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Super Savings Saturday: Kroger and Walgreens (and we’re temporarily raising our grocery budget again)

As some of you know, I had severe anemia last pregnancy, so severe, in fact, that I ended up being hospitalized for a week to run tests and monitor me because the doctors and specialists were sure I must have some kind of disease or disorder other than pregnancy for my body to be in such bad shape and unwilling to respond in any way to the many different varieties of supplements, iron pills, and other such remedies they gave me for weeks in order to get my hemoglobin and platelet levels to bounce back up to a somewhat decent range.

The final verdict, after more poking and prodding and testing than I'd ever desire to endure again, was that I was healthy as a lark in all respects except for my hemoglobin and platelet counts and those were directly related to nurturing a life inside of me. And so I was induced early last time around and within a few days of the baby being born, my health had almost returned to normal levels. Which was a huge praise!

With this pregnancy, we've taken a number of precautionary measures to, if possible, avoid the difficulties I had the last time around. I've been eating a high-iron diet and taking double the normal iron supplements, in addition to a number of things.

And now that I'm 20 weeks along and starting to feel some anemia coming on, we're upping our grocery budget in order to allow me to buy extra meat each week. I'm not usually a meat eater–especially a red meat eater–but since it seems to be one thing my body does find helpful in warding off anemia, I'm eating it and lots of it. And it's very worth the extra $20 per week we've decided to spend if it means that I'm able to stay more healthy this time around.

So all that said, yes, we're temporarily raising the grocery budget to $60 per week as opposed to our usual $40 per week. The plan is to do this for the next 18-20 weeks or so while I get through the rest of my pregnancy. And then we'll re-evaluate and see what would be best for our family.

I wanted to openly and candidly share about this because I think it is important that all of us don't become so stuck upon a certain budgeted dollar amount for groceries that we overlook the needs of our families. $40 usually works pretty well for us, but I'm flexible if we need to raise it for a season–or even permanently–to better accommodate needs in our family or our current life situation.

For you, maybe $80 is what works best. Or $100. Or $150. I hope that our lower grocery budget can serve as an inspiration to many of you, but I don't ever want anyone to feel as if a certain dollar amount is the "gold standard" of grocery budgets. Because what works for one family, will likely not work for many other families. Do what works for your family and challenge yourself to do the best you can do with the time, energy, and resources you have. That's truly what frugal living is all about!

Now, with all of that said, here was our shopping trip from yesterday:004

(isn't my daughter cute? She asked if she could please be in the picture!)

We hit Kroger (Dillons) and Walgreens and spent $42. I still need to hit Aldi for cheese, eggs, butter, frozen veggies, and a few other things so I'll likely spend most of the remaining $18 of our budget there.

At Dillons, I did the cereal promotion (buy 4 boxes of cereal bars or cereal, get $4 off instantly) three different times. They were $0.50-$1/box after coupons and the sale–which is a great price for our family since these are special treats for us!

I also got 8 packages of frozen meat that was reduced and Horizon milk and yogurt that was reduced and I had a coupon for. In addition, I got a free bag of Steamfresh meals for two (they had sent me a coupon as part of a promotion), toilet paper, whole wheat flour, and spinach, apples, and bananas all reduced.

All totaled, I spent $42 at Dillons and was very happy with all I was able to snag for that!

At Walgreens, I did a very sweet transaction: 2 Sure deodorants (free after coupons), aspirin (free with a coupon Walgreens sent me), a Schick Quattro razor (free after coupons), and two bottles of Arm and Hammer detergent (on 4-day special for $1.99 and I used one $1/1 coupon).

My total before coupons was $26 and after coupons was $3.98. But here's where it gets really good: Walgreens had sent me a $5 off check because we'd just moved to the area. So they were able to run the $5 off check to cover my $3.98 and I paid nothing out of pocket. Plus, I got a $5 Register Rewards back for spending $25 at Walgreens during their 4-day sale. Yay!

How'd you do this week? Post about the deals and bargains you were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.**

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  • Shawn says:

    Wow. And I thought my wife was a superstar. We bow at the alter of Money Saving Mom. Great job. I never thought we’d be so excited about getting the Sunday paper, but with your helpful advice, it’s a well spent $2.

  • Marianne says:

    I hope the red meat helps; has anyone seen any super coupon codes for Omaha Steaks? Leave ’em here for Crystal (or her family) if you do!

    Thanks for the chance to link, as always, and for your honesty about raising your budget. We all have different families/needs; you really do have to do what works best for you.

    Take care, and yes, your little pixie is a cutie pie (and apparently not a bit camera-shy!).

  • Hopefulone says:

    Awesome Wags trip!!!!:) Best wishes with the new baby.

  • Jill Foley says:

    I really need help….I live in the upper peninsula of Michigan and we just don’t have any of these stores you all have! We have Super One and Econo Foods for grocery options (no grocery game lists for those stores). We do have a Walmart, but our prices are significantly higher here. We don’t even have CVS, but they are building a Walgreens.

    I budgeted $450 this past month for groceries and household items…total spent…around $600! And that was with tons of coupons and shopping store sales. HELP!!!!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty and openness. I hope that this pregnancy is a lot smoother, and healthier for you. I’ve been following your blog since I moved to the US (from Australia) in June and have been very inspired and challenged. That said, I have wondered lately after seeing your weekly shop (and others who link to your site) where the meat and fish are? We are very blessed with a good income that affords us many “luxuries”, but that doesn’t mean we just spend, spend, spend. In fact, it’s only been through careful budgeting (and listening to much ridicule from friends and family about our budgeting) that we’ve remained debt, and now mortgage, free. One area I’ve always struggled with is our grocery bill. After following your blog I’ve learnt the secrets of couponing, stocking up on sales, etc and I can say things are better – but I’ve realised we’ll never be a family that grocery shops for less than $150/week (especially as we living in Santa Monica where the deals aren’t that great). So thank you for your comments on everyone’s needs being different – I don’t feel so “bad” anymore!

  • Anon says:

    This post came at a very good time for me, as I just spent $100 at the store yesterday. Our budget for food and household supplies is $50 per week, but I am in my first trimester of pregnancy, didn’t go to the store at all last week, left all of my coupons at home, and could only bear the thought of going to one store due to exhaustion. I am also craving juice, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables (we usually only buy canned since they’re cheaper). I felt really guilty for spending so much money, but this post makes me feel much better.

    Thank you for your honesty!

  • grocery mama says:

    Hi Crystal, I think the most important thing is that you are healthy and that you have a healthy pregnancy. There is no dollar amount that will ever be worth that!
    Good for you and eat up!

  • Bridget says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! Also for alleviating my guilt that our $120/week budget for a family of 5 must be pitiful compared to all you “seriously frugal” people! Love this site and really appreciate your openness and candor. God Bless you and your precious family.

  • Kristi says:

    I too suffered from anemia during pregnancy and after giving birth. My prayers will be with you while you work to keep it balanced with proper diet and iron pills.

  • Deborah says:

    This is where money becomes unimportant…when it directly relates to your welfare and health AND an unborn baby!

    Congrats on all the great deals 🙂

  • MarriedSAHMof3 says:

    Best wishes to you and your baby! Glad you worked things out!

  • Deborah says:

    The photo is much better with your daughter in it!

    She’s a cutie pants 🙂

  • Liz says:

    I have problems with anemia that started when I was pregnant with my first. Make sure to keep an eye on your B12 levels too, I ended up being deficient. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly!

  • Melodie says:

    Yay! That means I’m not so far off of frugal living after all. Not that I expected to be just like you, but since your family and mine are about the same size and growing at about the same rates (I’m expecting my third too), I was using your budgeting sort of as a gauge for my own as I get the hang of couponing.

    Since my husband is a blue collar laborer and thus a big meat eater, (he usually has something to say about any meal that might be missing it), I had wondered how much I should add to the budgeting suggestions you’ve made without going overboard. Now I know that $60 a week is pretty good! Sometimes we hit $70 and more rarely even $80 (my husband allows for up to $100 without complaint) but that is only when I see some deals that I just can’t pass up.

    Thank you for posting this. It is very encouraging to someone like me who is fairly new at this yet.

  • Heather L. says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for your comments about food budgets and the need to adjust them for your family’s needs. We have had to adjust for a higher budget (still low compared to the average) after finding that the way I eat directly affects my health. After a 4 1/2 year bout of chronic fatigue and all the ways that affects a family, we’ve had to turn to a higher food budget that provides more meat and protein as well as lots of fruit and veggies. It is worth it to have a happy and healthy mommy. 🙂

  • Mel says:

    You probably know about this, but just in case you don’t, Floradix is a WONDERFUL iron supplement that is all natural without the side effects of iron pills. You can get it any healthfood store. I had anemia after my son was born and I chose to try this, because I read such great things about it, instead of the pills my doc wanted me to use. My levels shot up very quickly and I felt SO much better.
    As always great job on the blog. It is such a blessing to us! Praying that you will have a smooth rest of your pregnancy!

  • Crystal, another cheaper way to get more natural iron is by eating Cream of Wheat. You might already know this. It doesn’t sound like much when you read the label on the box compared to taking an iron pill but your body can actually absorb much more of the iron in the Cream of Wheat compared to how much of it is being passed through your body and NOT absorbed from an iron pill. Anyway, I just thought I’d pass that on in case eating all the meat gets to you. Through my pregnancies I ate Cream of Wheat several times a week and my doctor was always shocked at my blood test every week. He was like “how much red meat are you eating!?” And I’d smile and tell him, “very little actually.” I finally told him my little secret about Cream of Wheat. Beets are also high in iron. =0) Hope it goes better this time around for you! Blessings

  • Alison Armstrong says:

    Have you thought of getting fresh beef or pork from a local farmer? It is much cheaper usually. We are pork and cattle farmers and when we process a cow all the meat averages out to the price of hamburger in the store. I don’t know what port averages out to per pound but I do know we can get a whole pig bought and processed for under $200. That is a lot of meat. We often split up cows or pigs for butcher for our friends and neighbors. (some people don’t want the whole cow or pig) We eat a lot of meat because I cook a full lunch and supper everyday. I think we go through 1/2 a cow and a whole pig every year. My kids and I’s iron levels are always above average- I think it is from all the good meat we get. Oh, the steaks we get from our fresh beef are way better than a good steak at a fancy restaurant!

    Money Saving Mom here: Um, well actually, we tried this earlier this year. Bought a 1/4 of an organic cow from a local farm. Paid an arm and a leg for it. And then our freezer went out while we were on vacation and we lost the whole thing. Needless to say, neither my husband or I are too keen on trying again for a little while since our first experience at this was so disappointing! 🙂

  • I really hope that you read this and heed my advice.

    Your body cannot properly absorb the iron in things that the doctor will prescribe for you. You must have a natural source of iron. I had this problem with my first pregnancy, and used Floradix Iron with Herbs. After trying for weeks to get my iron up with normal measures the doctor prescribed with no results, I turned to this. Within 24 hours my iron was normal and the baby and I were well and flourishing. It’s a natural source of iron that your body is able to absorb. Please please please try it! I swear by it! It is a little pricey, but like I said, within 24 hours we were fine. You can get it at for the cheapest. You can find it at Whole Foods and natural grocery stores as well, but the cheapest is vitacost. Plus you can use ebates (don’t worry not spamming you) with vitacost to save even more. I really hope you will try it. You will think a miracle has happened. It also has a great source of vitamin C and other nutrients you and the baby need.

    And don’t worry it’s very safe to use. I used it with my son when he was having trouble after open heart surgery. His iron was up the next time he was checked at the doctor. Remember, Floradix Iron with Herbs.

    Money Saving Mom here: Thanks, Thrifty Mama. I was actually on ten different natural iron sources last time (including Floradix) for a number of weeks and they did nothing for me, sadly. (I always prefer to go natural whenever possible, which you probably already know if you’ve followed my other blog.) I’m still hopeful they might help this time around but I’ve learned that what works for someone doesn’t always work for someone else. 🙁 But I’m glad they work for many people and I’m so glad it worked for you!

  • I look forward to seeing your great deals every week. Thank you for saying what you did about your grocery budget. Sometimes I feel frustrated for spending more than I see others do, but I think you’re right that we each have to assess what works for our family’s needs. Enjoy the steak!!!

  • Michelle says:

    Can you tell me where the General Mills cereal coupons are? Thank you. Love your blog – look at it everyday!

  • Crystal, you always do so well for Super Saturday Savings!!

    This was by far my best trip for “Weekly Grocery Savings!” I try to spend $50 a week or less. I would really like to spend less than $30 a week on both Grocery & Household, but it’s a goal I’m working on.


  • MeghanM says:

    Yesterday I hit up Walgreens – I too got the sure deoderant for free, arm and hammer for $1ea, 3 50ct Ibuprofens for $1 ea using a 4 day coupon, I did the Maybeline BOGO and used the $4 off coupon from sunday’s paper, I got the Schick razor for free. My total was around $44 dollars and I only paid $4.20. Better yet I got the $5 register coupon in the end. As always my husband thinks I’m crazy, but he’s excited for a new razor.

  • april says:

    Cute picture!
    Glad to hear that you are taking care of yourself.

  • *mindi* says:

    black strap molasses is a great source of iron as well. 🙂

  • Janeen says:

    Just thought I’d mention that I had low iron during my first pregnancy and my midwife suggested taking some supplements and the one I did was Liquid Chlorofil. You can find it at health food stores (Whole Foods, etc). It’s a little expensive but goes a long way. Just mix a tablespoon in with a drink and it takes like tea. Plus it’s got other good stuff for you besides iron. She also had me taking alfalfa pills which you can find cheaply at Walmart- also good for tons of vitamins, calcium and fiber!

    Money Saving Mom here: Yes, I tried that for weeks. In fact, I tried pretty much every single natural remedy under the sun (thanks to my midwife and doctor’s recommendations) and nothing worked. Which is why I had all the medical professionals and midwives stumped.

    But I’m so glad that many of these things work for others and if anyone needs suggestions on how to boost your iron in pregnancy, I can give you dozens of them. 🙂

  • Alisha says:

    Yes, Crystal, she is very cute!! 🙂 She is very proud to be in her mommy’s picture. 😉 You are a great mom.

  • The best deal I found this week was the 2009 Entertainment Book for a profit of $2 (although some people are getting it for a profit of $6)! This is *amazing* for a book I’ve spent $30 on in the past!!

    Here’s how:

    The $6.50 update:

  • My best deal of the week?

    The 2009 Entertainment Book for a profit!

    See my Super Saturday Savings post on how to do it:

  • Amanda says:

    Hi Crystal,

    Just wondered how you are handling diapers since your move (no more CVS)? I haven’t noticed any in your grocery pictures recently and was curious if you are working from a pre-move stockpile or are doing something different.

    Thanks for all the inspiring grocery posts and I hope your new temporary budget helps with your iron issues.

  • I love the Walgreens Mid Week Sales!

  • Jan says:

    Hope the extra red meat helps you! The one thing my grocery store marks down is meat from the day before- I can always get good deals on beef, chicken and pork, often for only $1/lb. They never mark down milk or produce except old bananas though. So I find that meat is inexpensve for me to buy but prodcue and dairy especially cheese is way too much money. I try to stick to $60 a week for the 3 of us but usually end up more around $80. God bless.

  • Jan says:

    I forgot about your freezer and your meat- oh that was terrible! I hope you find some good deals on meat. My friend was very anemic and it turned out to be Iron and B12 both and she had to get it by IV. again GOd bless

  • Crystal, thanks for sharing the logic regarding your increase. Obviously, getting the little baby as healthy as possible is the most important thing!!

    And, while you’re increasing your budget, I think it’s important to sometimes take a look at how we can also challenge the budget and spend less where possible. Over the summer, I challenged my buget and shed $25. But, when our son started back to school and lunches are being packed everyday (which saves us quite a bit), I added that money back in order to keep him eating what he likes.

    It feels good to challenge that number occasionally to ensure the target is still accurate. And, it feels especially good to challenge the process you’re using to find a better, more efficient, cost-effective way to doing our domestic duties.

    Blessings for a healthy rest of your pregnancy!!

  • Lee ann says:

    I too had severe anemia with my first pregnancy. Even required a blood transufsion. It ended up being Celiacs disease. An intolerance to gluten. Even though you return to normal following pregnancy, (I did too) you may want to have this simple blood test done. It’s changed my life!

    The advice on the iron was true for me as well. Your body really doesn’t absorb many iron supplements. My hematologist went through all of this with me during the transfusions. Especially the ones that are easy on your stomach. They’re easy because they’re not being absorbed.

    Anyway, love your site. Hope this pregnancy is smoothe sailing.

  • Mercedes says:

    Your daughter is adorable! Take good care of yourself.


  • Carrie says:

    It’s funny — earlier this year I wrote a post that ended up on MSN Money so hundreds of people commented on it. Many people seemed angry about my $80 grocery budget — said it was ridiculous, that they could never do that because of x, y and z reasons. When, just like you, I was trying to explain the benefits of SETTING A BUDGET and sticking to it, not saying that everyone should have the same exact budget I do. I also laughed at the many people who said that $80 was flat-out impossible because I knew that to many, like you, $80 would be such a walk in the park!

    Kudos for your decision about feeding yourself more meat. Since you’ve written that you are not on an “everything is covered” HMO healthcare plan, you’re certainly saving money in hospital bills buy spending a little more on groceries.

  • Honey says:

    I will pray for your health. I agree with Mel -Floridix is good stuff-took it with my twin girls and when I had my twin boys a year later, I had no-anemia! Other good non-meat sources of iron are of coarse the dark green veggies, but also blackstrap molasses. We eat it in our oatmeal. I also take a green food supplement because you can get way more greens than you could ever eat! A recommendation is Barley Life by Aim. It has brown rice and kelp (for trace minerals). It really helps with energy and restful sleep. B supplements are also so important especially for vegetarians or semis. Thanks for all the ways you serve moms!

  • Honey says:

    I will pray for your health. I agree with Mel -Floridix is good stuff-took it with my twin girls and when I had my twin boys a year later, I had no-anemia! Other good non-meat sources of iron are of coarse the dark green veggies, but also blackstrap molasses. We eat it in our oatmeal. I also take a green food supplement because you can get way more greens than you could ever eat! A recommendation is Barley Life by Aim. It has brown rice and kelp (for trace minerals). It really helps with energy and restful sleep. B supplements are also so important especially for vegetarians or semis. Thanks for all the ways you serve moms!

  • Honey says:

    I will pray for your health. I agree with Mel -Floridix is good stuff-took it with my twin girls and when I had my twin boys a year later, I had no-anemia! Other good non-meat sources of iron are of coarse the dark green veggies, but also blackstrap molasses. We eat it in our oatmeal. I also take a green food supplement because you can get way more greens than you could ever eat! A recommendation is Barley Life by Aim. It has brown rice and kelp (for trace minerals). It really helps with energy and restful sleep. B supplements are also so important especially for vegetarians or semis. Despite all our “advice” God is a wonderful counselor and will lead you to what will work well for you. Thanks for all the ways you serve moms. And your little girl is just darling!

  • Lisa says:

    Making and eating chili with hamburger & pinto beans has a very high iron content 🙂 Also, not sure how the iron is affecting you going to the bathroom but I know that taking ground flax seed helps me with that part of the added iron. Praying for you and your family.

  • SciBirg says:

    @ Jill in Michigan:

    We are in the same situation. We live in a small town in the southwest and we have 1 grocery store that has no store loyalty card and only have sales on their store brand, and then we have Walmart where the prices are way higher than the Walmart deals posted online. We do have a Walgreens here, though, and that helps a LOT. So hang in there, and read up on how to coupon at Walgreens and that will help out the health and beauty portion of your budget at least. And if you are able to get a deal at Walmart with your coupons, that is a bonus. 🙂

  • Amy says:

    I had anemia my last 2 pregnancies too. The iron pills didn’t seem to help a whole lot. Towards the end of my last pregnancy a friend told me about Floradix liquid iron supplement. It is quite expensive (the dose I was taking was around $40/mo) but it really helped. It’s not constipating like many iron pills are.

  • amanda says:

    You are an inspiration with all you do and I always look forward to your helpful hints on helping me save. I think every family is different and we all need to do what’s best for us. Thanks for all you do and I pray this pregnancy is very easy or atleast easier! Good Luck and God Bless.

  • Honey says:

    I had frugal fun on Friday again. Again with my kids, and again at Target. Bought 3 boxes crackers, 2 boxes cookies, 2 bags candy, 2 mini first-aid kits, and 6 pks batteries. After gift card from last week, coupons, and $5 gift card for this week, Target paid me $3-which I spent at the snack bar for popcorn for my kiddies. Two bags of goodies, 3 bags popcorn…freefreefree! Saturday my husband and I went to Target (because our wonderful church kept all the kids and fed them lunch -for free so the parents could go shopping:) I went back to Target to get the luminairs they had been out of earlier in the week. Thanks for the posts about those!

  • lydia grewell says:

    I have been enjoying your blog very much and learning lots of great tips from you! Thanks so much!
    I am wondering if you have ever considered WIC (Women, Infants and Children), it’s a program, depending on your income and size of family that helps pregnant or nursing moms with certain free groceries such as milk, eggs, cheese, and other things. One of their concerns is that the mother gets enough protein and iron, this could help you out and keep your budget low!
    Just wanted to share that in case you weren’t aware of it.
    Thanks again!

  • Sarah says:

    Hi Crystal-
    I too suffered from anemia during my pregnancy. I nver had luck with supplements, and eventually started eating red meat for two of my three meals a day. I even started taking a vitamin C pill before the red meat to help with absorption. It was nasty, and I gained 68 pounds, but I was able to overcome the exhaustion and have a healthy baby.
    I will continue to pray for you to have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Your blog is an ispiration to me as I make monetary changes in my household!!

  • Glenda says:

    I love your blog!

    As a nutritionist, I recommend that whenever you have a protien food, also include some high vitamin C food with it to increase the absorption of iron from your diet.

    Wishing you a healthy pregnancy!

  • Marie says:

    Thanks for being so transparent about your life, Crystal! I really do hope that this pregnancy goes well for you. I think it’s sort of funny that people keep telling you what kind of things to eat (I’m sure you’re an expert by now) so I won’t do that. I just wanted to also say thanks for reassuring everyone that the budget that works for one family might not work for another. The point is that we’re sticking to a budget and not spending more than we have.

    Take care!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for your honesty! You and your family are doing great with sticking to your grocery budget!

  • Jean says:

    Great post, Crystal. Sounds like you’re tuned in to which nutrients your body is asking to be given. Most of my life, I’ve been vegetarian. After two rounds, hospitalization and numerous alternative remedies (and this was AFTER the baby years), I found red meat to be of great assistance for a temporary period of time while my strength returned. I was able to wean back to other iron-rich foods with excellent results. We are blessed to have choices. I believe you have made a wise decision and trust you’ll be guided on how best to proceed.

    You’ve done many readers a thoughtful service in this candid and post. Whether it’s numbers on the weight scale, age, or financial amounts, we all can get too hung up on numbers and lose focus. To have the ability to nourish ourselves with economical means is a wonderful accomplishment. Thanks for making this easier (and more fun) to achieve.


  • zsera says:

    how come none of the stores in my area have sales like this?!?!

  • Kendra Steveson says:

    Crystal, I was just wondering if you have extreme thirst and ice cravings? I had this in my last pregnancy, I was miserable with it, actually, and had trouble with anemia. I could never figure out if the thirst was related to my blood sugar or anemia, but I know it made my last trimester a miserable time.

  • Jean says:

    Me again! Your daughter is a sweetie. I’m so glad you included her in the post. Golly, is she is growing up!

    The Saturday haul looks deliciously impressive. What I love about your grocery photos is that you choose real food over lots of processed fare.

    Good work 🙂

  • Molly Piper says:

    Somebody just told me today that molasses is apparently high in iron. So if you can stomach a spoonful of that (or maybe top some biscuits with it), I’ve been told it works.

    I also found that Shredded Wheat cereal is high in iron.

  • lizajane says:

    After reading your Walgreens deal, I think my cashier lied to me! Last week I was able to get the $5 Register Rewards when my total BEFORE coupons was over $25. This time, I had two separate orders set up that would each have been $25 BEFORE coupons, but she told me it had to be $25 AFTER coupons and that last week it must have been a fluke. I believed her, combined my orders, paid $27 out of pocket and got my $5 RR for next time. I bought mostly items that I will get mail-in rebate money for, so this trip will only really cost me a dollar or two out of pocket, but if I really could have gotten two of the $5 rewards, I’d like to make sure I do the deal properly next week if I come up with enough stuff to make it worthwhile. (I read somewhere else that the rumor is they will have the deal thru the end of the year.)

    Anyhow, thanks for this posting and especially for including your daughter in the picture. She’s a cutie pie!!

  • Kristin says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I had the same pregnancy induced problems as well during my last pregnancy. They even have a very long medical name for it. My baby is 5 months old and I am still working on bringing my levels back up. One of my doctors put me on B-12 injections which is really helping. It might be worth checking out.

  • Tschilling says:

    Much like you I stumped the Drs. who tried everything under the sun to get my iron levels up. Then a dear Godly women told me to try cooking in cast iron. Not only did it work, but I was able to stop taking all the iron supplements other than the one in my prenat vitamin. Worth a try! Buy a pan or borrow one and start just one meal a day. I have lots of receipts, I could share. And once you get the hang of the pans it is easy. Last pregnancy I had no problems with iron and I have been animic for 16 years.

  • Joy says:

    I know you’ve gotten quite a few iron tips, but I thought I’d share a few more since I know from past posts that you like to lean more towards whole foods!
    As you probably already know, you don’t need meat for protein-just the 22 amino acids. Meat does leave more waste for your body to process which is taxing on the kidneys; something to think about if you’re feeling run down. Also, iron absorption is blocked by about 60% if eaten around/with dairy foods. So if you want the full affect of the meat, don’t eat cheese on a hamburger, etc. I’ve always wondered if this was a God’s reason for Jewish dietary laws restricting dairy and meat eaten around the same times. Something to think about!
    Someone else mentioned leafy greens too-they’re chock full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Sea greens are even better if you can handle them without being nausious. Some sea greens have more calcium than milk, more iron than eggs, and B-12!
    If you’re up for trying it this is a great protein drink~ Mix 1/2 cup vanilla rice milk, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp toasted wheat germ, 2 tsp molasses, 1 tsp vanilla, one pinch of cinnamon. ~Joy~

  • Christy says:

    Another Walgreens deal:
    Seventh Generation Natural Spray Cleaners on clearance for $2.29
    plus use a $1.00 off printable coupon from
    pay $1.29 and this is a good deal considering the regular price is over $4.00.

  • Christy says:

    You got a lot of great stuff this week. Your daughter is too cute. Wishing you a healthy pregnancy!

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Crystal,
    While I did not experience pregnancy-related anemia and can’t provide advice on experience, I wondered if you’ve seen a nutritionist or dietician to help you? When I was pregnant I had gestational diabetes and severe hemorrhoids along with nasty leg cramps, and I consulted with an LD/RD who was able to help me choose foods that I could eat and help me with those issues. For example, even though I have a Masters of Public Health, I didn’t know all the breakdowns of nutrition of some foods.

    Like how pears have more fiber than prunes! Or how bananas could help the leg cramps and blood sugar issues. Being able to treat naturally and get the nutrition you need is better for health and the pocketbook!

    Best wishes on a healthy pregnancy!


  • Kathryn says:

    Thank you for your transparency. We all know you are diligent to ensure you adhere to your budget. Sometimes, life happens. The decision to up your budget to meet your needs shows balance shows wisdom. We’ll all keep you in our prayers.

  • We have a walgreens opening not a 2 minute walk from here! I can not wait, though there is one 5 minutes away by car.

  • SarahMay says:

    Glad you’re doing what it takes to keep your baby healthy! Thanks for the excellent reminder about the dollar amount of one’s grocery budget. I was feeling guilty because we recently raised our budget from $75 to $100/week, but that extra $25 made the difference between struggling every week or actually feeling like I can actually DO it!

    Is HELLP syndrome a factor at all in your pregnancy anemia issues? I assume it’s been ruled out since you had so many tests and lots of doctor’s input; but it’s something that’s often missed so I figured it was worth bringing up!

    Finally–and again, you’ve probably already tried everything!–blackstrap molasses IS a good source of iron, as mentioned above, but iron is much more effective when taken with vitamin C. Its effect is negated when taken with dairy. I have friends with postpartum anemia issues who will drink a spoonful of blackstrap molasses mixed into a glass of orange juice (they were mixing it into milk until they discovered how ineffective that is!) every day.

  • There is a great new Publix advantage buy savings flyer out. Everyone needs to check out the great deals. I am new to blogging- but love letting people know where the best deals are.

    You have a wonderful website and Happy Holidays!!

  • SarahsMom says:

    Crystal I accidently messed up and linked to the wrong site. I expect you to remove entry #116. Sorry about that.

  • Brooke says:

    Hi Crystal, a friend of mine is pregnant and anemic and her doc told her to load up on cream of wheat, she said it has more iron than beef! Don’t know if its true but its worth a look, its probably a lot cheaper too! 🙂 I hope everything goes smoothly this time. I love your blog, you are such an inspiration.

  • Christi D. says:

    Crystal- Your budget is still under mine!! I hope that the red meat will help you start to feel better. It’s only for a season. I’m so glad you are taking care of yourself. You are a busy lady!!

  • Clean Simple says:

    Glad to hear you’re taking prophylactic action against the anemia. I hope it all goes well.

  • Great post, Crystal! It is important to do thing according to what is best for our family at the time!

    Your body must need a certain type of iron….or you may not absorb it properly which causes the anemia. I have an iron issue with having signs of anemia with a very high iron count and cannot take iron in any pill, but I do okay with iron from cast iron (cook your tomatoes and stuff in it). they used to recommend if you were anemic (in old pregnancy books) to add a iron horseshoe to your chili. Anyhow, i hope this time the meat and iron work for you and you have a healthy pregnancy.

  • Rebecca says:

    I’m sure you already know this, but I’ll mention it because I just learned it in my nutrition class and others may not know it: make sure you are not consuming milk or any other dairy products or tea or coffee with your iron sources. The calcium and phosphorus in milk and the tannins in tea or coffee strongly inhibit iron absorption.
    Good luck with the pregnancy!

  • Janine says:

    As a healthcare professional, I wanted to let you know that low hemoglobin plus low platelet count in pregnancy is NOT simple anemia. You could take all the iron in the world and it would not help. You most likely have a type of auto-immune disease that is causing your body to prodcue antibodies to the fetus- that it recognizes as a foreign body. You should be tested for these antibodies or a clotting disorder. Most likely you are producing tiny blood clots in your placenta. This is putting the fetus at risk. You should be on baby aspirin or heparin injections or both. Best regards, JMD

    Money Saving Mom here: That’s interesting that you would say that as that’s exactly what the doctors said last time around. However, the oddest thing was that after running batteries of test (and I do mean “batteries of tests”–I think they tested me for everyone under the sun and then some!), all the tests turned up that I didn’t have an auto-immune disorder or clotting disorder. And the doctors were beyond stumped and it still remains a mystery.

    I am really curious to see how this time goes. I’m getting lots of extra blood tests done just to really monitor things this time and am hopeful that maybe I’ll fare better but that remains to be seen.

  • Kathy says:

    I hope you are feeling well, and wish you a happy, healthy pregnancy. People should set budgets that work for their circumstances, and kudos to you for all the helpful advice you’ve posted in this forum. Cheers!

  • Your daughter is absolutely adorable!

  • Valerie says:

    I really enjoy this blog a lot. I’ve considered myself frugal for years, but only started “really” couponing last spring. It’s taken a bit for my family to understand why I seem to be stockpiling so much, but now that they’ve seen the total amount I’m spending plummet they are starting to get it. I’m married and have two teenage boys and I make sure to discuss my shopping strategies at dinner so the kids can learn. Got a big kick out of my older son telling me how his friends went into 7-11 and got a 24 oz soda for a buck and some change, then he went in to the same store and got a 2-liter bottle for about 10 cents more. At least I know he’s been paying attention. Hopefully, it will help him out later in life.

  • cheapsk8mom says:

    Thank you for your continued updates. This post in particular I appreciate… At times I’ve asked myself when meal planning – what would MSM do? And to an extent – was disappointed that I don’t have budgets like yours. I appreciate you, and love how empowered you are.

  • Kim says:

    Really great site. It is a full time job, isn’t it? When all of my kids were still at home, I would go to several stores each week looking for the best bargains. I bet nobody has told you to “enjoy it”. You will miss these crazy days when you are an empty nester. So “enjoy it”. Take care of yourself and get as much rest as possible. Many Blessings to you and your family.

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