Grocery shopping and saving money

This year I am really going to try to cut down on our grocery bill. I was noticing our spending creeping (too many visits to Costco and the Holidays will do that to ya!) and I’m anxious to get it back on track. In the past our family of 5 was spending on average about $400-450 a month with occasional purchases to help stock our food storage. We have a really great stock pile of reserve food that we eat from as well so that also contributes to our weekly menus. I love a good challenge so the thought of cutting our costs and cutting down on the unnecessary spending is exciting to me! I started it at the new year and hope to keep it up all year long. My goal is to cut $100-$150 off our monthly total. That’s a nice chunk of change at the end of the year! I’m saving receipts and keeping track all year long.

My latest trip to the grocery store helped me get supplies for the next two weeks. In addition to these items, please remember that I’ll be using items from our food storage, and other frozen meat that I already have on hand. I was getting some skepticism on facebook when I shared a preview photo of my haul but I’ll show you all how this works for my family and explain more as I go.

Total cost: $105.53

In addition to this meat, I already have about 10 lbs. of frozen chicken breasts I buy at Costco along with frozen chicken drumsticks, frozen sausage and ground turkey.

2 lbs. Beef Round Steak $6.43

2 Pork Roasts $6.66

Ground Beef $6.78

Included in this haul are frozen meals my husband will take to work  for lunch. He takes about two frozen meals a week and I stock up when they are on sale or if we are running low.

2 Marie Calendars meals:4.78

2 Zataraines meals: $4.95

6 Rice bowls: 12.97

This is part of our breakfast. In addition we also eat cereal, toast and eggs.

2 packs mini bagels $2.96

Blueberry bagels $1.48

8 count Yoplait yogurt:$3.78

We eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. I only like to buy these as needed so I will go get more apples and other produce before the two weeks are up but I hate to over buy and let it go to waste. I estimate I’ll spend about another $10 for apples, lettuce and broccoli down the road IF I need them!

1 package strawberries $1.48

1 Pomegranate $1.48

2 onions $1.06

Cantalope $1.94

3lbs. Apples $3.12

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers $3.98

Yellow Bell Pepper .48

1lb. Baby Carrots $1.28

5 lbs. Gold Potatoes $2.68

3 ct. Romaine Lettuce $1.98

I do like buying frozen veggies. They are easy to keep from perishing and are great to have on hand. I will stock up on these items if I notice them on sale. This week was a light buy…

Broccoli $1.48

Sweet Corn $1.12

Green Beans $2.48

This is a rare occurrence. We don’t typically buy a lot of processed snack foods but once in a while I’ll grab a few boxes of crackers and really monitor how often I give them to my kids. And the pudding is for me! It’s my latest pregnancy craving so don’t judge! This food is kept up high and only I can distribute it, it’s not free range!

3 boxes Cheese crackers $4.50

2 boxes Snack Cracker packs $3.36

4 boxes Mac ‘n Cheese $2.72

Saltines $1.08

2 pack Snack Packs $1.56

Here are our essentials, things I buy regularly. I was getting a lot of “Only 1 gallon of milk for 2 weeks!” comments on FB when I first shared my sneak preview photo. If you follow me on FB you’d also remember that I have a huge milk phobia! I won’t drink it if it’s not fresh so I don’t make a habit of buying milk in bulk if I can help it. I will for sure pick up a gallon as needed but I MUCH prefer buying fresh, so yes! We drink more then 1 gallon every two weeks!

Milk $2.46

Eggs $1.16

Flour Tortillas $.98

Butter$2.38

Sour Cream $1.28

Cream Cheese $.98

2 packs Lunch Meat $3.96

2 loaves Whole Wheat Bread $2.76

Chow Main noodles $.98

4lbs. Jasmine Rice $3.86

I didn’t use any coupons for this purchase except one voucher that was sent to me in the mail by the grocery store for $10 off your total bill. I might start using coupons but in the past I’ve seen that when I use coupons I tend to buy things I wouldn’t have normally bought and a lot of it is for processed foods. I did make a special trip to this grocery store because of the $10 coupon. I noticed a big difference in the cost so I think I’ll take the extra 10 min. to drive there and shop at WinCo more often.

Total cost for this haul $105.53

Here is a list of meals I’ll be making with all these groceries for the next two weeks

Chicken Wraps

Waffles with fresh Strawberries

Porcupine Meatballs with Green Beans

Pork Roast with carrots and potatoes

Hawaiian Haystacks

Pulled pork Salad

Chicken Divan

Breakfast Sandwiches

Fajitas and rice

Glazed Chicken, rice and corn

Mexican Skillet

Potato and Corn Chowder

For lunches I pack the girls

Sandwiches, apple slices, carrots, almonds, crackers, turkey roll ups, bell peppers

And at home my youngest and I will eat for lunch

left overs, sandwiches, soup, veggies, roll ups, mac n cheese

Like I said before, I do expect to run out of milk and produce at some point during these two weeks. I have estimated about needing to spend about $20 more for restocking those fresh items. I also mentioned that we have food storage. About 4 times a year we’ll stock up our food storage and buy items we use regularly. Things like cream of mushroom soup, canned veggies, soups, pasta, peanut butter, cereals, beans and canned diced tomatoes, etc. In Jan. we spend $136.13 on case lot sale items to fill our food storage. This is a great way save throughout the year.

Tips that are helping us save on our monthly grocery bill

  • Make a menu! Meal planning helps you narrow in on what you need and makes it more likely that you won’t be buying things you don’t.
  • Some meats can pull double duty and will cost less if you buy larger portions. Pork roasts can be cut in half and used for a roast and pulled pork for a second meal.
  • Avoid or reevaluate your shopping at large warehouse stores. Sam’s Club and Costco are great but this is where I noticed my spending getting out of hand. Everything looks so good! I wanted it all. We jokingly call Costco “The $100 store!” cause you can’t get out of there for less then $100! Now I only try to buy the following things at Costco and limit it to stocking up on Frozen Chicken,  Whole Wheat Bread, Vitamins, toilet paper and canned chicken and some produce the I have noticed is cheaper there then at the grocery store.
  • Loading up a few times a year on things you know you use will help cut back on cost. When I shop case lot sales I can get items up to 50% off. We use these items throughout the year so they are rotated regularly and won’t go to waste.
  • After you make a shopping list for the week/month, shop your pantry. You might be surprised and already have a lot of what you need.
  • Food that goes to waste is a waste of money! Only buy what your family can eat before it goes bad. This might mean having to make a run for fresh milk and produce.
  • We save a lot of money by not buying things like cookies, soda, chips and ice cream. Occasionally we’ll treat ourselves but those sorts of things don’t make it on the list very often and subsequently save us a lot of money.

 

So that’s my plan! I’m looking forward to seeing how we do. Do you guys have any great money saving shopping tricks? Who uses coupons? Tell me where you cut corners and help stay on a budget! I’d love to hear how you manage your families grocery bill.

23 Comments

Comments

  1. 1

    Wow can i live where you live! I paid 6$ for 2litre of milk today, and 4.49 for a Cantalope, and 4$ for a loaf of bread. We pay around 900$ a month for a family of 4 to eat.

  2. 3

    Heh. I was going to say the same thing. Many of those items, processed or fresh, I pay almost twice as much for, I think. No wonder I can’t seem to keep my grocery bill under control! (And I’m on a crazy weird medically necessary diet, which includes being gluten free, and I have a family of five). Suddenly my grocery bill feels a lot better, even if it is insanely high. :D Crazy costs of living in Maryland…

    • 4

      I know for sure our prices are a lot lower then most. It makes it possible to save. I feel for all you higher cost of living friends! Here’s to good health and eating healthy non the less!

  3. 5

    Planning is the key. Looks like you’ll make it. Here in the Phoenix area we have Market on the Move on Sat. during the winter and once a month in the summer wherein brokers order too much food and then it comes to Phoenix & Tucson for distribution. Having said that, one can go and for $10 you can get about 60 lbs. of produce. There have been some Saturdays that haven’t been fruitful for me but most have been. This past Sat. we got yellow squash, light green colored squash, bell peppers, watermelon, honeydew, on and on. Some have limits & others are take as much as you can carry. Some people come with wagons, carts, etc. While there is just myself and a roommate, it is still saving a bunch. I usually plan meals around my Sat. haul. Good luck with your endeavor.

    • 6

      Wish we had a great produce option like that! Sounds amazing!

      • 7

        Becca – have you ever used Bountiful Baskets or the Community co-op? The Co-op has a market on like 17th S and 7th W on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-6 and on Saturday mornings, plus you can do a pick-up like Bountiful Baskets. For pick-up I prefer BB, you get more for your money, but they both are good, especially in the summer.

  4. 8
    Helen Cunningham says:

    This is a great share thank you. I too find menu planning to be the key to sensible shopping. Looking forward to following your findings!

  5. 9
    Karie Gallegos says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am looking forward to following how things go for you and your family…I am also looking forward to using some of your tips….

    Happy New Year!

  6. 10

    Oh wow, I use a lot of coupons for my toiletries, and on my groceries. I do not have a large stock pile, but if I catch a sale and have a coupon, woo hoo, it’s a great bargain.

  7. 12
    Pamela LaCombe says:

    Okay, what I have learned from your post is that your items cost almost the same as mine but WOW we eat a lot more food for each meal than you do!!! Wow WOW WOW my family eats a lot of food at one sitting!

  8. 14

    Inspiring post! I really need to get our grocery bill under control. We don’t do a lot of meal planning and my husband and I almost always make separate grocery trips (we grew up in different countries so our taste pallets are not the same). You are totally right about Costco! Last year I made a not of this as well and now I try to go only every other month. He’s been away for the past four months for military training and I’ve come to realize it’s really just me whose driving our grocery bills. Yikes!

  9. 16

    I appreciate your attention for this and many many thanks for sharing Money Saving Deals for me. I will try to bookmark it and share it to all my network.

  10. 17

    I think you did a fantastic job. I do use coupons for stocking up on items that I would normally buy, like laundry detergent, dryer sheets, paper towels, tp, just to name a few. I’m not extreme. I live in Upstate NY so we have different stores in our area. I buy all my produce at Aldi Foods. Just this week they have 3# onions for 89 cents, 2 lb. carrots 69 cents, 5# red potatoes for $1.29, 4# oranges $1.49, 3# apples $2.49 and pineapples for $1.79 each.. One of the other stores I shop at has loadable e-coupons you just load onto your card…….no clipping paper coupons. Sorry didn’t mean to get so long winded. We all have to save where we can and food is one of the things where we can save big.

    • 18

      What great buys on that produce! Glad to hear that even in NY you can score some amazing deals! I should see if our stores have loadable coupons! Thanks for the tips!

  11. 19

    We are a family of 7 and Winco has made my bill soo much lower. I notice we start to fill the cart a little too much at Costco or Sams Club so hoping to budget that amount a little better. I like seeing others use Winco. I rarely see it!

  12. 20

    This is great. I’m trying to cut down on my groceries too. And isn’t WinCo the best? I don’t even care that it is out of my way. I save SO MUCH money there! (And that $10 off coupon was especially nice.)

  13. 21

    I am with you on the menu planning! It is amazing how much less food I waste when I have a plan–even if I stop by the store and pick up food before I do my menu plan, I can at least make a plan based on what I have. We eat better, too, because I am not making decisions at the witching hour when we are all hungry and I am maybe a little tired of thinking and making decisions for the day.

    I do use Costco, and I spend a lot of money there, but I go once a month and I try to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible otherwise. I do have to go back for produce and (soy) milk, but if I have a short list, I can usually get in and out quickly. I also like to use frozen veggies to help with that, too–the fresh veggies need to be used quickly, but frozen are always available, and they have saved me from going to the store (where I always seem to buy more than I planned) many times. I get dog stuff and laundry stuff there, too, and that lasts a long time. I figure I spend a lot, but I really try to do a lot of my shopping in general there because staying out of stores is my most reliable way to save money, lol.

    I love Laurie’s reminder to go to Aldi’s, too–they always have good produce at cheap prices, but I forget to go there a lot. In the summer I also have a garden–I pay someone to do the planting and weeding and all that, but I get a lot more produce for the money than I would at the grocery store and it is so fresh. I love picking ingredients as I am getting ready to start cooking! Plus, I have a full-time job, and I don’t really have time to garden and do a lot of from scratch cooking and do everything else I want to do.

  14. 22

    Hi,
    My husband and I save the most money on groceries by delaying our trips as many days as possible. Of course, staples like milk and fruit cannot be skipped. But we try to get really creative with as much as possible in the freezer and pantry before our next haul. This saves us a few hundred dollars per month and cleans out stock and the freezer too!

  15. 23

    People complain that food is expensive but food plays such a big part in your overall health.

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