Wahoo! The weekend is finally here. I hope that you all have some fun plans on your agenda. We have a play date lined up, a music class, and some birthday celebrating with friends on the agenda for Saturday. Sunday will be church and hitting up the grocery store for the week, followed by the Superbowl. We will be rooting for the Falcons because #anyonebutthepatriots
One of the things that I have been trying to focus on a bit more is cutting our grocery costs. In the past, I have been bad about grocery shopping too often, picking things up randomly, not meal planning, throwing food away, etc. However, since my son has been born and I have been cooking more, I am trying to be more cognizant of developing at least a loose meal plan, being more aware of prices of items, and finding foods that are both high-quality and inexpensive. Right now, we are spending approximately $75-100 a week on groceries for a family of three, but I would like to get that number down to about $50-75 a week. I base this number on cost per meal. I try to keep our dinner cost at a maximum of $10/meal total for both Kenny and I. With some awareness and a basic plan, I feel like that is a realistic grocery bill for my family. **Obviously, if you coupon regularly, your bill could be significantly lower. I do clip coupons but this varies week-to-week, therefore I am not adding this in as a factor**
First off……..what do I consider to be weekly groceries?
When I talk about weekly groceries, I am referring strictly to food. I am not including health/beauty aids/toiletries in that list, nor am I including diapers/wipes. I rarely need to buy toiletries, and my shampoo lasts forever since I welcomed this Batiste Dry Shampoo Original Clean & Classic 6.73 fl. oz (2 pack) into my life. Diapers/wipes are bought pretty much monthly, so once a month or so we can anticipate a higher grocery bill. Diapers also make great gifts! Honestly, when someone asks what Gavin wants for his birthday or Christmas, I always suggest diapers, as he already has so many toys. My mom often generously purchases diapers for Gavin quite a bit, which is awesome. #nannyoftheyear
Here is the kicker……I also do not include “adult beverages” in my grocery list. This would skew the cost like crazy. One month I may actually keep track of how much we spend in this area. I am sure if we cut back and invested that money we could likely retire earlier, but some sacrifices are just not worth it to me. #wineisgoodforyourheartright?
Where do I grocery shop?
If there is something the Raleigh area has a lot of, it is grocery stores. There are roughly 10 places I could grocery shop in the 3 mile radius surrounding my home. Over the years, I have narrowed down the majority of my shopping to the following 4 stores.
Kroger- Proximity is key here. The Kroger is located across from my school and Gavin’s daycare, so I regularly pop in here. I find the groceries to be inexpensive, and the produce is some of the best quality I have found for the price! Kroger no longer doubles coupons, which is a bummer, but they do have electronic coupons you can also download, which is awesome. In addition, I buy gift cards here, as they have an awesome selection, and you can earn fuel points for Kroger gas. (I cashed in my points a couple of weeks ago and filled up for $1.87/gallon!)
Walmart– Some people just don’t like Walmart, and I get that. But seriously, the prices are amazing. The Walmart Supercenter in my town is amazing, and I would shop there in a heartbeat over the Target near my house. (For various reasons, I am not a fan of my neighborhood Target. I feel it is likely just a management issue, though, as other Targets seem to be run far more efficiently). If the large size of Walmart is off-putting to you, check out the Walmart Neighborhood Markets. My sister-in-law hates Walmart, and is now a convert due to the neighborhood stores. You can purchase all groceries there, and the small atmosphere is far less daunting. Wine is also pretty cheap 🙂
Aldi- There is a location in the next town over, so about 15-20 minutes from my house. While this makes it not exactly convenient for me, I do try to make it there once a month. If you have never been before, don’t wait! I think I paid about $1.50 for a gallon of milk, and they also have great meats, cheeses, and frozen foods. Produce is cheap also, although I will say that it tends to go bad pretty quickly. Therefore, I still tend to buy more of my produce from Kroger. Although I rarely buy organic unless there is a significant sale, I understand that Aldi is now adding many organic items to their line. Also, they have recently created a line of baby products, including diapers, formula, bath products, pouches, etc. I plan on trying out their diapers the next go-round, so I will keep you all posted! **If you are an Aldi’s newbie, remember to bring a quarter for the cart, and bring your own bags!**
Costco- While my husband is usually the one who pops into Costco on occasion, I have been a couple of times since they opened a location close to our house. (Side note…..Gavin LOVES Costco for all of the free snacks they pass out. It makes for a great activity on a cold winter day). Costco prices are hit or miss……often times you can find just as good of deals, or better, at the grocery store. We do buy diapers there, and can attest that the Kirkland brand is excellent and has been great for Gavin. FYI…..Costco has an amazing bakery with delicious cakes!
And there you have it. Our shopping locations in a nutshell. Since I did a fairly large shopping trip earlier in the week, I am pretty much set until next weekend. However, beginning the week of February 13th, I will be tightening the reins to make sure I stay in the $50-75 weekly range. I will be reporting back on the blog to let you know about my progress!
Other grocery store deals….
Harris Teeter- They periodically have super double coupons, where you can stock your pantry.
Publix- We are getting a new one in my neighborhood, but from what I understand they frequently run BOGO deals, and they have excellent subs, as well as an outstanding and reasonably priced bakery. In fact, we ordered both Gavin’s first birthday cake and baptism cake from Publix, and I was very pleased with both.
Fresh Market- Shockingly, they do have deals! My friend Lindsey just informed me that Fresh Market has sales on meat every Tuesday….as low as $2.99/lb! I hesitate to go because I fear any impulse purchase I would inevitably make would offset any potential savings, but if you can resist the temptation of gourmet chocolates and coffee, go for it! I will say that Fresh Market has the best roses I have ever found. My husband would always buy me a dozen roses from there, and for $9.99, they would still be in bloom three weeks later. It’s worth a trip for fresh flowers.
Additional money-saving tips…..
- Coupon as you are able to.
- Shop the sales, and stock your pantry/freezer accordingly.
- Never throw away leftovers. They make excellent lunches!
- Go meatless a couple of times a week. Not only is it healthy, but inexpensive. Pasta, grilled cheese with fruit, and breakfast for dinner are some of our (cheap) favorites.
- Limit eating out to once a week with a coupon, and look for drink specials and places where kids eat free. If you are in the Raleigh area, this site will help you out. http://fun4raleighkids.com/Whats-Happening/Kids-Eat-Free/
- Also if you live in the Raleigh area, check out Southern Savers for more tips. http://www.southernsavers.com/
- Take advantage of meal delivery service promotions like Hello Fresh, Home Chef, etc. I personally find these services to be very expensive if you decide to commit, but as a new customer you will get a fantastic deal. I did Home Chef over the holidays and received three dinners for $30. Plus, you then have the recipe and can replicate at home for a fraction of the cost.
- Resist impulse purchases
- Do not grocery shop when you are hungry! (Or Amazon click after wine, but that is a whole different post….)
- Try to leave children at home. However, I realize this is not always possible. Until the mecca comes in a couple of years, and you will be able to drop the kiddos off at the daycare. If you must bring your children, be organized and on a mission! If you are not, your kids will sense weakness and you will end up with three packages of Oreos in your cart. #yesiamthatmom#sadly
- Use the grocery pickup services if needed. Walmart and Harris Teeter both offer these services for a nominal fee. You can order online, and have groceries delivered to your car upon arrival. This saves time, and will prevent you from buying things you don’t need. Especially helpful if you work and have small children.
Well, there you have it! I hope you all were able to take a couple of suggestions from this list and try them out.
Tell me….where do you grocery shop? Any tips you want to share for saving money at the store?