Grocery Budget: Last Week of August 2013

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more lean choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

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Sadly, I only have a picture of my Target trip this past week.

The good news is that I scored some great deals at Target.   I fully intended on posting these deals after I bought them for all to see and be able to do, but the last week has been pretty hectic getting ready for school and working on home projects, that I just didn’t get it done.  I promise to do better at getting these deals posted as soon as I can in case any of you want to do them too.

I was able to get everything in the picture for a total of $14.80!  Amazing.  I was so excited.

Since some of these deals are not available anymore, (the coupons and savings most likely are, but the prices may be different) I will just give a quick breakdown of what I bought and what coupons I used to show you how you can often get some great deals at target.

  • Up and Up disinfectant wipes $1.87 (saved 5% using Target Cartwheel App) Final price $1.77.
  • Girls Circo Leggings on sale for $5 (saved 15% using Target Cartwheel App) and used a Target mobile coupon for $3 off $10 on childrens clothing.  Final price $2.75.
  • Girls Circo Tunic on sale for $5, used the above $3 on $10 mobile coupon to make the final price $3.50.
  • Snickers Bites $2.66, used a $1 manufacturer coupons and a $1 Target mobile coupon for a final price of $.66.
  • Market Pantry Wafer Cookies $1.26 (saved 5% using Target Cartwheel App) and used a $1 Target mobile coupon for a final price of $.24.
  • Market Pantry Apple Juice $1.89, (saved 5% using Target Cartwheel App) and used a $1 Target mobile coupon for a final price of $.84.
  • Dasani water $1.49 for the thirsty shopper
  • Up and Up hand soap $.89 x 2 (saved 5% using Target Cartwheel App) and used a peelie coupon for $1 off 2 Up and Up hand soaps.  Final price $.34 each.
  • Gillette Series shaving cream $1.97 x 3.  I used a $6 on 3 manufacturer coupon to make $.09 on this deal.  Hubby doesn’t use shave cream, he likes shaving soap. but big girl and I could care less what our shaving cream looks or smells like.  It’s free!
  • Market Pantry Soup $1.22 x 3.  I used a $1.50/3 Target Coupon to get these for a final price of $.72 each.  These are the big cans comparable to Campbell’s Chunky Soup.
  • Index cards $.50 x 4 (saved 10% using Target Cartwheel App) and I also used a Target Mobile coupon for $1/4 Up and Up school supplies.  Final price $.22 each.  I have no idea how the Cartwheel took 12 cents off.  It should have been either 10 cents for after coupon or 20 cents for before coupon, but I have no idea how it came to 12 cents.

I also have a Target Redcard (debit) that saves me an extra 5% (recommending the Debit card only, I do not recommend credit cards) on purchases as well as giving me free shipping.

I’ll take all the savings I can get without having to use credit!

To get Target mobile coupons sent to your phone, just text the word OFFERS to 827438. You can use each mobile coupon once.  If you want to do a deal again, you can get the coupons sent to another phone in your house to do a separate transaction.

I always give the Target Cartwheel coupons to scan first, then mobile coupons and then any other coupons.  Sometimes the cartwheel takes the percent off before the mobile coupon and sometimes it take the percent off after the coupon.  I think it really has it’s own mind!

I got home quite late after buying my groceries at Kroger, and I just didn’t have it in me to take pictures.

I did spend $67.12 at Kroger on items like milk, eggs, cheese, green tea, toilet paper, noodles, garlic bread, crackers, pickles, oatmeal and a bunch of produce.  I was able to get 2 bags of cuties for $.99 each off the marked down produce rack (this is one of the only stores around here that has one) and peaches, nectarines, plums and gala apples for $.99 a pound.

Hubby spent $19.07 at Dollar General on canned chicken and baked beans.

Our grand total for the week was $100.99 which brings the total for August (5 weeks) to $759.18.  Wow that sounds like a bunch, but this month did have 5 Fridays in it!  So I ended the month over by only $9.18.  I’m glad I was able to make up for going over so much earlier this month.

GROCERY TIP ~ The best thing about a grocery fund or envelope that you contribute a set amount to each week is that what you don’t spend one week is in there for future weeks.  You can afford to go over at a later date if you have saved up some money over time in the grocery account. You can take advantage of that great meat sale or whatever else comes up.  I find this extra money is very handy at holidays when the list is a bit bigger to cook those special meals.

How are you doing with your grocery budget?  Need help or have a suggestion?  Send me an email or leave a comment.  With the price of groceries steadily going up and the size of the product going down, we all need all the help we can get.  

Grocery Budget: Fourth Week of August 2013

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more lean choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

walmart 8-23-13

We got to do some more ad matching at Walmart this week on the following items:

Cottage Cheese $1.99
Plums $.88
Grapes $1.29
Milk $2.99
OJ $2.50

Ad matching saved me $4.93 this week and I earned $2.00 from Ibotta.
walmart 2 8-23-13

I had a full menu planned out to include breakfast and lunch, so this made my trip go so much smoother.  I actually was able to make sure we had all the food for each meal.

walmart 3 8-23-13

I didn’t have as many coupons to use this week since I bought a lot more store brands.  I was able to save $4.50 with the coupons that I did use.

I spent a total of $102.12 at Walmart this week.

staples

We spent $6.13 at Staples on a few school supplies.

I had one more composition book (they were $.10), but big girl needed one for college.

kroger

A couple weeks ago, after checking out at Kroger, I realized I had gotten a catalina coupon for B1G1Free Green Mountain Coffee.  Since hubby was about out of his “rich man coffee”, I made a quick run in to get some with that great coupon.

I like to spend $.40 or less on each K-cup.  Sometimes it is hard, but many times I am able to meet that goal.  I purchased these 24 K-cups for $.38 after tax.

So I spent $9.00 at Kroger this week.

target 8-23-13

….. and a mere $32.09 at Target.  (haha)  I was able to use quite a few coupons at Target which saved me well over $20.

I also included one of those items (candy thermometer) that I keep on my “list” until there is a little more room in the budget.  It’s always the things we don’t need right away that get put on this list.  So I remember I need them, but can work them into the budget as able.

My grand total for the fourth week of August is $149.34.  I am pretty excited about that! I feel like I got quite a bit of stuff this week.

So far the total spent for the month of August is $658.19.  I am still over for the month, but maybe I will bring that amount down quite a bit.  There is still one week left!

How are you doing with your grocery budget?  Does your amount spent go up or down when school starts? 

Are you familiar with Ibotta?  Would you like me to do a post about Ibotta?

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Grocery Budget: First Week of August 2013

After taking a month off of regular grocery budget posting, I am ready to get back into keeping up with the grocery budget.  I cannot believe it’s August already.  Seems like we just started the summer, and now it’s time to think about starting school.

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more leaner choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

We were able to fit in a variety of shopping this past week and scored some really good deals.  Having been gone on our recent trip for two weeks, the refrigerator was quite bare. I knew this wasn’t gonna be one of those weeks where I stayed in budget.

IMG_0398[1]We spent $28.04 at Target on some stuff we needed, and some stuff I found for our school year.

The tape, magnets, dry erase map and the lined dry erase boards were $1 each in the dollar section.

Two of the Up & Up liquid soaps were $.80 each and two of them were $.89 each.  The great thing about these soaps was that I found a $1/2 coupon attached to them.  That made the final price $.30 – $.39 each.  What a bargain!

The Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies were $2.79 each.  We combined a $.50 manufacturer coupon with a $.50 Target coupon to get them for $1.79.  My kids love these crackers.

The Gillette razor was $8.99, but I had an $8 home mailer coupon that I had signed up for a while back.  If I find a great deal on the refills, I will buy them at some point for hubby, but for right now he can use this one till it gets dull.

We use a lot of index cards for our homeschooling and I found them for $.49 each, which I combined with a Target mobile coupon (text OFFERS to 827438) for $1 off 4 Up & Up school supplies.  It made the index cards $.24 each.  There are many other items you could combine the coupon with, but we need a bunch of index cards.

Hubby was out of K cups for his weekend coffee (he drinks brewed coffee on weekday mornings) and I try to spend $.40 or less on them.  I found this 18 pack for $7.79 and I used a $1 tear pad coupon I had been given by a friend to make these $6.79 or $.38 each K cup.

The Up & Up mouthwash is much cheaper than Scope, so we thought we would give it a try.  It tastes pretty much like the Scope we normally buy and at $2.89 minus a $.75 Target Coupon, it’s a great price too.

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I had almost forgotten to take a picture on the great deal we got on this yogurt too.  It was $2.69 for the 4 pack, but after using a $1 Chobani coupon with a $1 Target Coupon, we got the 4 pack for $.69.

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At Sam’s we spent $37.15 on the items pictured above.  The foil pans will be used for freezer cooking (future blog post) that I am in the process of getting done.

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Our Kroger stores recently quit doubling coupons like many other areas of the country.  I really hate that they did it, but I will probably keep shopping there when I can.  I love Kroger meat and produce as well as their sale items.  I find most of the sale items at Kroger to be cheaper than the regular price at Walmart.

We spent a total of $93.99 at Kroger.

The blueberries were $.99 a pint and the peaches and plums were $.99 a pound.  Such a great price on these items.  We are definitely enjoying some lovely seasonal fruit this week.

Kroger milk is always a great deal when it’s on sale for $2.99.

I combined the cheese with the shampoo and conditioner (below) as part of the buy 5 save $5 promotion.  The cheese was $1.88  after the promotion discount and the shampoo and conditioner was $1.18 each after promotional price and a $3/2 recent manufacturer coupon.

IMG_0402[1]

The sour cream was a great deal at $1 each and the Pepsi Next was free after I used a recent free item coupon I requested that was sent to me in the mail.

I also scored the Gluten free cookie dough for free after using a coupon for a free tub that I received in the mail recently as well.

IMG_0404[1]

It just so happened that the day I was going shopping, Kroger offered a digital coupon for a free box of Ultimate Hamburger Helper.  You just had to load the coupon to your shopper card.

The chips were free after I used a coupon that I received in the mail for a free bag from Kroger.

IMG_0405[1]

I purchased the rest of the needed items at Walmart because the price on these items is generally lower there.

I had coupons for $1/1 Reynolds baking cups, which made them free.  I also used 2 – $.45/1 coupons for the toilet paper.

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We spent $45.84 at Walmart.

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I finally used a free item coupon I had for these Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I received it in the mail a couple of months after requesting it or maybe it was for voting in a contest they had going.  Talk about yummy!

Our grand total for the week of shopping was $205.02, which is over by $55.02, but I feel pretty good about this total.  Not only were we empty as far as food was concerned, but we purchased a lot of items for my freezer cooking session, which will feed us throughout the month.

Maybe I can still manage to come in under budget for the total at the end of the month. Just maybe.

How are you doing with sticking to your grocery budget?  Find any great deals lately? Have any questions or comments?

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Practicing Frugal in 2013: Ad Match or Price Match

Looking to save money in 2013? You have come to the right place. For the next few months we will be talking about some simple ways that you can save money in 2013. Making small changes over a period of time will lead up to a big change. It’s often much easier and more likely to become a habit if you take one small step and work on it before introducing another change.

Walmart Checkout Features Ad Match and Coupon Policy Signs

photo credit

If you would rather not stop at more than one store to get some of the great deals that are being offered at multiple stores, you should give ad matching, or what some call price matching a whirl.  You can ad match and still use coupons for even more savings.

It’s a great way to add to your grocery savings while getting some of the best deals (loss leaders) offered at many stores.

You can read the Ad Match Guarantee for Walmart which basically tells you that you don’t need the ads to get the price.  I usually have them with me in case I am questioned, but the best thing to do is make a note on the back of your grocery list of all the items you want to match, size, flavor, price and store.

What if I don’t get all the local ads in my mailbox?  Check for ads online.  Most stores now feature their weekly ads on their store website.  Write down the information you need to ad match the item and head to the store.  It’s that easy.

If you feel you might encounter problems matching at your store, take a copy of the ad match guarantee with you.  I actually have never had a problem.

To make the process easier, place all items you will be matching at the front or back of your order on the conveyor belt.  This will make it easier for you and the checker by assuring that you don’t forget to get a great price on something.  Don’t forget to tell the checker before she scans those items that you will be ad matching them all.  I find that being organized and helpful makes the process go much smoother.

It will also help you if you keep your ad match items in a certain place in the buggy.  If I only have a few, I use the child seat area.  If I have a bunch, I draw an imaginary line in my buggy or use something to separate them.

Now I have one pointer for you all.

See where the arrow points in this image below?

walmart ad matchThat rule varies by store.  My store allows me to match milk, juice and other private label items.  I have also been able to match eggs without the brand being the same.  This is basically up to your cashier and store.  I would put them in my order like I am matching the item and give them the prices.  All they can really do is say no, and then all you have to do is say I don’t want that item.

Cashier profiling is another thing that is best when shopping (ad matching and using coupons) at many stores.  I find that some of the “older” ladies question every little thing you do, resulting in a long and drawn out process that leaves you nothing but exhausted and less likely to ad match or use coupons again.  I have had this happen before.  It’s not like you are doing anything wrong, but sometimes these cashiers can make you look and feel like it.

Target also has a Price Match Guarantee.  I have had no personal experience with it as I don’t get to Target that much, but I have heard it’s not as easy as Walmart since you must do the matching at the service desk.

Other store ad match or low price guarantee policies:

Fred Meyer

Meijer

Best Buy

Staples

Office Depot

Sears

Lowe’s

Home Depot

What about you, do you ad match?  Do you take advantage of low price guarantees?  Have you ever found the price lower and gotten some money back?  Leave a comment telling us about your experience.  

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Grocery Budget: Last Week of February

People are always asking me how we get our groceries for such a small amount compared to what they spend. So I post our grocery trips here so you can see what we buy. We currently budget $150 a week for a family of 4 to 5 (big girl is at college most of the time) food, non food grocery items, cleaning supplies, pet food, health and beauty, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items. This amount is still a bit higher than I would like, but I am learning that with the items included in our budget and the price of items in our area, this amount is really not that bad. When you are trying to eat a healthier diet consisting of leaner meat, lots of fresh produce, and more real food, your grocery bill will tend to be a bit higher. You just get creative and find other ways to save.

target trip 2-22-13

I spent $10.50 at Target on the items pictured above.  I was able to combine manufacturer’s coupons with Target coupons to get this great deal.  I also left with a $5 Target gift card for purchasing 5 select General Mills cereals from a promotion they had running last week.

kroger trip 2-22-13

I made a stop in Kroger while we were near and got the above items for $22.20.  I had a Kroger coupon to get the Luna bar for free.  The apples were on sale for $.99/lb, the 1/2 gallons of milk were $1.67 each, which saved $1 for each gallon compared to what I pay at Walmart, and the huge Pyrex was $3.83.  You know I can’t pass up a good deal on Pyrex.

sams & dollar general trip 2-24-13

I also had to make another stop at Sam’s since I was close for green tea, apricots and hubbies granola bars for his lunches.  I spent $30.28 at Sam’s.  Hubby went by Dollar General for the chicken which was $16.60.  I do believe there are a couple kid snacks missing from the picture, because I know that chicken wasn’t quite that much by itself :-)

walmart 2-24-13

I then finished up my shopping at Walmart where I spent $84.72 on the items in these two pictures.

walmart 2 2-24-13

I finished the week spending $164.68, which is $14.68 over budget.  I did get to stock up on cereal at a great price this week.

My total for the month of February is $614.08.  While it is over budget, it’s not too much over budget.  So I will be happy with that.  I also have cereal to last into March.  I hope anyways.

Our dinner meals this week include spaghetti and salad, homemade pizza, chicken tortilla soup x 2, sandwiches, tacos and nachos.

Our lunch meals will include sandwiches, leftovers of above, crackers, cheese and fruit, homemade pizza and boiled eggs and smoothies.

How did you do with your grocery budget this week?  Find any great deals?  

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Grocery Budget: First Week Of February

I started the week off with working a 12 hour night shift, so I’m a little behind on my grocery post for the week.  I did manage to get the groceries bought as well as take advantage of some deals at stores other than Walmart.

People are always asking me how we get our groceries for such a small amount compared to what they spend.  So I post our grocery trips here so you can see what we buy.  We currently budget $150 a week for a family of 4 to 5 (big girl is at college most of the time) food, non food grocery items, cleaning supplies, pet food, health and beauty, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  This amount is still a bit higher than I would like, but I am learning that with the items included in our budget and the price of items in our area, this amount is really not that bad.  When you are trying to eat a healthier diet consisting of leaner meat, lots of fresh produce, more organic items and more natural foods, your grocery bill will tend to be a bit higher. You just get creative and find other ways to save.

Warning:  I got home late from shopping and running errands, so the picture quality is less than good, but at least you can see what I got.

krogersams2-4-13

This is what I picked up at Kroger (the dried fruit and energy shots are from Sam’s) this week.  I was able to take advantage of the mega saver sale and get some of these items for very little or even free.

The chicken in the next picture was actually purchased at Kroger as well.  I told you it was late.  My brain was already asleep.

The Kroger mega saver sale allows you to purchase 10 of the items on the mega sale and then save an extra $5 for each set of 10 you buy.  It is limited to how many sets of 10 you can do in a transaction, but I have never reached the limit.  I have purchased 3 sets at one time (30 mega saver items).  If you buy the wrong item on one of your items or forget one, the $5.00 won’t come off the bill at the end of the checkout process.

The weekly ad lists some of the mega saver items in it, but there are so many more when you get in the store.  Unfortunately, the sale is over for the week, but they are having a 50% off sale now.

Some of the great deals I got with or without the mega sale are:

  • .39/lb ripe bananas and organic bananas (the only store around that sells them like this)
  • the chicken noodle soup was .79 each (.75 at Walmart) and I had a $.40 coupon that double to make them .59 each after coupon
  • bone in chicken breast at $1.29/lb
  • hefty freezer bags $.99 after mega discount
  • Mahatma Rice $.68 each after mega discount and 3-$.50 coupons that doubled
  • French’s Spicy Brown Mustard free after mega discount and 2-$.50 coupons doubled
  • Finish Dishwasher tabs $.84 each after mega discount and 3-$2.15 off one coupons
  • the cat food was free after a recent coupon for a free 16 oz package or $3.25 off a bag.  The only store I found around here that carried the box was Kroger.  Now I wish I had more of these coupons.

The things I didn’t mention were bought at a good price compared to Walmart or it was something Walmart doesn’t have.

I ended up using $21.75 in coupons after doubling and I saved 55% on my bill after coupons and sales, bringing my total spent at Kroger to $36.87  Of course if I had just bought the mega sale items and free items(which those extreme coupon people do), my percentage would be higher, but I buy all things I can get at a good price together on the same receipt at the same time.

I spent $36.16 on the items from Sam’s.

krogertarget2-4-13

I spent $10.32 at Target on the following good deals:

  • the tissue was $1.39 and I used 2-$.50 off Target coupons to get the tissue for $.89 a box.  If you use the rectangle boxes, you could get them for $.49 after Target coupon.
  • printer paper was is on sale for $2.98 and I used a $.50 off Target Coupon to get it for $2.48.  This was a great deal and I wish I had printed 2 of the coupons!  To tell you the truth, I didn’t know the paper was on sale, but I needed some and had the coupon, so i thought I would check the price while I was at the store.
  • fruit snacks were regular price at $1.89, but I used a $1.00/2 Target Coupon for them to make them $1.39 each.
  • the stickers were $1 in the dollar section at the front of the store.  Every homeschool mom needs stickers.
  • the poise pads were $.84 each after a $3.00 manufacturer coupon paired with a $2/2 Target Coupon.  For .$84 each I will use these in place of the other pads.  They will all do basically the same thing in the end.

I spent $10.32 at Target after coupons and my 5% Red Card discount.  I have the Red Card Debit card that takes the money out of my checking account, gives me 5% off and free shipping.  Can’t beat that, and it’s not a credit card!

walmart2-4-13

I spent $70.06 at Walmart on the items in these two pictures.  I used only $.40 in coupons, but 40 cents is 40 cents!

walmart2-4-13(2)

 

I spent a total of $153.41 on groceries this week.  It is $3.41 over budget, but I know I am pretty sure I will be under budget this next week as some of these items will feed us for more than one week.

We will be eating the following meals for dinners(watch out there is a couple new things):

Since this post is already getting so long, I’m skipping our lunches and snacks this week.   They are about the same as they usually are.

How did you do with your grocery budget this week?  Did you find any great sales?  Have anything new on your menu?  Leave a comment telling us about it, we love to hear from our readers.

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