In my search for resources on how to cut costs, I came across the book America's Cheapest Family by the Economides (yes, that is their real name). I picked it up at Barnes and Noble and anxiously began reading the chapter on saving on your groceries. Their main suggestions were to shop once a month, plan a menu for each week, clip coupons (buy 2 or 3 Sunday papers if desired), and comparison shop (they go to several stores in one day to get the best prices). Ok, so I have already begun menu planning for the WEEK (couldn't imagine planning ahead for the month). I don't have the room in my freezer to store a months worth of milk, bread, meat, cheeses and whatever else would spoil mid-month. I don't get the Sunday paper, nor am I going to pay $1.75 for one when I won't find many coupons in it ( if anyone knows a good source for organic coupons, let me know!) Plus, coupon hunting and searching through adds to double up on savings to get things for nearly free requires too much of my time (talk about a headache!). And speaking of time and headaches, I value my time too much to spend several hours running here there and everywhere to save a few cents on a handful of items.
As I read on in their book, they gave other suggestions for saving money on cars, housing, vacations, shopping for clothes and getting out of debt. I appreciate what they are able to do, but I felt like a lot of their suggestions just don't fit our lifestyle. Hmmm....maybe I'm not cut out for this "frugal" thing.
Then I began thinking...what exactly does frugal mean? When you hear about families who switch to the frugal side, there almost always seems to be an extreme cut in cost and crazy measures taken to save a few pennies. So I turned to Webster and his definition is: careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to: using money or supplies in a very careful way. This is exactly what I am setting out to do. There is nothing in the definition which suggests becoming a crazy penny pincher.
In the end, I returned the book and vowed to ask myself, "Do I really need this?" before purchasing. I have put a post-it on my credit card to remind myself to check my "cart" before checking out. So far, I have only been to the grocery once a week, and I haven't been to Target since the first of the month! I needed a few things last night for a craft, so I send the husband. He was in and out in a flash and only came home with what I needed. I would have stopped in five other departments just to check things out and would have probably come home with double the bags. This a new strategy to also get out of doing the shopping...haha! "If you go to the grocery, I won't be tempted to spend more!" He isn't buying it :)