Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My New Adjusted Grocery Budget & a Coffee Discount

Last week Susan from Retirement Fun(ds) left a comment regarding my grocery budet:

How will you be able to cut $20 from your grocery budget?  Won't you need every dollar to stockpile your pantry for Christmas baking?

 This is a great question considering that my budget was pretty small ($50/week for 2 adults) to start.  We eat 99.9% of our meals at home.  Here are some ways I plan to cut that to $30/week for at least the next few months.

  1. I already have a well stocked pantry.  My aunt lives near a larger city and loves to bargain shop.  She keeps me supplied with many basics  (pasta, sugar, etc) and also picks up some free after coupon items.  I currently have a large home freezer that is full of garden produce.  I also canned several buckets of tomatoes.  
  2. I cook basic foods.  Fancy ingredients are fun to use, but they are also more expensive.  Basic spices bought in bulk can be transformed into many things.  I have said before that I often toss packaged convenience foods, but I very rarely throw out flour, cocoa, salt, pepper, etc.  Having basic ingredients means you can easily create a wide variety of meals.
  3. We process our own meat (venison).  W is a hunter.  I know many people are against hunting, but meat does not grow in those wrapped packages you see in the grocery store. It is difficult to find meats at the grocery store that have been raised humanely.  I buy very little pork and only one brand of chicken.  W only kills what we need to eat and nothing more.  We have our own equipment for processing the venison and a vacuum sealer to keep it fresh in the freezer.  
  4. I buy in bulk.  I can get two pounds of yeast from Sam's Club for less than one jar of yeast at the grocery store.  also purchase flour and spices in bulk.  If you do not think you can use everything, consider splitting with a friend or family member.
  5. I buy items only when they are on sale.  This is a big money saver.  For example I never buy milk if it is not on sale.  Milk freezes well so I buy several gallons when it goes on sale.  By eating what I have in the pantry, I have a little extra money to buy things on sale to replace holes in my pantry stockpile.  
  6. I grow a garden.  I am fortunate to live in a climate where I can grow something year around.  Even if you cannot grow in the winter months, you can grow something in the summer.  Limited space?  Many things grow well in containers.  I have an abundance of peppers so I have been freezing them to use during the winter months.  Lettuce grows well here this time of year.  A package of seeds and homemade salad dressing means we can eat cheap but delicious salads.
Those are just a few of my money saving tricks.  I fully expect that some weeks I will go over the $30 budget.  That is okay.  Setting the $30 budget makes me think about my purchases.  It makes it easier for me to say "NO" to impulse purchases.  It is also forcing me to use what I have in the pantry.  

One purchase is non-negotiable, and that is our Camano Island Coffee.  I would switch over to grocery store coffee.  I am not saying I would like it, but I would make the sacrifice.  W on the other hand says this is one of the last food areas he will give up.  The coffee is shade grown, organic, and fair trade.  While the first two are good, I feel strongly about the last.  It is also roasted fresh-to-order  We use the Coffee Lovers Club which costs $34.99 for two pounds of coffee.  Yes, it is more expensive, but the taste is beyond comparison.   We each generally drink two cups of coffee a day, and this amount lasts us for 10 weeks.  That comes out to $3.50 per week.  Many people spend that much (or more) on one cup of coffee.

Now for the discount, by using this link you can get $20 off your first order.  (disclosure:  I will also get a $20 discount on my first order if you sign up through my referral link.)  You can choose the type of coffee and the grind.  You also get to choose how often you want the coffee delivered.  If you try it but do not like it, you can cancel any future shipments.  Details on how can be found at this link.  Just be forewarned that the coffee is delicious!


Susan said...

This is a great post to explain how you are able to live on your pantry, so that you are able to cut back on your grocery expenditures. My pantry is still very small. I will use some of your ideas for sure.
At this time of year, I also cut back on food expenses so that I can squirrel away some money each week for those "special foods" that the family likes to indulge in over the season. So I will be buying from the Bulk Food store, things like dried fruits, nuts, fancy cheeses, chocolate and other candy. I make a lot of food and candy gifts for Christmas that I don't normally bake. I also make those spice mixes that you have already mentioned, as gifts. I will be needing to buy extra amounts of those basic spices.
Then there is the "entertaining" factor at Christmas, where I want to buy a special cut of meat for dinner guests, or I want to bring out a tray of crackers with cheese for drop-ins. I couldn't do that without having bought these things ahead of time.

Terri Cheney said...

Dawn, I admit I thought the same thing. I knew you kept your grocery budget pretty low already and was wondering what and how you'd make out with less money.

I fully understand the coffee thing. We buy coffee at Aldi which is quite good but I don't care for their decaf. At. All. I order that usually from another company. I like my coffee too much to tolerate store brand. I even purchased an old fashioned aluminum stove top percolator just in case the power goes out and we have to rely on the gas stove for coffee.