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Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Shopping Trip: Feeding a family of 3 for $30 this week!

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Challenge: How to feed a family of 3 on a $30 budget

I gave myself a challenge not only to see how much I could buy with the $30 Kroger gift card (sent to me by MyBlogSpark) but to show you how easy it is to have a small budget and still feed a family of 3.

I couldn't really say...let me look in the pantry to see what I have because I have TONS of stuff. I decided to purchase meals based on things that most people do have at home (not what I have). Their are very few of us (but the number is growing) that have a year's supply of anything so I thought I would make this a more realistic shopping trip to prove the point.

Here are the meals that I came up with.

1-7 days
Grits & Eggs
Grilled Cheese or Cheese Toast

1. Chicken Salad & Baked Potato
2. Sandwiches
3. Tender Salad
4. Leftover Soup
5. Chicken Biscuits
6. Sandwiches
7. Egg Salad

1. Biscuits & Gravy
2. Baked Chicken - Rice - Green Beans
3. Taco Soup
4. Hamburger Helper (whole wheat stroganoff) - Green Peas
5. Homemade Baked Chicken Tenders - Macaroni - broccoli (in my personal stash)
6.Mexican Chicken Nachos w/ Refried Beans & Rice
7. Leftover night (anything remaining in the fridge from the week's haul!)

Warm Delights
Ice Cream
Rice Cakes
Sobe Drinks

Many of us already have a lot of items in our pantry at home. The best way to make a meal plan based on the weekly sales is to match as many items up at home to the meals that you would like to prepare based on the week's sale items.

We are big chicken eaters and don't mind having chicken often. As long as I change it up...it never gets old!

Things I already had at home:
Staples (flour milk sugar spices oil etc)
Rice - Green Beans - Dried Pintos - Broccoli - Potatoes - Canned Tomatoes/sauce
Condiments (mayo, mustard, ketchup, salad dressings, syrup,etc)
Drink Mixes (tea & Organic Lemonade)
Box Cereal - Peaches - Grapes

Shopping Trip Breakdown:

Green Onion Bunch: $.49
2 Onions: $.92
Strawberries: $1.99
Shredded Cheese: $1.60 (used Kroger .45/1 doubled coupon)
Sour Cream: $1.07 (Kroger Brand was cheapest)
Lettuce: $.99
Kroger Powdered Ranch Mix: $.79 (Hidden Valley was $1.89)
1 Can of Kroger Mexican Stewed Tomatoes: $.53
Eggs: On sale for .99 each
Box of Instant Grits: .99
1 Can of Corn: Value Brand was cheapest @ .65 (Walmart has Stokley's Brand for .58 per can! Cheapest in town right now for veggies!)
Tostidos Chips: $1.88 each with Mega Sale
Tostidos Salsa: $1.88 each with Mega Sale plus there was a $1 off coupon next to product: $.88

2 O.M. Bologna: Buy 1 Get One Free, used $1/2 IP coupon = $2.29 for both

Nature's Own Bread: $2 (there are some areas that I can't go down to store brand on...and this is one of them! This bread stays fresher longer than any other bread I have ever purchased. Sometime we go through 2 loaves of bread in 1 week and sometimes we go days before we touch a piece...it's nice to know that however often you eat it that it will be fresh!)

6 Sobe Life Waters: .49 each with Mega Sale, Used BOGO coupon that took off .99 from the regular price making them FREE!
1 Fiber One Yogurt 4 pk: $1.99 with Mega Sale, Used $1 coupon stacked with $1 eCoupon = FREE

2 Kraft Shells N' Cheese: Closeout Price: $1.19 each, used $1.50/2 IP = $.88 for both plus if I purchased 2 the there was a peelie for a FREE bottle of Kraft BBQ
1 Bottle of Kraft BBQ: $1.56, used FREE product coupon from Kraft Shells N' Cheese

Tyson Chicken: (2 pieces per pack) I looked for the smallest packs of chicken to get the best deals with my $1 off coupon!
1. $1.95 - $1 = $.95
2. $1.57 - $1 = $.57
3. $1.95 - $1 = $.95
4. $1.56 - $1 = $.56
5. $1.86 - $1 = $.86
I paid $3.89 for all of this chicken!

Ground Beef = $3.13 for a little over 1 lb (ouch...I only paid $3.89 for all 5 packs of chicken...see why it makes sense to buy things when they are on sale and stock up!)

2 cans of Grands Biscuits: .99 with mega sale and I stacked ecoupons plus the .40/1 coupon to get them for free!

1 Old El Paso Taco Shells: .99 with mega sale, used .60/2 coupon
1 Old El Paso Refried Beans: .99 with mega sale, included in .60/2 coupon above pl
1 Old El Paso Refried Beans: .99 with mega sale and use a $1 off peelie (free plus .01 overage)
1 Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: on sale for $1 (not in mega sale) used $1 off peelie

3 Hamburger Helpers @ .49 each (the whole grain stroganoff was cheaper than the other varieties that were .89...plus it was a healthier choice) used $1 off peelie from ground beef purchase. I paid .47 for all 3 boxes!

Tip: Each box suggest using 1 lb of ground beef! I will cook two boxes with 1 pound of ground beef to stretch the meals and have leftovers! Using less meat than a recipe calls for can really save you money! If I had bought 2 packs of ground beef it would've cost me over $6!

2 Boxes Betty Crocker Warm Delights: $1.99 each with mega deal, used .50/1 coupon stacked with .50 eCoupon = $.75 each

1 carton of Value Brand Ice Cream: $.99, used $1 off of any Ice Cream Peelie when you purchase 2 B.C. Warm Delights making it FREE plus $.01 overage!

1 pack of Betty Crocker Cookie Mix: $1.99 with mega sale, used .50/1 peelie coupons from a prior B.C. frosting purchase stacked with $.40 eCoupon= $.59

1 box of Kroger Baby Wipes: $1.89, used $2/1 Kroger coupon adjust to make it FREE!

Quaker Rice Cake Snacks: $.49 with mega sale

My Grand Total Was: $92.58 before sales and coupons.
Total After Sales & Coupons: $34.43
I used the $30 gift card and paid the remaining tax of $4.43 with cash.
A 64% Savings!

I don't normally shop this way and it was really hard going back to this method. It took me so long to prepare a list and a menu based on the sale items.

I stockpile with my purchases. I can just look at what I have at home to make my menu out for the week! I only purchase what is free or close to it each week. When I run low on a necessity such as meat or vegetables etc I slack off of the "Close to it" purchases or even sometimes skip shopping all together for a couple of weeks to build my budget money up to make the bigger purchases (such as meat when it goes on sale).

I am tipping my hat to those of you who shop this way each week. This is the way I started out shopping with coupons and it did take longer for me to do. After about 6 months of paying around $150 - $175 per week in groceries (buying what I would normally buy plus stockpiling and trying to figure it all out at the same time) I dramatically reduced my bill to only $50 per week. I have had changes in my home that have affected how I purchase items (we were up to a family of 6 for a while on a $100 weekly budget) over the last year but we are back to normal now! It starts off expensive but over time the amount you spend will be reduced and in the long run...it pays off big time!

For the beginner's...I hope that this has helped you better understand the method of shopping the sales with coupons. For the rest of you...I just hope that you enjoyed the challenge as much as I did!


Erica Davis said...

Very AWesome trip!

Chicagolandia said...

I love how you broke everything down - great tips, great meal listing - it's all good!

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