Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're moving...

or...we're not, but this blog is. I originally started it elsewhere, but we're coming over here!

This blog all started because of a $50.00 grocery challenge I started back in late 2008. I decided I wanted to see how long we could go with only spending $50.00 a week on groceries. Turns out it looks like we can go on forever -- or at least until our family (currently 4) grows again. Basically, I learned that I had the power to control our grocery budget, and with that being nearly our biggest expense, it has been an empowering feeling.

Also, this idea has carried over in to different areas of our lives. While I appreciate the Duggar's mantra of "Buy used and save the difference," I'm not a huge fan of buying used. While buying used has a time and a place, I usually prefer to buy new on really great sales (ie at used prices.) Though this blog's primary purpose will be to document our grocery expenditures, I may also use it at times to cover other great sale purchases.

I also ought to add that what you CAN expect is SOME sort of a weekly update. I work full time, so updates will vary depending on how much time I have. Sometimes I have time to take a picture, list out individual prices, breakdown coupons, and sometimes I don't.

And, for the record, we're like almost everybody else in America. We do eat out sometimes. The difference I suppose is that comes out of a personal spending budget rather than our overall grocery budget. How much do we eat out? I rarely do these days -- maybe once a week. Husband, on the other hand, LOVES to spend his personal money at convenience stations and fast food joints while he's working. I try to curb this when I can by packing his lunch, but there are days when this doesn't happen too.

So, here we go...

I'm going to try to copy and paste my old entries, so we'll see what happens!


Today's groceries, $49.46...

This picture isn't quite as impressive because it's hard to SEE everything. I got a LOT though. I was pleased. This particular store doesn't tell you how much you saved though! Bummer! We can only guess. I'm guessing at least $50.00 or so, but I'm not 100% sure. The only thing that wasn't on sale was the hamburger. Almost everything else was on sale with a coupon too. Why ELSE would I get 5 boxes of Pop Tarts, 5 varieties of yogurt and 3 boxes of Pepperidge Farm crackers, LOL!?!?!?!

Normally, this would be it for us for the week, but I've got to hit one more place for some Super Bowl stuff. It won't be much though. $10.00 or so.

As I've said before, we won't do many sit down type of meals, but I will use this and what I already have for chili, English muffin pizzas, and a meal of omelettes probably. Other than that, we'll snack or eat psuedo meals with the rest -- peanut butter and celery, cheese and crackers, bagels and cream cheese, veggies and dip, OBVIOUSLY Pop Tarts and yogurt!

Edited to add --

I went back and looked, and I had $18.00 in coupons. I also had 40 items. So, that means I paid on average $1.25 per item.


Ok, shopping trip #2.

This week's sales weren't super outstanding. I considered making it a "Sam's" week, but my mom is out of town, and I use her for her membership!

I spent about $53.00. I bought diapers too (not included in total,) so I can't say EXACTLY how much I spent. I went to the same store that also doesn't tell me how much I saved. I can tell you though that I saved about $17.20 with coupons. As usual, mostly everything was on sale too.

I don't have any really specific meal plans for this week. We may have broccoli cheese baked potatoes and pancakes with hash browns at some point. Obviously, we'll have pizza another night. (And, we had pizza tonight.) And, I have the stuff to make a pasta casserole, if I feel like it. Of course, we have the usual standby snacks in this purchase -- cereal, apples and caramel dip, smoothie stuff, Pop Tarts, granola bars, veggies and dip, etc. I have TONS of other random stuff too.

And, we'll have to see how this week goes and how the sale fliers look, but I'm considering making next week a milk, fruit and veggies and households (soaps and papers) run. My pantries are overflowing, and I'm starting to worry that things are going to go stale before we get to them. One of these days I'll take a pic of those too.

And, I have time to write down what I got, so I figured I would. It's easier that way. (Also, there are two pints of ice cream I forgot in the picture.)

2 family sized ready to bake cheese pizza (These were a steal! I paid $7.98 for BOTH of them! (Regularly $9.99 a piece.))
2 pints of Blue Bell ice cream
4 2 litres of pop
1 12 oz bag of cheese (This was CHEAP --$1.67, I think. Had I realized it was twelve ounces, I would have cut something to buy more.)
8 Dannon Drinkable Yogurts
1 big container of Cottage Cheese
2 half gallons of OJ
5 1 lb boxes of Barilla pasta
1 HUGE box of Honey Nut Cheerios
1 HUGE box of Lucky Charms
2 boxes of Fruit Loops
2 box of Fiber One Shredded Wheat
4 cans of store brand Tomato Sauce
2 boxes of Pop Tarts
2 packages of Yoplait Plus
1 little thing of Blueberries
1 lb Strawberries
1 bag (5 lbs) of Potatoes
4 lbs of Braeburn Apples

Also, I thought I'd note that I think we eat pretty healthfully. Not a whole lot of processed stuff or sugary stuff -- save for the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals. Those are for Daddy though! And sometimes I'll have a bowl of cereal to get my sugar fix! Anyway, it drives me crazy when people say they can't afford "healthy" foods. It just doesn't make sense. And, when you've only got $50.00 a week, cookies, chips, ice cream, etc, truly become SPECIAL treats as they are TOTALLY last on the list and purchases are reserved for extra good sales!


I know that this picture doesn't LOOK that impressive, but if you have kept up on the price of CHEESE, CEREAL, GRAPES and EGGS, you know what I'm talking about. (Taking that in to consideration, had I paid the "normal" price, I basically paid for the cereal (maybe even a little less) and got everything else for free.)

The total was right around $19.00. (I also bought our Valentine's cupcakes with this purchase, so I don't know the exact total.)

I'm a little irritated though because I mis-counted, and I was 1 box of Mini Wheats short to use a coupon I had for buy 2 boxes of Kellogg's get a dozen eggs free. The cashier didn't tell me, he just didn't ring the coupon. Ugh. I know he did it on purpose too because he is the manager, and I'm always bugging him about something! LOL! Serves me right, I guess.

Two more shopping trips to go this week. One tomorrow night and one Prez Day sale on Mon.


Shopping Trip #2 for the weekend.

This was a good one!

10 boxes of Green Giant Veggies
9 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese
2 mangoes
1 Family pack of blueberries
1 small back of blackberries
2 tubes of Pillsbury Biscuits
1 box of Electrasol Tabs
1 BIG bottle of Electrasol liquid
1 Gallon of Milk
1 bottle of Softsoap (in a super thrifty and reusable bottle! Yes Smiley)
1 package of large tortillas
2.5 lbs of bananas



I saved $37.27 or 60%. Pretty good! That's my second highest percentage so far!

And, I have to adjust my statement about what I said about it driving me crazy when people say they can't afford to feed their family healthfully. What I MEAN is when people with RESOURCES say that. That being said, I know there are tons of people with store limitations, without access to coupons, with transportation issues and with astronomical price issues. I don't blame those people. I didn't say this was easy -- just possible for me. And, I know it is also possible for a lot of people with the will and resources to give it a shot.


The grocery store ads were BAD this week. We went to Sam's instead. It was weird. A lot of the prices were different, and they didn't have a LOT of the stuff I normally buy -- Reduced Fat Peanut Butter, Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat, Cottage Cheese, a certain brand of Raviloi, prepared turkey wraps, whatever. It's frustrating to make sure you're getting a good price for things. There are SO MANY THINGS that are way over-priced, but I think I did ok. Here's what I got

Yellow Honeydrew ($2.00)
4 Loaves of Stone Ground Wheat Bread ($ 8.04)
Big bag of name brand Fish Sticks ($7.88)
A bunch of fajita sized tortillas ($1.56)
5 lb tub of Country Crock ($4.10) (Cori goes through WAY TOO MUCH of this stuff.)
A whole bunch of Oscar Meyer turkey bacon ($4.88)
30 breaded and butterflyed shrimp ($9.62)
6 Oranges $3.44 (this is half. split with Grammy. Wouldn't have gotten these, but they were sampling them, and they were GOOD.)
2.5 lbs of FANCY Cashews ($10.87)
36 Kraft Singles ($3.37) (split with Grammy. Not sure this ended up being a good deal!)

That's it! Bye,bye $50.00. We'll try again next week!


had a lot of pressure on this trip! We're pretty low on "meal" type stuff, and the sales weren't super good. I also have had a TERRIBLE weekend, so I didn't even WANT to go to the store.

I don't feel like going in to much detail, but this is what we got:

My total was $54.32. (Based on our tax conversation, I know that this is notable that this total INCLUDES a food tax of I think 7.5%.) I saved 47% or $45.29.

I was a little off track because there were a few things I had to pay full price (shrimp sauce, green pepper, pinto beans) for which I NEVER EVER do. And, I'm also irritated because the plan was to make chili tonight, but I forgot to get ground beef! UGH!

Even still, all things considered, I think I did a good job.

Meal plans are biscuits and sausage grave and tuna salad. I also threw a cavatini in the oven with things I already had. That's enough to carry us through until Friday for sure.


In the spirit of being as authentic as possible, I stopped at the grocery store for pop and Smart Ones today. I bought $15.00 or so bucks worth of Smart Ones (on sale for $1.80 a piece) and $10.00 on 4 12 packs of diet pop. I don't NEED the Smart Ones, but I've been scrounging up lunches for like three weeks since my last huge stock of frozen dinners ran out. I don't mind EATING those lunches so much as I don't have time to FIND something on Tues, Wed and Thurs nights when we're SO BUSY with everything ELSE. The pop was also a good sale. I'll take a 12 pack that I paid $2.50 for to work instead of paying $1.29 for a bottle every day at work.

I ALSO ended up with a few other sale items. My total was around $40.00, and as much as it killed me, it was the first time I REALLY fell off the $50.00 bandwagon since I started this stuff in November. I guess it happens!


Falling off the Wagon Part 2 --

We went to the store today to pick up normal groceries AND birthday food for 40ish people. I'm responsible for pasta salad, a fruit tray and since we're having an Italian theme, some olives from Whole Foods. I REALLY wanted to try to get all of these things covered with the normal budget(with the exception of the olives,) and between this week and last week, I'm close. We came in at approx $65.00. Side note, I also ended up with a lot of JUNK on this trip. (It's kind of embarassing!)We've been out of goodies for a LONG time, so it will be nice to be able to stash some for later. I'll definitely have to hide it, or Cori will eat it all tonight.

Also, I wasn't feeling too into it because I'm sick as all get out today. I took a nap in the sick room at work today, or we never would have even MADE it to the store!

Here's what I got for my $65.00 -

Regular groceries -

1 bag of Dark Chocolate Hershey's Bliss ($2.00 after coupon)
1 bag of Almond M&Ms ($1.50 after coupon)
1 bag of frozen Dole strawberries ($2.24 with coupon)
Bagelfuls ($2.00)
2 Freschetta Pizzas (about $4.25 a piece) And this was dinner instead of ordering pizza in)
4 bottles of Old Orchard juice ($1.77 a piece)
Doritos ($2.50)
Haagen Daas (This was marked on sale, but didn't ring up on sale! GRR! $3.69.)
Hostess cupcakes ($2.00ish after coupons)
Twinkies ($2.00ish after coupon)
Milk ($2.95)
6 8oz bags of cheese ($.99 a piece, a steal!)
6 small cans of tomato sauce ($.19 a piece)
2 fountain drinks (free)

Party Food -
2 cucumbers ($.99 a piece)
2 six oz packs of blackberries ($1.50 a piece)
10 lbs of strawberries ($11.96!!!!!!!!!!)
1 lb bag of baby carrots ($1.48)
1 package of milk chocolate M&MS ($1.50 after coupon)
2 bottles of Kraft Italian dressing ($1.88 a piece)

Anyway, I got some good deals (CHEESE and STRAWBERRIES) and some not so good ones (Haagen Daas, Carrots!) but it is what it is.


I'm not overly thrilled with the ads this week. We have a LOT of groceries though, so I'm just going to try really hard not to spend more than $50.00 on overpriced food.

Shopping Trip #1 --

2 Bertollis - $5.99 a piece
2 Ben and Jerry's - $2.50 a piece
Cocoa Puffs - $1.68
Golden Grahams - $1.68
2 Kix - $1.68 a piece
100 Calorie Hostess Cupcakes - $3.00
Fiber One Granola Bars - $2.50
2 8 ox Cottage Cheese - $.77 a piece
5 2 liters of Diet Mountain Dew $.88 a piece
1.33 lbs Green Grapes - $1.17
5 lb bag of Potatoes - $.99

I also had about $6.00 for Bertolli, GM cereal, Hostess and Fiber One bars in coupons, and I scored a $5.00 gift card for spending $15.00 in Unilever products. After tax the total was just over $30.00 after tax. I don't have an exact total because I also got suckered in to a Dora doll, and I bought a huge box of diapers.

More tomorrow.


Trip #2 --

2 Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese
2 boxes of Nilla Wafers
1 Freschetta Pizza
1 Yoplait Grand
3.22 lbs bananas
2 Secret Clear Gel Deoderants

That's it. $17.97 before tax. I saved $13.68. It says that was 43%, but that doesn't seem quite right. I will admit that I was PISSED this was nearly $20.00 worth of groceries. NOT VERY MUCH TO EAT HERE PEOPLE! But, I would have been even MORE irritated had I paid the nearly $40.00 retail price after tax for all of it. It's criminal. (I have to add though that I'm always SO HAPPY when I am able to squeak soaps, toiletries, and toilet paper in to our food budget. In theory, I would love to include it ALL, but we're not quite there yet. For now, I just count it when it's convenient (ie when I buy it at the grocery store instead of somewhere else.)


UGH, I am getting frustrated. I'm having a hard time matching coupons and sales lately, so that means I'm stuck with deeply discounted sales. Here's what we got today...

I also bought diaper, so I don't know the exact total. It was about $30.00 after taxes. Everything was on sale. I only really had $2.25 in coupons.

The other thing that's bugging me is that we're STILL throwing more food away than I would like to. In the last 10 days or so, I've probably thrown out three plastic grocery bags full of stuff. I don't really know what to do about it. I feel like if I cut our budget, it would help, but then we'll have even LESS variety. I dunno. It just kills me to throw stuff out. It's mostly leftovers because Cori basically refuses to eat them, and a lot of times it's meat (chili or something,) that I'll eat once, but have no interest in eating again. anyway, it sucks 1 - because it cost good money that we worked hard for and 2 - because there are too many hungry people in this world (country, city, community.)

More tomorrow from shopping trip #2.


A good trip. I spent $34.63 before taxes, but one of the things of strawberries and one thing of lettuce was for my mom. We were above $50.00, but less than $60.00 for our groceries for the week. I saved 57% or $45.44. $13.60 of that was coupons. The rest was sale.

10 Yoplaits
4 Diet Mountain Dews
1 gallon of milk
2 Jimmy Dean Skillets (This + six eggs was dinner. $3.00 for a family of three. Beats going through the drive thru!)
2 package of baby spinach
8 lbs of strawberries
6 Suave conditioners
3 tubs of Pillsbury biscuits
1 Ore-Ida french fry
1 box of Bagelfuls
1 package of Jellow cheesecake cups

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