Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thriftiness - It's The New Black ;)

Everybody can use some thrifty tips with the state of our economy right now. Try a little thriftiness - it looks good on anybody!

I had a lot more to say about this than I realized, so I decided to focus on one area. Several years ago, our budget was super tight and we cut back everywhere that we could - no cable, free internet service, lowest phone plan, etc. The one area where we saw the biggest opportunity to save money was food and groceries. So that is what I'm covering today. You may already be practicing all of these ideas, but hopefully you will find something you can use.


This is one area that you can make a huge difference in your budget. First of all - where are you shopping? If you just shop at the grocery store down the street out of convenience and because their produce section is"pretty" - you might be surprised at how much extra money you are spending.

I shop at the cheapest grocery store we have. It is not the prettiest and you bag your own groceries and it's always busy - but the money I save is huge (It's WinCo)! How do you know which one is cheapest? Compare the prices. I will say that if you have a Super Walmart - that is probably your cheapest or close to it. Also, they will honor sale prices from other grocery stores if cheaper than their price. In my area, WinCo still beats Walmart on many items - it depends on what you're buying.

Years ago, when our budget was REALLY tight, I made a list of all the items I bought during a couple of weekly grocery shopping trips. I wrote down the price of everything and checked a couple other grocery stores and wrote down prices of the same or comparable items. I found that WinCo was $30-$40 less for one shopping trip than the big name stores! And I even checked what I thought was another "cheap" grocery store, but WinCo still beat them by $15-$20 in one trip! That is an amazing difference!! Are you willing to pay an extra $100 a month for a "pretty" grocery store?

Also, try some generic items instead of name brand. You will save a lot that way, too. Now, through trial and error, I have discovered that I do prefer name brands in some items and some don't matter at all. Don't be afraid to try!

The last piece of advice I have for groceries is that you must look at price per ounce to get your best value. The bigger value packs and bagged cereals are not always the best deal! I was so surprised the first time that I discovered that a 4-pack of my favorite TP at the time was cheaper per roll than the 12-pack! Tricky! Always check price per item or per ounce that's listed on the store's price tag. By checking this, I have also found name brands on sale for less than the generic brand per ounce! And some things are cheaper at bulk stores like Costco and some are not - be careful to compare prices per item on those, too. Don't assume anything!


Going back again to my really tight budget days, I came up with several meals and calculated the cost of them, only making the cheapest ones. Here were our regulars:

- Pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce made in the slow cooker with the extra frozen for another meal.
- Roasted whole chicken with vegetables- slow cooker or oven, then use the carcass to make homemade chicken noodle soup
- Tacoes
- Beef stew - slow cooker again!
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Poached chicken breasts with apples (probably one of the costlier - but a nice dinner for company and I usually had most of the ingredients on hand)
- Fettucine with chicken and peas

These things saved us a lot of money then and still save us money now. Other ways we save are by shopping at thrift stores and by making homemade gifts.

Have you tried a little thriftiness on with that outfit?


  1. Living over at the beach ALL the groceries stores are over prices but unfortunately I am forced to shop there for some of my items because Super Walmart (which isn't all that close) doesn't carry stuff. Then I make a trip to Sam's Club once a month. It drives me nuts to have to drive everywhere to save money but our grocery bill is crazy and I don't buy junk. I cook from scratch and make things that don't cost a fortune and yet our bill is still outrageous. I'm starting to think it's because of where we live. The cost of living is just higher I think because I hear of these families living on $50.00 a week and I laugh because it would be impossible here. *sigh*. Okay there I vented lol. We've cut back on everything else just so we can eat lol. Those recipes sound yummy. It's great that you use your slow cooker so much. I love mine.
    Sorry for the post in a comment lol.
    Hugs to you.

  2. Great ideas on thriftiness. We've had lots of times in our life where we had to be extremely thrifty too. Besides that my mama lived that as an example to me and there are just some things I never pay full price for. When I go clothes shopping, I only look at the sale racks.

  3. Hey Lisa - the linky is finally working!

    Great advice! I love it - I remember going around and comparing prices too. By the way, you know I want the recipes - thank you! I'm always looking for new ones!

  4. Back when we had four boys (they grew up and two moved on) we found the biggest savings came from simple thing like: eating at home and cooking from scratch. Seems hardly anyone does those things consistantly anymore. Oh, and your meals sound quite yummy, too.

  5. Generics are the way to go. Very often, they are just as good and sometimes better than the brand names.

  6. Hi,
    I found your blog through Kim at Homesteader in Training. I'm just getting back to blogging after taking a year off (and changing where I blog).

    Anyhow, 5 years ago, my husband began what turned out to be 25 months of unemployment. Talk about the need to analyze our finances!! I learned that there is a huge difference between a need and a want. Really, you CAN live without ice cream and potato chips!! (I used to think such a feat was impossible)

    By focusing on REAL food, instead of junk I saved hundreds of dollars. In fact, I hadn't even been aware that we ate that much junk.

    I began to bake from scratch, so although I wasn't buying cookies, we still did have an occasional treat. I made my own bread and muffins too. Funny how expensive those things can be in the stores!

    Gas wasn't as high then, but I learned to make a menu and go to the store once a week, as opposed to the daily running that I did before.

    On another note, we learned to cut costs by borrowing movies from our local library, instead of using Blockbuster or going to the movies. Our library has a great selection, and what they don't have, they can obtain through inter-library loan---I'm currently borrowing a movie that came all the way from Arkansas.

    This is a great post, in these difficult times we are facing.

    Please feel free to stop by my blog--Fill Me With Beauty---if you have a chance. I'd love to have you visit.


    PS I shop at Winco too. It is definitely far cheaper than any of the other stores.

  7. Good tips! I should do the spaghetti sauce thing where I freeze enough for the next week's meals. thanks.

  8. Great ideas! I love your blog name! SO cute and funny!

  9. Cooking from scratch is my way to save. I purchase all my organic whole grains from a food co-op in bulk. I buy eggs, tomatoes, summer veggies from a local Mennonite farm and everything is super cheap! She sells a bushel of canning tomatoes for $3.50 so I can my own whole tomatoes for the winter. I can peaches too.
    I buy frozen organic veggies on sale and also am part of an organic produce co-op.
    I also buy my milk straight from the farm, I save close to $2 a gallon buying raw organic milk instead of store milk. THAT adds up! I bake a lot and only buy some things pre-packaged. I try to think "frontier" style, it's healthier and cheaper. We LOVE food and I have 6 mouths to feed!!

  10. Oh, and I also buy "seconds" from a local orchard, that's a GREAT way to save money buying fruit!

  11. Great post! To bad there isn't a WinCo
    here where I live, saving bucks is what it is all about.


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