So my husband is a police officer, and they don't make very much money. Pair that with our almost family of 8 and I really got to be careful where the money goes. Other than housing, the number one place our money goes is groceries. My daughter also has a food allergy to wheat and buying Gluten Free is NOT cheap! In order to control it, I started couponing and shopping deals, it took awhile, but I've built up a pretty good stockpile and a nice size price book that really helps me stick to this.
The USDA's most recent statistic on how much the average person spends on groceries is about $60/week/per adult. Depending on the age of the child kids were about $40/week. If we stuck to that, we are talking, over $1,000/mo for our family without including baby 6. Even if we stick to their "thrifty plan" we would still be spending $760+/mo. That's just not what we can afford, so we took that and cut it even farther. We've budgeted $400/month on groceries. I don't include everything in our $400 budget, mainly food. We spend about $500 total on groceries and toiletries. Sometimes going a little over in one category one month and then under another. I make weekly shopping trips and I take out $125 cash. I use that for the week and I'm done. It doesn't matter if there's a super great deal, once it's gone, it's gone. If I only spend $75, I save the rest for the next week or until it's needed, but I don't take out more than $500 total a month. Some weeks I plan really well and our fridge is stocked, we run out of nothing and have greatly planned meals. Other times, we end up with a few nights of pb&j or grilled cheese and soup.
I'm not one of those crazy coupon ladies you see buying 500 bottles of mustard and 30 cases of soda. I buy food and other items our family uses. I'm not brand particular and I make a lot from scratch. My goal is to try and stay around a 50% savings from the average price. This way my family eats stuff they love, usually brand name and a lot of healthy items we couldn't otherwise afford.
This week, I scored some deals I wasn't planning on and took advantage of clearance items.
My first stop was Walgreens and the problem with going on Wednesdays is that they receive their inventory that day. If you go at night it might be perfect, but I go right after the kids get on the bus and most weeks stuff is so picked over I come out with barely anything. This week the same thing happened, however, to make room for new inventory they were clearancing a bunch of allergy meds. I checked my price book and these prices were some of the best deals I've ever gotten on this type of medication. So I grabbed a bunch. I never clear the shelves and don't buy more than we will use.
Purex Ultra Packs $5.99 But on Sale Buy 1 Get 2 Free (yes 2!) - $1/2 coupon = $1.66 each pack
Since each pack comes with 18 tabs it's .09/load.
(I usually make our own laundry soap, but when it's less than .12/load or less I will buy some for those times when I just ran out and need something washed right away. )
Papermate Eagle Ballpoint Pens 10 ct = $0.29
Wal-Tap Child Cold & Allergy Elixir 4 oz = $1.50 (on clearance)
Dimetapp Children's Cold & Allergy Elixir 4 oz = $2.00 (on clearance)
Robitussin Nighttime Cold & Flu Capsules 20 ct = $2.00 (on clearance)
Sure Deodorant 2.7 oz = $1.50 - $1/1 coupon = $0.50
I also had a $5 walgreen coupon.
French's Injection Marinade 3.5 oz = $1.49 (clearance) - $1/1 coupon = $0.49 each
Herbal Essences 10.1 oz = $2.50 - $1.50/1 coupon = $1.00
Crest Kids Avengers Toothpaste 4.2 oz = $1.00
Celery = $0.99
Market Pantry Apple Juice 64 oz = $1.89 - $1/1 & 5% Cartwheel = $0.84
Snickers Mini Bites 8 oz = $2.66 - $1/1 = $1.66
Market Pantry Oreo Cookies 15.35 oz = $1.70 - $1/1 = $0.70
Coppertone Sunscreen Spray & Stick 6 oz + 0.6 oz = $6.28 - $5/2 = $3.78
Dial Kids Body & Hair Wash = $2.79 - $2/2 = $1.79
Bikini Zone Anti-Bump Shave Gel = $3.44 - $1.50/1 = $1.94
(I spent much more here than I was planning because of the deal I found on the sunscreen. Sunscreen is something my very pale family cannot live without and instead of spending $10/bottle stocking up when it's 50% or more off is something I do often. This isn't the cheapest I've found it, but it was pretty close for the spray.
The Dial also isn't the cheapest I've found, but it's tear free, which means I can use it on the baby and that is usually much more expensive.)
Kraft Cheese Slices (Pepper Jack, Provolone, Swiss) 8 oz = $2.39 - $1.50/2 = $1.64
Maid O Clover Milk 1 Gallon = $2.50
Red Tape Bananas = $0.39/lb = $1.43
Bounty (King Size Roll) = $1.98 - $1.50/1 = $0.48
Old Orchard Frozen Juice 12 oz = $1.57 - $1/4 = $1.32
Pull Ups Flushable Wipes 51 ct = $1.64 - $1/1 = $0.64
Herdez Tortilla Chips 11 oz = $1.98 - $1/1 = $0.98
Bakers Baking Chocolate 4 oz = $2.48 - $1/1 = $1.48
Snickers Ice Cream Bars 6 pk = $3.28 - $1.50/1 = $1.78
Johnny's Garlic Spread 5 oz = $3.98 - B1G1 = $1.99
Smucker's Ice Cream Topping 11.75 oz = $1.98 - $1/1 = $0.98
La Victoria Taco Sauce 15 oz = $1.97 - $1/2 = $1.47
Jamba Juice Strawberries Wild Smoothie Maker 4 oz = $2.68 - $1/1 = $1.68
Angel Soft Facial Tissue 65 ct = $1.17 - $0.50/1 = $0.67
Gillette Series Shave Gel 7 oz = $1.98 - $6/3 = FREE
Dole Smoothie Makers Serves 1 = $1.50 - $1/1 = $0.50
Brita Filtered Water Bottle = $6.88 (clearance) - $4/1 = $2.88
You might be wondering where my other essential food items are since what I got this week can't exactly feed us. But that's why I buy more than 1 week worth when I find a good deal. Our freezer right now is stockpiled with meat and veggies and we have so much pasta and cereal I can barely fit it on my storage shelves. I also make lots from scratch, so when I buy basics I usually buy in bulk and it lasts me for quite a while. As I progress weekly you will see how I make meals work.
We have a separate budget for Back to School Stuff (backpacks, shoes, school supplies, etc.), so it's not counted in the $500 but I just had to share the great deals I scored at Staples.
Sharpie Accent Highlighters 5 pk = $1.00
Sharpie Permanent Markers 5 pk = $1.00
Bic Roundstic Grip Pens = $2.79 - $2.79 Easy Rebate = FREE
Pastel Colored Paper 400 Sheets = $8.99 - $3/1 coupon - $5.99 Easy Rebate = FREE
(You can get a single color in 500 sheets for the same deal, but I like the variety pack since we don't get it often.)
Hammermill Copy Paper 500 Sheets = $6.99 - $3/1 coupon - $3.99 Easy Rebate = FREE
(Easy Rebates mean you have to pay for the price, but then fill out a simple form online and within usually a month or less you get a paypal deposit, or a check mailed to you.)
SO all together I spent just under $125. But that includes a lot of non food items, and back to school items.