Friday, May 23, 2008

Grocery Inspiration!

I have been desiring to be wiser with my grocery money lately. I have been lax about planning a menu and sticking to it when I did.

My Mom helped me clean out my freezer on her recent visit and we were able to eat out of our pantry and freezer for a full week! I realized how lazy I've become at this grocery thing.

I am continually inspired and amazed at how much Crystal can get for her dollar! So, over this past weekend - I decided to peruse all the local grocery ads. After that, I chose two where I could do the best and made my menu plan for two weeks. I will need some produce to supplement next week - but here is what I bought, how much I spent and what I will serve.

Note: In all fairness, I must include that my father-in-law's hobby is grocery shopping. He brings groceries over frequently and I know that my budget would have to increase if he wasn't doing this. I say this just to be honest and open.


B: Cereal
L: Cheese Tortillas; fruit
D: Hamburgers and Oven Fries

B: Bagels
L: Honey Sandwiches; Fruit
D: Pizza with out of town family

B: Cereal
L: Cheese and Crackers; Fruit
D: Grilled Chicken; Salad; Potato Packets

B: Apple Muffins
L: Mini Pizzas
D: Chicken Enchiladas; Chips and Salsa

B: Apple Muffins
L: Grilled Cheese; Fruit
D: driving to NC for weekend

Saturday-Tuesday lunch - traveling

D: Triple Decker Club; Chips; Fruit

B: Cereal
L: Cheese Tortillas
D: Applesauce Pancakes; Bacon

B: Muffins
L: Macaroni and Cheese
D: Ranch Chicken; Corn; Salad

B: Leftover Muffins
L: Honey Sandwiches
D: Calzones

B: Donuts
L: Wraps
D: Tacos or Enchiladas

B: Bagels or English Muffins
L: Steak; Potato; Veggie; Bread
D: Leftovers

B: Cereal

What I bought this week:

2 Sure Deodorant: $2.69 each; two $1/1 coupons; mail in rebate for $2.69 = 0.69
4 Oral B Toothbrushes: $1.99 each; two $1/2 coupons; $1 Extra Buck each = 1.96
1 Colgate 360 Toothbrush: $3.99; $3.99 Extra Bucks = free
1 snack size M&M's: 0.88
Total: Used $3/$15 coupon and $11.37 Extra Bucks; spent 0.06 out of pocket and received $7.99 in Extra Bucks and $2.69 mail-in-rebate
0.06 spent

3 boxes Kleenex: on sale for 0.89/box; used 0.50/1 coupon = $2.17
2 cans mandarin oranges: on sale for 2/$1
Bush's beans: 0.79
Bic Lighter (long - great for grill!): on sale for $2.99 - $1/1 coupon = $1.99
Reynolds Aluminum Foil: on sale for $2.50 - 0.75/1 coupon = $1.75
Total: Used $6 in Register Rewards and $2.29 rebate gift card
0.00 spent

Rite Aid:
Orajel Plaque Revealing Gel
got2B mousse
got2B gel
All free after Single Check Rebate
Paid with gift card from Prescription Transfer
0.00 spent

Hunt's Ketchup: $2.69 - $2.69 mail-in-rebate = Free
Ivory Liquid Detergent: $4.99 - $2.00 coupon - up to $3.00 mail-in-rebate = Free
Huggies Diapers: bought 3 at $9.49 - $4.00 instant savings - $5.00 in mfr. coupons - $5.00 mail-in-rebate = $14.47
Tortilla chips: $2.29
Steak: Bought 2 filets at 3/$10 for Sunday Dinner
Kraft Salad Dressing: $1.69 - free coupon = Free
Cream Cheese: $1.15
Chicken 3 lb.: $5.99
Ground Beef 5 lb.: $9.95
Turkey Lunch Meat: $3.50
Two boxes General Mills Cereal: 2/$4 - $1/2 coupon = $3.00
Total Spent: $49.38

Huggies Baby Wash and Lotion: $3.29 each - BOGO store coupon - two $1/1 coupons = $1.29
Animal Crackers: $1.00 - free coupon = Free
Beech Nut Rice Cereal: $1.59 - free coupon = Free
Plum Tomato: 0.83 - $1 off produce coupon = free plus overage
Lemon: 0.67 = 0.50 (taking into account overage from produce coupon)
Lender's Bagels: 2/$2.03 sale price - 0.50/2 coupon = $1.53
Doritos: BOGO - bought one at $1.90
Total Spent: $5.75 paid with gift card from a previous rebate; total spent out of pocket: $0.00

Total: $49.44

Note: If you live near a Publix, please make sure to sign up for the Baby Club - they send out great coupons every few months until your baby is two years old!


Judy said...

WOW!! I am impressed! I have read about the CVS and Walgreen deals. I have never tried them myself. I get a little confused by them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Monica,
I think grocery shopping has been on the mind of lots of people lately as the prices are rising so fast!!! You are so right it seems meal planning is the best route to go. Great Job and thanks for this post!!! tammyp

Anonymous said...

Good job! I'll be interested to hear how this works for you. :) Love, Mom

Christi said...

Monica, I am very impressed with your purchases - and your menu sounds lovely!

Julie said...

I, too, need to get better at planning menus for my family. You've done a lot of work here.
One question about your Kroger purchases. We don't have Kroger anywhere near us. You mentioned mail-in-rebates for several items. Are they specific to Kroger or can the products come from any store? If they're not Kroger specific, where do you find the rebate information?

Holly C. said...

Wow! You did great. That must have taken a lot of thought.

Wendi said...

Great job! This is an area that I am also trying to improve. It can be fun when you see all of your savings!

Mary Ann said...

With very limited time to shop over the winter, I had gotten rather lazy with grocery shopping myself. Sure, I stayed in budget and used my menu plan, but I wasn't getting as much bang for my buck as usual! I am getting back into it now and hope to revive my tired and somewhat sparse little pantry!

You are not alone! :-)

Timalee said...

Wow, I don't know how you do it, I was doing really well (with the help of Crystal's blog) to pick up most of the best weekly deals before I had the baby, but now I just can't bring myself to load & unload the kids at all those stops! So I have resorted to hitting BJ's every 2 weeks, stocking up, and bulk cooking. It is still cheaper than what I was doing a year ago, but I know I am missing out on a ton of savings! If you have any secrets for shopping days with the kiddos I am sure I am not the only reader who would love to hear about it!

Tracey said...

I try to hunt and save...but I still struggle in this area. I try to plan my meals in advance and I've been doing Menu Plan MOndays but I don't think I've been very successful.

Amy said...

Great job! You continue to amaze me!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It is really hard to be frugal these days, isn't it? I keep fighting the temptation to do my shopping fast and easy, instead of more cheaply. (The store nearest to us is expensive. The discount store is 20 minutes away.)

I hope your plan works out well.

Also, I think you have a lovely blog header.

kelly said...

great job-? about your kroger trip-i have several of those rebates too-how will you send for more than one from one orig receipt? did kroger print you extra copies of your receipt? thanks...

Monica Wilkinson said...

Julie - the rebates I had were not store specific except for the Huggies deal. I watch for mail-in rebates in the Sunday coupon section, in fliers that come in my mail box, etc...

Kelly - as far as the receipts, I paid separately for each item that needed a receipt to be mailed in. You are right that you need to be careful not to lump all the items on to one receipt!

*carrie* said...


I enjoyed reading about your deals. Due to moving, I've been using the pantry method for meals, and told Eric next month will be a big shopping trip as we get re-stocked!

Anonymous said...

wow, you rock at spending and utilizing your gift cards. I work for a company that manages gift cards, and we blog about saving money and gift card topics on I'm just amazed how with a little planning and organization, you are able to purchase all those goods, with such frugality. Thanks!

Molly said...

Hey, thanks so much for sharing your menu and shopping lists! It helps me a lot b/c we are getting ready to head back to the States for 6 months after being out of the country for 4 years. We have been talking about our food budget, etc., and I had no idea what to base it on, so this is helpful. The recipes were helpful, too, as I have had to change my habits here with no convenience foods available. Can't wait to try some of them soon! Thanks for taking the time to add the links! Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

You have done a fantastic job of stretching your grocery dollars, and planning some great meals! I recently posted some budget recipes on my site. Lots of creative things that you can do with eggs for breakfast, lunch or supper.

I enjoy your site.

HomeSpun Granny

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh Monica at the contrast between what you can feed your little girls, and what I must feed my BIG high school and college boys!!! I can't imagine the looks on their faces if I was to simply put out crackers and cheese for lunch!!!LOL Enjoy it while you can, Samuel is on his way, lol.