Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Guest Writer - Times are Tight

Above is one of my buddies from nursing school, "city girl" and her little pumpkin. As you can see she was part of last weeks photo shot. She does not have a blog so I pestered her to write a little something up on her recent endeavors. I have learned from her and thought it would be nice to share with others.

Do you remember last winter? You know, when oil prices sky rocketed? Remember how the cost of groceries climbed higher on a weekly basis? I know large oil bills arrived in our mail box every 3-4 weeks and money got tighter all around which meant my grocery budget took a huge hit.

I know I’ll never forget! Because, on one shopping trip the rising cost of groceries literally brought me to the verge of tears! It seemed that literally every item I reached for that day had gone up in price. I’m not talking just a few pennies either! I’m talking dimes, quarters and dollars. Usually, I am one of those freaks of nature who enjoys grocery shopping…so the sting of tears between the produce aisle and the fish counter was not a good omen.

That night I composed an email to all of my friends. In it I asked them if they were having similar experiences with their budgets and what was it they were doing to stretch their dollar week to week? Was anyone willing to have a conversation around this issue? Did they have any money saving tips to offer me?

I hesitated to send it out because I felt financially embarrassed. I soon had found out that I had nothing to worry about and the sense of embarrassment was replaced by the strength and support of those friends. In fact, everyone replied and in doing so took away the feelings of isolation, provided emotional support and put me in touch with some great resources and ideas.

So, if the economy stretching your hard earned dollar so thin you can practically see through it, please read on.

Grocery budgets can be reduced significantly by giving up store and brand loyalty, creating a price book, shopping for sales, buying in bulk, creating a pantry along with a menu plan for the week/ month. It also helps to have a freezer and to learn to cook from scratch if you don’t know how already.

I found the following references very handy:

An e-book written by Lana Dorazio: Saving Thousands Grocery Shopping & Cook Great Food! It was well worth the $19.00 spent. It includes: e book, grocery price book, 50 simple recipes and an exclusive interview with a grocery store manager who gives away the company secrets. Check it out at www.grocerybook.com

Simple Savings Website & Newsletter

An online community dedicated to finding simple ways to save money and reduce debt to improve the quality of life.


Thanks City Girl for being such a sport!


Jodi said...

This is something I've been working on, as well. I've managed to make dinner at least 5 nights a week for the past 2 weeks for a grand total of $20 (per week). I've been going through recipes to find other options to help keep meals interesting (and we eat leftovers for lunch, so that helps keep grocery spending down down down as well!).

I agree on keeping a well stocked pantry (and freezer with garden goodies). It does take time to build up the pantry, but it is worth it.

It also takes some time to do your research (I have a nerd's version of the price book - it's a giant spreadsheet comparing local stores/prices). But I'm to a point where it takes me 1/2 an hour sitting down with my coffee and grocery flyer's and coupons to make a weekly meal plan.

I'll be checking out City Girl's links later. Thanks for the info!

Leasmom said...

It must've been pretty brave to talk with friends. I try to talk with mine as much as possible to get tips on how to stretch foods, where to shop, and if I learn something I pass it on to them...its communal sharing in a way...except information. Thanks for this article.

Country Girl said...

Jodi, I see you are quite organized....I need some help with that. $20 that is amazing!

PF..thanks for you comment. It is always great to learn new things. That is what I like most about blogging.

citygirl said...

The Simple Savings website actually posts a $21 challenge. Try to plan a menu from what you already have at home and spend no more than $21 to accomplish it. It is fun to try. We actually managed it once.

Anonymous said...

We have been buying bulk of dried food though and that is one reason we changed Post Offices, the one we're using now is only 3 miles compared to 9 miles.

Danni said...

Thanks for sharing, city girl! I could so relate to your description of grocery store anxiety - I've never had it before, so it was quite a shock when it hit me for the first time a few months ago! Not a good feeling!

Paula said...

Wonderful post!! I agree... brand loyalty went out the window a long time ago for me. And I also make one trip a week out and that's all- I try to get all errands in one day to save gas. It also keeps me from stopping by a store just to pick up a "few things"- that gets costly after a while, too.