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, Ibotta, and Saving Star. 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 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 had a rather busy week and was quite happy when I discovered that the deals were pretty slow and I wouldn’t have much shopping to do. Really, I could have done a bit more shopping than I did because I did spot a few other fairly decent deals. But they weren’t super amazing and I really didn’t have the time or energy to do them, so I just gave myself the freedom to skip them. That’s one of the beauties of having grocery shopped this way for a while. I have a nice stockpile built up and it frees me up to pass on deals more than I used to be able too and still stick with our $200 grocery budget.
Total Spent: -$54.06
Total Saved with Coupons: $17.47
Total Saved with Sales: $7.63
Total Saved: $25.10
Total Saved with Coupons: $17.47
Total Saved with Sales: $7.63
Back last fall, there was an amazing deal on peanut butter where I either got the peanut butter for free, or very nearly so. So of course, I stocked up and have enjoyed not needing to worry about buying peanut butter since. But a couple of weeks ago I used the last of that peanut butter and actually bought a container of it at Aldi for $2.29. This week I saw that Giant had the Skippy brand on sale, plus when you bought $15 worth of select products (the Skippy was one of the items listed), you instantly saved $5. So, I decided to make it “stock up on peanut butter week” and got 6 Skippy natural peanut butter for $1.67 each. Compared to the price at Aldi, that saved me $3.72! No, it’s not as much as I save on some deals, but since we regularly use peanut butter anyway, I figured it made sense to go ahead and buy 6 and enjoy the savings.
I’m a Purex Insider (a program they have set up for bloggers) and as a result, I occasionally get free products from them to sample as well as Free Product coupons. I often give these coupons away, but for some reason, I forgot about doing that with the ones that they sent me for the new Dial Miracle Oil body wash and when I happened to notice them a couple of weeks ago, it was too close to their expiration date of 5/31/15 to really give them to anybody. So instead, I used them myself and will probably just end up sharing the bottles of soap with some friends instead. The only bummer was that both places that I checked had the body wash priced for more that the coupon was for. The coupon said it was good for up to $4.49, but the body was was $4.99. Kind of a bummer, but still a good deal. I do find annoying though when a coupons says “free product” but then isn’t actually high value enough to allow you to get the product for free!
The same thing happened with the Seeds of Change Free Product coupon. I think there was a promotion on the manufacturer’s Facebook page a while back where you could sign up to get a free product coupon, but I’m not 100% sure that’s how I got it. It was some kind of promotion like that though. Anyway, the coupon was good for $4.00 but the Tikki Masala was $4.29. I love Masala and am excited to use this for dinner sometime soon!
And once again, thanks to coupon apps, I was able to get 2 free bananas. What’s not to love about free fruit?
- 6 Skippy peanut butter $2.50 each
– saved $5 instantly for purchasing 6 Skippy
- 3 Dial body wash $4.99 each
– used three Dial body wash free product coupons received via Purex Insiders (only took off $4.49)
- Seeds of Change Tikki Masala $4.29
– used Free Product coupon received via Seeds of Change promotion- I think on Facebook (only took off $4.00)
- Bananas $0.45
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
– got back $0.25 via Checkout 51
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 $67.4 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.)
MAY MONTHLY BUDGET SUMMARY
I knew I had spent quite a bit this month and even though I was trying really hard to be mindful of my spending, I was a bit worried that I’d still go over budget for the month. Thankfully, I didn’t and that was mostly because we ended up needing gas this last week and so I was able to cash in on a bunch of gas reward credits.
Some of you, especially if you are new here, are probably wondering why in the world I’d even be worried about going over budget since I already am under budget by so much for the year. But here is the thing. I buy a lot of fruits and veggies in large quantities in the summer when they are in-season and less expensive. I then can or freeze them to enjoy throughout the rest of the year. This saves me money in the long run, but ends up costing me large chunks of money at a time when I am purchasing the produce. After several years of doing this, I’ve figured out that if I can stay under budget the first 5 months of the year, and have about $200 worth of “credit” by then, I’ll usually be okay and have enough to purchase the produce that I need and stay within our budget for the rest of the year.
May Grocery Spending by Week:
Week 1: $95.45
Week 2: $46.49
Week 3: $83.98
Week 4: -$54.06 (negative due to gas rewards credit)
Total Spent for the Month: $171.86
Total Saved with Coupons for the Month: $83.48
Total Saved with Sales for the Month: $90.95
Total Saved for the Month: $174.43 + $134.95 in gas reward savings
Under budget for the month by $28.14
Under budget for the year by $189.95
There are affiliate links in this post – please read my full disclosure policy.