Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Review: Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

If you have followed my blog, or my life, for any length of time, you already know that I am on a constant quest to feed my family on a very limited budget.  When I saw Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides, I knew I just HAD to review it.

Of course, the description reminded me that I am not average.  "With the proven plan in this book, the average family can save more than $3,000 a year on its grocery bill"  Ummm, that would mean eliminating my entire annual grocery bill...  So, I wondered, can this book help ME?

The answer?  Yes.  Definitely.  And I knew it from the first chapter.  I'm going to quote from page 5:
Because we are all unique in our diets, our shopping habits, and our lifestyles, there isn't just one way for us all to achieve grocery savings.  Some people hate the idea of clipping coupons, while others revel in the challenge and love watching their grocery bill plummet at the checkout.  Some people love spending hours each day cooking to create a delectable gourmet meal, while others look at cooking as a chore to be endured, but certainly not enjoyed.
That's all it took... I have someone here who is giving out all kinds of information about saving money on groceries, but they are not assuming that what works for them is the only way.  They don't take some patronizing attitude about how you have to wash out your ziploc baggies, or that you must switch to bulk cooking.  I love that there isn't a one size fits all approach, and it made me far more interested in reading.

The book addresses way more than just couponing, planning ahead, and shopping sales.  It includes bulk cooking, gardening, cooking in general, owning appropriate equipment, feeding infants, feeding teens, eating at restaurants... and more.

One really great aspect of the book is that each chapter ends with suggestions for what you can do now.  And those suggestions are broken down by whether you are a beginner, whether you are wanting to jump in full-throttle, or something in between.  So I can read a chapter on couponing and follow the advanced suggestions, but I can read the gardening chapter and follow the beginner options.

I have not actually started using the suggestions in the book, but I do have a couple of things I am starting to implement.  Such as:
  • I am actually going to plan out a week's menu.
  • I am going to check some alternative grocery stores.  One a week.
  • I am going to start doing something for bulk cooking.  This week, it will be to cook up some dried beans and freeze them in meal-sized portions.
  • I am going to inventory my pantry.
  • I am going to plant some things in the house. I have some seeds in the fridge, and I'm going to just start trying and see what comes of it.

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


i cant decide said...

Cool! I was looking into buying this book after seeing an interview they did on some morning show. We are trying to cut down on our food bill!

Michelle Smith said...

I was wondering how you liked this book. I may have to get a copy and read it. It sounds like I could learn something from it, too.

So many people and books talk about couponing, but I was talking to a lady in the grocery store who spends 20 hours a week and $20 a month getting and organizing her coupons so that she can buy . . . snack crackers, candy, and boxed cereal. Seriously, you can buy more that that, but that was all she had in her cart when I spoke to her. It left me wondering whether it was really a good use of time and really a good option nutritionally speaking.

Tonya @ The Traveling Praters said...

I really appreciate your thoughts on this book. I recently heard about this book when the family was promoting it on the Morning Show. I'm always looking for ways to save on groceries and have to admit that I'm already saving from incorporating some of thier suggestions. I have been making a grocery list for 3 weeks and have shaved on avg. $40 off my grocery budget. I've tried to use coupons but since many of the items that I purchase are already store brands I've found that it's not worth the time it takes to buy and clip them. Of course I haven't ruled coupons out entirely. I'd also love to try preparing some meals in advance and freezing them. I think I'll go ahead and buy the book to glean some additional tips. Thanks for sharing! :)

Unknown said...

Sounds like a good read. I might try to get this one from the library.

Richele McFarlin said...

Awesome! I am desperately trying to cut my grocery store budget. I have a family of six so my bill is high. I am not a coupon junkie or one to wash put ziploc bags so this may be the thing for me.

Dawn Sodini said...

I just recently found your blog through Sonlight! I am very intrigued by your reviews. How did you come to be a book reviewer (I'm not sure that's the correct term). I absolutely love to read and I am always looking for ways to cut expenses and earn extra money. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Debra said...

I need to comment to everyone! But Dawn -- if you check on the right sidebar, there are links to Booksneeze and Tyndale Blog Network. Those are two good places to start. This book was for Booksneeze.

Tess said...

I think I need to read this book! Thanks for the review, it was very helpful.

Ruth said...

You go, girl! Isn't it great how books can really motivate us to change? I applaud your intentions. I am working to implement what I learned from Throw Out Fifty Things. I think that I had better focus on that now, but this book is on my to read list.

Kara said...

How'd I miss this one?! I'm going to have to check it out!