I’ve been thinking lately that the name I have given this challenge may be misleading to some so I am taking a moment to clear up any misconceptions. Even though the label states groceries, I’m feeding a family of three and two dogs and two cats. In addition, this small outlay of cash, in comparison to an average monthly budget for such expenses, is providing all personal, cleaning, and paper products for our family. I am challenging myself to be more mindful of my spending and while I envy the extreme couponers who seem to get a lot more for a lot less, I feel I’ll definitely be challenged by this goal and it will keep me focused.

What are some of my strategies for making this possible?

Once or twice a month I shop Aldi for several items that I know I can’t get cheaper elsewhere. I know in advance what the prices will be. This allows me to budget without a lot of effort of searching and clipping. On my most recent trip $21.33 was spent.

Here are a few examples:

10# white potatoes $3.99

Mac n cheese $.39

3 pk scrubber sponges $.99

Condensed soups $.59

There is a slight possibility I could do better with coupons. My daughter likes the mac and cheese occasionally for something different for her lunch. We’ve tried name brand, which is supposed to be soooo good. She prefers the Aldi brand and found there is even more in the box. It seems to make more for the same size as the name brand. Maybe it’s our imagination? We also tried other store brands. Aldi won on both taste and price.

A recent trip to CVS scored me $5 extrabucks that I can use on a future purchase. I stocked up on shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, and even got two cans of tuna for $.38 per can. Total spent $11.51 Total saved $24.77 + remember I get $5 to use in the future. If you’ve been keeping track of my shampoo purchases you’ve probably noticed that I have quite the stock pile. The key is to buy when it costs the least so you will never have to pay full price.

Giant and Aldi are very close together, so we almost always hit Giant after Aldi. I always take cash into Aldi so we use the leftover cash at Giant and try to get all we need with what is left. It’s fun to try to do this. It really makes you price compare and consider each purchase carefully. I know many use the cash envelope system. It does work. I find it more difficult to track expenditures when using cash but there probably isn’t an excuse to not use cash exclusively for groceries. When we get through the check out line we always use the cash first and then our bank card. Some may justify that since they do not have enough cash to cover the amount that they would rather pay with only one source and use their bank card or write a check, etc. It would then be tempting to squander that cash in your pocket. You can pay however you like in whichever combination though, at least at our store. Check which kinds of payments are accepted and the policies of your store before setting out to do this. Total spent $29.85 ($20 cash and $9.85 check card) Total saved $12.76

A few deals and strategies worth mentioning:

BBQ sauce was on sale and combined with a coupon was FREE.

Two Zone Perfect bars with coupons were FREE.

A B1G1 free deal on laundry detergent turned out to be the best deal even without a coupon, and I have a lot of detergent coupons. Always check! Sometimes using a coupon is not the best deal. Also make sure to compare cost per load. I noticed a lot of variations at the store that day, especially with the new pods. Does anyone have any experience with the pods? I noticed you get less loads per package, but you don’t have to measure, so could you actually use less maybe? I’ve gotten a few samples in the mail and feel the pods work fabulously, even one pod to a washer full of clothes, lightly soiled clothes. This is something to look into in the future.

Check out the store brand. This isn’t always the case, but most often the store brand is just as good as name brand without the inflated price. We saved approximately two dollars by buying store brand cream cheese and o.j.  If you’d do this every other week for a year it would total $52 in savings. That equals four trips to a movie matinée for us.

We decided on Wegmans for our meat purchases this go round. Earlier in the year I was really trying to strive for all organic meat and dairy purchases. Evidently this is not the season of my life to undertake such a goal. We still do buy only organic milk, other organic dairy items when I find sales and/or coupons, and organic meat on occasion. In the meantime, as long as my ground beef does not contain that “pink slime” I am content with non organic. We are eating less meat too. Here are a few ideas on how to make that work for your family.
We purchased ground beef, boneless and skinless chicken thighs and pork country style spareribs in family size packs to divide and freeze at home. Total spent $34.48

Total spent so far this month $179.84