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 and Ibotta. 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!
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.
Total Spent: $116.22
Total Saved with Coupons: $3.00
Total Saved with Sales: $11.71
Total Saved: $14.71
Saved with Coupons: $3.00
Saved with Sales: $11.71
We are going to be needing gas again soon, plus I have some gas points that will be expiring the end of the month. Since my goal is to be able to get enough groceries that are part of the gas rewards deals to get free or nearly free gas, I decided to use a couple of rain checks this week to start working on that free tank. Between this week and what I had before, I’m now at $0.90/gal. savings. Hopefully, in the next week I’ll be able to get that up to close to $2.00/gal. savings.
I bought the plates because they were a small moneymaker of $1.38. I know, that’s a ton of plates. And since we don’t actually use paper (or Styrofoam!) plates that often, it might get interesting figuring out what to do with all of them. I gave a pack to both my mom-in-law and sister-in-law and I figured I’d donate several packs to the Mom’s Group that I attend too. Oh, and if nothing else, they’ll provide my 12 mo. old with lots of entertainment. She spent a long time one evening doing this kind of thing with them!
The Thai Kitchen noodle bowls were also a gas points deal that I used a rain check for. The original deal required that you purchase 7 items to get the gas points, so the week that they were on sale, I purchased 4 participating items and they just tacked the gas reward points onto this rain check for the 3 remaining items. I don’t typically buy this kind of thing, but they were free after gas rewards and make a quick lunch for my husband on days when I forget to pack his lunch. Yes, that does actually happen occasionally!
As for the ice cream, if you read my post frequently, you know that I am a total ice cream lover. So I was pretty happy to get this little cup for free thanks to SavingStar’s Freebie Friday offer. Each week they have an offer where you can get a product totally free. It’s always fun to see what it is, and it’s a relatively painless way to save.
- Ben & Jerry ice cream cup $1.19
– free after Saving Star offer
- 3 Thai Kitchen noodle bowls
– bought with rain check
- 7 Hefty plates $1.66 each
– bought with rain check
– used three $1.00/2 Hefty printable coupons
- $10.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Thai Kitchen noodle bowls
- $10.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Hefty plates
I ran out of both onion and garlic powder right before we left for 6 weeks. I use both of them really often and knew that it wasn’t going to work to be without for very long. I also didn’t have any potatoes, so I grabbed some of them too. Obviously, there were a few other “staple” type things that I got as well- all things that we use or were going to need soon.
- tortillas $1.19
- onion powder $0.99
- garlic powder $0.99
- coconut $1.29
- 4 lb. oranges $1.99
- 5 lb. red potatoes $2.69
- 3 lb. apples $1.99
- eggs $1.85
Creekside Foods & Dutchway Farm Market: $88.44
I have some amazing readers! I got this cheese and chicken at a great price, thanks to reader Michelle who lives locally and spotted the sales. She was kind enough to email me in case I wanted to get in on the deal. (Thanks again, Michelle!) We were out of the area, but I asked my mother-in-law if she was going to be going to either store and it just so happened that she was actually going to go to both! She’s an amazing lady and was more than glad to get the things for me and store them until we got home.
I still had some cooked chicken in the freezer, but I didn’t have much that was raw, so I decided to get some more and freeze it to use in things like Creamy Crockpot Mexican Chicken. (We’re having that for dinner tonight. Can’t wait!)
And I’m kind of thinking that went overboard with the cheese. I think my judgement was skewed by the fact that I had recently run out of shredded cheese and wasn’t able to find it for a good price. It also didn’t help that I was away from home- that somehow made it harder to think about how much I typically use. (I try to pay not much more than $2/lb. for cheese.) Anyway, I kind of went crazy with the amount, but we will use it up eventually. Shredded cheese freezes wonderfully, so I’m not really worried about that! It just kind of used up a bunch of my grocery budget at once, that’s all. 🙂
- 11.19 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs @ 1.29/lb. ($14.44)
- three 5 lb. bags of cheese for $10.99
- two 5 lb. bags of cheese for $10.50
- 4.13 lb. Farmers cheese @ $2.19/lb. ($9.04)
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Sarah Mueller @ Earlybirdmom
Cheese for $2 a pound?! I’ve never heard of that before. Clearly, I need to do a little more shopping around. I am in awe of your grocery budget 🙂
Sarah, I know it’s kind of a low price for most people and honestly, it’s been getting a lot harder to find it that cheap. But I’m lucky enough to live in an area where there are a number of Amish bulk food stores that run cheese and meat sales several times a year. Also, there is a discount grocery store not far from us that occasionally has cheese for around $2/lb. And sometimes, I can actually get it that cheap by combining coupons and sales, actually! If you look at the What I Spent & Saved post that I put up today, you’ll see how I did that to get Cracker Barrel cheese for just $1.98/lb! I was super excited! 🙂 I should clarify that we don’t eat cheese as much as some families either- mostly just when I can get it for a really good price.
Lydia, I share your strategy on stockpiling and try to do the same on things I know we will use. Do you shop at Costco or similar stores where they don’t run sales but their prices are already low enough? How does it compare with looking for sales in regular stores?
Mila, isn’t stockpiling a great money saver? I don’t do Costco because I personally haven’t felt like the expense of the membership fee was worth it. But we have an Aldi here and I love it and do a lot of my non-coupon shopping there. Their prices are really good and if I can’t get something on sale elsewhere, that is my go-to place. Obviously, they don’t carry everything since they are sort of a discount grocery store, but they have all the basics and many times their prices are lower than our grocery stores sale prices. In fact, I often tell people that if I stopped couponing, I’d probably shop at Aldi and get the occasional other thing elsewhere.
I think I like your opinion, Missy! 🙂 I love cheese too and even though I often cut back the amount recipes take, we still do use it fairly often. I wish I could share some with you! I was so grateful to be able to take advantage of this deal.
You can never go overboard with cheese in my opinion. Especially since it can be such a huge drain on the grocery budget! I’m jealous. 🙂