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.
It was another week where I did very little shopping because the deals were just not very good. When that is the case, I take that as my sign that it’s time for me to take a little break. And ultimately by doing that, I end up not getting burnt out with couponing/deal shopping.
Oh, and I guess it was the week for free food, because you’ll notice that we got quite a bit of it given to us! One of my philosophies has been to never turn down free food when someone offers it to us. There have been exceptions, like the time some friends offered us a bunch of green beans for free if we picked them, but I decided to say no because our week was already super full and I knew we’d end up being so stressed out that it didn’t feel worth it. But overall, we’ll happily say yes too free food!
Total Spent: $24.14
Total Saved with Coupons: $1.00
Total Saved with Sales: $1.00
Total Saved: $2.00
Saved with Coupons: $1.00
Saved with Sales: $1.00
I wasn’t even planning to go to Giant this week but then I needed King Syrup to make one of my husband’s favorite pies for him and I also saw that I could get a good deal on Cheerios, so I decided to get some exercise and walked to the Giant that is about 6 blocks away. I don’t usually go there because the store is small and often the employees have no clue about the policies relating to coupons and so it ends up becoming a headache. But it is handy for small, easy purchases like this!
I totally botched the Cheerios deal though. I thought that both the regular and Honey Nut Cheerios were on sale and so I had a coupon for each, plus there is a Saving Star offer too where I would get $1.00 when I bought two General Mills Cheerios (various kinds). Well, I got to the store and discovered that the Honey Nut wasn’t on sale. I debated for a bit and decided to go ahead and get one box of the regular Cheerios because I remembered that there was an Ibotta offer for $0.20 or $0.25 off any cereal (can’t remember which). Our youngest loves snacking on Cheerios and the only box that we have is nearly gone, so my logic was that this was still cheaper than paying full price, even though it wasn’t the deal I had originally hoped for. Well, guess what? I forgot to submit the Ibotta offer and today when I remembered and went to do it, it was gone! So, instead of paying $0.39 for that box of Cheerios like I my original deal would have been, I ended up paying $0.99! It’s still a pretty decent price, but I usually don’t buy cereal unless I can get it for $0.50 or less, so it kind of bugged me a tiny bit. Not enough to return them though!
I did my usual deal on the banana and used an Ibotta offer to get it for just $0.08.
- Cheerios $1.99
– used $0.50 Cheerios coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts (doubled to $1.00)
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
- King Syrup $3.69
- banana $0.28
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
Plus a can of salmon that missed getting pictured.
I was going by Aldi while out running another errand and since I only had 2 of the children with me, instead of all 3 of them, I figured I might as well stop and get a few things we were needing.
We love Aldi’s Kettle potato chips. They are so good and better for you than a lot of chips, although I admit, they are still definitely no health food. While we don’t eat chips very often at all, they have sort of become a staple for our Sunday evening suppers. I was realizing recently though how our expectations have changed. We used to almost never have potato chips unless I could get them for $0.50 or less, which of course was not often. But then somewhere along the way as our budget wasn’t quite as tight, I started getting them more often and now we are too the point where we kind of think we need to have them. Well, not quite. But it’s getting pretty close! I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, but I find it fascinating how our expectations can change and unless we are willing to change them, they can totally ruin our budgets sometimes.
So how did this realization help me? I’m not entirely sure. Although it did make me realize that if I need more wiggle room in our budget, this is one thing that I could cut. We could easily switch to homemade popcorn, which is less convenient but also less expensive.
Just for fun, I bought an avocado. Can you believe I never bought one before? In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one other than in guacamole. But I noticed that there was a Checkout 51 offer for them, so I took that as my sign to give them a try.
Although we like fish, we don’t eat a lot of it simply because of the cost. But canned tuna and salmon tend to be much less expensive than other forms of seafood, so that is the main way we typically get our taste of it. I bought the salmon to try out a salmon pattie recipe that someone recently gave to me.
Oh and seeing those pinto beans made me realize that I really need post my recipe for homemade Refried Beans! The recipe is so easy because you make it in the crock-pot and of course it is much healthier too. I’ll probably be making another batch here soon. We’ll see if I have time to take the pictures so that I can post the recipe here on the blog. 🙂
- avocado $0.79
– got back $0.25 via Checkout 51
- sour cream $1.29
- Ranch $1.29
- tissues $1.19
- Pinto beans 2 lb. $1.89
- 2 brown sugar $1.19 each
- 2 salmon $2.29 each
- Kettle chips $1.79
- onions $1.99
- 3 lb. sweet potatoes $1.99
* My husband’s employer had a company picnic on Friday and ended up having lots of leftover food. So they told everyone to take whatever they wanted, which was so generous of them! I grabbed a few hot dogs and rolls, some Kettle brand potato chips and a bit of potato salad. There were also several whoopie pies that never made it onto the picture. 🙂 We ended up using this stuff and a few other things, like fruit and yogurt, for our lunch the next day. The kids thought it was the best thing ever since they love hot dogs but we don’t often have them since I’m not a fan unless I can get the “healthier” ones that don’t have fillers/byproducts and corn syrup in them.
* My sister-in-law generously shared a bunch of lettuce and 3 good sized zucchini with us. Their garden was producing more than they could eat and we were more than happy to be the recipients of the extras. I was especially excited about the zucchini because we don’t get that very often. I had good intentions of planting some, but then never carried through and did it. But the thing is, when I planted it other years, I never got more than a few zucchini from them before they got a blight and died. So, who knows if I would have had any better success this year anyway!