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: $139.55
Total Saved with Coupons: $39.04
Total Saved with Sales: $42.31
Total Saved: $81.35
Saved with Coupons: $29.10
Saved with Sales: $19.60
I guess you figured out from my picture that eggs were on sale again this week at CVS! And it was perfect timing since I was down to 1 ½ dozen. I’m finding that if I buy 6 dozen every time that CVS has them on sale, it pretty much will last me until their next sale. I’m hoping that they keep up the egg sale cycle, because it is definitely saving me quite a bit of money. I noticed Aldi’s price on eggs right now is about $1.00/dozen more than what I paid at CVS. That’s some significant savings!
The Tena pads were a moneymaker of $2.02. They are designed for incontinence, but they obviously work like any other pad. The Colgate toothbrush and toothpaste were both free after coupons and sales. This summer I had kind of taken a bit of a break from couponing as heavily and my stockpile of toothpaste and toothbrushes got pretty low. So I’m loving all the sales lately where I’ve been able to get them for free again. I actually have enough now that I can start sharing them with our extended family again!
The Calendula cream was an item that I used a rain check for. It ended up being a money maker of $4.01, which was nice! I had a coupon for it, but then there was also a $2.00 coupon on the box as well. Most stores don’t do this, but CVS will actually use both a paper coupon and a coupon that is on the box for the same product. I even mentioned to the cashier, who was a manager, that I already have a coupon for it and she told me that it’s okay to use them both. I don’t totally understand how it’s okay, but they are pretty picky about coupon policies, so I assume they have a good reason for saying it’s okay.
- 6 eggs $1.69 each
- Colgate toothbrush $2.99
– used $1.00 Colgate coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
- Colgate toothpaste $2.99
– used $1.00 Colgate coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
- 2 Tena pads $5.98 total (on sale buy one, get one free)
– used two $2.00 Tena printable coupons
- Calendula cream $8.99 (bought with rain check)
– used $2.00 coupon found on package
– used $5.00 Calendula printable coupon
- $4.00 in Extra Bucks for purchasing the Colgate items (CVS coupon that can be used on next purchase of any item)
- $4.00 in Extra Bucks for purchasing the Tena (CVS coupon that can be used on next purchase of any item)
- $6.00 in Extra Bucks for purchasing the Calendula (CVS coupon that can be used on next purchase of any item)
OTHER COUPONS USED:
- $16.10 in Extra Bucks earned by purchasing items previously at CVS
Saved with Coupons: $9.69
Saved with Sales: $22.71
I know a lot of you are probably getting a little wide-eyed at all that oatmeal that I bought. And truth is, it almost makes me a little wide-eyed because I had to figure out where to store it all. I initially had only bought 18 and felt like I was kind of being excessive. But then I got home and when my husband saw them and found out the deal, he convinced me to go buy more. Thankfully, we have a Giant only 3 minutes away, so it wasn’t a big deal to make a quick trip to get more. And we have these nails on the beams above the freezer in our basement that actually worked really well to hang bags full of the oatmeal on for storage. So that ended up not being a problem either!
Why did I buy so much? Well, they were part of Giant’s gas reward deals and after sales/gas savings they were only $0.33 each! That means that I was paying about $0.30/lb. for oatmeal. I normally buy my oatmeal at a local Amish bulk food store for $0.54/lb., which is actually a decent price. But by purchasing it this week at Giant, I saved $8.10 off of what I would normally pay. I had goofed though and was thinking that each container was 1 ½ lbs. and instead they were 18 oz., so I thought I was getting a better deal than what I did, which I why I went out and got the second time. I’m not complaining though, because it was still savings. And with the amount of baked oatmeal and granola that we eat around here, plus other things too, we’ll go through it fairly quickly!
The McCain’s Fries were a gas reward item too that I bought with a rain check and they were a money maker of $1.00. I don’t usually buy pre-packaged things like this, but I figured once in a while I’d pair them with the KidFresh chicken nuggets I got last week to have a fast, easy dinner. And of course the kids think it’s great. 🙂
I thought I was getting a good price on the sugar, but as you’ll see below, I actually got a better price at Aldi. Oops! And you may remember that I mentioned not long ago that I haven’t been able to find brand name flour for a good price? Well, Giant has the Pillsbury brand on sale for $2.29 and I think the price is good through December. So I guess I’ll be set for a while!
The Campbell’s soup was free with a Saving Star offer. It’s always fun when Saving Star has their freebie offers! The banana cost me just $0.01 thanks to an Ibotta offer.
- 7 McCain’s Smile Fries $2.00 each (bought with rain check)
– used five $1.00 McCains printable coupons
- 30 Quaker oats $2.00 each
- 2 Domino sugar $2.50 each
– used $0.75/2 Domino coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts (doubled to $1.00)
- Pillsbury unbleached flour $2.29
- Campbell’s organic soup $3.49
– got back 100% of cost via Saving Star ($3.49)
- Banana $0.21
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
- $10.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the McCains Fries
- $50.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Quaker Oats
I was happy to see onions were on sale this week at Aldi! I was almost out, plus I was needing some for a soup that I want to can.
Aldi has the best price on pumpkin that I’ve found! It’s hard for me to even find it on sale at other stores for less than this. I got a can as well as some evaporated milk to make one of my favorite pumpkin desserts. If the weather cooperates and I can get a good picture of it, you’ll probably be seeing it on the blog in a couple of weeks.
Oh and had I known that sugar was just $1.89 here, I would never have gotten it at Giant! I actually stopped at Aldi first, but the price listed on the shelf was $2.29 or $2.49, I can’t remember which. So I just got one bag, because I didn’t really need more. Then when I got home and was looking at my receipt, I noticed that apparently the price had dropped and they never got their shelf sign updated. By that point I had already gotten a couple of bags at Giant, since I thought they were a decent price. Oh well, that’s part of deal shopping. Sometimes you win and sometimes you miss deals or totally bomb them.
- 2 yellow onions (3 lb.) $0.89 each
- Ranch dressing $1.29
- mayo $1.89
- black beans $0.59
- sugar $1.89
- cream cheese $0.99
- pumpkin $0.89
- evaporated milk $0.79
- saltines $0.79
- 3 corn chips $0.79 each
- bananas $0.38/lb ($1.79 total)
– got back $0.25 via Checkout 51
- spinach $1.79
I have no idea what I did with my receipt for this milk, but I’ve looked and looked and still haven’t been able to find it. At any rate, I know I didn’t pay anything out of pocket, so to speak, because I had a gift card that I used to pay for it. The gift card was either one that I earned through Shopkick or else one that I bought through Living Social a long time ago at a discounted price. I don’t remember for sure- I just know that I had it earmarked as being for grocery.
- Target brand milk
* I withdrew $10.00 from our bank account to use to buy milk from the local dairy we get it from.
* My parents came for the day and brought me some potatoes that someone had given to them. It was way more than they could use, and she figured we’d have no problem finding a use for them. They look pretty rough, I know. But they actually don’t look as bad in real life as they do here. They were home-grown by some friends of my parents and if you know anything about digging up potatoes, you know that you often have some that get cut or nicked as you are digging. That’s what these were.
I forgot to take a picture of the apples themselves, but here’s one of the sauce!
Bought 5 bushels of apples from a local orchard for $15.00 each. I made applesauce with them…yes, we eat a lot of applesauce! My husband grew up eating it with most dinners and he still enjoys doing that. The children love it too and I’ve actually kind of learned to enjoy eating it often as well.
SEPTEMBER MONTHLY BUDGET SUMMARY
I felt like I bought a lot of groceries this month plus I bought 5 bushels of apples. So I was actually surprised that I didn’t go over budget by more than I did! I feel pretty confident that I should be able to get back under budget for the year in October, since I don’t think I’ll be having any huge expenses.
September Grocery Spending by Week:
Week 1: $49.54
Week 2: -$25.82 (negative thanks to gas reward savings)
Week 3: $71.31
Week 4: $139.55
Total Spent for the Month: $234.58
Total Saved with Coupons for the Month: $118.45
Total Saved with Sales for the Month: $115.43
Total Saved for the Month: $233.88 + $58.48 in gas reward savings
Over budget for the month by $34.58
Over budget for the year by $39.26
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