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: -$25.82
Total Saved with Coupons: $9.40
Total Saved with Sales: $10.85
Total Saved: $11.40 + $58.48 in gas reward savings
Saved with Coupons: $7.90
Saved with Sales: $10.85
I had thought I was going to take a break from deal shopping this week since none of the stores, including Giant, really had deals that I felt were worth running out to get. But then I realized that we were almost out of gas in our minivan and we didn’t have enough gas points to get a free tank of gas. So, I decided to make a trip after all, and went through my rain checks and found a few that I could use that were for sales that included gas rewards. They enabled me to get enough gas rewards to get a full 25 gallons worth of gas for free, which is our goal.
In case you are new here, Giant has deals on certain items pretty much every week where you earn points that can then be redeemed for savings on gas at their gas stations. You can get the savings on up to 25 gallons worth of gas at a time. So what we try to do, is get enough rewards to get a free 25 gallons of gas each time that we fill up. It takes a bit of strategic planning, but it’s definitely doable, especially if you take advantage of rainchecks.
This week the gas deals I did were the Nature’s Harvest bread which was a moneymaker of $2.50 after coupons, sales and gas rewards. The deal was actually that you had to buy 5 loaves of bread, but I had purchased one previously that counted towards this purchase. The Cheez-It’s were another gas rewards deal. I made $5.00 total on them. You may remember that I’ve redeemed rain checks for them before, and if so, are likely wondering how I was able to get so many. Most weeks, the gas reward deals are a limit of 10 deals total. The week that the Cheez-It’s were on sale, I didn’t do any other gas deals. So, I was able to get rainchecks for 10 deals total, which I’ve been using here and there as I need them.
The Hefty bags were also a small moneymaker of $0.11 after coupons and sales, the Kix cereal made me $0.95 and the bananas were $0.04 after coupons. You might remember that I had paid for the Kix as part of a cereal deal last week. They were out of stock on it then, but went ahead and rang me up for it since I needed to purchase it in order to get the sale.
- 2 Hefty bags $2.39 total (on sale buy one, get one free)
– used $1.50/2 Hefty coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
– got back $1.00 via Ibotta
- 4 Nature’s Harvest bread $2.50 each (bought with rain check)
– used four $0.55 Nature’s Harvest printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
- Kix cereal $0 (bought with rain check)
– got back $0.75 via Saving Star
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta (good on any brand)
- 10 Cheez-It cups $1.00 each (bought with rain check)
- bananas $0.49
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
– got back $0.25 via Checkout 51
- $10.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Nature’s Harvest
- $15.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Cheez-It’s
Saved with Coupons: $1.50
Saved with Sales: $0.55
No, I didn’t buy a half-used gallon of milk. 🙂 I sometimes just forget to take pictures of my purchases right away and that obviously was the case here.
We were almost out of milk and since I was next door to a Target when I was out for an appointment, I just stopped there to get some. We also were shockingly out of coffee too! For the past year or two I’ve not had to pay more than $3 or a bag of coffee because Giant frequently puts the Eight O’Clock coffee on sale for buy one, get one free. There are also usually coupons that I can use with the sale too, which allows me to get coffee for really, really cheap. I thought we had a nice little stockpile, but I guess with my husband being home more this summer while he did some summer college classes, we went through it faster. So I’ll definitely be watching for good sales to stock up again. Because between his love for hot black coffee and my daily habit of a homemade frappe, we do go through quite a bit of coffee!
If you are a Target shopper, you should definitely check out the Target app. They have all sorts of in-app savings that allow you to save on all sorts of things. You can even scan an item that you are intending to purchase to see if there is an offer to save on it.
- Eight O’clock coffee $5.29
– used $1.50 Eight O’clock printable coupon
- Target brand milk $3.63
– used 5% Target App offer (saved $0.19)
OTHER COUPONS USED:
- 5% savings for paying with my Target REDCard (saved $0.36)
Sharp Shopper: $16.00
The local moms group that I attend has started up again for the season. (If you live locally and are looking for a great place to be inspired and encouraged, send me an email or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to give you more info. The great thing is that it’s free and childcare is provided too!) The church that it is held at is really close to Sharp Shopper, a local discount grocery store. So, I usually make a quick stop and just make a quick round through the frozen food, produce and dairy departments to see what deals I can find.
I found a few things this week, my favorite being the Ball Park hot dogs. Hot dogs are so handy to have on hand for quick meals or last minute picnics and our kids think they are the best thing ever. Honestly though, most hot dogs gross me out, so I rarely buy them. But these Ball Park Finest are good and for hot dogs, they are actually pretty healthy too. The grapefruit juice was a fun find too. My husband loves grapefruit juice, but it’s usually hard to fine the real stuff. He was pretty happy with this little surprise!
- 4 Ball Parks Finest hot dogs $1.49 each
- Tropicana pure grapefruit juice $0.99
- bananas $0.29/lb ($0.59 total)
- apples $0.99/lb. ($1.48 total)
- 2 pure vanilla $3.49 each
* I used some grocery cash (I had withdrawn it several weeks ago) to buy lettuce from one of the stands at our local farmer’s market. The price for it varies a bit depending on the size of the heads and availability, but typically I pay around $1.25 to $1.75 each. The really great thing is that while it’s not marketed as organic, it pretty much is. The man that grows it almost never uses any chemicals on it, which I love!
The two tomatoes were from our little “garden”. We also got a pepper that never made it on a picture. It’s so fun to be able to harvest a few things from our small city back yard!
* I’m always amazed at people’s talents. One of my friends has this little business called Faire Earth Naturals, where she makes homemade soaps, sugar scrubs, lip balms etc. She recently gave me this little duo as a gift and I was excited. I love her lip balm and can’t wait to try the exfoliating salt bar. She’s working at setting up an online presence, so hopefully soon you’ll be able to purchase her stuff even if you don’t live locally!
I cashed out my Saving Star account. I just roll that money back into my grocery budget since I earned by buying certain groceries anyway.
I cashed out my MobiSave account too. Actually, with MobiSave you get paid as soon as you earn something, so it’s an automatic payout which is kind of nice.
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 $58.48 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.)
I have a question about the gas deals…do you always buy the product? even if it’s something you won’t or don’t use?
Rebecca, it really depends on what the item is and whether it’s a money maker. If it’s something I know I won’t use and I don’t know of anyone that I can give it to, I typically just pass on it, because it seems wasteful. However, if it’s something that I wouldn’t typically use but I can make $3.00 and I know that I can either donate it to the food bank, give it to a friend etc., then I’ll usually do it. And sometimes, I end up buying something that I would never buy otherwise just because it is free or I can make money on it, and then I’ll find a use for it. In fact, there have been different times over the years that we’ve discovered new products that we love because of doing that.
Does that help answer your question? If not, let me know and I can try to clarify further.