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The Two-Week Grocery Experiment: Shopping Trip

The first step in The Two-Week Grocery Experiment was to make a grocery list/rough menu based upon what we already had on hand and what was on sale at the store. None of the stores within a few minutes of our home had any really incredible deals this week, but by shopping at Hen House, Hy-Vee, and Aldi and just getting the best deals at each, I was able to pull off a pretty good shopping trip.

Here’s what I bought:

Look at all that food; $76.48 is a lot of money to spend in one trip!

5 loaves of bread – reduced to $0.50 each
1 package of bagels – $1.39
sandwich baggies – $1.99
animal crackers – $1.19
brown sugar – $0.99
flour – $1.70
trash bags – $2.49
carrots – $0.99
chips – $0.99
salad mix – $1.89
tortillas – $0.99
bag of oranges – $1.99
1 can refried beans – $0.59
1 can pumpkin – $0.69
2 cans diced tomatoes – $0.45 each
1 can pineapple – $0.79
8 oz. cheese – $1.89
2 bags of bananas – $1.39; $0.89
package of cherry tomatoes – $1.29
package of blueberries – $2.99
1 bag apples – $2.99

Total: $35.67

2 cans green beans
2 2-ltr of 7-Up (on sale for $0.50 each with coupon; we only drink this when we’re sick but I like to keep some on hand so I buy it when I can get it very cheap)
2 boxes all natural Rice-A-Roni (free with coupons)
Ragu all natural pouch sauce ($0.40 with coupon)
Ragu sauce ($0.66 with coupon)
Ragu cheddar sauce ($0.66 with coupon)
pasta salad mix ($0.63 with coupon)
croutons ($0.65 with coupon)
peanut butter (on sale $1.47)
Oscar Meyer all beef all natural franks (on sale $2.99)
2 lbs. fresh broccoli (on sale $0.99/lb)
5 bags frozen vegetables (corn, peas, broccoli, spinach, mixed veggies – on sale $0.58/bag)
2 packages deli sliced cheese (on sale $1.39)
1 package english muffins (on sale $1.25)
Yoplait kids drink 6-pk ($1.48 with coupon–treat for the girls who came shopping with me!)
2 packages Yo-Plus yogurt 4-pks ($1.16 each with coupon)
1/2 gallon whole milk from local farm – $3.19

Total: $26.50 (saved $25.84 with coupons/sales)

Butter – $1.59
Birdseye Steamfresh veggies – used free coupon
Huggies CleanTeam wipes – free with coupon
Ronzoni pasta- $0.59 with coupon
5 Muir Glen organic tomato paste – free with $1/1 coupons
1 quart vanilla yogurt – $1.59
Plasticware – $0.77 with coupon
3 lbs onions – on sale for $0.69/lb
2 pkgs. Smart Chicken thighs – marked down to $2.20 and $1.95
5 lb bag of potatoes – $1.48

Total: $13.92 (saved $15.48 with coupons/sales)

I also did a quick run to CVS to finish out the Playskool deal. However, after coupons and ECBs, I only spent $0.39. Yay!

All totaled, we spent $76.48–about $0.75 shy of the cash I brought. Now we just have to see if all this food lasts us for the next two weeks.

Up next: The Two-Week Menu

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  • coleen says:

    Would it be possible for you to post your menu for the 2wks of groceries? I'd love to see what you'll be having. Thanks!

  • Anna says:

    Is this all the meat you will eat in 2 weeks? I see hot dogs and 2 packages of chicken, just wondering. thanks Anna

  • Anna says:

    Is this all the meat you will eat in 2 weeks? I see hot dogs and 2 packages of chicken, just wondering. thanks Anna

  • Christine says:

    We have tried the two week experiment, several times, and it works fairly well for us.The main reason why we stopped using that method, is because the fruits and vegetables were not lasting very well for two weeks.Blessings!

  • List Mama says:

    I do major shopping every 2 weeks, but after 1 week I do a minor trip to restock on milk, bread, produce, eggs. So far, I am lucky to have commissary privileges, but someday soon I will be scouring the ads looking for the best deals.


  • Kasey says:

    I would also love to see your menus for the next couple of weeks- my biggest roadblock to saving money seems to be MILK! Do you guys only use a half gallon of milk for two weeks or were you already stocked up somehow? We go through 3 gallons a week (2 adults, preschooler, and toddler) so milk is a major expense (usually at least $10/wk). I’m trying to see where the rest of my money “leaks” are so I can find a way to plug them up. I think diapers is definitely another one- $8/wk. And a picky toddler who will eat only goldfish crackers (though I buy cheapies), yogurt, and bananas…*sigh*

  • Andrea says:

    Gosh, and I remember when $75 got me through a MONTH of groceries when I was in college…Granted, I was just feeding me and the occasional friend who dropped in, but wow…*Sigh*

    I don’t really stick to any one plan when it comes to shopping – this week, I’ve already been at the store twice (I go from Thursday to Wednesday, when the Pick N Save ads turn over). Our 2nd anniversary is tonight (June 3rd), and my Dad’s birthday is later this week – I had some extras to stock up on. I tend to go about once a week though, for bread, milk, produce, etc. Otherwise, I’d say once a month for a super huge shopping trip of non-perishables and hygiene (not counting CVS).

    I guess it all depends on how motivated I feel! 😉

    Good job though on the chicken – our Walmart marks the Perdue chicken thighs down to $2.35 pretty frequently, and today I got two eyes of round beef roasts for 8.50ish each, plus country cut beef spare ribs for 10.13 (which will feed 5-6 people for a birthday dinner). All told, not too bad.

    And as far as the Aldi bread, WTG! They mark down the wheat and white about once a month or so here to a $.25 a loaf – I buy a huge amount, some gets frozen, some turned into croutons, some into stuffing (dried bread stuffing), and some gets dried out right away for bread crumbs. You can’t beat that!

  • Michelle says:

    Your list of what has been purchased looks a lot like me, but somehow mine adds up to $100! I thought I was doing well…

    Thanks for sharing – I am working on getting my total lower!

  • Robin says:

    I am curious how you like those Aldi trashbags. Let me know I considered trying them over the Heftys I normally buy at Walmart.
    I posted at frugalvillage forums and the response I got was that they didn’t like the Aldi bags.


  • Chris from St. Mary's says:

    You can freeze milk. Really. Doesn’t do anything to the milk, except preserve it. I work for a big family from Argentina. They freeze milk all the time.

  • Shannon says:

    I have been meaning to get a pic of our groceries, but I am always exhausted after unloading and dividing and putting away, lol. I tell the kids “when it’s gone, it is gone”. They know we aren’t going back for more chips or juice boxes, and they know how to figure out how much they can have each week.

  • becky says:

    Really, I don’t understand it, could you enlighten me? The majority of our food bill goes toward meat, we have meat with every meal (except during lent)! Does your family not eat meat? I would love to try to save money with your suggestions but from what it looks like my husband would not be happy without his meat and potatoes!

  • I’m curious since it’s an issue for me. How do you keep cool and frozen stuff cool and frozen when you go into different stores? In-trunk ice chest? Stops by home in between stores? Just let it melt? I try to plan to get my cold/frozen stuff all at my last stop, but that means I don’t have as much of a choice of where I buy things.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Crystal – I too only shop every other week and I have found it saves us a TON of money.
    In order to get my produce to stay fresh for two weeks I purchase “veggie bags” from Bed Bath and Beyond. They are about $8 for 20 bags (plus they always have coupons) and you can reuse them appr 20 times each. You would be amazed how fresh they keep things! I have had some veggies in the fridge for two weeks now and they are still fresh and crisp!

  • Katie says:

    How do you know which items to buy ahead of time in order to keep your budget so low? I tried to just buy things on sale and with coupons, and I still spent over $100 for 2 weeks! I would love to know your secret!

  • Margaret says:

    lol. Well, I feel a bit better about my spending now. 🙂 Many of the items in your list are things we regularly buy, but your Aldis has better prices! I watch for markdowns at our store, but I have never seen bread marked down that low, nor oranges or tomatoes.

    I am shopping 3 times during this two week period–one of the better stores splits up it’s sales, so that certain items are on sale for three days, and then that ends and other items are on sale for the next four days. Annoying.
    Anyway, I spent $65 at Aldis for most of what I need, and I’m hoping to spend $35 or less for the rest of it.

  • Jan says:

    We buy 1/2 gal milk, 1/2 gal orange juice and 1 loaf bread every week and I spend $10 of my budget on these 3 items alone! I tried buying bread from the outlet store- it is still $1 a loaf- but it gets moldy very fast.
    We limit ourselves to 4 oz. of OJ every morning to stretch it for the week and I don’t drink milk at all. I also asked hubby to stop making toast!

  • Jessica says:

    I have stumbled accross your site a couple of times and I LOVE the things you talk about, but I live in Canada and Im wondering if you know of any money saving/organizing sites that deal specifically with canadian stores and saving ideas??? thanks so much!!


  • Brandi says:

    I, too, have to ask the meat question…Do you have meats frozen from weeks previous? I did my shopping yesterday and spent about $110, BUT I bought enough meat that SHOULD last 3 weeks (we will see!)and we have a family of 6! Milk is a big expense for us, about 2-3 gallons a week! But I usually try to add 1 gallon during a CVS purchase!

    I did find some great close-out prices on a few things a Kroger so I stocked up and bought more than usual…hey, I may get 3 weeks out of this trip!!!

  • susan says:

    What about paper goods? I HATE spending money on toilet paper and would love some tips on how to save $$ where these goods are concerned! Great site…we are in a position now where we HAVE to find ways to save, or lose our house…times are really getting tough for everyone.

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