Curious how I shop on a low grocery budget? Here are all the details of my $225 a month grocery shopping trips. I’ll show you exactly how I save money and help my family of six live well without spending a lot.
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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, Red Plum, Ibotta, Fetch Rewards (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!) and Checkout 51. Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are also great sources.
Before I dive into the actual details of this week’s budget grocery shopping trip, I feel like there a few things that I should clarify about the way that I grocery shop, just so this post makes more sense.
A FEW DETAILS ABOUT USING COUPONS and HOW I SHOP:
* It pretty important 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.
This is also why just by looking at the things I purchase here it might look a little strange and hard to imagine how I actually create decent, balanced meals. But remember, I have a small stockpile of lots of pantry, freezer and even fridge items that I purchased previously when they were a great price and I’m pulling from them to create our frugal menus too!
* I also buy a lot of 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.
* I live in an area where most grocery stores fully double all coupons up to $1.00. So anything $.99 or above will double, which is why the $0.75 coupons you see below note that they doubled to $1.50.
This definitely helps me get better deals, although I have to say that even before we moved to Philadelphia and I shopped at stores that didn’t fully double, I still often got very similar deals. So getting great deals still is possible even without fully doubled coupons!
* The Load to Card coupons that you see mentioned below can be found on the grocery store’s website when you create an account with your store card. I think most major grocery stores have this option anymore and it’s a great way to save a little extra.
I typically just go into my account and clip all the coupons, that way if I happen to buy something that I hadn’t planned on buying and it had a Load to Card coupon available, I’ll get the savings. And that has happened quite a few times!
* The best way to maximize your savings is to combine sales with coupons and to combine multiple coupons on the same product. But I want to be clear- you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item. In other words, say you have two printable coupons for Butterball ground turkey, you can only use one. (You can easily tell if it’s a manufacturer’s coupon by looking at the top of the coupon for that wording. Almost all coupons are manufacturer coupons.)
To get the most savings, you can also combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon and/or coupon app offers from places like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!) and Checkout 51 when available.
* Under no circumstances is it legal to photocopy a coupon. For printable coupons, most manufacturer’s let you print two coupons per computer and then your limit will be capped.
* Coupon availability changes all the time, so the links that I share below will soon be out of date and not take you to the exact coupon that I linked too. I’m sorry about that, but it’s just how coupons work!
Now that we got those details covered, let’s get down to the specifics of this week’s shopping!
First of all, I plan to make a trip to Aldi tomorrow and get these sale items: chicken drumsticks for $0.69/lb., grapes for $0.99, 3 lb. mandarin oranges for $2.69 and 1 lb. organic spring mix for $3.49. I also will buy some chocolate chips, brown sugar and carrots.
I would typically also buy a gallon of milk, but I bought a bunch of milk when we were in Maryland over Christmas since it’s half the price that we pay here, and froze it. So I’m going to just use that for our milk this week instead.
Also, I realize that all the numbers below can get kind of confusing. I try to break it down in a way that is easy to understand, but I know that it’s still kind of hard to follow sometimes. So if you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments!
Basically, I got ALL the groceries that you see below for just $34.42 total, after all coupons and savings! That’s over $100 worth of groceries for less than $35! You all, this is why I feel like it’s worth my time to use coupons. This is roughly how much I save each week and there is no other way that we’d be able to eat as well as what we do and keep our grocery budget this low.
GROCERY SHOPPING TRIP WITH COUPONS
Total Spent: $42.48
Total Saved with Coupons: $32.24
Total Saved with Sales: $22.18
Total Saved: $54.42 + an additional $20.00 in gas savings
Saved with Coupons: $12.60
Saved with Sales: $13.65 + $20.00 an additional $ in gas savings
These Giant deals will be good through 2/9/19, so if you shop before that, you should be able to these same deals yourself.
The Classico pasta sauce and Celestial Seasoning tea were part of Giant’s gas rewards deals. The Celestial Seasoning tea was $0.50/box after coupons and sales. My husband loves to drink hot tea and we were actually getting kind of low, so this was a great time to stock up!
The Classico ended up being just $0.09/jar after coupons and sales. I used to make and can my own homemade pasta sauce, but the last several years I’ve been able to regularly get the Classico brand for free or very close to free with my couponing. So I took that as my sign to free up some time and stop canning my own! I’ve actually been really happy with the flavor and ingredients in the Classico sauce too.
The Cinnamon Toast Churros were totally free after coupons and sales. We usually have baked oatmeal or homemade granola for our breakfasts. But when I get cold cereal for free, the kid’s are always excited! They love to add a little on top of their granola and occasionally, if it’s a sweet kind like these Churros, we’ll eat it as our dessert.
The Wholly Guacamole was $0.25, the Takis were totally free (they don’t look good to me, but my husband thought they seemed interesting), and the ice cream cones were a special buy to use to make a birthday cake for my daughter this week. The Arm & Hammer detergents were both free too.
I usually make my own homemade yogurt, but when I can get it free at the store, I will. The Oikos was actually better than free this week after coupons and sales. In fact, I made $0.50 on it!
- 8 Classico pasta sauce $2.00 each
- 4 Celestial Seasonings tea $2.50 each
– used (2) $1/2 Giant load to card digital coupons
- Cinnamon Toast Churros $2.50
– used $0.75 Cinnamon Toast Churros printable coupon (doubled to $1.50)
– submitted for $1.00 Cinnamon Toast Churros Ibotta offer
- Wholly Guacamole $2.50
– used $0.75 Wholly Guacamole printable coupon (doubled to $1.50)
– used $0.75 Wholly Guacamole Giant load to card digital coupon
- Oikos Greek Yogurt $1.00
– used $0.50 Oikos printable coupon (doubled to $1.00)
– used $0.50 Giant load to card digital coupon
- Takis $1.00
– used FREE Takis Giant Load to Card digital coupon ($1.00)
- Arm & Hammer liquid detergent $1.99
– used $1.00 Arm & Hammer detergent printable coupon
– used $1.00 Arm & Hammer detergent Giant load to card digital coupon
- Arm & Hammer detergent pods $1.99
– used $1.00 Arm & Hammer detergent pods printable coupon
– used $1.00 Arm & Hammer detergent pods Giant load to card digital coupon
- 2 Giant brand ice cream cones $1.09 each
- $0.10 Ibotta any receipt offer
- 244 pts. (the equivalent of $0.25) via Fetch Rewards for purchasing the Classico pasta sauce (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!)
- $20.00 in gas reward savings for purchasing the Classico pasta sauce and Celestial Seasoning Tea
- $2.00 Catalina coupon for the Classico pasta sauce (this coupon prints at the register and I received it because I had purchased more than 4 Classico pasta sauce)
Saved with Coupons: $19.64
Saved with Sales: $8.53
These ShopRite deals will be good through 2/9/19, so if you shop before that, you should be able to these same deals yourself.
You’ll have to excuse the awful lighting in the picture! I usually grocery shop in the evening and of course it’s totally dark till I get back home. Obviously, our ceiling lighting just does not provide great lighting for photos!
I try to buy cheese when it’s $2.00/lb. or less, but the last couple of years, that has become more difficult to consistently do and often I end up buying it when it’s $2.25/lb. or even $2.50/lb. (Shredded cheese freezes really well, so I stock up when I can and freeze it.) I was getting low on shredded cheese, so I was super excited when I saw that I could get two pounds this week for $2/lb.!
Have you ever noticed those coupons that sometimes print out of a little machine at the register? Well, they’re called Catalina coupons. Recently, one printed at ShopRite and it was for $1.00 off a cheese purchase of $3.99 or more. So I used that coupon this week to get a great deal on the Dutch Farms 8 oz. cheese. By using the coupon along with the sale, it made the blocks of cheese just $1.00 each, or $2/lb.
The Oreos were $1.50 each after coupons and sales, which is a pretty great price for them. I don’t use Oreos a lot but I do like to have them on hand for when I make Frosted Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and a few other desserts. I usually try to watch for good sales and then freeze them until I’m ready to use them.
The Oikos were free and the Two Good yogurts were a moneymaker of $0.82 after coupons and sales. The Arm & Hammer detergent and Blue Buffalo canned cat food were both totally free. And no, we don’t have a cat. 🙂 But when I can get pet food free I do, and then I have fun sharing it with friends that have dogs or cats.
The clementines, bananas and lettuce were all things that were good prices or that we needed. I was able to use a Catalina coupon to save $1.50 on my produce purchases, which was pretty nice!
One other thing that I wanted to mention was that I got a rain check for Arm & Hammer detergent pods. I should have been able to get them for free as well by using a printable coupon and digital load to card coupon just like I did on the liquid detergent. Unfortunately, they were out of stock. But that’s where rain checks become super helpful!
I went to customer service and they wrote me a rain check for the product since it was out of stock. The rain check will allow me to buy the detergent pods and get the sale price even after the sale is over. That means, next week I should be able to use the coupons along with the rain check and get the detergent pods for free then. I get rain checks a lot when a sale item is out of stock and I highly recommend it. It’s just one of the many things that help me make this whole low grocery budget work!
- 2 ShopRite 1 lb. Shredded Cheese $3.00 each
– used $2/2 Super Saver coupon in ShopRite ad
- 3 Dutch Farms 8 oz. cheese $1.33 each
– used $1/$3.99 purchase of cheese coupon that printed at the register during a previous transaction
- 2 Oreos $2.50 each
– used $2/2 Super Saver coupon in ShopRite ad
- 3 Oikos yogurt $1.00 each
– used (3) $0.50 Oikos printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
- 4 Two Good Greek Yogurt $1.17 each
– used (4) $0.50 Two Good printable coupons (doubled to $1.00 each)
– submitted for $1/3 Two Good Ibotta offer
– qualified for $0.50 Two Good Ibotta bonus (needed to purchase Two Good twice in separate transactions and I had bought some last week too)
- Arm & Hammer laundry detergent $1.99
– used $1.00 ShopRite load to card digital coupon
– used $1.00 Arm & Hammer printable coupon
- 2 Blue Buffalo canned cat food $0.99 each
– used $1.00 ShopRite load to card digital coupon
– used $1.00 Blue Buffalo printable coupon
- 3 lb. Halo clementines $3.99
– used $1.11 Super Saver coupon in ShopRite ad
- Bananas $1.14 ($0.49/lb.)
- Organic Red Leaf Lettuce $1.91 ($2.99/lb.)
– used $1.50/$5.00 produce purchase coupon that printed at the register during a previous transaction
- 25 pts. (the equivalent of $0.03) via Fetch Rewards for submitting my receipt (use code GEOEG at sign-up for $2.00 in points!)