Five Ways To Feed Your Family For Less (Even Without Coupons)

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.03.48 AM

I made a quick run to Kroger yesterday to pick up our groceries for the week, and was again reminded of just how important it is to really shop strategically whether I have a bunch of coupons or not. I literally only used two coupons on this trip, but my family's grocery bill for our entire week of meals and snacks was just $66 – here's what I bought:

 

(note – this sale is no longer available but the principle behind shopping this way still works!) 🙂

Bought 2 Kroger Cereal Bars $1.67

Bought 1 Kroger Grahams $2

Bought 1 Kroger Whip Topping $2.19

Bought 4 Kroger Betty Crocker Cake Mixes $.94, used $1/4 Betty Crocker Cake Kroger ecoupon

Bought 2 Turkey Hill Ice Creams $2.50 (regularly over $5!), used $1/1 Turkey Hill Ice Cream (could also use $1/2 Turkey Hill Ice Cream)

Bought 1 Kroger Pudding Cups $.89

Bought 1 Kroger Fruit Bowl $1.99

Bought 1 Kroger Cheese $3.79

Bought 1 Kroger Private Selection Cheese $1.99 after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought 7 Kroger Private Selection Yogurts $.39 after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought 1 Kroger Hot Dog Buns $1

Bought 1 Kroger Softsoap $1, used $.35/1 coupon from the 9/14 Smart Source insert

Bought 1 Kroger Turkey Breast $3

Bought 4 loaves and buns Kroger Whole Wheat Private Selection Bread $.99 after after Buy 4 Private Selections Save $1

Bought White Rain Hair Spray $1.29

Bought 2 lbs Bananas $.55/lb $1.11

Bought Bag Potatoes $2

Bought 2 Kroger Tomatoes $1.09

Bought 2 Ball Park Franks $2.99

Bought Cannelini Beans $1

Bought Kroger Condensed Soup $1

Bought Kroger Sour Cream $1.69

Bought Kroger Beans $.69

Bought 3 gallons skim milk $2.77

Bought Carrots $1.49

Bought 2 pounds grapes $1.69/lb.

  • Paid $66.63 after coupons for 1 weeks worth of groceries

 

 

So, if you're a big couponer you're probably not all that impressed with my deals (although that Turkey Hill Ice Cream savings was pretty exciting!) But, if you're a regular mom who just needs to learn more about how to easily save on your groceries each week, here are five ways to easily save.

 

(I'm all about easy – aren't you?) 😉

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.40.18 AM

1. Watch the price per ounce.

I needed a few cans of tomatoes for this Pasta Fagioli recipe, but didn't have any coupons with me. The “sale” price on the Del Monte were $1 per can, while the every day price of the Kroger brand was $.69! My family will never know that I dumped Kroger brand tomatoes instead of Del Monte into Mrs. Potts, but I saved 30% off the “sale price” on the National brand without clipping a coupon.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.46.03 AM

 

2. Look for in-store sales.

Through tonight Kroger is having a huge Private Selection sale where you can try out their “fanc-i-fied” store brands for a sale price, AND $1 extra off when you purchase four participating items. I love a fancy roll when making hamburgers or grilled chicken sandwiches at home, and to get them for $.99 (the same as the inexpensive low-end store brand) was an incredible deal so I stocked up.

 

They also had their whole wheat loaves on sale for $.99 after special savings, so I've stocked my freezer. This was a huge savings, and didn't require clipping a single coupon!

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.47.07 AM

3. Stock up on produce seasonally along with a sale.

My kids love fresh fruit, so I almost always purchase a bag of apples, some bananas, and at least one other fruit to last us through the week. This week grapes were on sale for $1.69/lb. which is a little more than I like to pay, but I know they'll eat through them, and it's a healthier alternative to other snack foods!

And, just by looking around I noticed that while the Granny Smith Apples were $3.99/3 lb bag, Paula Red Apples were on sale for just $2.49. My kids thankfully like them all, so I bought the Red Apples and saved $1.50, without a coupon in sight.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.52.01 AM

 

4. Use a coupon when you can. 😉

If you have just five minutes before shopping, scroll through the deals for your favorite store here on PPP and see if there's a deal or two worth grabbing. I literally spent 3 minutes looking through the Kroger updates, knew that I could get a good price on Turkey Hill Ice Cream and Soft Soap, and saved an extra $5 for about three minutes of effort. I'm thinking that's almost $100 as an hourly rate, and is totally worth it for me!

5. Menu plan, menu plan, menu plan (and make a thorough list before you shop.)

Odds are every time you set foot in the grocery store for “just one item” you find an extra three (or four or five) items to purchase. By having a menu plan and grocery list in place and really considering what your family needs for the entire week, you'll save a bundle on those little “extra” trips to the store.

 

Be sure to look over your family's weekly schedule before you  head out.  If you have snack duty for your child's school, a special get together or anything else that will require extra food, add those items to the list and limit your grocery stops as much as possible. AND, before you head out always shop your own kitchen first – I realized I already had all the meat, chicken, and pasta that I would need this week at home, so I saved by using what I'd stocked up on earlier, when those items were at stock up prices!

 

 

Your turn now! Do you have any tips on how to really reduce your out of pocket expenses even when you aren't using a ton of coupons? Coupon savings are the most fun for sure, but I'll take spending just $66 on a week's worth of meals whenever I can.

 

 

New to budgeting and don't know where to begin? Here are a few posts to you get started:

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Comments

  1. thanks so much for this post! this looks like exactly my shopping trips and always think I could be saving more or doing more cause I’m not going coupon crazy but with 3 kids under 6, this is where I’m at. Thanks for posting a normal shopping trip!

    • I think there are definitely seasons of your life where you have to give yourself grace, and especially if you know what your general prices are after coupons you can just make a few simple decisions to save without stressing too much over coupons! I definitely think it’s worth taking a few seconds to look at what savings are out there before shopping, but you don’t have to get every single deal (and can still save quite a bit.) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jasmine Felicia Wilson says

    I wish I was this good a shopping. I start off with a list, head to the store with my coupons, then I end up getting only half of the items I came in for.

  3. Rebecca Chadwick says

    I love this time of year when apples are in season. I found Gala apples at harmons for $.69 a lb and I will almost always choose the storebrand over a namebrand any day. Thanks for the great tips!

  4. guess you aren't shopping in the SF BAY AREA cause in NO WAY would you be able to get most of those things for near those prices…even shopping at Clearance Outlet store, and several other places, for me and husband and six animals, it is 200 dollars a week for basics we are NOT eating steak, worse there are next to NO kinda of deals with coupons any suggestions? I need help I am on disability ad the check goes only so far and I have nothing extra for needed things..

    • Hi Lisa,
      I also live in San Francisco. I buy most of our produce at the farmer’s market. I buy what’s in season and go from there. I shop at Costco and find there are good deals on things in bulk. I use apps like ibotta, and Cartwheel from Target, and try to match those deals up with sales and coupons at Safeway and Target. I try to buy what’s on sale and what’s in season. There is no way we can get the same deals that are found else where in the country, but there are still ways to make it by on a budget. Meal planning also helps me a bunch. Then we are less likely to say “Oh, there’s nothing for breakfast/lunch/dinner, so let’s eat out”. Oh! And there are also lots of food bank distribution points here in SF (churches and schools, for example) , including at my children’s schools. So most weeks one could pick up a bag of stuff to supplement, as well. Check out the San Francisco / Marin Foodbank to see if there are any near you.

  5. check your store rules for senior citizens…I shop at Tops and the first Tuesday they take 6% of the total bill for people over 50 years old. I do my monthly big order on that day . this is additional to coupons and store deals. good savings usually about 40 % or more for me

  6. I created seasonal menu calendars. I currently have 3. We get stuck in food ruts and I found making a month long calendar ensures variety within that month. We also eat differently during different seasons, so I made a few different calendars. This helps me plan ahead because I know generally what we will eat that month and can stock up when I see a deal. I’m always adding meals to the calendars to give us more variety. It’s working for us!

  7. Amy Davis says

    Just wondering what meats/proteins are you serving for the week?

    I just saw hot dogs & turkey breast

    Thanks,
    Amy

    • I stock up based on what’s on sale, so have plenty of frozen chicken and meat in my freezer. On the weeks that I stock up on chicken or beef, I usually spend less on everything else (because I have some in our stockpile!) I usually stay between $60 and $80 on the high end all the time for groceries – about $20 of which is fresh fruit and milk. I really just work to shop the sales ads really well along with some coupons, and it works for us! Hope that helps 🙂

  8. In what state do you live? I live in NJ and it seems impossible to spend the little a week. We are a family of four. I try to stay on a budget but I just struggle with it so much. Any tips?

  9. Laura Henderson says

    The Kroger stores in my area have crazy low prices on their store brand breads (way before their sell by date. I always look for bread, buns and sometimes doughnuts with a mark down sticker first. $0.29 for a loaf of bread or buns? $0.99 for organic multigrain bread? Done.

    • I LOVE when Kroger marks down their breads – I do the same thing Laura (but always wish I had a bigger freezer!) Thanks so much for the reminder – great tip!

  10. Where is the meat?

  11. I always spend to much at the grocery store .. need all the help i can get .. my goal this year is to spend less.

  12. One snack food hack we do is to buy the larger bags of chips and portion it into baggies-which can be reused as the kids empty out the baggie for a couple of times at least. Not only is this usually cheaper than buying the variety boxes of mini chip bags, but it lets me sneak off brand chips in with the name brand ones when there isn’t a good sale on brand name chips. The kids never know the difference because they don’t see the packaging.

Speak Your Mind

*