Now that Parker is 14 months old, he is eating "real people food," as we call it. And I admit, I was not sad to see formula OR baby food go. But with all the other baby expenses still around (daycare, diapers, wipes, etc.), every penny we can save at the grocery helps.

Growing up, my mom ALWAYS used coupons, so I thought it was something everyone did. But the more people I talk to, the more they are amazed at the deals I find on food. Here are a few of my grocery shopping tips:

1. Buy in bulk...wisely. Call me crazy, but my eyes light up like a kid on Christmas when I see good BOGO deals. BUT, they are only good if they're items you'll use. I've gotten smarter about these, limiting buys to paper goods, cleaning supplies, canned goods, and dry goods (we should buy stock in Cheerios).

2. Know your BOGO deals. Do your homework on these guys...some stores will allow you to buy 1 of the items at half price instead of both (good for produce, for example). And check for coupons. Sometimes you can get 2 items, at BOGO price, and when adding a coupon, they cost almost nothing!

3. Make the freezer your friend. My hubby loves to grill at any time of year, so we go through a lot of protein at our house. Before I even buy ground beef, I check the online ads at multiple stores. For example, last week I found pork tenderloins for $1.99 per lb. I bought 6 for $20, entertained guests with 2 of them, and we froze the rest (they freeze REALLY well). And another store had turkeys for 59 cents per lb., so I purchased our Thanksgiving bird for $7!! P.S. If you are planning on freezing lots of food, a freezer chest comes in handy.

4. Don't be brand picky. In single life, I was used to buying the exact brand of the exact foods I liked. But now, if the "other" peanut butter is on sale or I have a coupon, I'll give it a try. Who knows, you may end up liking it even better!


5. Keep it organized. Coupons, deals, a list PLUS a toddler, that's a lot to take to the store. Before you go, be prepared. Keep your coupons in an accordian organizer (this one from Gallison Stationary is what I use), circle the deals in the paper ads, and organize your list by department. That way, you don't have a bargain breakdown and buy anything you see with a sale sticker. Keeping organizing also helps keep you from multiple trips!

So,there are my tips for today...please let me know your personal shopping tips. I'd love to hear them!