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! 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.
Just in case you always think that I have amazing weeks deal shopping and that every trip goes perfectly, this week is going to show you otherwise! 🙂 I didn’t have a ton of deals that I planned to do, but I had planned to go to CVS and Giant and then last minute decided to do Weis too since I was going to be next door anyway. Well, every single deal that I went to do either didn’t work out for one reason or another or they were out of stock on the item! After the first store (CVS) I was like, “Okay, at least I’ll still have fun at Giant and Weis.”
But I got to Giant and it was the same story. To make matters worse, when I went to get rain checks at customer service I had to wait roughly 10 min. and then the girl that took care of me didn’t really know what she was doing and so I had to walk her through it. (I actually felt kind of bad for her because I think she was just a cashier that was filling in and she seemed rather overwhelmed.)
I got out of there and comforted myself. “Well, surely Weis will at least work out!” But that was a total fail too! By that point, I was just had to laugh. It was either that or just get really grumpy and that didn’t seem like a good idea. I was just thankful that I was by myself and hadn’t had to take any of the kids with me! If nothing else, I got a little time by myself, right?
Total Spent: $33.20
Total Saved with Coupons: $0
Total Saved with Sales: $0
Total Saved: $0
I had to get rain checks for the other things that I was planning to purchase because they were totally out of them. We were needing tissues though because different of us had colds and we were down to only a few tissues in the house. We sometimes resort to using toilet paper when we happen to run out, but honestly, it just doesn’t work as well for your nose! Tissues were made the shape and strength that they are for a reason!
- Giant brand tissues $0.99
I wasn’t planning to stop at Weis, but was at a store right next to is so decided to run in and get a few deals. It ended up being one of the most frustrating shopping trips ever. Every single deal that I had printed coupons for and planned to do, I could not find in the store or sales flyer. See, I have a blog that I go to that does coupon match-ups for Weis and they break it all down and show exactly what items to buy and what coupons to use to get the best deals. Typically they are really reliable and I have no issues, but this week was just awful and I don’t know why.
But I did end up getting some spring water to drink. We have city water here and up until recently had been drinking it. However, this past week it started reeking of chlorine and tasted absolutely awful. It honestly is awful- it smells like a swimming pool when you turn on the water. I’ve been wishing that we could get a water filtration system for year, and this finally pushed my husband to do it. But until we can get it installed, we’re going to either have to buy water or my husband is going to fill up jugs at his work where they have well water.
- Weis brand spring water $0.79
Just stopped at Aldi to get some of my typical Aldi things.
A few thought about my purchase:
– I really dislike Cool Whip. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on one of those containers? Scary how most of them are words you can’t pronounce. Instead, I prefer to make my own homemade whipped cream. It’s healthier and so much more delicious! Some people argue that it’s way more expensive, but here’s the thing. I can get a pint of heavy whipping cream at Aldi for $1.89 and that makes about the same amount of real whipped cream as one container of Cool Whip. Cool Whip typically runs about $0.99 or sometimes less if you get off brands or watch for sales. I think at Aldi it is about $0.89, but I can’t say for sure because I haven’t bought it in a long time. Anyway, my point is, if you buy heavy whipping cream from Aldi and use it to make your own real whipped cream, you end up paying pretty much the same amount of money and it is yummier and healthier!
– We go through more corn chips in the winter because Salsa Chicken Soup is a staple around here. Plus sometimes I make Taco soup or haystacks, and we eat corn chips with both of those things too.
– My kids love oranges and they also make a great fruit for my hubby to take in his packed lunches too. But I didn’t remember the price being $2.99. I’m almost positive that they were marked only $1.99 at the store. But I have no way to prove it, so I guess I’ll just have to live with it. I just don’t usually buy oranges at that price.
– For the last year or two, I’ve switched to buying mostly red potatoes. From what I understand they are better for you because they are less starchy. We’ve noticed a difference and just feel better when we eat them versus white potatoes. They are a tiny bit more expensive, but it’s one of those things that is worth it to me.
- 3 corn chips $0.89 each
- potato chips $1.79
- heavy whipping cream $1.89
- Parmesan cheese $2.49
- 5 lb. red potatoes $2.69
- black beans $0.59
- tissues $1.19
- 4 lb. oranges $2.99
- spinach $1.79
- tortillas $1.19
You all, this is 12 lbs. of ground beef and just looking at this picture makes me feel so incredibly grateful. My dad-in-law’s former employer had a cow that he needed to put down and offered them the meat if they covered the cost of getting it butchered. They jumped on it and ended up paying just $1/lb. for the meat that they got! It was more than they really need, so they were generous enough to share some of it with different of us children. I haven’t used any yet, but my mom-in-law said that it is really low fat and you barely even have anything that you need to drain off after you fry it.
I was so grateful because I only had a couple of lbs. of ground beef left in the freezer and was trying to figure out where to get it inexpensively. We simply don’t eat a lot of ground beef because it is much more expensive than chicken. But I do like to have it to give us some variety too. Anyway, this should last us for at least a couple months and they may have more to share with us too.
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Great to find a local blog on saving on the grocery budget! Just wanted to say that Amelia’s/Grocery Outlet often has red potatoes (your purchase is what made me think of it), onions, avocados, cherry tomatoes and bananas for way less than other places. I do like Aldi’s for certain things (love the hummus, canned beans, GF mac and cheese tastes great and is cheap), but I go to the Rte 30 store–it seems calmer than the Lititz Pike location. I always have problems with CVS–the receipts are confusing when matching up sales/coupons/offers, they are often out of items, and they change sale tags early on Saturday. The good thing is my CVS will honor both the current and the next week’s sales if the tags have been changed.
Sorry for the long post–I’m looking forward to regularly reading your blog!
Heather, welcome! And I haven’t been to Amelia’s in years. Do you feel like their prices on produce are better than Aldi? Because from what I’ve seen, Aldi is pretty much the best typically. But maybe I’m wrong? And yes, I try to go to the Rt. 30 store too when I can because I just like it better and it definitely seems calmer. Thing is, I typically do more shopping and errands closer to the one on Lititz Pike so that is often where I end up going.
Curious which CVS you shop at. I never knew any of them honored the next week’s sales early. That would be great! And yes, CVS can be a bit confusing. I often end up having to get rain checks for items, although the Lititz Pike store does pretty good at keeping things well stocked.
No worries about the long comment! I love hearing from my readers and learning from you, so write on! 🙂
Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving
It’s so frustrating when trips don’t go as planned, but there’s always next week! 🙂 That’s an interesting note about red potatoes. I’ll have to look into that. We go through a lot of tortilla chips too, since I can a lot of salsa in the summer. What a blessing with the ground beef, too!
Yeah, there’s always next week! And this week looks like it should be fun. 🙂 Your comment got me really curious if it was just in our heads about the red potatoes. I did a quick Google search and came up with this….apparently they have slightly less carbs, but are the same in many ways. And that ground beef was such a surprise blessing! I’m always amazed at the ways God provides and takes care of us. Sometimes I wonder how it’s all going to work out and then bam, something like this happens!
Little comment on Aldi: the other week I had some things that didn’t ring up correctly either and they hassled me when I said something so now I’m really going to be looking at the register when they ring me up! I think what happened was that they didn’t change the price signs. Oh well I guess!
Ugh, Susan, that is so frustrating when that happens! And it’s so hard to know when to make an issue out of it and when to just forget it. But it always bugs me when it’s not correct…I even tell them if it rang up less than it should have if I notice that. Anyway, now I’m really wondering if it truly didn’t ring up incorrectly!
I’ve noticed that the staff at the Aldi there on Lititz Pike (that’s where you shop, right?) seems a little stressed lately. Maybe they are short staffed or something?