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.).
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Well, y’all, I had thought I was about $6 under budget this week… and then I went to add up my receipts and discovered I was actually $1.72 over budget.
Whoops! I realized that I read one receipt as saying I had spent $36 when it actually said I saved $36 and spent $42. Oh well!
I have a little wiggle room in the budget since I’ve been under budget a number of weeks, so it will be okay. But lesson learned: Don’t just glance at your receipt before heading to the store!
(I keep my receipts and then use those to tally how much I’ve spent for the week. I know; that’s ridiculously old fashioned, but it’s usually what works for me. Maybe I should move up to something more sophisticated and techie!! Jesse does track it all in YNAB, but he’s usually a few days behind in tracking and inputting everything, so I usually just go off of my receipts!)
I try to stick as close to the $70 mark as possible — it’s a fun challenge for me PLUS I love getting to show you how it works for our family and the deals that I find!
At any rate, here’s what I bought this week:
Kroger Shopping Trip #1:
- Back to Nature Cookies — on sale for $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items, plus used a $1.50/2 coupon that printed while I was checking out = $3.45 for 5 boxes (my kids were SO excited about these!!)
- Lemon Juice — $2.49
- Alo Juice — Free with free Friday e-coupon
- 2 dozen Happy Eggs — marked down to $2.49 per dozen
- Hillshire Ham — on closeout for $2.09
- Planter’s Peanuts — $2.49 when you buy 5 participating items, plus used $1.50/1 Kroger digital coupon = $0.99
- 1 loaf of bread — marked down to $1.39
- Clementines — $3.99 for a 3-lb bag
- 3 bags of Sweet Potatoes — marked down to $0.99
- 1 bag of grapefruit — marked down to $0.99
- 2 packages of Cheddar Bratwurst — marked down to $1.79 each
- 4 packages of Eckrich sausage — $1.50 each when you buy 5 participating items
- 5 boxes of Simple Popped Popcorn — $1 per box when you buy 5 participating items (plus each box has a free Redbox movie rental code in it!)
- 1 container organic Spring Mix (no romaine!) — marked down to $1.79
- Total with tax: $42.38
Psst! Need some help with cutting your grocery budget? Check out my series: 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget.
Kroger Shopping Trip #2:
- 5 packages Kroger shredded cheese — $0.99 per package with the Kroger digital coupon
- TollHouse Snack Bars — marked down to $1.49 (Silas wanted to buy this to make for our Saturday night family movie night!)
- 4 Dannon yogurts — marked down to $0.49 each (two were eaten before I got a picture taken!)
- 2 Greek Yogurts — marked down to $0.39 each
- 2 big bags of avocados — marked down to $0.99 each
- 1 bag of mangoes — marked down to $0.99
- Total with tax: $12.91
Kroger Shopping Trip #3:
- 3 cartons of Simple Truth Beaten Eggs — marked down to $1.29 each
- 5 boxes of Betty Crocker Potatoes — $1.49 each, used $1/1 Kroger Digital coupon (can be used up to 5 times in one transaction) = $0.49 each after coupons
- 2 4-packs of Noosa yogurt — marked down to $1.99 each
- 2 packages of seasoned Chicken Leg Quarters — marked down to $2.63 and $2.53
- Total with tax: $16.43
Cashback earned this week: $0.10 from Ibotta for submitting my receipt and 284 points for submitting my receipt to Fetch rewards (that’s basically the equivalent of $0.28).
Total spent this week: $71.72
Also, I just had to show you this 52-week Meal Planner that my friend, Erin, from Simple Purposeful Living sent me.
There’s space to write out your menu and then your shopping list — and then it’s perforated so you can tear it out and take your shopping list with you to the store!
Aldi shoppers, I thought this would make you smile. (And excuse the fact that the meme says “Aldi’s” not Aldi and “grill’s” not grills.)
What We Ate This Past Week
Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.
This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.
Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. ?
- Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon (from the freezer) Yogurt, Hard Boiled Eggs, Banana Bread
- Hard Boiled Eggs, Banana Bread, Cheese/Crackers, Avocados, Salad, Leftovers (for Jesse & Me)
- Ham Sandwiches, Clementines, Cheese/Crackers, Yogurt, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs (for the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)
- Yogurt, Cheese/Crackers, Popcorn, Hard Boiled Eggs, Cookies
- Saturday: Dinner out
- Sunday: Fend For Yourself — snack-y food and leftovers
- Monday: Peppers & Sausage over Brown Rice
- Tuesday: Pork Sandwiches, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Wednesday: Whole Wheat Pancakes, Bacon, Grapefruit
- Thursday: Turkey Meatballs, Sweet Potato Fries
- Friday: Leftover Turkey Meatballs & Sweet Potato Fries
I so appreciate you sharing your menus. We’ve been married for over 15 years and I had an epiphany last year that the reason I had grown to loathe cooking dinner is because I felt I had to have this big meal with an entree and several sides or our kids were going to…I don’t know…turn out terrible or something. HAHA!
Anyway, I love snacky meals and always have and I weighed less when I ate how I naturally prefer to eat. I’ve gone back to eating more like I did before kids and dinners are more laid back now and I weigh less. I’ve not noticed any negative impact on the kids. 😉
Crystal Paine says
Yay! I’m so happy for the freedom you’re finding in keeping it simple!
Love the look of the planner. Queation: Did you go over because you didn’t buy enough participating items? From you list it looks like your missing 1 item to get a 3rd discount. Just curious, I have done that before miss counting or having to change it up in the store because they were out of something.
Crystal Paine says
Whoops! Thanks for catching my typo! I bought 4 Eckrich sausages, not 3 as I had written. I fixed that on that post.
That would makes sense then, haha! I know if they are out of something and I have to fly by the seat of my pants, that can get confusing.
After reading this series over the past several months, I was wondering why I didn’t see mark downs at my local grocery store. The store manager explained that they donate the food to our local food pantry or soup kitchen.
Have you ever thought about asking your grocery store to do the same?
Crystal Paine says
Each store is different in their policies, but Kroger and affiliate stores typically offers markdowns up until the sell by date. They may donate it after that date — it likely depends upon the store.
How do you track your spending as you shop?
Crystal Paine says
I typically just track it in my head. 🙂 And so long as I know exactly how much I have to spend, I usually never go over! 😉 I used to use a calculator or a calculator on my phone.
Christy Slaughter says
What recipe do you use for the pork sandwiches?
Crystal Paine says
I had bought a pork loin marked down to $2.90 so we cooked it in the crockpot with barbecue sauce and some spices. It was SO good!
marion rowe says
Thank you You have great Ideas .
Patti Smith says
I love your beautiful menu planning journal! It is lovely. Not in any way to be negative about the journal (because I would love one) but I use free calendars (that they give out at a bank, grocery store etc) and just write my meal idea on each day block of the calendar. I then highlight the meals we actually make (just in case an unexpected thing happens and we don’t eat that exact meal that day.). Just to share a frugal tip.
Crystal Paine says
I think that’s a great idea! I menu plan in reverse — meaning, I use what we already have on hand to plan our menus and I typically don’t actually write it out… I just make sure we have on hand what we need for plenty of meals and snacks and then I decide from day-to-day what we’re going to eat. I know this plan wouldn’t work for a lot of people, but it’s been working well for us at this season of life — especially since each day is often different with kids’ activities and unexpected things and this allows us to be super flexible and use what we have on hand.
I think it’s so good to figure out what works for you and then do that!
that is good. I would never use that book either, nice though it is! I do it more like you, just planning stuff a few days in advance and having a few fallback strategies. Making detailed plans snd writing them down just doesn’t work for me. I need simple.
And things that make leftovers. And are tasty.