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!
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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, Smart Source, Ibotta, and Fetch Rewards (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!). 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.
Total Spent: $108.92
Total Saved with Coupons: $7.25
Total Saved with Sales: $19.00
Total Saved: $26.25
Saved with Coupons: $7.25
Saved with Sales: $19.00
(The potato chips should not have been on this picture…they were from Aldi)
I bought the Cheez-It’s with a rain check. Basically, after gas reward savings, I made $5 on them! The banana was free after Checkout 51 savings. And the cheese was free because I purchased 7 Old El Paso products.
Let me clarify…I actually only bought 6. Oops! I couldn’t figure out why the cheese wasn’t showing up as free on my receipt, so I went to customer service and after puzzling over it a bit, they gave me the money back for the cost of the cheese. Duh! Here I had only bought 6 Old El Paso instead of the required 7! So, this week when I go to Giant, I plan to buy another can of beans so that I can get the deal honestly.
I typically make my own refried beans because they are not only easy to make, they are also healthier because they use basic ingredients and have much less sodium. But decided to do this deal because after coupons and sales, I only paid $1.00 total for the beans and the shredded cheese. I figure even if I donate the refried beans, I got the cheese for just $1.00, which is a great price!
- Chi-Chi burritos $1.00
- 6 Old El Paso Refried beans $1.00 each
– used five $0.50 Old El Paso coupons (doubled to $1.00 each
– got back $1.00 via Saving Star for purchasing 3 Old El Paso products
- Giant brand shredded sharp cheddar cheese $0
– free when purchasing 7 participating products (Old El Paso)
- Banana $0.25
– got back $0.25 via Checkout 51
- 10 CheezIt snack cups $1.00 each
- $14.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Cheez-Its
(Also bought the potato chips that are pictured with my Giant purchases.)
You’ll see below that I bought a bunch of peaches to freeze. I like to freeze them with a mixture of orange juice concentrate and a bit of sugar- it makes them so yummy and the acid in the orange juice concentrate helps keep them from browning. So that’s what all the concentrate was for.
I bought the Pinto beans and celery to make a ham and bean soup to can. And you may recall that last week I bought Gold Medal flour for twice the cost of what Aldi’s flour is and was considering buying some of the store brand to use in things where it doesn’t really make any difference. Well, I did that this week and have already used it several times. I love how much nicer baked things get when I use Gold Medal or Pillsbury flour, but when it’s that pricey, I’d just as soon use store brand for everything else.
- 3 brown sugar $1.19 each
- Basmati rice $2.99
- 2 black beans $0.59 each
- Pinto beans (2 lb.) $1.89
- flour $1.29
- 3 orange juice concentrate $1.19 each
- Kettle chips $1.79
- celery $0.89
- natural creamy peanut butter $1.49 each
Centerville Bulk Food: $19.20
This local bulk food store is run by Amish people and since they don’t use a regular cash register, it is really difficult to track how much everything costs unless I record it immediately, which I forgot to do. The only thing I can really tell you is that the cheese cost $2.27/lb. and the 5 lb. bag of carrots cost $3.09.
I also bought an onion, shredded coconut (for my homemade granola), potatoes and alphabet noodles and lentils (both for homemade vegetable soup that I can).
I withdrew some cash to use to buy milk from a local dairy as well as lettuce from our local farmer’s market.
I bought 2 bushels of peaches from a local orchard. Three of the baskets (1/2 bushel) were firsts and cost $16.95 and one of them was a basket of seconds for $9.95. I kind of regretted buying the second because there ended up being quite a bit of waste. I think it still saved me money though, but not sure it was quite worth the hassle.
I sliced up most of the peaches and froze them, and the rest we’ve been enjoying fresh, several times a day. There is just nothing like a fresh, juicy peach! My opinion is that you might as well eat as much of that seasonal fruit as possible while it’s available fresh.
* Our 2 tomato plants are producing quite nicely and all of these beauties were picked over a couple of day’s time. Something (we’re assuming squirrels) is getting at them and eating big bites out of a lot of them though. So annoying! I like planting a few of my own things, but honestly, I’m not sure I’d ever do well at having a big garden. It’s just so much work and there is the possibility of so many things going wrong, and it seems like too often you end up with not much for your effort. (At least that’s been our experience a lot of the time.) I realize though that some people have much more of a knack for gardening than I do! And I’m grateful because I get to benefit!
* Sometimes I almost feel silly including stuff like this, but I try to be as transparent as possible with you all, which is why I include it.
I have the privilege of being friends with a lady that is twice my age. There is just something so good about being able to learn from the wisdom of someone who has lived well so many years. And I honestly think your life is so much richer and you become a more well-rounded person when your friends aren’t all in the same stage of life as you, doing the exact same things you do. Oh, those friends are great too. But I benefit so much from having lots of friends in a variety of stages of life.
Anyway, this friend of mine gave me a little gift bag full of various things and the Goldfish pretzels (for the kids- so sweet of her!), napkins and soap were part of her gift to me.
The lip balm is the gift of another friend who makes handcrafted soaps and lip balm. I bought some from her to give as gifts and she generously threw an extra lip balm in for me to enjoy. 🙂 I love it! It’s all-natural (yay!) and leaves your lips feeling so moisturized and smooth. I wish I could give you a link to a website, but she’s just getting started with her business and so far just markets it locally. I think she’s working on an online presence though, so you may hear more about it from me later. Because I really do love her products!
The last couple of weeks I’ve been buying various items that are part of the Giant gas deals. Basically, you get points for purchasing the products and then you can redeem those points for gas. I was able to get $43.48 worth of gas for free as a result. And since I only buy the grocery items that are part of these deals because they either get me free gas or make me money, I put the savings back into my grocery budget. (To see the details of these purchases, look at my previous Giant purchases under my What I Spent & What I Saved posts.)
WOW. I would love to have your kind of success. It’s funny that you make a $200 budget work for 5 when I struggle with an identical budget for 4! Of course, I have never tried using coupons much before. I guess I should give it a go!
Rachel, if you are doing even close to $200 without using coupons then I’d say you are flat out amazing! 🙂 There is no way that I could do it without doing lots of couponing. It takes a bit of time, but so far, for me it has felt worth it. We live near the stores that I do a lot of couponing at, so that helps a lot. And the main grocery store that I shop at doubles coupons up to $1.00 (so $0.50 or $0.75 coupons will automatically take off $1.00), which helps a lot too. I may eventually feel like it’s not worth the time, but until that day comes, I’m going to continue to enjoy the savings!
so this week we were able to catch eggs (Aldi) for .79cents a dozen so we bought 8 to go with the remaining 6 from the previous catch where we bought 12 dozen. They also had whole milk for .99 cents a gallon so we got 2. That has been our steal this week.
As for having friends in all stages of life I am 39 and one of closest friends turned 78 this year! We have been friends for more than 10 years. While we live 7 hours from each other we don’t get to see each other often but we talk once a week on the phone and email several times a week. She offers great insight to life (kinda like a grandma figure).
Thanks for always being so open and honest and sharing. I haven’t quite figured out Savings Star yet but use Ibotta, and Checkout 51 all the time.
Wow, that is an amazing deal on eggs and milk! I definitely would have been stocking up too. Feeling slightly jealous! 😛
I love how you have an older friend like that who speaks into your life so regularly. That is a huge gift! Reminds me of a podcast that I listened to recently where an 87 year old lady shares what she’s learned in life. So much wisdom!
Saving Star isn’t too hard. Basically you just link up your store cards (like CVS, grocery stores etc.) and then “activate” the offers. Once you activate them, you’ll automatically get credited for them if you purchase the item using any of your store cards. Sometimes I forget that I activated an offer and then get this random email telling me that I earned something for purchasing it. That’s always a fun surprise!
Hope you have a lovely weekend!
A hearty Amen to having friends of all ages! I have been blessed with a woman friend who has thirty more years of experience and I’m very grateful for that connection.
Thanks for posting your prices for the peaches. It helps to know what a fair price is on these things for those of us who preserve food.
As an aside, I did an interesting experiment this month where I planned and purchased at least 3 weeks worth of meals because I wasn’t sure how often I would be able to get out to the store. It’s kind of nice not having that pressure of needing to go to the store every week, even though I enjoy shopping and it’s not a chore. I think so far this has saved us a little bit of money, although hitting the farm stand for some fresh items at this time of year may make up for the savings. The biggest expenses? Milk and meat, even though the meat was a good sale price and I planned many meatless meals. I’m still hoping to learn more from my experiment over the next couple weeks. It could end up being a helpful strategy.
Those friendships really are such a blessing, Monica!
I wonder how our peach prices compare? I realized later that I could have actually gotten mine a bit cheaper at a local Amish bulk food store. Oh well, you live and learn!
And your experiment is interesting! I think it would be especially helpful for people that don’t stockpile like I do. (And you aren’t able to the much due to lack of space, right?) It makes sense that it would make a difference in the amount of money spent. And the time saving part would be nice too! I’ve definitely gotten more picky about the number of stores that I go to a week just because I simply was running out of time! I’d love to hear more of your thoughts once you do more experimenting. Hmm…maybe I should just have you do a guest post about it on here! 🙂
I usually get my peaches from Kauffman’s, but I don’t yet know what their price is this summer. A couple years ago it was about $17.95 a box for firsts, but I don’t know how that compares to a bushel in terms of weight or volume. My notes show I got 17 quarts per box, so my guess is it was close to a bushel.
I’m hoping to stretch those meals to a whole month, though I have already had to supplement from my small stockpile. I try to keep 1-3 items ahead on staples, so if I need to jump in and get creative I can do that. I’ll let you know how it goes, and yes, I too have less time for hitting multiple stores. If this actually makes an impact in my budget, I’ll be more than happy to do a guest post! My guess it it will make some impact because I can’t spend when I’m not in the store.