First, I started doing the grocery shopping. When I married my wonderful husband, I found that he was a better cook, house cleaner and grocery shopper than I was. He never needed to plan meals or make out a grocery list, he just always seemed to have everything he needed in his pantry. I still don't know exactly how he did that, because I plan, make lists and it never fails that I forget something.
When my husband went shopping, he refused to use any coupons. He always went to the same grocery store, no matter what might have been on sale anywhere else. He would have gone to this same grocery store even if all of the other stores were giving away free food. I know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut, but when I started doing the grocery shopping, I found out that the one store where he went every week, without any coupons, was the most expensive of all of the grocery stores in our area. (I do like their meat though, and many times, I will go there for meat and a few things they only sell there.)
The next thing I did was start clipping coupons in the Sunday paper. I only clip the coupons for the things we need and use. That way, I'm not tempted to buy anything that will go to waste. I noticed that the grocery receipt says how much money you save and I was very proud of myself for all of the money I saved with my coupons. It still didn't seem to really make much of a difference in our budget. Then I read a blog post somewhere (I can't remember where, or I would link to it here) about a mother of four who doesn't pay for toiletries anymore. She uses coupons and some other deals to get everything without paying for them out of pocket.
This is baffling to me. I have read stories and seen shows about people who buy $250 of groceries and pay $3.24. I always thought that these people were buying stuff just because it was on sale and they had a coupon. I would probably buy this stuff and it would go to waste because I would never use it, plus I would still have to buy the stuff I would actually use and it would cost twice as much to get stuff on sale.
Finally, I have been reading and learning how to do these really great deals. The best information, so far, has come from a little e-course called Supermarket Savings 101. It comes with an e-book, six audio lessons and six bonus books. There is more, but you should check it out for yourself. If you want to see some of the ongoing updates check out moneysavingmom.com.
I can't wait to write more of an update on our grocery budget and how all of this is working for us. I'll keep you posted. Let me know if you have any other ideas for reducing the grocery store budget.