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Bagging Bargains at the Grocery Store – Guest Erin Chase of $5Dinners. Episode 63.

When you read the words “grocery shopping” do you feel anxiety, boredom, the serious beginnings of a headache, frustration, excitement, desperation, or not really anything?  Women run the gamut of emotions when it comes to this particular duty.

Myself, I have literally felt every one of these over the years…sometimes all of them within the same day!  

Whether you are a lover of shopping or not, grocery shopping CAN be undeniably horrific (especially when paired with toddlers and infants…and as much as I love it…WalMart).  There’s just something about that particular trifecta that spells disaster.  The kind that can only be summed up by, “someday this will make a great story!”

“SHOW ME THE MONEY!”

One of the BIGGEST stresses about grocery shopping for me is the budget .  😰

The eternal struggle of how to feed my family something a step UP from dog food while not breaking the bank.  Oh, yeah.  Every. Single. Day.

How can we eat healthy food, instead of beige-yellow processed junk, so that we don’t all have to roll into WalMart (to buy bigger pants) without breaking the bank?

Is it really even possible for me to feed six kids and NOT BREAK THE BANK?  Answer: No. No it is not. The bank broke when my water broke.

C’est la vie.  Apparently it’s not all about me.  Whatever.

ENTER ERIN CHASE

Apparently, smarter people than me (shocking) have figured out a way to solve all of these problems!  One of these brilliant people is Erin Chase, creator of $5 dinners.com.   IMO, she should get the Nobel Peace Prize for what she’s done for families.  Erin has shared her brilliant ideas on The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The View, and many more.  Somehow we talked her into spending an hour with us to break down the science of affordable grocery shopping—yes, it’s a thing— for our Mom Squad (insert applause).  👏👏👏

Years ago, Erin needed to save money for her family, and she decided the place where she could cut costs was groceries. Through strategic grocery shopping, meal planning & couponing methods she learned to cut her grocery bill in half.  She is now on a mission to help others do the same. Yay Erin!!

So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how we actually cut the grocery costs without cutting the children out of the family.

THE #1 MISTAKE

The number one mistake that people make when grocery shopping?

No meal plan + no idea about what’s on sale + no shopping list = you just broke the bank.  

Congratulations.

In other words: you have to invest a little time before you go so that you are making educated decisions.  Money doesn’t grow on trees.  Believe me.  I’ve looked into it.  If you want to create more money in your life, then you need to be educated about the ways to do that.  In the world of shopping, educated means having a meal plan, knowing what’s on sale at the store, and having a written down list of what you are buying.

But what if you hate having to think about those things?  

You hate making lists!  

Plans cramp your style!

You love to fly by the seat of your pants!

Flying is expensive.

You just broke the bank.

Apparently banks are fragile…they break a lot (@#$***%!)

A + B = C

So, to sum up, IF you want to start your shopping trip with the best chance possible of saving some moolah then follow these three steps before you go:

  1. Use the store circular to see sales
  2. Make a meal plan
  3. Make a shopping list and stick to it

THE LOYAL SHOPPER

What about shopping at many stores v.s. one store?  Some people have their favorite store and would rather die than stray from their one true love.  Others (like me) make the rounds (Supermarket Floozy????). Is one method better than another?

It all depends on where you live, according to Erin.  If you have several stores in very close proximity to each other, then you will definitely benefit from shopping the sales from them all.  If they are all across town from each other, then it makes no sense to travel clear across town to get grapes for a smokin’ hot deal.

Nothing is that smokin’ hot.

TO TAKE THE CHILD OR NOT TO TAKE THE CHILD

My loyalty to Erin was greatly enhanced during the conversation about shopping with vs shopping without children.  No mother (except Unicorn Mothers, i.e., UM’s…and we shall not speak of them now) would think that shopping WITH children is advantageous to the family budget or to the sanity of the mother.  

Well, good news!  

Erin agrees!

If the husband wants more money (duh), here’s where he can step in and allow his wife to be the multi-tasking-coupon-using-list-making-meal-planning superwoman she was born to be!  Bottom line: She will save more money if she can shop without a tiny human peppering her with questions that are both irrelevant and nonsensical. Shopping like that is like being on “The Price is Right” while being attacked by a swarm of bees.  

It’s.  Hard. To.  Think.

Besides, as Erin says, “Going to the store by yourself is basically like going on vacation.”

Nevertheless, IF you MUST take the swarm of questioning bee-children with you, have no fear.  You were made to withstand daunting situations AND Erin has plenty of tips for you to make the job a little easier.  Listen in to hear them all. You can do this!

WHAT ELSE???

Erin covers many more topics, including:

  • Weekly vs monthly shopping
  • How to plan a $5 meal
  • Financially planning for sales so that you can “stock up” while prices are low
  • Cash vs card when buying groceries
  • The “bulk store” debate: Are they worth it
  • How to use coupons without driving yourself crazy

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF APPS

The topic Erin discussed that made the three of us buzz with excitement (other than the notion of shopping without kids) was the topic of shopping apps.  Do you know about these?? The point of these apps is to save you money (like coupons) or give you money back after you’ve shopped (by scanning your receipt).  WHAAAT??? By not using these we are leaving money on the table and walking away.  They do take time, but so does anything that gives you money (Remember? No money tree.  Still.)

It’s worth it, people!

Here are a list of Erin’s favorite apps:

Planning Apps:

Favado

Cash Back Apps:

Walmart Savings Catcher

Checkout 51

Ibotta

Ebates (online shopping)

Resources

Coupons.com

And the best of all:

$5 Dinners.com

Well, there you have it.  The low-down on how you and I can save big and still eat better than pasteurized-processed-yellow-dog-food!  Hooray!

And if there is any doubt that these tips are worth the work, just listen to our intro on the podcast about shopping horrors we have personally experienced.  According to these stories, accidental shoplifting and child abandonment are serious possibilities when attempting the elusive art of shopping with kids.

Good luck to us all!

Your friend in the mess,

Camille

MOM SQUAD CHALLENGE

Look at the ads, plan a couple meals and make a shopping list.

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