Friday, April 12, 2013

Help With My Grocery Budget

It had been very clear for quite a long time that as much as I stretched the ends of my monthly budget that the ends just were not, could not meet.  There are a lot of reasons behind that but a big culprit was my complete devotion to Whole Foods.  I took a lot of pride in buying high quality foods.  I was willing to give up a lot of things in my life in order to make weekly trips to the appropriately nicknamed "Whole Paycheck". However, despite my wanting to make it a priority it became very clear that I couldn't continue these weekly shopping trips without the kinds of sacrifices that I wasn't willing to make.  

Last fall I begrudgingly began shopping at other stores.  I was very clear that I was unwilling to compromise on quality just to save money.  I still wanted fresh food without a bunch of funny ingredients.  I immediately began seeing a 35-45% drop in my grocery bill. Ok, I had to admit that this was working.  I began digging a bit deeper.  I browsed the sales flyers and also did some price matching.  In my web search attempt to get the Shaw's flyer a few days early so that I could plan my shopping trips I came across this wonderful lady: Darlene.  She was my introduction to couponing.

I admit that not only did I believe that using coupons was a waste of time but I also thought that they were only for packaged junk food that people shouldn't be buying anyway.  I firmly believed (as many people do) that you could just buy a generic product and get the same savings without all of the work.  Well, I must say that I was wrong on both counts.  Very wrong.  It's impossible to count my savings or highlight all the amazing deals that I've gotten but I am most definitely hooked.

I've been able to stay true to myself in only buying high quality foods that I would have bought even if they were full price.  I've been able to spend a bit of time planning and I've reaped so many rewards.  It extends so far beyond saving on my grocery bill.  I feel like I finally have gained control back of my financial world.  I didn't achieve that simply by changing how I buy food but it is a big piece of the puzzle.  I hope to fill you in soon on other things I've done.

So, without further adieu here is just a very small sampling of things that I have very recently gotten for free or very cheap.
FREE over and over again!  Months ago I had a coupon for 75 cents off one.  They cost only 75 cents so they were free and each time the register spits out a coupon for another 75 cents off one.  So each week I pick one up and get another coupon.  I'm wondering how long this will go one.  I hope for a while because I love these!

FREE organic grape tomatoes (they were in produce clearance and I had a coupon.  Technically I made .02 cents!)

.66 cents each.  I've been making a lot of my cleaning products homemade but soap hasn't made that list.  These were on sale at Target.  I combined a Target coupon with a Manufacturer coupon for this great deal on natural hand soap and dish soap.

Both FREE!  I got the last of these rice mixes but I have coupons left for a couple more so I'll be heading back to the store.  I've been using tons of non-dairy milk in smoothies so the rice milk is a huge score!

Only .19-.29 cents each!  I've been able to do this a couple of times by stacking a store coupon from Whole Foods or Target with a high value manufacturer coupon.  I actually could have gotten some for free if I bought another type but I really like the sweet potato ones!

Oh, and back to Whole Foods.  I will admit in the beginning it was actually emotionally hard.  I felt so happy and fulfilled simply pulling into the parking lot.  I really missed it the first couple of months.  But a breakthrough happened last week.  I headed to Whole Foods to pick up some bulk foods items that it really makes sense for me to but there.  I had some coupons that I hoped to use but now that I was really paying attention to prices I was appalled and devastated (yes, I know that seems theatrical but sadly true) at how insanely exaggerated the prices were.  I actually felt stressed and couldn't wait to leave.  There is hope...


  1. I love couponing too. It's to the point that I can't pay full price for anything.

  2. This is a great post, Jen! I am at that place where I feel like couponing is a waste of time and only for prepackaged junk. You've inspired me to dig deeper and try harder! Where do you find the best stuff?

  3. Lisa, I love Shaw's because they double coupons and have good weekly sales. I also do great at Target because they have a bunch of their own coupons (available online) so you can stack one of their coupons with a regular manufacturer coupon for double savings!

    There are a few blogs that I "like" on Facebook if you want to take a look. They share all of the deals so you don't have to do the legwork!