Feeling Frugal

Lately I’ve made a small change that has yielded big frugal results. Those are the best kind of changes, I think.

Dolly doesn’t care about being frugal.

A Frugal History

There was a time in life when I would have been considered entirely frugal. Cash was my only money (I didn’t have a debit card until Hubs made me get one after we were married.) I also used coupons.

There was one compromise I would not make, though. I refused to buy any brand other than Philadelphia cream cheese. Today, I’m not sure I could tell you the difference between most brands, but when I was in my early 20s, I knew the imitation brands and I did not care for them.

I digress.

Most of our marriage in the midwest was a delicate dance between feast and famine. We either had plenty of groceries, or next to none. It depended on the paycheck and the circumstances.

Being frugal was not a priority, even when it should have been. The preconceived notion I had of it was that it expended too much mental energy to be worthwhile.

Two years ago, we were in a famine cycle come October. Thankfully, my homesteading had us in a head start to avoid going hungry, but it was the generosity of friends and strangers that kept us fed (and clothed) that fall.

The Current Situation

Now that I’m 40 wiser, I not only understand the value of being frugal, but the resourcefulness it provides as well.

Usually, I’m able to be frugal and pantry-savvy while shopping through Azure Standard. That’s taken a lot of years of knowing what we need, use, and can purchase during what seasons. It’s been a frugal-by-fire (because let’s be real, I would buy one of everything from Azure if I could).

In recent months, I’ve been somewhat… appalled? bothered? by how easy it is for me to blow through the budget at the grocery store. Not just because of rising prices, but because of my lack of discipline and tendency to distract myself from the grocery goals.

A few weeks ago I decided to make one change that has proven to be a huge benefit. Determinedly, I set out on a mission to be more frugal. I decided I would only buy items from our local grocery store that are on sale.

How It Works For Us

Each week (usually Tuesday), I browse the sales flyer of the grocery store. I make a list of items I for sure want to get (or at least check on in person), and then head to the store the next time we’re in town.

Not everything that’s on sale in the store is listed in the flyer. They probably put their most “enticing” sale items in print, and leave the rest for people to discover on their own.

When I get to the store, I start at the north end, and work my way down each aisle to the south end before checking out. I only put sale items in my cart, with the exception of Zevia. But when Zevia is on sale… look out. I’m loading up.

I make sure my list is accounted for, and I’m being as frugal as necessary. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean we need it, and just because something is on sale doesn’t mean I need to buy a dozen of them.

The Frugal Results

This sale shopping has saved our dollars and cents in big ways. I am surprised how much we’ve not spent, simply by deciding to buy sale items only.

This also allows me to avoid one of my least favorite places: w@lm@rt.

Another frugal victory: I sometimes have a coupon at my disposal that helps take the cost of the sale items down even more.

None of this is new or innovative at all. I simply wasn’t doing it. Since starting implementation of it, however, it has saved us a notable amount of our grocery budget.

I guess these days and times we find ourselves living in have me turning over more ideas on how to penny pinch and stretch resources.

Being frugal is as much of a challenge for me as it is a reward. It takes thought and careful planning to avoid spending pitfalls at the grocery store.

I’ve menu planned for a long time, and I know if I had to pull meals together from our pantry items only, I could do it. (Seven weeks is my record… so far.)

Adding another frugal weapon to my arsenal, however, has been a good thing.

What are some ways you save money when it comes to feeding your family?

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