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Gretchen’s $59 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan



3 Cucumbers – $0.29 each

1 Honey Wheat Bread – $1.29

2 Chunk Cheese – $1.79 each

1 Cotton Swabs – $1.39

1 Mini Marshmallows – $0.89

1 Italian Dressing – $1.39

1 gallon Milk – $2.88

2 Broccoli Crowns – $0.99 (I only bought one package but they charged me for 2 broccoli crowns and there were 2 inside the package. Does anyone know if they normally charge per broccoli crown that is inside each package?)

Total with tax ($1.02): $15.29



I had one of those shopping trips at Dillons this week where you just want to forget ever using coupons again after checking out. They wouldn’t allow me to use the Buy One Get One Free coupon on 4 boxes of Cheerios that I had purchased as part of the Mega Sale (Buy 6, Get $3 off). I didn’t end up buying them, which meant I had to take out 2 more items from my groceries so that it would make the number of Mega items I was buying divisible by 6. In the end, there was a huge line waiting behind me, my cashier didn’t take off all 6 items and I ended up paying $1.99 extra. Oh well…

Items a part of the Mega Sale (Buy 6, Get $3 off instantly):

2 Starkist Tuna – $0.99 each, used $1/2 coupon from the 1/5 SmartSource insert – $0.49 each after coupon

4 Hefty Storage Bags – $1.49 each, used 2 $1/2 coupon from the 1/5 RedPlum insert – $0.99 each after coupons

2 Velveta Cups – $0.49 each, used 2 $0.75/1 printable – Free after coupons

1 can Green Chilies – $0.69

1 can Refried Beans – $0.69

1 Barilla Gluten Free Pasta – $1.99, used $0.75/1 mailer coupon – $1.24 after coupon

1 bag Golden Puffs Cereal – $2.99

2 Jose Ole Nacho/Taquito Bites – $2.50 each, used $3/2 printable – $1 each after coupon

1 Tyson Frozen Chicken Breasts – $7.49

3 Red Baron Frozen Pizza – $2.49 each, used $3/3 printable – $1.49 each after coupon

Other Items

1 Jimmy Dean Sausage – $3.59

1 Dillons Eggs (dozen) – $1.25

2 Rice Dream – $2.19 each, used 2 $2/1 printable – $0.19 each after coupons

2 Angel Soft Bath Tissue – $1.25 each, used 2 $0.45/1 coupon from the 1/5 RedPlum insert – $0.80 each after coupons

1 Kroger Tortilla Chips – $1

2 Ramen Noodles – $0.20 each

1 Kroger Potatoes (5 lbs) – $2.99

1 Kroger band aids – $1

1 Romaine Lettuce – $1.49

Total before coupons and sales: $84.40

Total after coupons and sales: $44.42

Total for all grocery items: $59.71

Menu Plan for this Week


Cereal, Homemade Granola, Toast


Macaroni and Cheese, Tuna Sandwiches, Cheese and Crackers/Fruit and Veggies, Leftovers, Peanut Butter Quesadillas


Chicken Enchiladas, Brown Rice, Broccoli

Deer Roast, Potatoes, Carrots

Chicken and Rice Casserole, Broccoli, Tossed Salad

Sausage, Eggs and Biscuits, Fruit Salad

Southwestern Roll Ups, Cornbread, Steamed Cauliflower

Upside Down Pizza, Tossed Salad, Steamed Broccoli

Snacky Dinner (Frozen Pizza/Nacho Bites, Chips and Dip) for Super Bowl Sunday

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    • Dee says

      Aldi REGULARY rings up things incorrectly, Wichita KS 21st st location. Their customer service is NOT GREAT when in line with millions behind you, and they have to call a manager up for ringing potatoes for onions, for instance. I go in once ever 2–3 weeks and HALF the time things are not right on receipt. I need to remember to always check before I get out of line to see because getting back in line to fix it takes forever.

  1. Pam says

    I shop at Aldi often and buy their broccoli. The .99 should have been for the complete package, not per head, so the cashier must have made a mistake. I would double check with them about that, just to be sure, but I feel confident that they would refund your money.

    • B.Kay Jones says

      They should not have charged you for two broccoli crowns. I believe if they make a mistake, you get double your money back. Check the policy! Thanks for sharing your deals!

  2. Amanda says

    I have found no store to ever accept an internet coupon with the word “free” regardless of whether it is totally free, or buy one get one free. I have stopped printing those coupons because it becomes a waste of ink and paper. The only “free” or “buy one get one free” coupons any store in my area will accept, is one from the Sunday paper, or mailed directly from the product’s company. Even then, it usually involves managers and lengthy discussion. So sorry you had to deal with that! It’s even worse when you have your entire list figured out and you have to “think” at the register, usually with multiple tired children in tow!

  3. Melodie B says

    I agree with Pam. You were overcharged. They should refund it or at least you know next time to challenge it.

  4. Darla says

    I bought brocolli this week as well. Two crowns in 1 package. Charge was for the package- not the number of crowns. I never have had them charge per crown- just per package. Maybe it was a new checker who did not know that “crowns” was the description of the item. You were over charged. :(

  5. says

    Our Aldi ad says .99/lb of broccoli this week. If your package was 1 lb and you were only charged .99 I’d say it was just a weird way to write the receipt. If you had 2 charges of .99, you were probably overcharged :) Hate it when stuff like that happens!

  6. Katrina says

    I buy crowns by the lb. You have to look For the right cashier. Older women (no offense) are the worst for being coupon strict. I look for young women and male cashiers. I hate how some cashiers act like you are stealing money out of their own pockets. I use self checkout now whenever possible with my coupons. Sorry you had a bad trip, been their, and I quit. Now I’m back at it.

    • Paola C. says

      i agree with you, they act like is coming out of their pockets instead of being happy about the amount of savings you are getting. I guess is human nature to feel “jealous” about it or they are just annoyed by the extra step they need to take in your transaction

  7. Jettsmom says

    I bought broccoli this week. It’s $0.99/package. They scan so fast, they probably did it twice by accident. I’d definitely go back and question it. They are really good about refunds as long as you have the receipt. Or if it’s easier and you want it, just ask for another one.

  8. says

    I’ve actually gotten out of the couponing habit because I was tired of being scrutinized with every coupon–even the ones that came from flyers. For me, there was a checker at Target that was the worst. No matter how much I tried to convince her otherwise (because the manager was always “busy”) she insisted that you couldn’t use a coupon on a product that was on sale. I’ve also had difficulty at WalMart lately having them honor their price matching policy. I didn’t have the physical copy of the ad one day (which is not even required) and the checker balked at giving me the discount. So I pulled the electronic copy up on my phone, and that was fine. The next time I went in to price match, I again didn’t have the ad (because ours arrive in the mail sometimes after the sales are over for the week) and tried to show my phone. “We don’t accept ads from the internet,” was a different checker’s response this time. So, she went to get her supervisor who also tried to say that I was in the wrong. Meanwhile, I pull up the policy and ask her very politely (with a line of people huffing and puffing behind me) if the policy is still as stated (that you don’t have to even have a physical copy of the ad). She says that is so. I then tried to explain that I wasn’t trying to be a criminal, I was simply trying to show proof (using the store’s website e-copy of the ad–the same ad the store runs in print) that I wasn’t trying to defraud WalMart. They both simply reiterated again that they do not accept Internet ads (in a voice designed to make me look and feel like a criminal).

  9. Jessica says

    I keep having problems with Meijer not following their own corporate policy at the store I shop at. They are supposed to take competitor’s coupons so long as it is a retailer that sells both food and other stuff, so like Target and Walmart. Well, today I had a printable from coupons.com for Gerber Onesies. I was buying 2 packs. Had two coupons that said Manufacturer’s coupon at the top and ‘redeemable at walmart’ on there. Cashier tried to say I could not use it. Had to call someone, a long line formed behind me, my kids started having fits (we’d already been to the doctor, the pharmacy and through the store to get our food). Whenever I try to use a Target web coupon at Meijer, the same thing happens. This is even though they answer this issue on their Facebook page multiple times daily and supposedly talked to each store. It is frustrating and the wasted time is especially annoying.

  10. says

    Thank you for sharing the good and bad of couponing while still respecting the stores and cashiers.

    I stopped at Kroger last night for a few mega items that I needed to get before my coupons expired. If it had been my first night of couponing, I might have been tempted to give up. :(

    It was just one of those nights when everything went wrong everywhere I went. Not to mention the fact that the zipper on my purse broke, so it was sitting there wide open while I am trying to straighten out coupons, etc.

    Today was a new day . . . . :)

  11. Erin says

    My Kroger no longer accepts free coupons (non IPs!) on mega sale items, so I guess I can understand not accepting bogo coupons on mega sale items. Somehow, it screws up the mega sale accounting and you end up short on mega sale items, and thus lose the mega sale discount.

    • Gretchen says

      It’s something my Mom made for us growing up. Most people think it sounds disgusting but I loved it as a kid and still love it! Spread peanut butter on a tortilla and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll up the tortilla and either heat on a griddle or cook it in the microwave until the cheese melts. :) Super easy lunch.

  12. Donna says

    I think it’s great to be able to only spend small amount for groceries. I use coupons, ibotta and shop sales as much as possible, but my husband refuses to eat the ways that I see on here. He wants meat, veg and side for his main meals. Any suggestions on getting lower prices meat? I shop sales and mark downs for them too. Did just get a good deal on breasts Fareway had for $1.68 lb last week.

  13. Linda Mims says

    I read your emails faithfully, but somehow I missed your post about who Gretchen is. I have seen her buying food for a long time and have wondered about her. Please address this. I’m sure others wonder also.

  14. Jennifer says

    I am sad to say I will have to give up on printable coupons. We live in a small rural community with a Walmart being our only reasonable-priced chain store. Our Walmart no longer accepting internet coupons :( It was nice while it lasted I guess. Anyone else having trouble with Walmart accepting printable coupons?

    • Natalie says

      Yes! I actually stopped shopping at Walmart when they refused a coupon that was from their own website! Luckily I have many other options, so I refuse to spend any more money at Walmart (not just for that reason, but that was just the straw that broke the camels back :-)

    • Meredith says

      Well, whether it be WM or any other store, it is getting more and more difficult using a internet coupon. I have totally stopped as well (unless it’s a restaurant or something sent to me in my email…not for groceries). Ink is so expensive anyway and not wanting to sit and do the math on what little I purchase anyway with coupons, I don’t think it’s worth it for me. My husband does feel like it’s his American right to get a Sunday newspaper so if there is a deal with those coupons, I use them. Otherwise, budget shopping is now the way to go. I think with the shows and people overusing them, wiping out their shelves, etc., they got more strict and it came down to the usage.

  15. Jen R. says

    I was able to print two of those buy one get one free cheerios coupons (2 laptops) and I went straight to Ralph’s (Kroger) used one as part of the mega sale and I was able to use it fine. I went to a different Ralph’s later that evening ani still had no issue. It’s always a hit and miss with coupons. Some days I want to give up and others everything is great.

  16. Tracy A says

    I was happy to see someone using deer meat. My family is avid hunters. I very rarely buy store bought meat. I have grown up eating deer meat. It’s so much healthier than store bought. Anyway, I was just happy to see someone talking about it in a blog. Thank you!

    • Gretchen says

      Thanks! My husband and his friends are avid hunters as well so we always have lots of different meats in our freezer. I almost always substitute ground deer for ground beef in my recipes and I will use pheasant or goose meat sometimes in place of chicken. It saves so much money and we like the fact that it is much healthier than store bought meat. :) It sure is great having a husband who hunts. :)

  17. Beth says

    Is there a link on one of the drop-down tabs at the top for all of Gretchen’s shopping trips? I like going back after the fact to print the coupons she uses in her trips but have a really hard time trying to find all of her posts. Thanks!

  18. Tracy H says

    I wondered if you could post, or lead me to a post about how to cook deer roast without the gamey taste. I also use ground venison in lots of recipes too! Very lean and healthy.
    Thank you.

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