Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Little Saving Nuggets in the Grocery Cart

I though I'd share a few little tips I've learned to help keep the grocery bill down. No, I didn't learn them all this week, but because it's Friday and Friday begins with the letter F, I figured I'd share something frugal-licious. Because frugal-icious starts with the letter F too.

And that my friends is how I roll.

Scary, huh?

I'm currently waiting for Sesame Street to call with a job offer. Skills like this shouldn't be ignored.

So, here's a few "nuggets" of wisdom that I've learned. You may already know some of these, but since I focus my energy on matching my letters to the days of the week, I'm a little behind.☺

1. Bulk spices~I've said it before, and I'll say it again (yes Mom), bulk spices are big money savers. However, I didn't realize just how big until this week. My bay leaf jar was suspiciously low on leaves (I think they are currently hanging on the fridge on a piece of art work.), so it was time to buy some more. Now, I don't know if the origin of the bay leaves has anything to do with the price, but a jar of Turkish bay leaves was going to cost $10.19. Ahem. (For that price, I was tempted to rip down the artwork, glue and all, and just call it a "broth binder"!) If you know me at all, you'll know that I don't pay $10 for anything other than coffee, so my mission was to find it cheaper. Enter the bulk spice bins. For $0.50, I was able to completely refill my jar, and buy organic coffee beans, while leaving the artwork intact.

Speaking of coffee beans...

2. I love coffee. There. I've said it. But I'm kind of a coffee snob. I refuse to drink sludge from a can or anything that wasn't ground just before percolating. I also like to know when the beans have been roasted. I've been buying my beans at a local coffee shop for a couple of years now. I love the blend that the owner put together of dark and regular Sumatra beans. I love how perfectly roasted those beans are, and I love that this coffee shop was started by her dad many moons ago. That said, having 5 adult coffee drinkers in our house makes this little habit a very expensive one to have. At $10.85/lb. per week, this adds up quickly. Imagine my joy when I discovered that some of the Costco's now have coffee roasters in them! Better yet? The beans are organic!! Buying 5 lbs. of beans at once might seem excessive if there is only 1 coffee drinker in the house, but at a savings of $4.55/lb., buying this way saved us $22.75 for the entire month's worth of coffee. (Contrary to popular belief, extra beans should NOT be stored in the freezer. Store them in the fridge to prolong their freshness.)

3. Fabric softeners~First, let me tell you that I don't always use traditional fabric softeners. Quite often I use white vinegar, and sometimes I even steep dried lavender in it first. But sometimes, I fall victim to the enticing scents from the softener bottle, especially the lavender/vanilla scent. When I do get weak, I make sure that I have a manufacturer's coupon in hand and shop at a store who is advertising a sale price. But, here's a little tip to help stretch out that big bottle of deliciousness...Pour half of the bottle into an empty bottle, then fill both bottles up with water. Give it a little shake, and you've now stretched your purchase of 1 into 2. It's not only easier on your wallet, but also on your clothing and your washing machine.

4. Dryer sheets~A lot of people use dryer sheets. I know this because every time I have a coupon for some, I end up having to ask for a rain check. Cut the cost and the chemicals by cutting your dryer sheets in half. Does the same job for half the price.

5. Paper towels~This has been a super-saver for us. We didn't realize the amount of paper towels that were being used until we stopped buying them. Of course, that didn't last long, and paper towels have their place in the kitchen. But by using select-a-size towels to clean up greasy messes, wash rags for cleaning regular spills, and cloth napkins for mealtimes, we were able to cut our usage by 90%. The last time I bought paper towels was in August. I bought a large package of 12. Today as I sit here, we still have 8 of those rolls. Another tip? Buy cloth napkins in the clearance section of the linen department. For $0.99, I got a package of 6 with a big initial on the top. Of course, it's not a J, but who really cares when you're children are wiping spaghetti sauce all over it! Better yet, if you're handy with a sewing machine, whip up your own using fabric scraps you probably already have.

Personally, I like to keep people guessing with the big "I" and "S" initials on mine. Keeps it "f"resh.

And yes, that was another "f" word brought to you by the people of Sesame Street...I mean, me.☺


chipmunk said...

let me guess - the S stands for spaghetti sauce and the I cream? Thanks for passing along the savings tips!

hoosier girl said...

Thanks for the tips! I wish we had a Costco, sigh.

Valerie said...

Great tips! We buy Costco's coffee quite often, love it! I buy most of my spices through Azure Standard, GREAT prices and the quality is very good as well. :) We don't use fabric softener sheets, or fabric softener as a rule. The added fragrance is not missed and it's one less thing for me to buy. Love that! :) Paper towels is a constant struggle for us, but we've managed to cut WAY back on them by using cloth napkins and only using paper towels for greasy messes. A huge package from Costco will generally last us a year if I'm careful and guard them. :)

Happy Friday!

Candy C. said...

My hubby is TERRIBLE about using paper towels! Grrr. I buy the select-a-size but he still pulls off at least three when he washes his hands. When I *see* him grabbing for the paper towels I always remind him about the perfectly lovely hand towel hanging under the sink! We also use cloth napkins.
I'm going to have to look into some bulk spices.

Mary Ann said...

Great ideas!

momma-lana said...

Yup, you can skip those fabric softeners once you know that the active ingredient is formaldehyde! The thought of putting that on my clothing and bedding makes me think of being enbalmed---ICK! For many years I did not know why I felt so awful on every laundry day. Then my allergist told me about the formaldehyde and I felt immediately better after stopping using fabric softeners.