I’m on a mission this year: spend $80 or less per week on groceries for my family of four! After reconciling all our expenses for 2009, all the while remembering the splurges during a special family celebration and replenishing of food storage, I realized I could and would do better in 2010. With the skills I’ve obtained, and the deals on some web sites I’ve discovered, “I hereby pledge to lower my food budget this year!”
TA-DAAAAAHHH! I did it! Came in way under budget for the year! You’ve seen me chronicle the year’s grocery shopping, and I did get through 2010 not only unscathed, but also sittin’ pretty darn, well, pretty. This week I did a “regular” shop, but only hit two stores because of, ummm, an unexpected illness in the family. Here’s where my money went:
Bag N Save: Our Fam cereals 1.39, Old Orchard Healthy Balance .99, produce, special salad fixin’s, whole wheat bread 1.68, and tortillas 1.49. Total for food only: 34.73 I also got a snow shovel and some other non-food stuff.
Aldi: Milk is still at my favorite price of 1.79/gallon! Chips for The Game, as well as cheese dip, crackers, lunchmeat, 1.39 pancake mix to make 100 pancakes for the freezer, and CHOCOLATE. Total for food only: 20.71
For groceries only this week, I spent just 55.44! This puts me at $565.39 UNDER budget for the year! Woo-HOO! $500 of that went to a return trip to Mt. Rushmore (where we did finally see the faces, thankyouverymuch). The rest goes toward a particular Christmas gift purchased with no interest for a year.
How did I do it? Sales, coupons, price matching. Deal scrounging, basically. We ate well — too well, sometimes. We had guests, splurged a little here and there, and enjoyed terrific, local, seasonal foods. I cooked quite a bit from scratch, freezing meals and ingredients along the way. And don’t forget the 600 cookies!
Certain coupons were extremely helpful this year. The $2 Smart Chicken coupon (no longer available to print but good thru March) yielded pounds and pounds of FREE chicken of various cuts. Some $1 burger coupons (thanks, QSM!) yielded Cheap burgers (.50 for (4) 93% lean burgers in one case). Various Target/manufacturer coupon stacks gave me groceries for pennies and/or FREE! And the occasional luck-out deals on Gold N Plump chicken at Target, with Target close expire peelie coupons plus manuf printables were instrumental in providing more FREE and Cheap chicken. QSM also passed along some ham, which we loved.
V8 soups for FREE, Campbell’s for Cheap/FREE, and .25 canned vegs let me contribute to Project Hope regularly. Let’s not forget about the cereal deals this year! Coupons with loss leaders (Suave, Colgate) led to HBA donations, as well.
For items not on sale with coupons, I went to Aldi. You simply cannot beat the 1.79/gallon milk! Deals often, steals occasionally, happy faces always. And it’s right across from No Frills, which price matches to my heart’s delight. Price matching to Our Family brand at No Frills with Our Fam coupons: awesome!
For more details, feel free to browse the site, particularly the $80 Per Week in 2010 category.
So, what’s ahead for next year? I’m keeping my $80/Week budget! I know, right? I’ve considered the eating patterns of my teen and tween, my changing work/life style, and the fact that I might not be able to put in my square foot garden this spring after all (I will try, though!). I’m predicting grocery prices will go up significantly, and I’ll be glad to stay within the set budget.
We’ve truly been blessed to have our daily needs provided for, and to help others. So I will continue to post *FP (food pantry donations) when I find deals at local stores. And, I will begin a new occasional series, Give It Back!, which will not only list pantry donations, but also show you how your donations help others in the Omaha community.