As we begin dissecting our personal finances, we’ve thought about our needs vs. wants, realized that tracking grocery expenses are the best way to understand where all the food money is disappearing, and now for what you’ve all asked – I get to share a typical grocery shopping trip. This was a normal week. It wasn’t a “stockpile/buy ahead” week with Super Doubles or triple coupons, it was a typical shopping Day which will last two weeks.
I realized long ago that I really am an oddity with my shopping.  But that’s OK, I shop with eagle eyes, scouring the aisles and 95% of the time, I won’t touch an item unless it’s on sale or marked down. The exception to that rule would be some store brand items and a few choice items at Sam’s Club. 🙂 (I don’t stock up on many things at Sam’s because I still find better deals at the more expensive stores by matching the sales flier with my coupons.
Remember my #1 Money Saving Grocery Tip? This works even if you don’t want to use a single coupon. (Refresh your memory and trust me, the tip is NOT to shop, then plan. 🙂
Encouraging you to pare down your grocery budget is a goal, but based on personalities, lifestyles and even proximity to stores, all of  us will develop a system just a bit differently. And that is OK. Don’t feel pressure to follow one person’s exact way…(like mine). Some of you may shop once a month with one huge grocery shopping day like my friend, Kate. Others may shop at the commissary and Aldi’s (my fave), always use cash, like my friend Toni, and that works perfectly for their family. The purpose is to develop a system that works for your family, but you MUST start…somewhere. No more excuses for why it won’t work.
Remember that “Nothing is dynamic until it becomes specific.” (This coming from the mom who still struggles with morning routines. :))
Just do it! You may need to tweak it and reevaluate what is working and what isn’t, but making a budget plan is KEY!
We finally hit the grocery stores this week – Sam’s Club (which my hubby did for me…), Harris Teeter for our basic grocery supplies and Earth Fare, a health food store, for some grains and a free pound of organic coffee (yes, the real reason I stopped in there this week.)
saving with coupons_optshopping on budget_opt
HARRIS TEETER
marked down meats_opt

  • Angus Short Ribs marked down from $4.54 to $1.89 (Why do I buy marked down meat?)
  • Angus Eye round marked down from $15.89 to $5.48
  • Angus Eye round marked down from $11.93 to $3.48
  • Beef Meatballs – Packaged from the meat department. Regular price $3.99/package, on sale – 2/$6….I got them for $0.50 each. I had three in my cart and then when he said he’d take care of me, I snatched up all nine of them.  It’s a win-win. He said he was glad that he could sell them to me rather than throw them away and I was ELATED!
  • Seven gallons of short dated milk – marked down to $1/gallon (4 are already in the freezer)
  • 2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts marked down $1.99/dozen (yes, total treat and so unhealthy…I know :))
  • Marked down fruit – apples and pears $2.63 for big bag
  • marked down bag of limes (to squeeze in our water) – $1.59
  • Marked down bakery items – sour dough bread and french bread – $0.50 and $1.

And For the REST of MY TRIP….find out how much everything in the picture cost –

  • Ragu sauce 1 at $0.99 for HT card holders
  • Polaner’s 100%  Fruit Jam – $2.00 (minus $1 coupon) = $1
  • True Lemon Reg. $3 – sale $1.50 (-$1 IP coupon) = $0.50
  • True Orange Reg. $3 – sale $1.50 (-$1 IP coupon) = $0.50
  • Hot Leg Quarters $3.99 Marked down $1.99 (end of night)
  • Guacamole $1.99 (-$1IP) = $1 (These were free during super doubles)
  • 3 lbs yellow onions – $1.99 sale
  • Wheat bread – reg. $2.49 on sale $1.99 ($0.60 coupon doubled – $1.20) = $0.80
  • Palarmo’s pizzas Buy 2 at $6.99, get 3 free. I used 2 $1 Ip coupons) = $2.40/large pizza
  • HT Ice Cream – Buy2,Get 3 So for five ice creams – $10.78 (not as good as Breyer’s with coupons, but we were out of IC)
  • Frozen Bird’s Eye Veggies  – on sale $1.34 – used three different coupons varying from $0.50 – $0.75 (which doubled) making them between $0.34 and free. For the most part, I never pay more than $0.50 for frozen veggies. These are one of those things you can easily use the buy ahead principle since there are so many coupons available both in the newspaper and on-line. Plus, all the brands take turns having great sales. Just don’t be brand specific and you’re set.
  • Eggs – $2.17 (do you know how it KILLS me to buy eggs when I have CHICKENS…ARG!) 🙂
  • Arizona Ice Tea $0.99 (son snuck it in)
  • This is where a little math and Eagle Eyes come into play…Deli Creation sandwiches $2.50, but they had a yellow $1 peelie for short date, so it brought them to $1.50. Then I had another $1 off coupon. Love when that happens.
  • Yogurts Reg. $2.50 sale 2/$4, double my $0.50 and $0.75 coupons makes them $0.50 – $1 for six pack
  • Free Juicy Juice

All of the food pictured totaled me only UNDER $70. That is a lot of food for that amount and this was a very typical shopping trip. I didn’t spend hours on my coupons. Now, the only atypical deal was all those meatballs for $0.50. That doesn’t happen every week. I find marked down meat often, but not that low.
P.S. I just noticed I forgot to add Hebrew National and some dairy products…yes, all with coupons that doubled and cheap….butter = free.
Earth Fare

  • Organic Oats $1.19lb
  • Organic Raisins $2.99lb
  • Organic Rice $.89lb
  • Sunflower Seeds $3.19lb
  • Flax Seeds marked down $2.79/lb
  • Strawberry/Rasberry Granola $4.59 (only bought .39/lb and decided to make my own)
  • 1 lb of organic Free Trade coffee = free (sign up for Earth Fare’s weekly emails. They include an amazing coupon each time. This week it’s 5 lbs of organic potatoes. Sorry, they’re only in NC, SC, TN, GA, AL)

I only spent $12.50 at Earth Fare. I typically buy oats in 25 pound bags but am out and wanted to make some homemade granola.
Sam’s Club
My amazing hubby went to Sam’s Club for me. That, in and of itself wins him “Husband of the Year” award, but I will add that he splurged on many “wants” vs. needs as he took our kids for a “Hot Dog and Soda” dinner date.
I’m running out of steam typing every price, but here’s what was purchased that I requested he buy-  White Tortilla chips, salsa, ham, 5 lb cottage cheese,  5 lb shredded cheese, bananas, avacados, syrup, peanut butter, jelly, romaine hearts, spring mix, 50 lbs dog food, Downy, and his additions – gazzillion pound bag of MM’s and Good Humor Ice Cream bars which really put the kids in a great humor….
Considering that the dog food – $19, MM’s – $13, Ice Cream bars – $10, and Downy – $12.48 totaled half of the $120, we’re doing pretty well.
My total for the month is around $200 so far, and I doubt I will be shopping for at least another ten days. I mentioned staying at around $300 for this month. That could very well happen, and then I’d have an additional $200 from our $500/month grocery budget to put else where. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful? 🙂
Whew – this was a lot of grocery shopping talk. Next time I’ll weight in on Aldi.
I am ready for warm weather so that I can get out my spray paint and get back to some great Trash To Treasure redo’s. but hopefully, in the mean time, you’re encouraged that we’re all in this grocery budget process together.

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