the austerity program, day four–buying groceries

Yesterday I took inventory of what I have in my freezer and cupboards and today was my first day at grocery shopping. My mission was to save as much as possible and get just what we needed to make what I already have into meals.  I think I did really well.

First of all, I have been accumulating points on a grocery store members’ card that I did not know how to convert to money off my bill. Before shopping, I phoned the grocery company’s 800 number (thankfully, someone was in on a Sunday) and I also printed a $10 off of a $50 purchase coupon from the store’s website.

I then shopped, leaving everything I didn’t need on the shelves. I still got a decent haul: a six-pack of mega-sized rolls of paper towels (I’d just hung my last roll this morning), a carton of OJ, three Gatorades, a bag of frozen french fries, a one-pound package of turkey breast and a nine-0unce package of ham, a package of Goldfish crackers, a tub of soft butter, four cans of tuna, a loaf of sourdough bread, a loaf of wheat bread, a package of six sandwich rolls, asparagus, tomatoes, green onions, organic broccoli, two packages of romaine lettuce, a pound of potato salad, two bags of chips (it’s Fourth of July week, so a lot of this stuff was on special), bananas, and a bag of apples. Total: $64.50. Then I subtracted my $10 coupon and swiped my store card containing $34 in rewards, bringing the total of my grocery trip down to $20.44! Not bad at all.

The coupons are often available, and it’s not too difficult to accumulate the extra reward money at this store, but this one trip was a bit of an oddity, being that I had saved up that $34 for months. Still, it proves that saving money by looking for bargains and shopping for only the things you need is possible in keeping the total grocery bill down. Fortunately, I have accumulated many years of bargain shopping and have learned much from my forebears. (Whenever I do something especially on the cheap side, my son tells me, “That was very Boucher of you,” meaning I have learned my cheap, or what I’d call thrifty, ways from the masters themselves, my parents and older siblings.)

I’m not saying that next week’s grocery trip will be this impressive or that I won’t need to run out to buy barbecue stuff for the Fourth or spend on food for my son’s birthday this week, but at least it makes me feel good knowing I can keep our bills down–the ones that are flexible, at least–with a little forethought.

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