Thank you so much to everyone who weighed in on how they save money when grocery shopping! It was nice to hear that I’m not the only crazy person who grocery shops at two or even three different places in order to get the best deals.

Last week I decided to commit myself to seeing how much I could save on our grocery budget if I put some real effort into it. Turning it into a challenge to see how much we could save made it fun! (did I really just say that?) Each week, Joe and I have $100 set aside for groceries for the week. And each week, we spend almost exactly $100. It probably sounds like a lot for just two people, but we don’t eat out very often (maybe once a week), so we eat a lot at home and take our lunches with us to work.

For this week’s challenge, I took a multi-channel approach:
        1. Coupon Clipping I clipped coupons from the Sunday paper and browsed a few sites like Coupons.com for products we typically buy. Many of you were right in saying that there aren’t many great coupons for healthy items, but I did find some good coupons for coffee, cheese, milk and cereal.
       2. Comparison Shopping The two local grocery stores we shop at are HyVee and Fareway. Each week these two stores have fliers highlighting their sales, as well as a few store-specific coupons. I found this to be the most effective method of saving money, especially on healthy items that we frequently buy. Instead of deciding ahead of time that we were going to buy pears, oranges and a certain type of cereal, I decided on what we would buy based on comparable items that were on special.

After I looked through the store specials and clipped my coupons, I made my grocery list, thinking about meals I could make with the items on special. There were also items on our shopping list that weren’t on sale or special anywhere, such as ricotta cheese and spinach, but we bought those items anyway. 
So how did we come out? We saved a lot of money and only ended up spending about $81 dollars! I was surprised at how much we got this week in comparison with other weeks while saving around $19. Here’s what we snagged:
Dairy
     *4 Chobani yogurts 
     *Ricotta cheese
     *Gallon 1% milk
     *Mozzarella cheese
     *10 Dannon Light and Fit yogurts
     *1 dozen eggs
     *Egg beaters
     *I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
Dry Goods, Etc
     *Granulated Sugar
     *Whole wheat penne pasta
     *2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
     *Peanut Butter Cheerios
     *4 Cans Progresso Vegetable Classics Soup
     *1 can corn
     *Ketchup and mustard
     *Rolled oats
     *2 jars pasta sauce
     *Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix 
     *Tide laundry detergent
     *Seattle’s Best coffee
Produce
     *4 bananas
     *2 containers blackberries
     *4 Pink Lady apples
     *1 pint strawberries
     *1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans
     *1 bag celery 
     *2 lemons
     *3 grapefruit
     *1 bag spinach
     *1 bunch asparagus 

Like I said, it was quite the haul! I’ve got a couple meals planned for this week (completely unusual for me), that I think Joe will be excited about. One of those meals is even a healthy casserole recipe I found from Cooking Light magazine, which is also out of the norm for me.

Bottom Line: Comparison shopping and coupon clipping (within moderation) works and is worth it, in my opinion. I was trilled with our finds and the fact that we didn’t have to buy junk food or items we wouldn’t normally buy in order to save money.

Madison

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  • http://www.tiptopshape2.blogspot.com/ Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    Wow, that’s a lot of groceries for only around 80 dollars! You done good! lol

  • http://www.theflippingcouple.com/ Cindy @ The Flipping Couple

    Wow, I love this post!! I occasionally use coupons for things like coffee, but I’m sure I could do a better job, and I could definitely do a better job shopping sales. It’s encouraging to see what you did without going crazy and spending 2 hours comparing coupons and sales and everything. I’m inspired to try again!

  • Christineroberts329

    wow! that’s quite a budget! we are a family of 3 and our budget is $190 per month and we eat out only once per month. We don’t buy processed foods, and make much of our own food and garden in the summer. I also shop at 3-4 different grocery stores throughout the week to get the best bargain, however quality will always trump price for me. typically the only coupons i use are the ones in the weekly store ads. our motto behind sticking to our budget is: if it’s not on sale, don’t buy it. We love fresh fruits and veggies and are trying to eat more of them everyday (this is usually the biggest chunk of our grocery cash), so we eat produce based on what’s in season and on sale. I plan our meals around what is on sale that week, and we eat all of our leftovers. Sticking to a modest food budget is hard for a food lovers like us! It took me probably 8-12 months for me to really establish good grocery budgeting habits. You are doing great Madison! Saving $19 a week is a lot! :)

  • DJ

    it is difficult to find coupons for healthy foods. they’re out there, but not often & not in large numbers. something that you might find worthwhile is sending emails to companies that you like & asking for coupons…it’s certainly not as convenient as getting coupons out of the paper, but companies are always happy to send them out.

  • http://www.postmodernhostess.com/ Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess

    Good work!

    I’ve been shopping with coupons for a little over a year, and have definitely found the following strategies to be most worthwhile, in this order:

    1. Buying only when something is on sale (and stocking up if possible).
    2. Comparison shopping, and buying necessary items at the stores where they are cheapest.
    3. Loading e-coupons onto my shoppers cards.
    4. Clipping paper coupons.

    Of course you can still save money with paper coupons (and occasionally score free stuff, especially at the drug stores, that is perfect to donate to charity), but BY FAR the biggest savings come from just buying what’s on sale and NOT buying things when they are not on sale. Even things like eggs, milk and produce go on sale all the time.