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Why I Sometimes Buy Junk Food & a GREAT Deal on Almond Milk

It's okay to buy junk food sometimes and NOT feel guilty about it!

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

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Two weeks ago, I bought Cheerios and a few people on my Facebook Live were very upset by the fact that I would buy cereal that was so full of chemicals. It kind of made me laugh because I always thought that Cheerios were one of the healthier cereals.

But anyway, let’s hope that those same people don’t see this post because {gasp!} I bought food that is much less healthy than Cheerios. I bought cake mix and chocolate chips and croutons and bottled juice and sweetened condensed milk and junky peanut butter and white hamburger buns.

Basically, I have fallen into a complete chemical coma with this shopping trip. 😉

All joking aside, while we try to eat a fairly healthful diet and we make a lot of things from scratch and we use whole wheat flour in a lot of our baking, I’m all about balance. So when Kathrynne asked if she could make Cake Mix bars today, I was happy to buy the ingredients for them!

Friday Aldi Shopping Trip — $5.25

  • Crunchy Peanut Butter — $1.15
  • Yellow Cake Mix — $0.85
  • Eggs — $1.18
  • Chocolate Chips — $1.69
  • Total with tax: $5.25

Friday Kroger Shopping Trip — $5.54

  • Buns — Marked down to $1.29 (I’m freezing these to use for grilling burgers.)
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk — $1.19
  • Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice — FREE (used Free Friday Download)
  • 4 bags of Mrs. Cubbinson’s Croutons — $0.89 each when you buy 6 participating items, used 2 $1/2 coupons = $0.39 each after coupons (+ submitted for $0.25 Ibotta rebate per bag)
  • 2 cartons Almond Milk — $1 per carton when you buy 6 participating items, used $1/2 coupon = $0.50 each after coupons
  • Total with tax: $5.54

Remember all of the avocados I bought?

We are loving making homemade guac with them — SO good!

And it’s amazing on my salads!

Total Spending This Week

Total spent so far this week: $68.56

Rebates: $0.50 for submitting two receipts to Ibotta, $1 for buying 4 packages of croutons, $1.38 back from Fetch Rewards for purchasing Goldfish & Suave + scanning four other receipts (If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards, you can sign up here and use code WW7XJ and you’ll get a bonus 2,000 points = worth $2.)

See this week’s menu plan here.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

35 Comments

  • Jane says:

    Did you find the coupons for the almond milk that you mentioned in your facebook video?

  • Pamela says:

    Good grief. If we didn’t have cheerios my preschooler would starve!! Only kidding (kinda).

    In any case, *everything* is a chemical. Water is a chemical for goodness’ sake!

  • Sally says:

    I love a nice discussion on balance in budgeting, food choices and health goals. Being too much of a perfectionist made my family miserable. Including a few treats helped them feel loved.

    I still work daily on cooking from scratch and buying simple, whole ingredients but I’m also happy to buy and prepare Jello, crunchy snacks and ice cream. I can stick to my budget, we are all in excellent health and we can keep food from becoming something more than what it is.

  • Kacie says:

    I went to Dillons today and they had half gallons of milk for 25 cents! I bought 15 and filled the freezer. I also scored the free juice, toothpaste that was marked down, salad mix marked down, and 99Cents for a bag of apples. I never used to like Dillons, but I admit you’ve sold me on it recently!

  • Diane says:

    Sadly, I’m not surprised people have found fault. It is so easy to be critical of others’ choices. 🙁 We are slated to be below-budget for the month, as long as nothing crazy happens the next 2 weeks. I’m very thankful.

  • Jennifer says:

    I always find it funny when people add notes next to “junk food” explaining what it is for. ex party, family get together, etc. I never understood why they would feel the need to defend their grocery choices??? I have been guilty of rolling my eyes and thinking, “ok we know you eat healthy, no need to explain the M&Ms:)” I guess this is why? I think people need to take a break on commenting if they begin to feel the need to lecture someone for buying cheerios or anything for that matter!….:)

  • Amanda R. says:

    Don’t you know you are supposed to grown all your own food organically? Including the cake mix?!

  • Tara says:

    I bought my kids red,white, and blue m&m’s this week. Eeek! What will people say! 😆 We eat extremely healthy most of the time, but you have to live a little right?!

  • Lana says:

    We found a case of 48 bags of baked whole grain cheese puffs at Wise Buys today for only $5. Gasp! They have yellow #5. By the time we finish them our insides will be dyed yellow. 🙂

  • Janell says:

    I had 2 croutons coupons and 1 Free private selection produce item. The girl looked at my coupons and said they had the same number so she could t take it. It had been copied. Anyone else run into this? I printed on, went back out and back in the print a second.
    But I did see some Kraft Star Wars Shaped mac and cheese for .25 each. I had a digital coupon for $1 off 4. Got those free.

    • Aubrey says:

      I’ve noticed this, too! I always assumed since you were “allowed” to print coupons twice they had different numbers, but for some random reason I looked at the bar-code numbers on a couple of my coupons a while ago and saw they were the same number. I’ve never had a problem, but have wondered if it would ever be an issue!

      • Janell says:

        Thanks for commenting Aubrey. As I was leaving I heard the cashier saying to another employee “we have so much fraud with coupons”. I am NOT one of those people. I felt like she was calling me a thief and I can assure you if I printed them incorrectly, it was an accident.

  • Chrissie says:

    I think we should all be careful not to criticize each other. As long as we’re caring for our families to the best of our abilities. I also think there’s nothing wrong with not feeding your family processed foods. When quality must be sacrificed for budget purposes then it’s a blessing to buy any food. I hate to see judgement go either way.

    • Lindsay says:

      Thanks for this comment. I often feel like there is plenty of people poking fun and offering up criticism when people are “too perfect” or “not balanced” with their food choices. We don’t allow our child any processed food or sugar. The amount of criticism we deal with on a regular basis is incredible.

  • Dena says:

    Do you still follow the Jason Pearson diet for yourself?

  • Veronica says:

    We have always had “junk food” in our house as our kids were growing up.
    Not excessive amounts but there were always cookies, or a bag of chips hanging around somewhere. What I found was because it was always there, my kids only ate it moderately. When they had friends over it was very apparent which ones were not used to having it around because they struggled a little with self-control when it came to eating the not so healthy choices. All things in moderation makes for good balance of body and soul.

  • Marge says:

    Well, I just want to say that I am quite disappointed. No link to those Cake Mix bars? Just kidding, I’m sure I can find something on Pinterest. They look like they would be good.

  • Kim says:

    Oh my gosh!! The horror of Cheerios and cake mix!! LOL Crystal, I love how you are finding your inner strength to not only defend your grocery choices, but also adding some humor to it. I dont know why you even have to defend your grocery choices anyway, because we all do what we feel is best for our families. I’m loving your grocery posts!! Thank you!!

  • Stephanie says:

    I still stick to the old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I also believe that the world would be a much happier place if everyone kept their negative opinions to themselves. I think you’re awesome, Crystal! 🙂

  • JBird says:

    So tired of the food police! Not everyone has the budget to eat organic all the time. I am grateful to God that I have the resources to do so, yet I still buy peanut butter cups, Doritos and ranch dressing sometimes. I don’t eat at all like you do, but I still come to your website for the tips I can use. It is also super hard work to be healthy all the time and our society has made it almost impossible to do so. Do the best you can!

  • Cindy Brick says:

    Honey, you have GOT to stop worrying so much about what other people think. I enjoy the blogposts that tell me what YOU think — whether or not I agree with them, they spark me to consider issues a different way.

    You have an extremely popular blog, and there will always be someone who doesn’t like it…or wishes they were you. And instead of working on that, it’s always easier to try to stick it to the person/group they’re jealous of.

    Really! No apologies, either.

    • Ha! Just so you know, I really don’t care. If I did, I wouldn’t be sharing 75% of what I share online these days. 🙂 I used to care a lot… and that’s why I held back so much. Every once in a while, a comment will still get under my skin. But mostly, I just laugh and let it roll off my back — and I use the delete button often so that you all don’t have to read them and feel like you need to come and defend me!

    • Jennifer says:

      I agree with Cindy – you don’t need to defend yourself and your choices. I do understand what you are saying in a comment at the top about “do it upfront so you don’t have to reply”, but in all seriousness, you don’t need to defend yourself at all. Besides, there are a lot people out there who CAN’T afford to buy all organic, natural, etc, etc and they NEED to know about the Cheerios (or whatever) deal – that by posting that sort of deal you are helping so many other people with their budget, feeding their families and making the dollar/s stretch.

      You also don’t need to apologise (especially on Instastories) for your “appearance” – i.e. hair not done, make-up not on, missed earrings. I’ve been following MSM for 10 years (you taught me how to do the Drugstore game in 2008 when I moved back to the US for a few years; I’m currently in Aus) and watching you grow – personally, professionally, as a family – has been incredible. I thought it was hilarious that you answered the mailman with half-done hair (and felt all weirded out about it). Girl, if you could see some of the stuff I’ve worn to the shops to grab milk, or last year when we renovated and had workmen at the house from 6:30am…. And I didn’t even know earrings were part of a complete outfit! Guess I’ve been not-fully-dressed for about 4 years now!

      Keep doing what you do best and don’t worry about the haters.

  • Archie Davis Jr says:

    The problem you have those who believe in their minds you have to eat organic food to be healthy and that is not true. I buy somethings organic and some items I don’t. I work out every week and I am healthy. I went from 260 to 219 and feel good. You should never get caught up on food you buy and eat. You do the best with what you have and do what is best for you and your family. The problem is some go the extreme this and that is not good for you. My whole thing is God created food and he knew what our bodies needed. You are doing great. Keep up the great work. Everyone is on a different journey in their life so let’s learn to respect what a person eats or does not eat.

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