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: -$85.61 (negative due to gas reward savings)
Total Saved with Coupons: $0.20
Total Saved with Sales: $2.40
Total Saved: $2.60 + $77.50 in gas reward savings
I actually could have probably avoided doing an Aldi stop this week, but since I knew the following week was going to busy and I wouldn’t have time to do much shopping then, I decided to go and get the few things that we were getting low on.
Pretzel sticks are our 16 mo. old’s new favorite snack. It’s actually kind of funny because we have always had the mentality that our children should eat a lot at mealtime and then there is no need for snacking throughout the day. And that worked for the most part with our oldest two. They snacked occasionally, but it was definitely not a regular thing at all. But our third born has been a different story. She can eat a lot at mealtime, but she still almost always gets hungry before dinnertime and need something to hold her over until it’s time to eat. Sometimes I just sit her down with some “real” food like yogurt, applesauce or fruit, other times though, it’s just easier to give her something like pretzels and let her eat as she plays. I find it humorous that just when you think you have something with parenting all figured out, you learn that you simply don’t. 🙂
- mayo $1.89
- Ranch $1.29
- 2 brown sugar $1.19 each
- pretzel sticks $1.29
- sour cream $1.29
- saltines $0.85
Saved with Sales: $2.40
A couple of weeks ago Walgreens had eggs on sale and when I stopped to get some, they were totally out of stock. So I got a rain check. Our Walgreens happens to be in the same shopping center as our Aldi, so when I stopped by Aldi this week I decided to pop into Walgreens to get my eggs since I was on my last dozen anyway. For some reason, it feels like we are going through a lot of eggs lately. Some of it is probably because I’ve been hard-boiling them a lot to eat on salads. And I guess our kids are just getting older and eating more too! I’m grateful they have good appetites though!
- 4 eggs $1.29
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
(bought with rain check)
Some friends from church shared these zucchini with us. I love zucchini and even though my sister-in-law recently gave us some too, I was excited to get more. I’m working at tweaking a couple of zucchini recipes, one a main dish and the other a dessert, and you may end up seeing them here. 🙂 Actually, I’d probably be posting the dessert one this week, but my husband didn’t realize I was saving what was left to take pictures for the blog and ended up eating it. Oops!
I cashed out my Checkout 51 account. Since I don’t use their offers super often, it took me quite a while to get to their $20 cash out limit. But even though it takes a while to accumulate the savings, I still feel like it is worth it, especially since the offers that I do redeem are almost always for items that I regularly purchase and use anyway!
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 $77.50 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.)
JUNE MONTHLY BUDGET SUMMARY
I had assumed that I’d probably go over budget this month with buying 110 lbs. of strawberries. But then the deals weren’t that great all month long, so I ended up not buying much and just using a lot of things from my stockpile instead. As a result, I came in under budget for the month by about $68 which was a pleasant surprise.
If you are a new reader, you may be puzzled as to why I wouldn’t just lower our grocery budget if we are under budget for the year by $258. Here’s the thing. I buy a lot of fresh fruit and veggies during the summer and fall when they are in season and then I either can or freeze them so that we can enjoy them the rest of the year. By doing this, I save a lot of money because produce is almost always cheaper in season. It also helps that I we live in an area where I’m able to get those sorts of things for a great price when I buy large quantities. So, it won’t be hard at all to blow $200 when it comes time to by peaches, apples, corn etc.
June Grocery Spending by Week:
Week 1: $164.79
Week 2: $27.90
Week 3: $24.14
Week 4: -$85.61
Total Spent for the Month: $131.22
Total Saved with Coupons for the Month: $37.20
Total Saved with Sales for the Month: $25.58
Total Saved for the Month: $62.78 + $77.50 in gas reward savings
Under budget for the month by $68.78
Under budget for the year by $258.73
Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving
I was surprised that we stayed $15 under our monthly $200 budget, too, especially since we traveled to North Carolina on a family vacation and cooked food while we were there (instead of eating out). This just goes to show that stockpiles really do save money!
Staying under budget always makes me feel so good! And yes, stockpiles really truly do save. I’m becoming more and more convinced of that. I admire you for taking food along on your vacation. We typically do too just because it saves so much money and is of course healthier too. But I have to confess, it’s not my favorite way to save and it’s been really hard for me to do cheerfully sometimes! 🙂
Ok, you’ve encouraged me to give this a try – I already stockpile, but feel it’s not streamlined
enough??? Going to set a spending limit each week and see if I can truly just work out of the
stockpile – wish me luck!!! There always seems to be a ‘great’ sale on the last week of the
month – must…be…strong….
Yay! Excited that were inspired to try tweaking and improving your grocery shopping and stockpiling. I hope it goes really well for you! Just a little suggestion though- you probably won’t be able to totally work off of only your stockpile because you’ll like want things like milk, eggs and fresh produce each week too (and you may have been meaning everything other than that when you said “work out of the stockpile”). But even if you just focus on trying to build your stockpile and use as much as possible each week from the things you’ve already stockpiled, I think you’ll continue to see an increase in savings!
And your comment about the great sales on the last week of the month made me laugh. So true! 🙂
Ps. You may find the series that I’m doing on how I make our $200 grocery budget work helpful too!