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.
I guess blowing most of my monthly grocery budget last week kind of scared me into not spending much this week. 🙂 It did kind of make me reevaluate my spending again and think more closely about what I’m buying. But the main reason I didn’t shop this week was simply because there weren’t really any deals that looked amazing enough to make me want to go buy them. Of course, it was nice for the budget too!
Total Spent: -$52.09 (negative due to gas reward credits)
I make my own yogurt and was really needing a new starter to make another batch. I find that after a couple of months, my homemade yogurt starts t lose its nice yogurt flavor and that’s when I know it’s time to start over with new culture. I’ve tried a number of different brands of plain yogurt for my starter culture, and this Dannon stuff works the best in my opinion.
And yes, I know I need to get my homemade recipe posted here on the blog! I just never seem to get around to snapping the pictures that I need for the post. Hopefully soon!
- Dannon yogurt $2.69
I got another 1 ½ bushels of green beans from a local produce farm for $22.50. Just in case you are curious, that comes to about $0.81 a quart. We ate a bunch of the beans fresh, and then I froze the rest of them. (Here’s my tutorial on how to freeze green beans. It’s super simple to do!)
I cashed out my Ibotta account. I love using this app to save money on things I would be purchasing anyway. Lately, they’ve been having lots of offers that are good on any brand of lots of basic items like milk, eggs, veggies and fruit, mustard etc. It’s such a simple way to save a little bit more!
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 $64.98 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.)
These gas rewards are what has been saving my budget this year! I have gotten so many groceries for free or super cheap thanks to the gas deals and it really has been a huge blessing. If they ever stop them, I’m most definitely going to need to up our grocery budget by quite a bit.
JULY MONTHLY BUDGET SUMMARY
Whew, I felt like I spent a lot this month! Some of it was for things like blueberries and green beans that I froze large quantities of to enjoy throughout the rest of the year. But some of it was also just basic groceries that I needed or bought because of awesome deals. I kind of assumed that I’d go over budget, but it still always kind of goes through me when I do, even though I kind of plan for it. Thankfully, I still have reserve from the first several months of the year when I intentionally tried to stay under budget to give me some cushion for these summer months where I tend to spend a lot more, mostly due to buying lots of produce to can and freeze.
I still am under budget for the year by about $160. That feels really good! But I’ll be spending quite a bit of money on peaches and apples yet to can and freeze, so I know that I’ll go through that amount rather quickly. It’s kind of good for me though, because like I said at the beginning of the post, it really helps me evaluate my spending and be smarter and more selective about what I actually purchase.
July Grocery Spending by Week:
Week 1: $161.05
Week 2: $2.21
Week 3: $188.25
Week 4: -$52.09
Total Spent for the Month: $299.42
Total Saved with Coupons for the Month: $104.08
Total Saved with Sales for the Month: $71.09
Total Saved for the Month: $175.17 + $133.46 in gas reward savings
Over budget for the month by $99.42
Under budget for the year by $159.31