Slashing Our Grocery Budget | Frugal Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012

My husband has given me a challenge: slash our monthly grocery budget by $40-$50. We're behind in meeting our financial goals so it's crunch time. We're trimming wherever we can and grocery shopping is my domain. I'm definitely up for the challenge and I've been doing my research.

I'm ready to try meal planning, I've signed up for every grocery loyalty program for the stores I shop in, I've organized my Google Reader so that the frugal blogs I read most are at the top, we got rid of our ink sucking printer (more on that later) and my coupon binder is finally complete. The only thing that's going to suck is how much time I'll be spending in the stores.

I got a start on re-building our stockpile a few days ago. We needed cereal and the deal at Vons was great. But, with the way so many So Cal stores have changed their coupon policies, I can't walk in and use all the coupons I have in one transaction. In most stores, I can only use 4 at a time, only one will double and sometime there's a specific dollar amount I need to purchase. All the rules will mean more trips to the stores. Case in point, the cereal.

This is three trips to two different Vons stores* plus Target for the coffee creamer (the meat was a happy accident). The in store coupon only for the cereal only allowed me to buy 4 boxes at a time. Between the paper and e-coupons I had 10 to use. Fortunately, I live in an area where almost all the stores I shop in are close enough that I can combine errands.

But, I think that, in order to make the absolute most of my coupons, I'm going to have to commit to scheduling more trips to the stores. Which means staying organized and getting my hand on more coupons so I can take advantage of more deals. If I'm going to go to a store three times, I might as well get all of the deals**! It seems I'm closer to becoming an 'extreme' couponer than I thought.

So, let me ask you: how willing are you to run multiple errands to take advantage of a great grocery deal? What types of deals do you consider too good to pass up?

*Pictured: 16 boxes of cereal, six creamers and 6 packages of ground beef.
*I don't buy things we don't eat or don't have room for just because they're on sale. You will not find pallets of soda in my garage.


  1. Sigh....I will never be able to do this because I have two major things working against me: My boys. They think when I "stock up" that means they can eat twice as much. Drives me NUTS. I feel like I need to have a secret hiding place! But, I also work full time so there is just no way I can handle anything but my once a week trip to the local Vons with an *occasional* Wal Mart or Trader Joes run thrown in.
    My trick besides using all available store/club discounts is to keep my iphone calculator out and keep track of what is put in my cart. That's the best way to keep me within my budget for that trip.

  2. I'm just not willing to go to that many stores. The amount of time spent doing it is costly too, in terms of money - not to mention the price of gas. Admittedly, I'm a poor couponer, period. I occasionally clip coupons and even put them in my purse or wallet for use, but constantly forget to pull them out at the register. I have lots of room for improvement on this one.

  3. Christina, my son sees it the same way. I'm on him almost daily about only opening one package of something at a time! He has three boxes of the cereal I just bought open. Grrr!

  4. Carol, getting started is the hard part. As I said I don't really go out of my way. One Vons is next to one of my carpool pick up spots, the other is next to the library we go to at least once a week. It can be done!

  5. I simply don't have time to make multiple trips to the stores - I work outside the home, and between homework and housework and other commitments, it just isn't cost effective for me. And my kids don't carpool to school (2 bus riders and one who walks) or anything similar. BUT, that being said, I do look at what is on sale, I do have grocery 'loyalty" cards, and I do stock up on things that we use. I also do costco shopping for things like peanut butter, nutella, etc. I cut coupons, and often our stores have buy one get one free, or 10 for 10 dollars on canned goods, and so I buy what I can store (Living in the south, I don't like to buy too many grain based foods ahead of time....bugs galore). But with gas so expensive, I really try to plan out my errands for one day in a circle or close to it. If I make a list? That is my BIGGEST time and money saver. I also try to make my list by what is on sale that week. And love my iphone calculator. But no, I don't do the multiple trips to a store to use coupons. I buy what I can, and go from there. I figure right now my time is worth something as well. If your system works for you, however, that is great!

  6. If the deals are REALLY good I am sometimes willing to make an extra trip - but usually I try to keep it as steamlined as possible - I LOVE coupon deals at Target too!


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