March 12, 2009

How Do You Only Spend $40/week on Groceries?

I've had lots of people ask how we only spend $40 a week on groceries.  So I've decided to let you in on some tips on how I've learned to cut back on spending.  

I've learned the most about cutting back on spending money from and CouponMom.  Do check out their blogs/website when you have time.  The following is an article that my mom sent me that pretty much sums it all up on how I have found to save money on our grocery bill.  ***I've put my own two cents under each title, to share my experiences.


By Katie McCaskey,

How is it that some people seem to get ridiculous savings with coupons — and some of us can barely remember to take our canvas bags to the grocery store, let alone remember to bring coupons? The answer is simple. It takes time to plan a grocery shopping trip. But the time invested can yield big savings!

Here are some tips shared in the free e-book, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half” from

1. Know Your Top 10 Grocery Items.
What do you consume the most? For example, growing up our household always had milk, eggs, and bread on the shopping list. Make a list of the items you regularly consume. If you track just the prices of these specific items you can reap major savings. Make a list of your “top 10″. Then compare the prices, apples-to-apples and week-to-week, in the stores you shop.
***I usually compare prices to Aldi's here in town, and if another store beats their price, then i try to stock up on that item.

2. Does Your Store “Double Coupon”?
Common sense says that the store brand is generally less expensive than the name brand. But, if your store doubles coupons a name brand item can end up costing less than the store brand. The secret is to track your top 10 items so you know first when the price is the lowest and second, if/when a coupon will be doubled.
***Our Schnucks doubles coupons up to .40, so sometimes it's a good deal, sometimes not.  But I've also learned that our Schnucks decides which coupons they double, so sometimes I just have to watch the monitor and see if it actually doubled.

3. How Is “Buy One, Get One Free” Calculated?
Ask your store manager how the “buy one, get one free” is calculated. Does one item ring up full price and the second item free? Or are both items rung in at half price? If the latter you can legitimately use two coupons for the purchase, thus saving more!
***This topic is still kinda confusing, I never really know until I make it up to the cashier and ask what the item cost.  

4. Can Coupons Be Electronically Delivered to Your Loyalty Card?
Some stores will automatically add coupons to your loyalty card so there is no need to cut them out of the paper, or remember to bring them with you! You can find out by going to the website of your favorite grocery store. If you use Upromise to save for college or pay off your student loans you can also link coupons electronically to your debit card.
***I've never done this, so I don't have any comment. :)

5. Will the Store Email You Coupons or Weekly Circulars?
If you subscribe to several grocery “weeklies” you can quickly see who has the best prices for your Top 10 items. Sometimes stores will email you coupons you can print at home, too. Keep all your coupons in an organized folder.
***Yes, I have the 3 grocery stores email me their weekly ad, that way I don't have to wait to find out what's on sale.  And I love when the store has an in-store coupon, because that will make some items even cheaper, see number 9 for more info.

6. Can You Join Specific Programs Like “Pet Care”?
Some stores will provide coupons for different shopper demographics. For example, new mothers can sometimes get emails for discounts on baby care items. Pet owners can get discounts based on the pets in a household.
***I've never dealt with this before, since we don't have pets.  Sorry.

7. Does Your Store Accept Competitors Coupons?
If so, it makes it a lot easier to choose which store to patronize. Choose the one with the best deals for you.
***Once again, I've never asked.

8. Are There Additional Loyalty Card Perks?
Will you get a money-off coupon if you spend a certain amount at their store? If so, know the threshold and factor that into your shopping decisions.
***Our Schnucks gives a certain percentage off their gas when you buy $25 or more.  And our County Market has a point system where if you earn enough points you get money back or gift cards.

9. Can You Use Both “Store Coupons” and “Manufacturer’s Coupons” on the Same Item?
Some grocery stores allow you to double up. If so, you can use the coupon issued for the store AND a manufacturer’s coupon and double your savings. Buy when an item is already reduced and you’ve got greater savings.
***This is where I save the MOST money, when there is a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon.  Just this past week I got 10 Yoplait yogurts for $4!  Which made them each around .43.  It was a sweet deal, cause we eat alot of yogurt! 

10. Are There Coupon Limits for the Same Order?
Some stores impose a coupon limit for each visit. No problem. Just send your kid, friend, spouse, or partner through another line with the other items to take advantage of deep discounts. Consider splitting large bounties with the person who helped you buy at a discount.
***Sometimes if the deal is a good one, I just make one purchase and then go back and pick up another and get in a different line.  Or next time I'm in the store I just make the same deal.  


So, I hope that this has given you a little idea of how to start saving money on your grocery bill. Basically, look at your groceries ads.  Find who has the cheapest item you're looking for.  See if you have matching coupons.  And also plan your meals that week around the sale items for that week.  That will also help decrease your grocery bill.  

Thanks for reading!


  1. Another site to check out -

    She actually teaches a coupon class, and there are a lot of people on her blog posting deals for Walgreens, CVS, Jewel (not sure if there's one down there or not).

    And on the Buy one get one free, you can use 2 coupons if the second one rings up free because you are still paying tax on it!