Thank you so much to everyone who weighed in on how they save money when grocery shopping! It was nice to hear that I'm not the only crazy person who grocery shops at two or even three different places in order to get the best deals.
Last week I decided to commit myself to seeing how much I could save on our grocery budget if I put some real effort into it. Turning it into a challenge to see how much we could save made it fun! (did I really just say that?) Each week, Joe and I have $100 set aside for groceries for the week. And each week, we spend almost exactly $100. It probably sounds like a lot for just two people, but we don't eat out very often (maybe once a week), so we eat a lot at home and take our lunches with us to work.
For this week's challenge, I took a multi-channel approach:
1. Coupon Clipping I clipped coupons from the Sunday paper and browsed a few sites like Coupons.com for products we typically buy. Many of you were right in saying that there aren't many great coupons for healthy items, but I did find some good coupons for coffee, cheese, milk and cereal.
2. Comparison Shopping The two local grocery stores we shop at are HyVee and Fareway. Each week these two stores have fliers highlighting their sales, as well as a few store-specific coupons. I found this to be the most effective method of saving money, especially on healthy items that we frequently buy. Instead of deciding ahead of time that we were going to buy pears, oranges and a certain type of cereal, I decided on what we would buy based on comparable items that were on special.
After I looked through the store specials and clipped my coupons, I made my grocery list, thinking about meals I could make with the items on special. There were also items on our shopping list that weren't on sale or special anywhere, such as ricotta cheese and spinach, but we bought those items anyway.
So how did we come out? We saved a lot of money and only ended up spending about $81 dollars! I was surprised at how much we got this week in comparison with other weeks while saving around $19. Here's what we snagged:
*4 Chobani yogurts
*Gallon 1% milk
*10 Dannon Light and Fit yogurts
*1 dozen eggs
*I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Dry Goods, Etc
*Whole wheat penne pasta
*2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*Peanut Butter Cheerios
*4 Cans Progresso Vegetable Classics Soup
*1 can corn
*Ketchup and mustard
*2 jars pasta sauce
*Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
*Tide laundry detergent
*Seattle's Best coffee
*2 containers blackberries
*4 Pink Lady apples
*1 pint strawberries
*1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans
*1 bag celery
*1 bag spinach
*1 bunch asparagus
Like I said, it was quite the haul! I've got a couple meals planned for this week (completely unusual for me), that I think Joe will be excited about. One of those meals is even a healthy casserole recipe I found from Cooking Light magazine, which is also out of the norm for me.
Bottom Line: Comparison shopping and coupon clipping (within moderation) works and is worth it, in my opinion. I was trilled with our finds and the fact that we didn't have to buy junk food or items we wouldn't normally buy in order to save money.