scratch foods which is always cheaper and healthier because it doesn't have the preservatives. We still buy more ready-made products than I would like, but we are working on that. Slowly but surely. 

I almost always forget something-go figure-no matter how detailed I get. This time it was mayonnaise. We ran out and had to stop yesterday to eat hamburgers for lunch. Man alive has mayo got expensive! 

I have found the trick to shopping monthly, is planning..Lots and lots of planning. And a list. Don't forget your list. If you are a coupon user, then I write down beside the item on my list if I have a coupon. I don't do many because I have found buying store brand to be cheaper. There are a few items we want the name brand simply because of taste, so when I find a coupon for those, I get it. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some More Subjects To Discuss

My husband read my first post and suggested I do more than just shopping.  So as I get projects done, I will post pictures too. I have a lot of sewing projects to do, once I get material that is. In order to do those projects I have to figure out how to work a 1920s series Singer sewing machine. 
I'm going to try it out on nursing pads and patching holes in sheets until I get the hang of it, hopefully by then I will have material to make skirts. I plan on converting most of my jeans and capri-type pants into skirts. I have a pattern, so just need the material. 
I have also been crocheting. A lot. So those projects will get posted on here, too. Mostly coasters and pot holders, but have also been making Christmas tree ornaments that are cat and kid-safe. We have 3 under 4 and a one year old cat. We were driven crazy by cat and kids last year who were very curious about the tree. 
My biggest project this year is a vegetable garden. I'm just planning on onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers outside. The onions, tomatoes and bell peppers are all preplanted and I have a good amount coming up of everything but the bell peppers. The cucumber package said to plant when the soil outside was ready. I do plan on doing a bigger garden, but I'm starting small and will add more plants each year. We have a lot of flower gardens around our century-old house and since I'm REALLY bad about gardening (great idea to start a vegetable garden, huh?), the beds need some major work. Anybody need some saplings? Since the kids love to be outside, I know I'll have plenty of time to work on the backyard. The front yard will have to wait until I get more help because we live on a busy road and it's not fenced in. 
We are also starting homeschooling this year, informally. Our son will be 4 in a few weeks, but he's ready to start learning how to write.  He is forming letters with cars and anything else he can think of, so it's time. If the two year old learns along with him, then it can't hurt. 
Well, that seems like all the projects I have planned for this year, I will share as I go along-with pictures of course. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Opening Post

Hello everybody!

I am starting this blog to share mostly my grocery savings after I grocery shop, but also my meal plan, recipes and anything else that I think might help other moms. I'm a stay at home mom so we are a one income on a tight budget. We only grocery shop once a month.  We are trying to eat healthy but find it hard on our tight budget, so we do what we can. I keep reading blogs on this subject, but it seems everyone I find is from Ohio and those prices are a lot cheaper than here, and stores are different. 
My husband and I have three kids and my child from who is with us part time.  That gives us a 9 year old, a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a six week old. As any mom can imagine this makes a grocery shopping trip very interesting. We live in a small town and have to commute 45 minutes to get to Sioux Falls. I typically shop at Sunshine Foods, Fareway Foods, The Old Home Bakery, Hy-Vee and Sam's Club.  But that list also depends on the ads.  
I plan on sharing my grocery list with prices and sale prices, what I actually finish at-each store and total.  Also my meal plans (although it does vary through the month sometimes) and recipes.  
You can follow me on Pinterest at 
As soon as I figure out how to put the link on, I'll get it on there so you can pin.