Grocery Planning

When I first quit working, I went a little nuts with coupons. I had a coupon binder, and would spend hours a week clipping coupons and filing them in my baseball card pages. I don’t even want to think about how many times my binder got dropped and I had to put it all back together. Finally, I admitted that I was not happy with my system. I have now gone to a method that works a lot better for me.
Jenny from Southern Savers has a method that I adapted. Here is my system:

Once again, I used a Thirty-one organizing tote. I like to store my stuff in these so that I can take them in the car, or work on the couch, by the pool…
My coupon system consists of my coupon files, a clipboard for my lists, my control journal, and my coupon organizer. I keep twelve weeks of inserts. I buy two papers, and my father usually has three or four, and he gives me his inserts.

Each week when I get my new inserts, I take the back file, throw out the inserts, scratch out the date, relabel the date, add the new inserts, and place the file in front. I also have files for store specific inserts. See, last Sunday, 9/30/12, is in the front. I took the file from the back, 7/1, threw out the inserts, scratched out the date, relabeled it, put my new inserts in, and moved it to the front.

I have a template that I made for grocery shopping by aisle. I keep blank copies of this on my clipboard, and I also have a copy of this that I have filled in with items that I seem to buy every week, here. Milk, eggs, bread, sugar, lunchmeat, paper plates, dog food, orange juice…I keep this list in a page protector in my control journal to refer to every week so I don’t forget our staples.

So here is my grocery planning process.
1. Each week I go through my refrigerator and freezer and make a list of meat and vegetables I have on hand and need to use.
2. I look at the calendar for the upcoming week, and use the list of available ingredients to start planning the meals for the week. I like this menu planner from Alchemy Junk. Some days I can cook a roast, and some days we may have to grab a sandwich between cello lessons and lacrosse.

3. I take a copy of my grocery list template and write down what else I need to complete the meals.
4. Then I take my copy of my staples grocery list, and fill in what I need from that list.
5. I add whatever we have added to the dry erase grocery list on the refrigerator.

Now it is time for coupons. I use Southern Savers for all of my couponing.
6. I go to her site and make printable lists of what is on sale at my grocery stores. I will admit, I will go to three grocery stores and CVS some weeks, if the prices are right! I love a bargain! I check to see where the best prices are on the items already on my list, and add what I am stocking up on to my list. I use different colored highlighters on my list so I know what to buy at Bi-lo, Publix, Ingles, CVS, and as I am doing this I write down which coupon insert the coupon is in.

7. Then I go to the filed inserts and clip the coupons I need. I then file my clipped coupons in my coupon organizer.

I keep the front slot empty. It is labeled “this trip.”. The next slots are for Publix, Bi-lo, Ingles, and CVS. After that I have slots for restaurant and service coupons. I file the coupons by store, then when I am in the store shopping, I add the coupons for the items in my cart to the front slot. If I don’t use the coupons I clipped, I add them to the back slot of my organizer.

I used to drag my huge 4-inch binder with me to the store, and now all I take is my clipboard and coupon organizer. Maybe I miss out on some great deals, but I still manage to save around 50%, and that is good enough for me!

Another thing that really helped me was putting all of my shopper cards on a separate key ring:


So, what do you think? Was that explanation as clear as mud?


*Sometimes I link up at these parties…

Monday: Skip to my Lou, Between Naps on the Porch, Jam Hands, Home Stories A-Z, How to Nest for Less, Today’s Creative Blog, Thrifty Décor Chick, Not Just a Housewife, Boogieboard Cottage,Time Warp Wife, Chef In Training, The Ivy Cottage Blog, Holly’s Stamping Addiction, Serendipity and Spice, Homestead Revival

Tuesday: Bowl Full of Lemons, Organize & Decorate Everything, Primitive and Proper, homework, Tilly’s Nest, Elizabeth & Co., Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Project Queen, Sugar Bee Crafts, Time Warp Wife, Coastal Charm, The DIY Dreamer

Wednesday: House of Hepworths, Shabby Creek Cottage, Ivy and Elephants, Someday Crafts, the 36th Avenue, Southern Lovely, seven thirty-three, Semi-Homemade Mom, The Real Housewives of Riverton, lil pink pocket, Stone Gable, No Minimalist Here, A Creative Princess

Thursday: The Coloradolady, Common Ground,Five Days Five Ways , My Romantic Home, Delightful Order, Imparting Grace

Friday: Tatertots & Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity Now, Whipperberry

Saturday: Positively Splendid

Sunday: Alderberry Hill, Flour Me With Love, Stone Gable, This Gal Cooks


Getting Started with a Control Journal

Oh, no! It is already October 1st, which means it is time for the “31 Days Of…” challenge from the nester to start, which means it is time for me to start blogging daily on the topic I chose. My control journal. What the heck is that?
I have found that the best way for me to deal with my ADD is to have routines. Years ago I found the Flylady system, and I adopted most of her systems, and have tweaked them until they work for me. Of all of the “systems” I use, I would have to say that hers is the cornerstone. The control journal is called a lot of things in the blog world…control journal, household binder….whatever you call it, the principle is the same. It is a place to store your routines.
My challenge for myself is for me to follow my routines every day for the month of October. As I do this, I will be showing you how to make your own control journal.
Here is my brain:

This bag is how I keep my life running. The tote is from Thirty-one, and I have at least six of these bags that I use for all sorts of things around my house.

This is what is in my bag:
My control journal
My blog binder
My Next Action file
My receipt file for my business
My Erin Condren planner
My brain dump notebook
My camera, hard drive, post it notes, price tags, tape, measuring tape, Swiss Army knife, and a pouch with markers, scissors, computer cables, scissors, pens, pencils…
My favorite color is turquoise, so I absolutely love the Martha Stewart Avery line at Staples. I found a great coupon at My Frugal Adventures for 50% off, and I have actually used six of these in one transaction!
So get yourself a binder. It doesn’t have to be pretty for now, just a binder. Here is a starter list:
• A binder
• Some paper
• Dividers
• Sheet protectors
• Dry erase markers
• A calendar
• A pouch for your notebook for pens and stuff
Tomorrow we will start on our routines!