My Coupon Crisis: Part Two

First of all I want to say a big "Thank You!!" to all of you who left me such encouraging comments, ya'll are the BEST readers. =)  It is obvious that I am not the only mama who has struggled with this and come to the conclusion that being a "couponer" isn't right for this season of life.  (If you didn't read yesterday's post about why I've decided to give up couponing, you can read part one here.  Be sure to read the comments as well, there's some great ideas in there!)

Before I begin, I need to share one exciting tidbit of news...two weeks ago I got my first grocery budget raise since 2006.  Did you get that? Since 2006! My grocery budget has been the same for 7 years!  Yeah, it's not been easy and I was doing a major happy dance about that one.  Seven years ago things were cheaper and we only had half as many children.  So, a raise was definitely in order!  

As I stated in yesterdays post, I want to share my ideas on how I plan to still feed my family frugally without the stress of coupons, but more healthy as well.  This is kind of a four step process...

1)  Beginning in a few weeks, I'm going to do "once a month grocery shopping." 

 Instead of a 3-4 hour grocery shopping endeavor every.single.week., I'm going to do my BIG shopping once a month.  Then during the remainder of the month, while I'm doing my other errands, I plan to make a quick stop for fresh produce, milk and eggs if it's needed. 

This alone is going to save me boatloads of time!  Instead of spending around 16 hours a month grocery shopping, I'll be spending 3-4 for the BIG run, and a quick 15 minute "in and out" trip for the fresh stuff.  That just makes me want to smile!  (Pretty sure my kiddos are going to be thrilled about this as well!)  Also, I've read before that people actually saved more on their grocery bill by shopping this way so I'm interested to see how it works out for us. 

2) I'm going to plan my meals a month at a time.

 I have been doing this on a week-by-week basis.  It's not my favorite job and I'm looking forward to only having to do this once a month!  I'm going to do this in Google Calendar, and listed with each meal will be the essentials of each recipe.  That way when I'm making my grocery list, it's easy to see what I need.  

One great thing about Google Calendar is that if I want to use the same menu next month, I just have to change my settings and have it repeat!  Also, if you have a smart phone, you can have your calendar send you reminders to alert you for what's coming up the next day. So if you're going to eat beans the next day, it sure is handy to have that little reminder so you remember to soak them! =)

3) Meal planning and shopping for a month at time will enable me to do "Once a Month Freezer Cooking."  

I've done a bunch of freezer cooking in my time, so this is nothing new.  Before both Levi and Lucy were born, I cooked and cooked until my freezer could barely shut. It sure simplified life for the first few months!  And every time my husband would say, "Why don't you do this all the time?"  And seriously, why don't I?  And usually it was because there was just no way to cook for a month when I was only shopping one week at a time.  But now, I have no excuse! =)

4) Making the basics from scratch always helps to keep the grocery bill down.

This is a list of what I make on a regular basis:

Buying those items can be pretty expensive and not near as healthy. Plus my kiddos definitely do not "eat like birds"...although if they were birds, they'd be vultures...constantly swarming about to see what they can devour next, LOL. =D

Some things I want to begin doing on a regular basis again are...
  • substituting the sugar in my recipes with healthier alternatives or honey
  • subsituting the fats in baked goods with ground flax seed, applesauce, vegetable purees, etc.
  • making hummus
  • making salad dressing
I am truly excited about the changes being made in this area of life! As a wife and a mother, feeding our families encompasses a great deal of our "job" and I want to continue to strive to be a better manager in this area.  Simplifying and re-organizing things will go a long way in keeping the stress down, and our tummies filled with nutritious food! 

The plan is to blog about all of this so in the near future I'll be sharing my month-long menu, what my first BIG grocery shopping trip was like, as well as how I plan to tackle the freezer cooking.  Hope you'll stick around!

How do you do your menu plan and grocery shopping? Once a week?  Every other week?  And have you ever tackled once a month freezer cooking?  Any advice for this new endeavor?


  1. I'm so glad to hear that someone else has decided coupons don't work for everyone all the time! For the first year of our marriage I felt guilty for not using them very well, but we were trying not to eat processed foods and that's almost all I could find coupons for. I still use CVS extra care bucks, but other than that I really don't use coupons for anything.

    I tried the once a month meal planning and shopping, but it just didn't work for us at the time. Part of the reason is that I always freaked out at how large the grocery bill was at one time! I can't wait to hear how it goes for you and if you have any tips to make it easier!

  2. I love once a month grocery shopping! (mostly because shopping is way down on my list of fun things to do). I tried in vain to do the coupon thing...but like you said, we end up eating things that are less than healthy. Coscto has been a lifesaver for me - I never was good at the stacking coupon thing so for me, Costco is better than my coupon savings ever hoped to be.

    I've done the freezer cooking in the past, but it's been hard for me to maintain it - tho I LOVE pulling dinner out of the freezer!

  3. So interested in how this goes for you! I picked up a cook book about "freezer cooking" a while ago but have yet to delve into the whole process. I'll follow you for my needed encouragement!! :) I need to get started. So happy that you have made some steps to simplify in areas that you feel are necessary! Like you said yesterday, "If mama ain't happy, aint' nobody happy." :0)

  4. That funny you are where I am. I am still couponing in fact had my daugher cut them out the other day so I can go tomorrow. I too stopped using coupons last year due to us eating more healthy and a lot of coupons were for process foods. But just recently I decided to use coupons for diapers and paper products and things like that so Icould save somewhere :) It is a lot of hassle to drag the kids from store to store and look thru coupons! I so understand! Making a lot of meals and snacks and condiments yourself will save you in a long run plus being healthy. My problem is finding time to set aside and do freezer meals constantly. when I can I do double batches I do but again sometimes that double batch gets eaten by us...got 8 mouths to feed now :) one tidbit if you buy flaxseed you can use it in place of eggs in baking :) I rarely buy eggs now....my kids dont' like to eat eggs plain :)

  5. Would love to hear some of your favorite freezer meals! I do a ton of freezer meals, but love to hear what others do. I also make my menu for a month at a time. I buy ahead a lot, even though I shop once a week. I get the sales on meat and go to a local meat market as well.

  6. I do lots of freezer meals. For a long time I tried to do once a month cooking, and I was always too exhausted by the time I was (half) finished. Even once a week cooking proved to be too much.
    Then I realized that other people were "frying/marinating meat", not making 30 casseroles!
    I do fry my beef by the 10lb tubes, and freeze the extra. But I also wanted to freeze casseroles. So when I make a casserole to eat, I make three others to freeze. And I do this 1-3 times a week. It is much more do-able for me. Thanks for the post!

  7. Do you make your own yogurt? If so, I would love to see a recipe for that. I'm with you on the coupons. I use to feel so guilty about not keeping up with it. Love reading your posts when I get the chance.:)


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