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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Groceries for 1 month= $150

         Recently I posted on Facebook that I had bought a month's worth of groceries (including toiletries) for less than $150. Cutting down our food bill was an important next step for Eric and I to become debt free as we had gotten on a budget, cut down on overspending on things we didn't need and cut down on our utilities bill. After we posted our successes, a lot of people asked us how we did it, so here's what we did.


Part One: Some Disclaimers

There are multiple factors outside of our process of grocery shopping that contribute to our ability to keep our grocery bill pretty low. We don't really subscribe to any current food trends. We aren't paleo and we don't eat organic or gluten-free. We're okay with eating canned or frozen vegetables. We also eat out once or twice a month. We also are only feeding two people, two adult people. However, I follow a lot of mommy bloggers that use the same system and it saves them loads. 

Part Two: Meal Planning

This is the second most important part to us saving so much on our groceries. We planned out all of the dinners we were going to have for a whole month. It took about 45 minutes and most of that was searching when we had events going on for the month. I made a theme for most nights, Meatless Mondays, Leftover Night on Wednesdays, and New Recipe Night on Thursdays. Without having theme nights it can seems like a daunting and overwhelming task to plan 30 or 31 days of meals. Make sure you inventory what you already have so you have meals that make you have to buy less at the store.

Part Three: Couponing

Be skeptical all you want but coupons were a key part of getting our grocery bill down to $150 for the month. You want to match up what you buy with a place that has coupons for those items. For example if you buy a lot of produce, a Super Target might be a good choice because they have plenty of coupons on the cartwheel app for fresh produce and some coupons on their website as well. I honestly spend only an hour or two tops on couponing. Before you gasp that per month you judgey judgertons! per month! I follow coupon blogs. Check out coupons.com (which is what is featured in my coupons tab) SmartSource.com, Redplum.com and Target.com. I also have a Walgreen's app and get a weekly e-mail from CVS.

Part Four: Drugstores/Petco

This $150 also included toiletries. I'll wait while you clean your spit take off of your computer screen... Ok? done? cool. Oftentimes, you can get toiletries for free or for excitingly cheap. Walgreen's and CVS are equally awesome at this. Sometimes you get instant coupons and sometimes you get cash back for a future purchase. Toothpaste is pretty much always free between either CVS or Walgreen's. Walgreen's has an app where you can load manufacturer's coupons on to your balance rewards card and of course you can always use newspaper and printed coupons there in addition to sales and coupons in their ads.

Another phenomenon that is exciting is that Petco basically gives away pet food to their pals rewards members. You get coupons in the mail and in your inbox but sometimes you can look to coupon blogs to find better coupons. A lot of times the coupons are "Free ___" not Buy one Get one free. just free. For Funsies. Because there's cat and dog people who pay $25 for a bag of dog food because they don't coupon so Petco can stay afloat just fine. One caveat: you will never have a 0 balance at Petco because they make you pay the sales tax on everything but we paid $1.23 for a $22 7 lb bag of cat food, so I'm not really complaining. 

Part Five: Less Dining Out

Yep. The unfun part. Stop dining out. or at least limit it. For Eric and I even eating at a fast food place can mean dropping $20 on food. Just find copycat recipes and pretend you're eating at that place you love. If it's the getting home and making food part then make a bunch of meals ahead of time and heat and eat. (obviously easier said than done, but I'm assuming there's some goal that is worth the work otherwise you wouldn't be looking at this blog)

Part Six: Freeze Stuff

For those of you who are wondering about veggies, dairy, bread and fruit. I freeze most dairy products (it really works and is ok) I also freeze bread. Some people get veggies and fruit from CSAs or they eat canned or frozen varieties of produce. Eric and I do the latter. Choose what you want.
Serenity you

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