Grocery Shopping

Today was grocery shopping day.  Not that we have a special day for that, but when you’re low on food or other essentials, then it’s grocery shopping day.  Since money is tight these days we try our best to shop smart.  While we are not the best (I know people that can get tons of items for practically nothing), we are learning.  Here are a few things we try to do to save money at the store.

  1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. This one is pretty obvious actually and we are horrible at this.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of buying those “extras” when you’re hungry.  Everything looks tasty.
  2. Make a list. Again this is obvious and in any list of shopping tips you’ll find out there.  But I can’t express the importance of this.  Know what you want and need so that there is no question as you walk through.  Again without a list, you’ll just see what looks good and throw it in the cart.  You’ll do that even with a list at times, but the list will keep you more focused.
  3. Check the ads. Check those weekly ads that all store put out.  This goes in with making a list.  Stores will offer great prices on items just to get you in the store in the hopes that while you’re there you’ll buy something else.  Resist that temptation and you’ll get the best bang for your buck.
  4. Clip those coupons. Coupons are there also to get you into the store in hopes that you’ll buy more of that product or others.  But if you are able to combine coupons with sales and perhaps shop at stores that also will double coupons, then you can make those coupons really work for you.  It doesn’t take that long to clip and organize your coupons and you can find so many online to print out that it is almost foolish not to use them.  Check out as a good place to start to find those online coupons and great deals at many stores and for an important site for printable coupons.
  5. Don’t be afraid to shop multiple stores. We have 5-6 different major groceries within about a 15 mile radius of where we do most of our shopping.  We’ll take our shopping list, compare it to the sales going on and figure in any coupons we may have to get a list of items to purchase at each store.  While some stores (like Walmart) will price match if it’s the exact same brand and item, it is sometimes easier to go from store to store.  It will take a bit more time to do your shopping, but as long as you plan ahead you can save quite a bit of money.
  6. Make a menu. We used to better at this, but recently have fallen astray of doing this like we should.  We used to plan our meals out for a month.  Buy what we needed to create these meals for the month in one trip and not have to worry about it anymore other than some perishables we would purchase each week.  We found that when we buy for the month, we were less likely to buy those “extras” that we don’t need, than if you shopped more often.  If a month is too long to plan for, a two-week period or even weekly is better than not planning at all.
  7. Stock up if you are able. If there is an item on sale that you use a ton of then as long as it’s not perishable then go ahead and stock up.  We use a ton of condensed can soups for cooking.  When those go on sale or we have coupons, we’ll buy more than we need for the week or month of meals we’re buying for.  This way we can get the best price on the most items.
  8. Buy in bulk if you can. Along the same lines as above, buy in bulk whether through a warehouse store (Sam’s Club) or going to a bulk food store.  My wife makes a lot of homemade breads, so we’ll like to go to buy our flour and sugar in bulk at a local bulk food store.  You’ll typically get a better price per pound on these type of things if you buy in large volumes.  Just be sure you’re going to use it all before it spoils.  Doesn’t help to buy in bulk if you end up throwing half of it away.
  9. Have fun. How can you have fun grocery shopping do you say?  Well, sure it’s not something I look forward to doing, but since I’m out there at the store, I might as well enjoy myself.  My wife and I make a game of it to see how much money we can save.  Who can find the best deals, who can save the most.  We’ve made a chore fun.  Many other list of tips will suggest shopping alone, and that may make sense for a lot of people, but my wife and I actually enjoy grocery shopping together and I love spending time with her.  We are able to leave the kids at home most times so it does make it so much easier.
  10. Be happy. I see so many people at the store there are just plain grumpy.  They just don’t seem to be happy people.  Perhaps it’s just the grocery store bringing it out in them, but if you smile and say hi to people it’s amazing how much better you will feel while out and about.

I think that anything you do to make your money stretch it’s farthest is God honoring.  God wants us to be good stewards of what he has given us.  This list of shopping tips just scratches the surface, and I’m far from an expert, in fact most of these are things my wife does so I take no credit for coming up with any of it.  But if we can be good stewards with our money, be a light to others as they see us out shopping and portray a Christlike character while we’re out and about, I think God will bless us many times over.

And I must say hi again to those people I ran into at the store today.  It’s always fun to see who I’ll run into each time I’m out.  In fact, the trip doesn’t feel complete if I don’t see someone I know!



What is an Exceptional Christian?

What is an Exceptional Christian? It is not, in my mind, what many may think it is at first glance.  I have a feeling that many will see the title of my blog and think I’m talking about those Christians that are perfect in their faith, or who are the most compassionate, or those that go to church every Sunday and do all the “right” things.  That is no where near what I think of as an Exceptional Christian.  So how do I define an exceptional Christian?

  1. An exceptional Christian is one that loves Jesus.  Without Jesus we would not have the hope that we have in Christ.  We would live without hope that life has meaning and that the future, indeed eternity, is within our grasp.
    “And this is what he promised us — eternal life.”  – 1 John 2:25
  2. An exceptional Christian is one that is not perfect, yet strives to remember that God loves us, no matter what.  We will never be perfect. We are sinners and will continue to sin.  But God loves us just the same.
    “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …” – Romans 3:23
  3. An exceptional Christian is one that despite the struggles they may be going through, whether it is financial struggles, health problems, marital issues, or some struggle against a sin, remembers that God is there for us.  He will never give us more than we can handle.
    “And God is faithful;  he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  4. An exceptional Christian is one that realizes that God gives us enough.  He may not give us what we “want”, but he gives us all we need.  The exceptional Christian is one that despite the lack of our wants, he realizes he has all he needs.
    “… My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 

    “Look at the birds of the air;  they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26

Can any one of us be Exceptional Christians?  I don’t think so completely.  I’m no where close.  However, I think we can strive to be one.  I think if we understand what God has done for us by sending his son, we can get better at it.

This world we live in today, here in America, here in 2010 provides many struggles.  Many of us are deep in the pit of troubles. If we strive to become exceptional Christians the troubles we find ourselves facing seem less troublesome and we can see hope where many do not.  I imagine we will find that when we work towards becoming exceptional Christians, our lives become more bearable, more joyful and more fullfilling despite our trials.

I hope that this blog can provide some insight on how I’m struggling to become an exceptional Christian and in some way can give others hope that they are not alone and that there is hope beyond our current struggles.

You won’t find this blog being overly “preachy” as that is not my intent.  Yes there will be Bible verses as I find them applicable, yes I may talk about some Christian theology as it strikes me as important, but mostly this will be a journal of my struggles as an average “Joe” (or Jason as the case may be) and how I strive to deal with my temptations, my trials and my triumphs.

But you may also find some practical advice on different topics, perhaps anything from politics, recipes, relationships, to computer skills, blogging topics, books to read and raising of children.  In other words expect anything.  However, one constant that I hope to keep in all of my posts will be the underlying theme of how a particular topic applies to becoming an exceptional Christian.

Come join this journey of mine or continue your own journey and lets become “exceptional Christians!”

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