I read an article last week in The New York Times about the cost of food pushing the Consumer Price Index higher. It reminded me of a little experiment Mr. Bartender and I started earlier this year.
Mr. B was grousing every time we went to the grocery store about the cost of food and how our food bill was rising but the amount of groceries we purchase wasn’t. Sound familiar? I’m sure we’re not the only people having this conversation. We all want value for our hard earned dollar. So whenever this conversation started, we’d ask ourselves “What can we do to reduce our grocery bill?” Finally one week, we decided to do a little experiment to see if we could save some money. Here’s what we decided:
- We would change stores from the local grocer – think “buying power”.
- Since the new store is further away, we would shop every two weeks (instead of weekly.)
- We would try store brands to see if there really was any difference in taste.
- And, we would make the most of leftovers so absolutely nothing goes to waste.
We did this for 3 months. Then compared our old food bills to the new ones. The result? Our grocery bill was cut in half. Yes, in half. We learned a few things along the way:
Menu planning is a huge benefit. We found this helpful not only from a money saving standpoint, but also on our waistlines. No impulse meal planning, which was usually more expensive and higher calories. I found an iPhone app called MealBoard that helps me with the planning process.
Lastly, there are several apps that allow you to enter a few ingredients and it will help you find a nice recipe for them. For starters, you can check out BigOven, RealSimple, Epicurious, and CookingLight. I recently had some fresh sage and turkey around the house and turned them into a super delish chowder. Fresh herbs are expensive and I was able to use all of them.
You might be saying to yourself, “What the heck does this have to do with work?” Well, how many times are we frustrated with the current situation and can’t figure out how to fix it. Then we finally get the guts to try something new. Probably something that, under a different set of circumstances, we wouldn’t have tried. And after learning the new process or working through a few kinks, we discover a real significant benefit.
And then ask ourselves, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Hmmm.1