See the details of my $200 a month grocery shopping trips and learn the things that I do to save and live well on a low budget with my family of five!
Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.com, Smart Source, Red Plum, Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Saving Star. Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.
If you are new here and unfamiliar with my weekly What I Spent & Saved posts, it probably is helpful to understand a bit about how I shop. I do something called stockpile shopping. This simply means that when I see an item at rock bottom prices that I regularly use or know that I can use, I’ll buy several of it. This might seem kind of crazy, but it honestly saves me hundreds of dollars a year! Simply put, by buying 6 bags of frozen veggies when I can get them for $0.50/bag with a coupon and sale instead of paying the full price of $1.50, I save $6.00. This savings adds up pretty quickly! Want to know more about this kind of shopping?
I also buy meats and veggies in bulk. The meat I either can or freeze and then obviously have it on hand whenever I need it. I buy large quantities of fruits and veggies when they are in season and I can get them at really great prices. By canning or freezing them, I save a lot and we are able to enjoy great produce for less cost all year long. I do still buy some fresh fruits and veggies too. In fact, every 7 to 10 days I go to our local farmer’s market and get several heads of lettuce so that we can enjoy salads at least 4 times a week.
I hope that helps you make sense of some of this. I realize at first glance it can really look like we eat rather strangely! Of course, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments! I’ll be more than happy to try to answer them.
You may have noticed that there was no What I Spent and Saved this Week post last week. That was because I didn’t do any shopping. The deals just weren’t amazing and so I decided to take the week off. But I was back at it again this week!
Please excuse the poor quality and missing images. I somehow deleted a bunch of my pictures and the few I was able to retrieve were of poor quality. 🙁
Total Spent: $12.74
Total Saved with Coupons: $3.50
Total Saved with Sales: $13.73
Total Saved: $17.23
Saved with Coupons: $3.50
Saved with Sales: $13.73
Our family was hit with the flu and nasty colds/sinus infections this week and I was starting to wonder if I’d even get to Giant at all. Thankfully, by Saturday we were only had a few sniffles and were mostly better. So I headed off to do my shopping. Unfortunately, they were out of a lot of the things that I wanted to get so I had to get rain checks for them. I’m grateful that I could at least do that!
The Philadelphia cream cheese was an amazing deal! It was part of an offer where if you bought 7 selected items, you instantly saved $7.00. So without coupons, you could get the cream cheese for just $0.50 each. I happened to have a couple of coupons and so I was able to get them for totally free! And just in case you happen to notice and are wondering why only 3 of 4 my four coupons doubled, I’m not really sure either why they did that. I noticed it at checkout and asked the cashier and she said that only one should have doubled and refused to do anything about it. I wasn’t shopping at my usual store plus I knew I was still getting an awesome deal so I didn’t push it any harder than that. But it was rather odd.
Actually, I’m kicking myself for not getting more cream cheese. We love this Cream Cheese Potato Soup with Ham and several of our favorite deserts use cream cheese too. Not to mention cheesecake. I know that I have these 7 blocks used up in no time at all!
I’m also kicking myself for having to buy the toothpaste and hair spray! 🙂 If you follow along here regularly, you know that I stock up on toiletries like this when I can get them free with coupons and sales. As a result, I have a small tote at home that is full of extra toiletries, including a couple of bottles of hair spray and lots of toothpaste. But unfortunately, my husband and I didn’t communicate very well when we packed to come to the Bible School we are at for 6 weeks. I packed enough hair spray and toothpaste for me and assumed he was packing his own. He assumed that I was packing enough for all of us. Don’t you love miscommunication? So, anyway, we were out of hairspray and only had enough toothpaste for maybe one or two more uses, so I finally broke down and actually paid for some. I know, it really wasn’t that much money- just $3.00. But it just seems so ridiculous when I haven’t paid for either of those items in years and when I have extra at home that we easily could have used. I do know that I’m pretty sure from now on we’ll both be double checking to make sure that we are on the same page when packing! Ha!
- 7 Philadelphia cream cheese $1.50 each
– used four $0.50 Philadelphia printable coupons (3 of these doubled to $1.00)
– saved $7.00 instantly for purchasing 7 Philadelphia cream cheese
- VO5 hair spray $1.99
- Aim toothpaste $0.99
This Columbia Antiseptic Powder is the absolute best thing that I’ve found to clear up diaper rash. I was almost out and immediately ordered more because I definitely didn’t want to not have any on hand if I happened to need it! I had a $10 Amazon gift card that I earned through Swagbucks that I put toward my order to help lower the cost a bit. It is a bit pricey but the good thing is that one bottle last for practically forever since you don’t have to use much.
When our oldest was a baby he was really prone to diaper rashes. You know, the nasty kind where their poor little bottom is almost raw and they start to bleed? Yes, those. It was awful! I tried Desitin, Butt Paste and numerous other things, all of which either didn’t help at all or just barely made a difference. One day my mom-in-law told me about this powder that she used on her 10 babies with good success and she offered to let me use the bottle she had since she didn’t really need it anymore. I used it and was absolutely sold! After just two applications the diaper rash was dramatically reduced and my baby was comfortable again. And within another couple of applications, the rash was totally cleared! It’s the only thing I use now and I’ve recommended it to countless people that have started using it and love it. In fact, just since we are at the Bible School where my husband is teaching, one of the mom’s asked me if I have any remedies for bad diaper rashes. Her little girl had one of those nasty ones and they couldn’t get it to clear up. Thankfully, I had brought my bottle of powder along and so I let her borrow it. She used it and was totally impressed! And actually, she had me order her a bottle for her when I ordered mine.
Okay, I know I sound like I’m the Columbia Antiseptic Powder’s commercial or something. 🙂 But it’s one of those things that I truly love and just wish that more people knew about because it works so well!
JANUARY MONTHLY BUDGET SUMMARY
It’s the last week of the month which means I let you see how I’m doing budget wise.
The most important thing to note this month is that we decided to drop our Jan. budget to just $100. This is because we are away for 6 weeks at a Bible School where my husband is teaching, and all of our grocery expenses and things like toilet paper and tissues are covered by the school while we are here. So all that we have to pay for are toiletries and diapers. We could possibly drop it lower, but I always am under budget by a good bit in January and I depend on that month to give me a boost for the rest of the year.
January Grocery Spending by Week:
Week 1: $34.87
Week 2: -$4.73
Week 3: didn’t shop
Week 4: $12.74
Total Spent for the Month: $42.88
Total Saved with Coupons for the Month: $59.01
Total Saved with Sales for the Month: $59.66
Total Saved for the Month: $118.67
Under budget for the month by $57.12
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