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, Checkout 51 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? 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.
Whew, it’s kind of a bad feeling to almost blow through your whole monthly grocery budget in just one weeks time! I’m so grateful I have some good cushion right now from staying under budget in previous months.
Total Spent: $188.25
Total Saved with Coupons: $41.50
Total Saved with Sales: $27.67
Total Saved: $69.17
Saved with Coupons: $20.50
Saved with Sales: $19.91
Um, yes, I really did buy 13 boxes of ice cream plus a bunch of ice cream treats. And yes, I really do think we eat healthy even so. 🙂 Here’s why I bought so much. We love Turkey Hill All-Natural ice cream- it’s made with real ingredients and doesn’t have all sorts of other additives in it like many ice creams do. We also happen to have lots of freezer space thanks to a couple of chest freezers, which allows me to stock up on deals like this. Basically, after coupons/sales/gas rewards, the ice cream ended up costing me $0.79/box. Since the ice cream will easily be good for a long time, I figured I might as well stock up on it and save some money in the process. We’ll also soon be having a birthday party for our son and will likely go through 3 or so boxes then.
The Snickers Ice Cream Bars and Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade? They’re not something I usually buy either, but as occasional treats, I will, especially when I can get them for free like I did these. I do love Snickers Ice Cream bars and they work perfectly to make an easy, delicious cake too! We’ve never had the frozen lemonade before, but they sure look good. My husband has a thing for lemonade, so I kind of bought these with him in mind. Oh and the Ben & Jerry’s cup was free after a Saving Star offer as well.
The refried beans were free after coupons and sales too (actually I made $0.50 on them). I usually make my own refried beans simply because the bought variety always has so much sodium. I’m kind of thinking I’ll just donate these to the food bank.
- 13 Turkey Hill All-Natural ice cream $3.79 each
– used seven $1.00 Turkey Hill coupons received from manufacturer
– used six $0.50 Turkey Hill coupons received from manufacturer
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta (good on any ice cream)
- 3 Minute Maid Frozen Lemonades $2.50 each
– used 3 Minute Maid coupons from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts (2 of them doubled to $1.00)
- 4 Snickers ice cream bars $3.00 each
– used two $1.00 Snickers coupons from previous Snickers ice cream bar package
– used two $1.00 Snickers coupons from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
- 2 Old El Paso refried beans $1.00
– used two $0.50 Old El Paso printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
– got back $0.50 via Saving Star
- Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cup $1.29
– got back $1.29 via Saving Star
- Banana $0.20
– got back $0.20 via Ibotta
Saved with Coupons: $21.00
Saved with Sales: $7.76
We love almonds around here, both for snacking and as a fun kid-approved salad topping. I was really happy to get these two cans for just $0.50 this week thanks to a $2.00 printable coupon. For some reason I could only get the coupon to print with my computer and not from my husband’s, otherwise I could have bought another two cans for that price.
The Colgate and Tena were free after coupons/sales. And the All detergent was just $1.00 each. I was running low on detergent, so this sale was very timely for me! I actually use Fullerbrush laundry detergent for most things, but since it’s a bit more expensive, I like to have a cheaper detergent to use on my husband’s work clothes (he works in construction so they are perpetually stained and that’s okay) and a few other random loads that don’t matter as much. (If you are interested in purchasing the Fuller detergent, let me know. The Amazon price is reasonable, but the shipping is much higher than what I could give you.)
- 2 Blue Diamond almonds $2.50 each
– used two $2.00 Blue Diamond printable coupons
- Tena pantiliners $5.98 total (on sale buy one, get one half off)- used rain check
– used two $2.00 Tena printable coupons
- 2 Colgate toothpaste $3.00 each
– used two $1.00 Colgate printable coupons
- 2 All detergent $3.49 each
– used two $1.50 All printable coupons
OTHER COUPONS USED:
- $8.00 in Extra Bucks coupons earned by purchasing items previously at CVS
- $2.00 Extra Bucks coupon for purchasing the Tena (can be used on next purchase of any item)
- $2.00 Extra Bucks coupon for purchasing the All (can be used on next purchase of any item)
I was in the middle of making granola and realized that I was out of canola oil. I needed to go to Giant anyway and thankfully, Aldi is on the way there. So I did a quick stop and grabbed the oil as well as a couple of other thing. It’s been a bit since I saw cream cheese for under $1.00, so when I saw Aldi dropped their price to $0.99, I took advantage of it!
- 2 canola oil $2.09 each
- Ranch dressing $1.29
- 5 cream cheese $0.99 each
- pretzel sticks $1.29
Sharp Shopper: $23.66
This little local discount grocery store is one of those places that can be a hit or miss when it comes to good deals. Even though I didn’t do as good as I sometimes do, this shopping trip was definitely a hit. We’ve been eating lots of sandwiches for lunch this summer and I was fast running out of lunch meat. So I was grateful to find these two big tubs of turkey breast for a decent price.
I did a double take when I saw the sign for $0.99/lb. cherries! I was in a hurry and just grabbed one bag and later was kicking myself. I don’t like cherries, but my husband and kiddos love them and would have been very happy to eat more. As it was, we ended up sharing half of this bag with a neighbor friend of ours who enjoys cherries as much as the rest of my family does.
The grapefruit juice was a special buy for my husband. He love fruit juice of any kind, but grapefruit juice is his favorite. Again, I should have bought more since it’s rare to find it under $1.00 (my buy price for juice). I could have easily frozen it to keep it longer.
My favorite purchase was the bacon- Market Place brand (Target) for just $1.99/lb! Sometimes “cheap” bacon is not that good. You know, really fatty etc. But this bacon wasn’t that way and has a great flavor. I bought a bunch and froze most of it to use in quiche and breakfast sandwiches. Because bacon tends to be so expensive, we rarely eat it by itself, but rather eat it in other dishes. But since I was able to get this for such a great price, we “splurged” (at least in our minds!) and enjoyed eating some the other night all by itself, along with eggs and bagels.
- cherries $0.99/lb
- grapefruit juice $0.99
- 5 bacon $1.99 each
- 2 black pepper $2.49 each
- 2 Oscar Mayer lunch meat $2.69 each
I’ve been wanting to make more Easy 3 Ingredient Healthy Fudge, but was basically out of coconut oil. I finally got some ordered from Vitacost, my favorite place to buy it. I don’t really like coconut and therefore don’t care for the strong flavor that most coconut oil has. But a friend recommended this brand too me and said that it doesn’t have such a strong taste and I’ve found that to be true. It’s also a great price, which I’m of course a fan of! And when I placed this order, I was happy to notice that when you purchase the Vitacost brand coconut oil, your order will automatically ship free, even if you order other items as well!
So, when I saw that, I went ahead and got a bottle of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar too since my bottle was nearly empty. I use it for a number of things, but mainly for Good Girl Moonshine, a beverage that I didn’t think I’d like, but actually do as long as I make my own variation.
- Vitacost coconut oil 54 oz. $23.99
- Bragg vinegar $5.49
- $10 account credit
Centerville Bulk Food: $78.66
I wanted to get more blueberries and so I made a trip to a local bulk food store and got two 20 lb. boxes for $33.75 each. We used about 10 lbs. fresh, and then I froze the rest of them. They were so deliciously sweet!
While I was there, I grabbed a few other things (apples, raw sugar, cheese and dried cranberries) too. But since it’s an Amish store and they don’t have registers that show what items you purchase I don’t have record of the cost breakdown.
My sister-in-law gave us more zucchini- yum! We’ve been eating a lot of zucchini quiche since we’ve been given so many zucchini, but we don’t mind at all since we all like it.
I also got some tomatoes from our two plants. It’s so fun to grow a few of our own things!
The lettuce was from our local farmers market and I actually got several heads. I used grocery cash to pay for it. And when I was writing this post, I realized that I keep forgetting to document the lettuce I buy weekly or bi-weekly. For some reason, it’s just hard for me to remember to include it in my posts, probably because we withdraw $20 at a time to use as grocery cash at market and then when I actually go buy the lettuce, it kind of is not on my radar because the cost was already recorded. (I hope that makes sense!) So, if you don’t see lettuce on these posts very often but notice in our menu plans that we eat a lot of salad, that is why!
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