I have been inspired in the last month by many recent posts about meal planning and supermarket savings tips and thought I would give them a try.
First, I found these recent posts (see the first in the series here) from Like Merchant Ships where she plans a whole menu based on loss leader items at her local grocery store. (These are the well-discounted meat and produce items that grocery stores reduce the price in order to draw people into their store. They are usually prominently featured in their weekly ads.) It looked so easy! It makes so much sense to plan a menu based on items on hand or on sale at the store, rather than planning the grocery store trip around the meals.
After reordering my meal planning, I used shopping tips from Crystal. I thought I'd try my hand at couponing, but Kroger doesn't take printed ones from the Internet. So, I spent money and actually bought a newspaper. I never thought that I would bother to do this, but Sunday evening I trotted over to CVS to pick up my very own copy of the Houston Chronicle. I only had to fork over $1.75. I was thinking I would be fortunate if I found anything good at all, but I found about $7.00 worth of coupons to use this week alone, including a completely FREE, don't need to buy anything else box of Electrisol Dishwashing tabs (worth about $4.29). That was worth the price of admission alone.
Here's a run down of my purchases:
Kroger: Retail price $18.40
Card discount $3.25
Coupons $5.00 catalina from previous purchase at Kroger
$5.00 from Pillsbury Bake-Off entry
Total spent $5.15
Randall's: Retail price $16.45
Card discount $7.70
Coupons $4.29 for Electrisol Tabs
Total spent $4.46
CVS: Retail price $ 34.34
Card discount $7.90
Coupons $2.75 for various products
Total spent $15.39
Plus, $9.49 back in EB (my $5.99 ECB would not work, so technically I have $15.48 in ECB!)
Total: Retail price: $69.19
Out of pocket spent: $25.00 (that was not intentional, I swear!)
My favorite find was the $1.00 bag of Starbucks Winter Blend coffee in the bargain bin at Randall's. This unfortunately didn't make it into my picture (I left it on my counter!). The kitty is playing with the plastic baggie holding the tomato. She loves plastic baggies.
This probably won't be a typical week for me, since I had those two $5.00 coupons for Kroger, and I didn't need to purchase meat. I love the strategy of using coupons for prices already reduced with the store card. Being creative with the loss leader meats and produce is another wonderful tip to save money. My favorite of all has to be CVS and their Extra Care Bucks system, which I've been using for about a month now. If you're not familiar with this, click here. It's actually very easy once you get the hang of it.
I know to many it may seem ridiculous to spend so much time trying to save money that it seems like I might be Ebenezer Scrooge! And I know that many people simply don't have the time or desire to shop this way. But for me, not only do I enjoy the game of saving money at the grocery store, I love that I'm being a better steward of the money we have. To me, I'm not being miserly. Since I'm spending less on groceries, it means the more I have to give away. I love how Crystal can spend $35 on groceries and have food left over to donate. It makes all the thriftiness worthwhile.