To say that I am frugal is to say that pink is a nice color, or chocolate is a nice after dinner treat.
No, I am very frugal. Not to an extreme measure like Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette fame. (Although I do have all three of her books, and have them highlighted) Her books opened the frugality door a bit wider in my world. I do some of the things that she suggests, but not all.
About 8 years ago, Superman had neck surgery and he was out of work for 3 months. That was the worst year, financially, of our marriage. We literally had nothing, and I vowed like Scarlett O’Hara that we would never be hungry again.
In today’s economy, I think everyone is beginning to rethink how they do things. Especially grocery shopping.
This week someone asked me how I can make all the things I post on my blog and not go broke. It isn’t a miracle like someone suggested, I just shop differently.
After Superman’s surgery, and reading all my Tightwad Gazettes, I took one of her suggestions to heart and I have never looked back.
First I shop at Aldi. If you are not fortunate enough to have an Aldi in your area, Save-A-Lot is the next best thing. I have never seen another store be able to compare in price over all, to Aldi.
Many people don’t want to give up their name brand items. Many site that store brands don’t taste good or they are a little ‘off’. Just because a store brand doesn’t taste the same as a name brand doesn’t mean that it tastes bad, it just tastes different. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have name brands. I have about 5 bags of Ghiradelli chocolate in my pantry. (It went on sale.) I also have about 50 pounds of Gold Metal flour. It was on sale, cheaper than I could get at Aldi.
Secondly, I stock up.
My grocery cart rarely looks like a normal persons. When I find flour on sale (and it has to be a good sale) I won’t just buy 2 bags, I buy 10. When butter goes on sale, I buy 40 pounds and freeze it. Same with sugar, etc.
I wasn’t able to do that in the beginning.
When we began to recover, financially, from Superman’s surgery I started slow. I’d go to the store, and purchase my regular amount of groceries and add a couple of cans of tuna, or green beans, or bags of flour till I was stocked to the point of having enough in my pantry till another huge sale came along. One thing that always works in my favor is Thanksgiving and Christmas. Basic baking staples always go on sale around this time, and I am the freaky woman who is shoveling flour and sugar in her cart. It is also at this time that I stock up on nuts.
It took about a year or so to get to that point, and it was a struggle at times to get there. There have been years that we have eaten straight from the pantry for months at a time because I couldn’t afford to go to the grocery.
One of the other things that helps me to be able to stock up like this, is I try to put back money for this specific purpose. When times are lean, I only stick back $1-5. When Superman gets overtime, I stick back $20. That way, I am not taking $$ away from any other area.
This is what works for me. It might not work for you, but I hope that I have been able to encourage you, to get some thoughts flowing on how you can save some $$ at the grocery.
Next time, I’ll talk about how I save on cleaning supplies, etc.