Saturday, February 6, 2010

Success with Groceries and room for improvement.

In a previous post, I explained my plan to control our spending...especially grocery shopping.  It is my opinion that in order to change a habit or behavior, you must first understand it.  You must understand the "invisible drivers" that set off certain behaviors.  I'll give you an example:
My grandmother was raised during the depression and then after she had her only child she became a single mom (my Grand-Dad died early on).  Her behavior towards food was "eat everything you have on your plate and save as much as you can!"  My mom is the direct opposite, she complains of all her "have nots", so of course she was more about spending and having "good stuff".  I have always thought I was a good in between.  Once I had my child, I started observing changes in my behavior.  I started recognizing my mom in my spending habits towards Carr.  It was like I defined myself as a mom on the "Good" things I gave my son.  Well, I was wrong.  And I can prove it easy!
You see my child, as do all children of two, wants my time not $50 dollar pair of sneakers.  Those are buying habits that lead towards disaster, if you really want to live simply and encourage your child to have saving habits.  Indulge me a little and make a list of things that you want your child to learn from you, then make a list of characteristics that you feel you need to encourage for your child to grow up well rounded and happy, successful yada, yada, yada.  If in any of those lists you put loose spending, no future planning, centered on labels, brand names, and accumulation of stuff.  Then read no more, I have nothing to offer you.  If you want directly the opposite, please read on.
Back to my original subject, once you decide that you need to change certain behaviors, you need to observe what in actuality is going on.  If you have a checking account go back two months and get to work.  Add you expenses by category.  This will give you a true picture of your spending habits.  Then, here comes the hard part. Start logging in your groceries and expenses.  Yes, talk about tedious but that is the only way I found to get a clear picture.  Stop all grocery shopping that is not an emergency other than when you normally plan to go grocery shopping.  I go on weekends because I work and would rather come straight home and have time with Carr than grocery shop during the week. Never go to the grocery store without a list and you must stick to it.  NO Impulse Buying! Something that I do, is that I menu plan and make my list according to the menu and I stick to it!
My husband and I also decided what our non-negotiables were. Example: Carr does not eat processed food. He only eats organic.  We decided that this is what we did not want to skimp on, we want to give him a good head start.
Believe me, once you do this for a month, it becomes a habit and its easy.  You can recycle menues, which helps you with the time factor.  I used to make up a month worth of menus, which lead me to buy too many groceries, which lead to spoiled food.  Another behavior I changed was dealing with left overs.  My husband hates them and I used to throw away food if we did have them.  Not good.  Two weeks ago, I made a three bean and veggie soup in the slow-cooker.  We had tons left over.  I put it in the freezer and used it this week, I added pork cubes to it and it was a completely different dish.  Chip didn't even notice it.
Most women have a propensity to multitask and most of us, stay at home or working moms, deal with home management.  This puts us in the drivers seat, we decide how to manage home funds.  It's time to take reponsibility and make life easier for ourselves and our children.
I used to spend approximately $250 to $300 on groceries, eating out and impulse buying.  In the past month I have effectively lowered our bills to an average of $143 a week!  Yes, this works, it just takes some work at the begining but when you start seeing the results, it makes it all worth while.
I am posting links to what I think is the best weekly menu and grocery list I have encountered in the blogger sphere.

"I am an organizing Junkie"
 I love this site!  I suggest if you have the time and the will, you should read through it.  This blog has so much useful information that I still am going through it and getting new ideas.

  • Menu Planner
  • Grocery List

Disclaimer:  I have not received any incentives to post "I'm an organizing Junkie" blog or post any ideas other than mine.


  1. Great post! You're right that the time and care that we devote to our children is worth far more than expensive toys or clothes.

    Although, I'm definitely guilty of the $50 sneakers. BUT, that is one of the few items where I will argue that you sometimes spend more for quality. Actually, look at organic food: definitely costs more because the production of that food involves more effort and is more costly. With some shoes (Merrells, etc.), that also holds true, I think.

    Aaaaand, I'm going to check out that website, like, NOW.

  2. :)
    What I meant to say is that my son doesn't know what the difference between a brand name or not. He doesn't know whether I bought his clothes at Nordstrom's or if I bought them at target.
    Sneakers might have not been the best example. Point taken. But you do get my point.

  3. no, i definitely agree on the designer clothes for babies aspect. it kills me when kids know the brand names of the clothes they wear. like, really?

    i feel you. just had to throw some props in there for Merrells. 'cause those things have gone through three kids at this point (Asden, H, & Jordan) and are still kickin.

    but, as i said, good post! i want to hear more about converting leftovers into an entire new meal. these grocery bills are killing me.