|Our Superbowl spread.|
It's was quite a combination of processed and fresh foods. As much as I try to feed the family fresh homemade foods most of the time, now and then we like to have some good ol' junk food. These are the times we indulge a bit.
So now back to the subject at hand. Saving money does take time. I'm not just talking about how every little bit adds up over a period of time. I'm talking about the time it takes to research and organize your cost cutting strategies.
I have been cutting coupons for a while and only halfheartedly organizing them lately. I finally sat down this weekend and really went through them all. It was a big lesson for me. I missed out on some huge savings by not setting aside the time to do this on a more regular basis.
I was even paying for a service that was suppose to be telling me the best deals for my coupons. (I got a great deal to try it out, so I didn't pay much.) But after organizing this weekend, I realized that I really could do better on my own without paying for that service. It is worth that extra little bit of time to me. I can do at least some of it while I'm watching TV after the kids go to bed.
I'm also toying with the idea of making a price book of at least some of the foods we use regularly. If you have never heard of a price book, it's basically a list of foods and their prices at various stores. You take a few weeks and track the prices of the items to find the rock bottom prices. Then you now what the best deal to expect is, or at least when it's likely to be the best time to stock up. It also lets you know what price to watch for if you are holding a coupon for an item you want to be able to use.
Some things I already know what my low price is. For example I know milk from Aldi is $1.99. So if I'm not milking a goat, this is the most I will pay for milk on a regular basis. If I'm buying milk and see it on sale cheaper somewhere else, then I will buy from there instead. And possibly plan a milk based dinner such as potato soup or something with a cream sauce.
I'm getting off track here aren't I? OK, back to the subject of this post. If you are serious (when I say you, I really am talking about myself here) you will put in the extra time and effort. It takes a little longer and seems a little harder at first. But once you know what you are doing and get your system figured out, it does move much faster.
Here's the other thing, listen to what works for other people. Someone else might have a system you haven't thought of before. What they do might not be exactly what works for you, but maybe a part of it will be.
Farming has taught me that I can learn a lot by listening to others and taking the parts that fit for me and mixing them together.