Tag Archive | BJ’s Wholesale

Getting challenge ready

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Creating a Master Menu

In my household, it is very easy to jump into the day and get caught up in all the things that need to be done. Homeschooling, laundry, cleaning, chickens and then there is meal time, by the time I get a chance to breathe it is 4:00 and I have no idea what’s for dinner. I need a plan. It’s one of many ways I keep my life organized and our budget on track.

This summer I took my meal planning to a whole new level. I went through my cookbooks (believe me there is a lot!) and made monthly menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner of all of my families favorites. I have enough menus for 5 months worth of dinners. We only have 1 or 2 months for breakfast and lunch, but are trying to expand on those also. We will begin using these menus in September. I love trying new recipes so the weekends are left opened for those. I also only use these during the school year. Summer is all about finding new favorites.

 

Creating a Monthly Grocery List

Another thing I am starting to do is a beginning of the month huge shopping. I make a grocery listing everything I need and then go through and cross off what I already have. From there, I go through and add things that I am getting low on that I know are necessities and we will need before the month runs out.

Now I break down the produce items by the week. Obviously, buying fresh produce for a whole month and expecting it to stay fresh until the end of the month is unrealistic. So I do a quick produce and milk shopping every week.

Why I do a monthly shopping
I live out in a rural area and it is not economical for me to be driving to the store multiple times. Not only that but I have a big family. So I choose to take one weekend to do my huge shopping. One day I drive North to BJ’s and stop at a Publix. And then a few days later, when I go to my mother in laws, I stop at Costco, Fresh Market and a Meat market if need be. These are all close to her house. I am technically not making an extra trip because I have to go pick up which ever kids are at her house anyways. Plus this just works for me. If I lived in the city or closer to these places, I probably wouldn’t shop monthly.

 

Where I Shop

I usually shop at BJ Wholesale, Publix and Walmart. In doing my research of the variety of products, I have decided to drop Walmart stores. The stores are very limited on in store organic or natural products, but online they have an amazing selection with some items cheaper than Amazon. Plus by shopping online and using the mypoints.com website you will earn points towards gift cards for Amazon, Walmart or Visa. I honestly cannot tell you how much I love this site. But that is another post.

 I also just recently purchased a Costco membership after reading many blog post about the amount of organic items and doing a walk-through of the store. I also did this through an email deal from MyPoints and earned extra points. So September will be my first month shopping there.
Near Costco, there is a meat market that sells grass-fed beef for the same price as regular beef at Publix. I am driving by so of course I am going to stop there and get my beef and anything else that looks good. Again I haven’t been there yet. This is based off of my research.
But I have been to the new Fresh Market by my Mother in Law’s house. AMAZING! It was a real food culinary dream. I will definitely be stopping there when I need fresh seafood. Very little meat is prepackaged, it all gets wrapped by the butcher when you order it. Plus they have an amazing bulk section.
I will post updates on my Facebook, instagram and of course here as to how this worked for me.
Throwing out all the junk
Now is the time to begin. Go through the house and throw out all the junk and buy all organic and natural items. NO!
The frugal side of me cannot suggest or even fathom doing this. I hate waste! It drives me crazy! Use what you got until it gone and then switch to the healthier version. This summer, we had already made the switch to organic milk because I was buying a half gallon for me, but realized it would be cheaper to just switch out our gallons for organic. My eggs are 90% farm fresh because my neighbors have been letting me buy their extras for next to nothing. Once in a while I buy eggs at the store and get the vegetarian eggs.
I am finally getting low on some items and I will be switching them over in September. I knew how awful vegetable oil is but I didn’t toss out what I had, I used it up and now can switch to coconut oil. My sugar is almost gone so I am switching to organic. And I am finishing up the meat in the freezer, but am hoping to buy 90% all natural, grass fed or wild for what I need to buy.
If you have some stuff that is unopened and really want to make the switch, then maybe donating to a local food bank is a great option for you. Remember no waste!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Remember, nobody is perfect 100% of the time. There will be times when the kids are starving or your out running errands and you just NEED to have that Pumpkin Spice Latte to get you through. I know for a fact that this coming month is going to be hard for us because our Disney passes are back and we will be going almost every weekend. But we are going to try our hardest and not fret over the times we can’t. My goal is 80/20. If I am at home, I want to make a meal instead of loading everyone up and going out and then feeling yucky afterwards. I want to feel better not be strict. I want to know I am feeding healthy options to my family, instead of crap that does nothing to for the mind and body. But am I overly crazy about it? NO, just doing the best I can do. One day, week, month and food choice at a time.
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Shopping to feed the tribe…How do I do it?

So we are awful with staying on a budget, but when it comes to food, I think I am finally getting the hang of it. For the longest time I would shop at just Walmart, then all those reports came out about the milk and what not so I quit. And then I was shopping at Sweetbay, but lets just say I found something in my pork chops one day that just totally grossed me out. So I shopped at Publix for a couple of years. But they are the most expensive grocery store in our area. Now I shop for the majority of my groceries at BJ Wholesale.

Another thing I do is Coupon! Yes, I am one of those people with the notebook trying to score cheap to free items. But in this economy and with a large family you have to stretch your money in all places. Couponing is amazing. No, I don’t go all Extreme Couponing and buy 200 bottles of mustard; just to realize we don’t eat mustard. No, I can’t get my total down from $2000 to a penny. But what little bit I use saves me in the long run and over time adds up to be huge.

But how do I combine my coupons with a wholesale club?

BJ’s accepts coupons! They even mail you out store coupons every month to use with manufacture coupons. Plus at the store they have more store coupons that get switched out every 2 weeks. Saving you even more. I also upgraded my membership to the plus which allows me to receive 2% back on certain purchases~ food one of them. Every 6 months I receive a gift card with my rebate. And with the amount I spend I actually get my membership free with the 2% back.

Now the upfront out of pocket may seem crazy, $10.99 for 4 packages of bacon. But when you break it down. The best deal I can get from the local stores is 3 for $10 and this is rare. For an extra $0.99 I got that 4th package of bacon. Enough for a month or more depending on our bacon cravings. Milk, eggs, butter and oj are a few items that are always cheaper and they sometimes put coupons out for those items also. Very rare with a regular grocery store. They have an amazing organic selections. I have organic spices for $3-5 for a huge bottle!

Non-food items are also a better deal. I originally started shopping here because we had just added little man to our tribe and was looking for diaper deals. Every month you can count on some kind of diaper coupons in the monthly savings book. And a lot of the diaper boxes have manufacture coupons that you can use combined for the next time. I always get about $5 to $10 off a big box of diapers which is priced about the same as a smaller box at Walmart. My printer ink is a much better deal also instead of the 2 for $70; I am getting 3 for $70. They just started offering Forever Stamps at a discounted rate. I just recently started filling up the gas tank when I am there because again $0.30-$0.50 cheaper. And propane tanks are $5 cheaper for a refill.

More money out of pocket upfront but the items last longer and break down to be cheaper. Why am I going to go the store to buy toilet paper every month and pay a $1 more a package, when I can buy the industrial package store it, pay less in the long run and not have to buy more for a few months?