I had to get groceries last night and with the economy in the state it is, it seems that it's becoming harder and harder to work within our budget - so I have become pretty good about planning, preparing, and executing.
I went through the ads from Sunday and figured out what items I needed to replenish (bread, milk, toilet paper...), and I made my menus based on what was on sale - it's going to be chicken and pork recipes for a few weeks!! I then go through the coupons I have and figure out what additional savings I can get from those.
I won't list everything I purchased, but I will list some of the best deals:
Walgreens - Crest Toothpaste - on sale $1.99, in store coupon $1 off, manufacturer $1 off
Total Cost = FREE
Walgreens - Kashi Cereal - on sale 2/$5, manufacturer coupons $1 off each box
Total Cost = 2/$3 or $1.50 a box
Meijer - Bananas - on sale $0.19/lb. - was $0.59/lb.
Total Cost = 3.02 lbs. - $0.57
Meijer - Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - on sale $4.99 - was $9.99
Total Cost = $4.99
Meier - Pork Loin $1.69/lb. - was $4.19/lb.
Total Cost = 4.36 lbs. - $7.37
Meijer - Seedless Grapes $0.88/lb., was $2.49/lb.
Total Cost = 2.36 lbs. - $2.08
County Market - Split Chicken Breast $0.88/lb.
County Market - Egg Noodles/Lasagna Noodles $0.77
County Market - 1% Milk 2/$5
County Market - Pancakes/Waffles $1
In the beginning I set a budget of $200.00 for groceries to get us through at least two weeks and in the end my total cost of everything was $182.67 and I saved $92.08 by shopping sales and using coupons.
The planning might be a little tedious, but in the end it's totally worth it. I'm finding ways to stretch our budget by planning menus around the sales, using store brand items if the savings is there, and I buy produce that is in season. Since apples are in season right now I plan on using that to my advantage and shopping the sales and making applesauce that my kids love to take in their lunches. The chicken I bought has the skin and bones and I am going to cook the chicken in a crock pot, shred it, then use the skin and bones to make chicken stock.
There are ways to stretch your budget and I envy the women who talk about going into the grocery store and coming out with two carts full and having only spent $3.75......I'm not quite there, but I look at my freezer that is now stocked full of meat (I split the chicken and the pork into smaller freezer bags and have enough for about 15 meals), our pantry has cereal, bread, canned goods, lunch items, and our refrigerator has cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt - all for under $200 - not too shabby.