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This week’s $42 shopping trip and menu

Kathrynne and I went shopping at Walgreens, Dillons, and Aldi on Saturday afternoon but I didn't get this posted on Saturday evening like I'd hope since we were gone until late in the evening and then as soon as I sat down to post our electricity went out unexpectedly and was off for a few hours. How's that for a good excuse (and a very long run-on sentence)?!

At any rate, here's what we bought:


We purchased Ritz crackers, Sambucol, and fillers at Walgreens and somehow ended up spending $0.14 out of pocket for all that! Reminds me of the great deals I used to get at CVS!

We mostly bought sale items, free-or-cheap-after-coupon deals (including diapers for $3.97 using the $3/1 Kroger Comforts coupon) and mark-downs at Dillons and spent a total of $22.50. Plus, we received $2.50 back in catalinas for buying the two Glucerana cereals (which were already free plus overage after the $5/1 coupon!).

Then we hit Aldi for their sales and some staple items and we spent $19.33 there.

All totaled, we spent $41.97 for groceries this week. We had raised our grocery budget up to $60/week until the end of my pregnancy, but I'm attempting to whittle it back down to $40 or $45/week so we can get back on our usual budget after the baby is born. Our pantry and refrigerators are staying so well-stocked that I think it's going to be very doable, but we'll see!

For those who enjoy seeing what we're eating, here's this week's menu:

Blueberry pancakes, yogurt, fruit
Green smoothies, banana bread
Cereal, fruit
Scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, fresh juice
Cranberry pumpkin muffins, fruit, yogurt
Biscuit twists, fruit, scrambled eggs

Shrimp, steamed veggies
Baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese
Egg salad sandwiches, carrots
Cheese slices, grapes, pumpkin muffins
Spinach brown rice and cheese casserole, fruit
Leftovers x 2

Ritzy Chicken (make an extra to freeze for after the baby is born), cranberry bread, grapefruit
Homemade pizza (make extra dough to freeze for after the baby is born), fruit
Steak, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, cooked carrots
Farmhouse chicken (make two extra pans to freeze for after the baby is born), homemade bread, veggies, grapefruit
Mini Meatloaves (make extra to freeze for after the baby is born), brown rice, veggies, grapes
Steak, homemade bread, grapefruit
Dinner out

Cranberry pumpkin muffins
Banana bread
Granola bars

I'm working on stocking up our freezer for after the baby is born so I'm slowly incorporating the meals I want to make and freeze into our weekly dinners. It's much easier and manageable for me to do it this way right now. You can see the list of meals I'm hoping to have our freezer full of before the baby comes here.

For more menus this week, check out I'm An Organizing Junkie.

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

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  • Carrie says:

    We did pretty good this week using the $10/$50 that was offered at Dominick’s/Safeway.

  • laura says:

    I agree not sure if banana nut cheerioes are as good as the “regular ones” my favorite ones but I am looking forward to trying them. Who knows they may become my new fav????


  • Stacey says:

    With the farmhouse chicken at what point do you freeze it? I am doing freezer meals as a frugal baby shower gift and this would be good.

    Money Saving Mom here: I’ve never made this before, but I just made up a triple batch yesterday and actually froze it in pans all pre-made. I’m not sure if this is the best way to do it or not but that’s how I ended up doing it since I had extra pans and the freezer space. (I’m thinking it might be better to just make up the chicken mixture and stick that in a freezer bag and then thaw and make up the stuffing mix right before cooking.)

  • Yea for your well stocked pantry. Mine is overflowing and the freezers are stocked, so I need to stop shopping for a bit. :)Such a great problem to have.

  • Melanie Wood says:

    My son who just turned one loves Cheerioes and mashed up banana,and I love eating regular cheerioes with cut up banana.So I think this combo is going to be great and I cannot wait to try it!

  • Dawn Barnes says:

    Just signing up for the Cheerios giveaway. Have a great day!

  • Melanie Wood says:

    My son who just turned one loves Cheerioes and mashed up banana,and I love eating regular cheerioes with cut up banana.So I think this combo is going to be great and I cannot wait to try it!

  • Melanie Wood says:

    My son who just turned one loves Cheerioes and mashed up banana,and I love eating regular cheerioes with cut up banana.So I think this combo is going to be great and I cannot wait to try it!

  • Carol Brockman says:

    I love your site. Youv’e tought me soooo much about coupons

  • Kate B says:

    I scored at CVS today!!!
    Between coupons and extra care bucks I got the following for $3.42

    3-boxes of hair dye
    1-rather large box of “Q-tips”
    1-lip gloss (for a birthday party gift)
    2-bottles of conditioner
    1-bottle of shampoo

    I usually don’t do THAT well.
    The hair dye will go to our local women’s shelter.

  • Gabrielle Carmichael says:

    my son will love a box of cheerios he can eat them like candy.

  • Stephanie says:

    Thank you for posting this. I went way over budget this week and was feeling frustrated! Your menu and grocery plan inspires me to keep going and tweaking my plan to get my bill down. We seem to hover at 125-150 for a family of 5 and I would love to see it get down to $85!

  • Kristie Blyseth says:

    Thanks so much for all you do. I want you to know what your website has meant to me and my family. In the last 16 months, my husband was laid-off from his job twice. Prior to that, we were not good servants of the gifts that the Lord had blessed us with in terms of finances. Even though I am older than you, you have taught me so much about how to live and truly enjoy what we have. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are an inspiration as are many of the other bloggers on your site. God Bless you all!

  • beth says:

    hey crystal! where do you find the glucerna cereal? we don’t have cvs or walgreens here in alaska…but do have walmart! yipee! haha…anyway, where is it at in the store? thanks! good shopping trip!

    Money Saving Mom here: I found mine in the health and beauty section at our Kroger store. (By the EAS bars, SlimFast shakes, etc.) I’m not sure if this is where they are located at Wal-Mart, but it might be worth looking.

  • barb says:

    When you get the time – ha!, would you be willing to post he price of each item, where you got it and the coupons you used for a grocery trip? I just never seem to be able to spend as little as you do and get so many groceries.

  • Jenny McCreary says:

    I have learned so much from your site. Still a relative newbie (about 5-6 weeks), I’m continuing to figure this whole thing out. Now my homeschooled kids are doing “real life” math, helping me get the best deals. It’s so fun! Today I had a great Kroger run, spending $66 on what would have previously cost me easily $125 on things like meat/chicken, laundry detergent, 6 boxes of fruit snacks, 2 bottles of deoderant, multiple toothpaste/brushes, and other cheap staples. I find myself no longer wanting to eat out all the time! God has blessed our household through your ministry. Thanks, and by the way, I would love a fruit basket and coupon for BN Cheerios!

  • Melanie Wood says:

    Me and my one year old son love eating bananas and cheeroies together,I mash the bananas for him and put them on his cheeroies and I cut mine up and put them on mine.We go through about a box a week and alot of bananas so this combo sounds so great together I cannot wait to try them.

  • Where are the greens for your green smoothies? Do you have a garden as well that I’ve missed somehow?

    What size diapers did you buy and how many are in that package?

    Money Saving Mom here: The spinach I’m using for the green smoothies was something I picked up two weeks ago. It was a great big tub of organic spinach and it needs to be used up so I figured green smoothies would be a great way to do so!

    My oldest daughter is still wearing diapers at night (she just turned 4) and, gratefully, doesn’t break out with the Kroger Comfort brand so we’ve been using these for her. The size 5 package contains 30 diapers and lasts us 30 days–which works out perfectly since these usually go on sale at least once a month for $6.97 or less and the $3/1 coupon resets every month. Yay for inexpensive diapers!

  • charlene says:

    Don’t forget caregivers has a $1 rebate per box for Glucerna cereal!

  • Sharon says:

    I’m curious. How far would you travel to get to an Aldi? There’s one about 10 miles from us, I’ve just never been sure that it was worth the trip.

    Money Saving Mom here: I’d travel 10 miles to an Aldi definitely, but I’d probably just go once every other week or once a month and stock up on their staple items which are cheaper than the local grocery store. I’d definitely encourage you to check it out, compare prices, try shopping there 1-2 times per month and see how it affects your budget.

    You could also try to combine trips so if you’re going to be in the area of the Aldi, you plan to make the stop then to save you time and gas $$.

  • Melissa says:

    Excellent job! I wish we had an Aldi’s here (I’m in southern CA). Also, can anyone tell me what a catalina is? I’ve run across this several times on your site, and I’m not sure what they are. Thanks!

    Money Saving Mom here: A catalina is a coupon that you can use like cash on your next shopping order. The little machines at the register that print these out are manufactured by Catalina so that is where the term originated from.

  • I love your menu planning. I feel like you are a good balance between saving money and still feeding your family nutritious food. Whole grains, fresh vegetables, and home made meals are where it’s at! Thanks MSM!

  • I was able to score a free pack of pork chops and a pack of ground beef from Publix for .10! Yipee!

    I also ended up with tons of free nuts and trial mix along with free mini first aid kits @ cvs.

    Kroger wasn’t so good but it still was a 100% savings because I was able to put the total on my gift card (kroger card). I did run across a coupon on their comforts baby formula for $2 off wipes and got my wipes for free!

    I feed a family of 6 on a $100 weekly budget but most of the time I don’t come near that total!Last week I spent under $30! I am a true stockpiling shopper and I only buy the best deals each week! Free or close to it if I can! It took me about 6 months to get to this point…but I refuse to turn back to my old shopping methods now that I see how much money I can save!

    This is my breakdown so far for this year!
    Total Annual Budget: $5200.00 ($100/week)
    YTD Spending: $434.90
    YTD Remaining: $4765.10
    Total YTD Savings: $2380.69

    I break my shopping trips down to the price and what coupon I use so that you can see how I do it…this helps others out tremendously…too see how my brain works while shopping! LOL (for this weeks trips)!

    Crystal…you truly were the inspiration of my blog. I wanted to initially help my friends and family and now I help thousands! I love giving back and sharing my knowledge as you do!

    God gave everyone on earth a skin…this is my skin…and I have jumped in!

    Thanks for all of the great work that you do for us each and every day!

  • Geri Lynn Wuerdeman says:


  • Tricia says:


    I can’t wait til I can save that much, every week I am learning more and more, I wish I had learned about couponing 6 years ago!

  • Sonnee says:

    You are truly an inspiration to many of us. Thank you for all you do to help families save money.

  • Aubree Wattenbarger says:

    My son loves bananas and Cheerios. I havn’t tried this yet but I need to give it a shot!
    Also, I loved your menus for the week. As a former guest asked What is Ritzy Chicken? It sounds good.
    Thanks for all the coupon deals listed by store.

  • NancyW says:

    I may have to be tutored by you some day. How you and others manage to get such great deals is beyond me. It almost stresses me out trying to figure out coupons, sales, menus,etc. Can you really teach an old dog new tricks. One thing I will mention about the Ritzy Chicken, which is also a favorite of our family, we make two casseroles for the six of us and not much is left. To one of the casseroles we add chopped broccoli. The females in the family really enjoy the extra flavor. The males eat it plain.

  • Heather Barnett says:

    Hello thankyou so much for all the great tips. I’m going to school full time and have two daughters to support so this has helped out a lot. We love honey nut cherrios too!!! It would be nice to try a new flavor.

  • Brooke P says:

    I have learned so much from this website. God bless you! I have 5 kids who eat me out of house and home. I already do what I think is a fair job on my grocery budget. I keep it to around $450 a month for 7 people. That’s using lots of fresh veggies and fruits and baking EVERYTHING from scratch — except for Costco bread. My kids consume a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, and a loaf of bread every day. I can’t keep up with that!

    But, I have, thanks to your help, just started working the Walgreen’s system. My husband thinks I’m a rock star when I come home and say, Look, honey, I got this for free, this for free, this for free…


  • jessica says:

    Do you have a special diet while you are nursing? I found myself hungrier while nursing the first six months than while I was pregnant. I’m still nursing my 28 month old but usually just once or twice a day.

  • Jen says:

    I can’t wait to try the banana cheerios! I am getting pretty comfy with the Walgreens deals. Thank you so much for sharing. It is making a big impact on the family budget!

  • Laura says:

    HoneyNut Cheerios sounds good. I’m always willing to try something new…especially when there is a coupon involved! Banana nut bread sounds awesome…I may be getting inspired to bake this week! We eat it for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dessert too!

  • Suz says:

    Awesome shopping… now if only I could be as efficient as you in making out my meal plan too 🙂

  • Heather Snyder says:

    I have had trouble in the last month finding the four packs of Contenelle toilet paper at Kroger. I have two coupons expiring soon and can find it no where in our stores. My husband and I debated using the coupon to double and buy the bigger set but we don’t really need it at this time. Have any of your other readers had this problem or is my stores unique? (I say stores because we have several Kroger stores w/in 5 miles of us.

  • Emily says:

    Hello Crystal,

    I noticed that you make your own homemade bread quite often. Do you make whole wheat bread? If so, what techniques or ingredients would you recommend so that the loaf turns out closer to the lightness and softness of the store-bought loaves. Mine always ends up dense and heavy like banana bread.

    ps I am so sorry to hear about your reflux. I had this pretty bad with both my kids and I remember sleeping sitting up on the couch! Reflux can just be brutal. You are almost there though – thanks for including us in your adventure. We have completed our family at two kids – but I feel I can live vicariously through your adventures with 3!

    Thanks, Emily

  • Angie Baldwin says:

    WOW!! $40 a week — I thought I was doing good with my deal finding and couponing but you have certainly given me an eye opener of what a better job I can do!! I love love love these emails I get everyday! Especially the Walgreens weekly run-down!!! Thank YOU!!

  • Amy says:

    I enjoy your blog and I am impressed at how you keep your family on budget… I am new at this, but I have learned a lot of great tips already!

  • maria says:

    Thank you for all the great CVS tips – I’m new at CVSing and was so excited to go and OOP -0- but got a bag full of stuff using your coupons and 2 ECBs.

  • Nancy Morgan says:

    I LOVE your website-it’s my favorite frugal site and so easy to use. I’ve been wanting to try the banana Cheerios, but everytime they are advertised on sale, the stores around here sell out. We only have one car, so I have to wait and get the car to get to the stores!! Thanks for all you do to helf us save money! Nancy Morgan

  • Stephanie says:

    Egg Salad Sandwiches. I haven’t had those in FOREVER. But they sound yummy…

  • Lisa Krzyzaniak says:

    Thanks for this giveaway, Crystal, and thanks for all you do. You inspire me every single day!

  • Teecy says:

    You always have great information on your website and have really taught me have to spot a good deal and save money on everyday items. Saving money is very important to me in today’s economy.

  • Becky S. says:

    first visit to your website! heard wonderful things about it and am excited to learn from your experiences. I have a daughter in college and a 2 yr old daughter (pleasant surprise)- so i am really looking to cut costs. My 2 yr old loves cheerios and she also loves bananas, can’t wait to try these!!

  • Kristie H. says:

    Excited about the banana cheerios and the giveaway. My 16-year son has autism, is diabetic, and will eat very few foods. He will eat some cereals and banana pancakes, so I thought I could mix the banana cheerios with the low sugar cheerios for a somewhat healthier cereal. Gotta say I love the money saving mom website!

  • Peggy Smith says:

    We love Cheerios more than any creal, we eat them all the time. You can beat them for a quick snack.

  • Debbie P. says:

    I would love to try the banana nut cheerios! We love honey nut with bananas so I think we would love them!
    I am brand new to your site and am amazed by what you do. I am so inspired and also a little overwhelmed. I’m making a list and trying to get all of your great ideas organized so I can try them myself!
    It’s just three of us (my son is only 4 1/2 months old) but we spend well over $100 every week on groceries! I obviously have a long way to go! 🙂

  • Meridee says:

    I’m curious if your 40-50 dollar budget is just for food or is toiletrees (sp?) included? I want to do better. We (a family of 5) spend 500 a month on gas, toiletrees, food, medicine, clothes, birthday gifts etc. .Do you have it broken down like that? I’m wondering where I’m at? How much could I improve?

  • Becca says:

    Do you have a recipe for your blueberry pancakes?

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