Being frugal comes very natural to both of us. Always has. I can honestly say we have never argued over money. The bills were always paid, the food was purchased, money was set aside for savings, and the rest.. well.. it sat there until one of us needed it for something. Most of it just sat there. Starting off poor really helped. We were very thankful for the things we did get.
Twenty years later it's pretty much the same way. We do splurge; we went to breakfast this morning. What did we talk about? You guessed it! Being more frugal.
Is that possible? Sure! We decided to give a tweak to grocery shopping after looking at all our other expenses and seeing that we are already very frugal in every sense of the word.
So groceries it is! I can say that we are pretty tight already based on this chart. We fall within the thrifty plan. This includes our paper and cleaning products. It does not include our eating out. I didn't add my oldest in the calculations because she really isn't here much to eat. While I am very proud of how we are doing, I'd really like to cut back even more.
Today I took inventory of the freezers and pantry. What an eye-opener. I found meat that should have long been thrown. Bought on sale or not, it's wasting when it gets freezer burnt. Hubby agreed we really need to focus on rotating foods and not buying more than we can eat.
I really started noticing a savings when I started menu planning. I bought only what was needed to make these meals, snacks for the week, and stocked up on the sale items.
I am able to defrost the food well in advance now because I know what I will be cooking. This ended the 5 o'clock panic of not knowing what to cook and not having all the ingredients to cook what I wanted. Leftovers are frozen and will be eaten on weekends or when I'm short on time.
I am really trying not to waste food. Leftover veggies are put in an icecream bucket in the freezer. When it's time for soup the veggies are there waiting. Bananas getting overripe? Peel and put in freezer for later use in pancakes, muffins, bread. Berries can be flash frozen for smoothies later on. Don't forget about your food sealer. What a great way to store that extra cheese so it doesn't go bad. Hotdogs and lunchmeat freeze well too. Apples can be cooked in the crockpot for apple sauce and eaten like that or used in place of oil in baking cakes, breads, etc. Sometimes I freeze grapes and then use them as icecubes in my water. :) Think outside the box and see how you can save more than you waste.
Don't forget to use these foods in your future meal planning. Things don't keep forever just because it's in the freezer (a lesson I'm trying to teach my husband).