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 grocery budget with my family of five!
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Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.com, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!) and Checkout 51. Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are also great sources.
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? Check out my post on How to Start Building a Grocery Stockpile.
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 purchase 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 look like we eat rather strangely but I think we really eat quite well! 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.
I’m posting this week’s What I Spent & Saved post a little early since I don’t really plan to do any more shopping this week and also so that you can take advantage of some of the deals that I did before they end too! So I hope that is helpful for you.
Total Spent: $25.01
Total Saved with Coupons: $23.00
Total Saved with Sales: $15.03
Total Saved: $38.03
Saved with Coupons: $8.50
Saved with Sales: $9.54
FYI: The Furmano’s deal will be available through midnight 5/19/16 if you want to take advantage of it!
I almost didn’t go to Giant this week, but then I saw this Furmano’s tomato deal that someone posted on the Giant Coupon Deals Facebook Group. I usually can my own diced tomatoes and while it’s really not difficult to do and it’s something I actually enjoy doing, with having a new baby this summer and prepping to move a couple of hours away later this year, I’ve been trying to think of ways to reduce my work load. After coupons and sales, the Furmano’s tomatoes came to just $0.36 each, which is is still more than it costs me to do my own, I’m sure. (I have a local produce farm that I can get 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes for $3!) But it was still a great price and will be a big time saver- and right now that feels worth a lot!
I pretty much never buy baby food, because it’s so easy and cheap to make your own plus better for baby too. But I used a rain check to buy these Gerber Lil Bites and actually made $3.25 on them after coupons/sales/gas savings! I had actually bought a few when the sale originally ran too and thought maybe my older kids would enjoy eating them. And they have. But I had to laugh when I found out my husband had thrown some in his lunch the one day! He insisted that they were actually pretty good and that he kind of liked them. 🙂 I’m sure his co-workers must have thought he was a bit crazy though!
Oh, and just a fun little side note. I recently entered a giveaway for a $25 Giant gift card on Family Balance Sheet and I won!! I admit that I was a little excited when I got the email. 🙂 So, I actually used the gift card to pay for this week’s Giant purchases, which was obviously a nice little budget boost!
- 18 Furmano’s diced tomatoes $0.69 each
– used two $1/3 Furmano’s coupons from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
– used four $1/3 Furmano’s printable coupons
- 6 Gerber Lil Bites baby food $1.50 each (bought with rain check)
– used two $1/3 Gerber printable coupons (no longer available)
– got back $0.25 via Ibotta (offer good on any baby food)
- milk $3.35
– got back $0.25 via Fetch Rewards
- $10.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Gerber baby food
Saved with Coupons: $5.50
Saved with Sales: $0.49
By combining a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon, I was able to actually make $0.73 on the Colgate! (It was supposed to be on sale for $3.00 and I just now noticed that it rang up for $2.77 instead. I have no idea why!)
Since I had a $2.00 Extra Bucks coupon that was expiring, I needed to buy something else too. So I got some glue for our 4 yr. old who is currently going through sticks at a fierce rate.
CVS also has a good deal on Huggies diapers this week, but I decided to pass since I could do just as good at Rite Aid and I had lots of Plenti Points to use there. But I wanted to mention it in case anyone wants to take advantage of the deal before Sunday!
- Colgate toothpaste $2.77
– used $2.50 CVS Colgate printable coupon (printed at Red Coupon Machine in store- coupon should be printing for everyone)
– used $1.00 Colgate printable coupon from Coupons.com
- Elmer glue sticks $2.77
OTHER COUPONS USED:
- $2.00 in Extra Bucks earned by purchasing items previously at CVS
Rite Aid: $7.96
Saved with Coupons: $9.00
Saved with Sales: $14.00
You regular readers know that I love to save money with my diaper stockpile! Right now I’m stocking up for our soon-to-arrive baby as well as trying to keep up with what we are needing for our 2 yr. old, so I’m jumping on lots of diaper deals. This week I was able to get Huggies diapers for $4.24 each by combining coupons and sales. If I had been a little smarter, I could have maximized my savings even more and bought some Huggies Little Snuggler and Huggies Little Movers and saved an additional $2.00 with Checkout 51 offers. But I didn’t think about it until I was home and I didn’t feel like going back to exchange them.
- 4 Huggies diapers $8.99 each
– used four $2.00 Huggies printable coupons from Coupons.com
– got back $1.00 via Checkout 51
OTHER COUPONS USED:
- $20.00 in Plenti Points earned by purchasing items previously at Rite Aid
- $10.00 Plenti Points for purchasing the Huggies (can be used on the future purchase of any item at Rite Aid)
Okay, so where’s the list of what you actually bought for your meals? And how much time did you spend running around from store to store getting a deal? Is your time worth $0.30? Some clarification would be nice. From the way the post is written, it looks like you spent your $200 on diapers, toothpaste, glue, tomatoes, milk, baby food and some fuel. Even if you combine it with the other posts, I don’t see how you’re making complete meals each week. Something is not adding up. We stockpile a lot, although we never called it that, because that’s what you do when you live miles from town and you can’t get to the store except once a week.
Don’t want to be negative, just trying to make it work in a situation that needs straight forward answers.
Hi Theresa! You ask some good, valid questions and I’ll try to do my best to answer them. First of all, I cover a lot more about how I shop in my $200/Mo. Grocery Budget series, so it might be helpful to skim through that.
I used to do these What I Spent & Saved posts each week, but due to how time consuming they were, I stopped and just post them occasionally now. I had a lot of regular readers request that I continue doing the posts, so now I try to do them on weeks when I have great deals that I feel like I can use as a teaching tool for my readers to help them understand what it looks like to shop on a tight budget. As a result though, it looks a little odd if you jump in and just see a random week’s purchases. Because obviously, I need more than diapers, toothpaste, tomatoes, milk etc. to live well. 🙂
But the fact of the matter is, this is truly the way I shop and it is the beauty of stockpiling. By stocking up on certain things each week when they are super cheap, I save a LOT! So some weeks it means that I buy a large quantity of certain random items and then pull things from my stockpile to help. At the same time, you are right. I also went to Aldi this week and bought a few basics that I needed to supplement my stockpile. I didn’t bother showing that shopping trip because I didn’t feel like it really was helpful for my general audience. But perhaps I should have?
As for how much time I spend going from store to store, well, it varies a lot. Some weeks I only go to Giant and maybe Aldi. Some weeks I go to CVS, Rite Aid, Giant and Aldi. It really depends on the deals that are available and whether I feel like it’s worth my time. We are fortunate to live in an area where all of those store are within about 10 min. of our house, some of them as close as 2 min. And all but Rite Aid are within a 1/2 mile of each other, so that helps a lot! Is it worth my time? I definitely think so! Last year I saved around $2,000 by shopping sales and using coupons. (It was actually probably a bit higher than that, but I didn’t track quite everything, so I’m going with $2,000.) I would spend time shopping anyway and so while yes, it does take a bit more time than if I would not do the deal shopping thing, I have felt like it is well worth my time! Obviously, other people may find that not to be the case, and that is totally fine. We all have different needs, goals and time commitments.
You also asked about how I make complete meals each week. I do quite a bit of canning and freezing of produce and meat both. Basically, for produce I buy a lot when it’s in season and much cheaper and then can or freeze it to use throughout the year. I do this with meat too. When I see meat on sale for a great price, I’ll buy a large quantity and then put it the size portions I’ll use and freeze it. This saves a lot of money, but is also another reason why my What I Spent & Saved posts can look a bit odd.
As far as what our menus look like, I actually post my menu plans too, so feel free to take a look. In my opinion, we do actually eat quite well. But again, some people may not agree. 🙂 We are fortunate to not have any diet restrictions, food allergies etc. That would obviously make it much harder to eat well on a tight budget.
I hope that all makes sense and clarifies things for you. If you still have questions, please feel free to ask! I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them and explain things further. 🙂