Okay, so let me start off by giving kudos to the women out there who coupon shop. That’s some hard work and dedication! My husband’s step-mom is an avid couponer, and she does great. You wouldn’t believe the amount of saving she racks up, but, honestly, that is not for me. However, I have figured out a way to save OVER $500 a month on groceries!
The Dreaded Coupon Experience:
I’ve tried coupon shopping before. First of all, I go into the store feeling completely overwhelmed. I cannot wrap my mind around the whole doubling up coupons thing, and once I get in line I have mini-panic attacks because I just know the person behind me is giving me the death stare. So, I end up caving in to the conversation I’m playing out in my head, that I think the people behind me are thinking, and I end up spending more because I put the more expensive items in my cart (because with the coupons they would end up being cheaper) –or– which is most often the case, I end up buying the more expensive item because I get to the register only to find out I forgot the coupons completely… this process is just NOT for me.
But, I still need to be frugal.
I mean, if I could show you the size of my husband (and his two minions) that I have to feed, you would understand that I need all the help I can get in affording our groceries –and let me clarify what I mean by “size” because if my husband actually stumbles across my blog and reads it for once *gasp*, he would have a heart attack lol he is not overweight, he is just a giant. A literal giant. We don’t call him our Hulk for nothing- I even think I’ve seen him turn green before once when he got super angry (; —
So, coming to the realization that couponing is not for me, I had to come up with another way to save us money. And that’s how I figured out…
How to save OVER $500 a month on our grocery bill!
The first thing I do is plan out our meals for the month.
Don’t know how to do a monthly meal plan? Check out my post here and I have broken down the SIMPLE process that works for me. I end up will a nice, master list of EVERYTHING we will need for the month.
I add this list to my clipboard, grab my pen, and then it is off to the next step…
our local wholesale store- Buying in BULK
We use Costco, it does cost a yearly membership fee of $50- but that’s for an entire year of bulk shopping.
I’m not sure about you, but every time I walk into those stores I get so excited. They have some of the neatest products around, but beware- if you stare at them too closely you can easily fall into their trance and buy that $20 tupperware set that you didn’t need… but it came with over 30 products!
But, that is what I have my list for.
I use it to help me keep track of what we need, but also the little things we pick up here-and-there that we all of the sudden have to have. I write down the prices for EVERYTHING that goes into our cart, and every couple aisles we stop and add up how much we have spent. We always round the prices up to the nearest dollar, to cover taxes and such. ($6.50 –> $7)
We set a strict budget of $500 for our entire trip. Yes, that may seem like a lot but let’s do a little math here for a moment. Normally, when I go to our local grocery store, or Wal-Mart, we spend -give or take- $250 on groceries. That’s PER WEEK. So that means we are averaging $1,000 each month in groceries.
So, if we can go to Costco, buy in bulk, and only go to the store twice per month (once at costco and once again to buy milk and fruit when they run low in the middle of the month) we can save over $500. I say over because we have only spent $500 at Costco very few times in the past two years we’ve been doing this. Normally, we spend anywhere from $320-$380 and that’s buying everything we need for the month! Then, that one other quick trip I mentioned before to get milk and fruit, at some point during the middle of the month, only ends up being about $30 because I already have everything else at home stocked up.
I will throw in here that sometimes (about 50% of the time) I will have to make a quick trip to the grocery store after Costco to get the little things that I do not need to buy in bulk. Normally, an ingredient or two for a recipe, but this shopping trip usually costs less than $10 because I just stick to only those few ingredients I will need for the month.
Making Your Trip Last for a Month
Now, I know what you may be thinking. How does this stuff last them a month? Meat? Cheese? Milk? Eggs? FRUIT?
Well, to be honest, some do and some don’t. Our meat, cheese, eggs, and even bread last us an entire month! We freeze our extra meat and cheese (yes- you can freeze cheese, we’ve been doing it for years now). With our eggs, they generally last us TWO months -if the date plays in our favor- because you get so many! Milk and Fruit we end up having to go back and buy once more, because that just wont last any family a whole month. But the process still works out great!
We normally end up spending about $400 a month on groceries
That’s it! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinners, and Snacks included! And it’s enough to feed my Hulk and mini-Hulk’s. We get lots of extras, like chips and snacks, and it works great throughout the school year to buy the kids stuff for lunches.
It takes me about an hour a month to plan out vs hours upon hours couponing — AND cuts our grocery bill by more than half! I’ll take it!
I can tell you that going into a big wholesale store, like Costco, with a list and a plan works out a lot better than walking in there just winging it. That is how you end up spending tons of money in there.
We always check out with two carts full of food and shock the cashiers on how little we spend. They can’t believe it- and I’ve actually become pretty well known there. I’m known as the girl with the clipboard (; They love asking us how much we think we spent before we start checking out and are amazed when we are only dollars off- darn taxes!
Now it’s your turn! Have you ever been bulk shopping like this? Do you have any money saving ideas for grocery shopping that doesn’t involve cutting coupons? Do you have questions? Ask! I’d love to hear from you (: