My First Shop of 2010

Last night we went to Publix for our first grocery shop of the new year. We don't really need much since we're trying to use up our stockpile, as I talked about in the Eat From the Pantry Challenge but we do need to get a few produce and dairy items. You probably didn't notice that I didn't post new year resolutions, but I didn't. I don't really feel ready to do that yet. I have been thinking about goals though, and have decided my frugal shopping goal is to spend less than $1000 this year at the grocery store. This would work out to an average of $19.23 per week, or about $77 a month. This is a huge stretch goal because in the past our groceries were our second highest household expense at about $4000 a year. Basically, we are going to try to cut our grocery budget by 75% using coupons, stockpiling stuff on sale, and shopping the BOGO deals at Publix.
 
So back to our trip yesterday to Publix. I felt unprepared for the shop, and was printing and cutting out Target coupons to stack with the MQ's on Special K Cereal because I didn't remember that Target had some matches. I was relying too much on the blogs to outline the deals, and they missed some key coupons that I had (like BOGO MQ on the Special K cereal to match with the BOGO sale, so all boxes were free). I need to increase my awareness of what coupons are out there and what I have. I also didn't preplan the purchases on a spreadsheet (which I've never done) but this would have saved me more money. I had extra $5 off $50 coupons but only used one, when I could have thrown the other one in since our total was over $145 before coupons. I had two expired store coupons from last months flyer, and had to tear out two new ones from the Green Advantage Flyer. I also made the mistake of not splitting the order so that I used less than 50 coupons.  Also the last coupons (the stacking Target Q) confused the clerk and she called over the manager to approve. Then at the bottom of the pile finally, they start beeping because I have too many coupons. I also had more coupons than items in my cart which requires manager override too. I don't mind doing this but the store was "alive at five" and the line behind me was getting impatient. I told the girl that I'll use them next time. So these mistakes cost me about $7. At the end of the transaction the total was $27 and the savings were $135, for 84% savings. So, the $27 is more than the budgeted amount per week of $19. If I had planned my shop better I would have come in about $20, only $1 over budget.
 
I'm not really fond of having grocery shopping become a mathematical worksheet, but I suppose why not. After all, its one of our biggest expenses of the household. Its actually amazing how so many people just don't make the time or effort to use coupons to save hundreds of dollars every month. I can save more money using coupons than I could make in a part time job. Maybe I should just quit my day job and become a professional grocery shopper. I could just split the savings with the people. It would pay me and they would spend less on groceries. Think that would work? Who wants to sign up?

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