Grocery Totals for this Week 2/4

I went to Sam’s Club this week to stock up on cheese. We were completely out of string cheese and down to our last bit of mozzarella and cheddar/jack. I got a total of 13 lbs of cheese and spent $28.92. Gotta have cheese for pizza!

I then hit up Fresh and Easy for

milk

bananas

lettuce

clearance blueberries and tangerines

3 bags of chocolate chips (I have been baking for the boys to take on the King of the Hammers trip next week)

Basil (since I used all mine making tomato soup!)

Tortilla chips

quinoa

I spent a total of $22.02 there.

I also spent $5.34 Method dishwasher tabs on clearance at lowes.

Adding this to my Rite Aid Trip I have spent a total of $66.23 with $16 left to spend at Rite Aid. I have set a budget for myself of $150 for the month. With the cheese stock up I shouldn’t have to buy any for a few months. I should be good.

How I use Rite Aid to Keep My Grocery Bill Low

If you haven’t heard, in the frugal world there is a phenomenon called “The Drug Store Game”. I have been playing for nearly 3 years now. It is where you use all of their savings programs in conjunction with sales and coupons to get great deals on personal care items as well as groceries. My favorite of the three major drug stores is Rite Aid (CVS and Walgreens have programs too). Rite Aid has several ways you can save money with them including single check rebates, video values, wellness +, and +UP rewards. Since there are a few Rite Aids close to home and my son’s school, I tend to just play the “game” there. If your really ambitious, you can try all three at once, though I don’t recommend that! I could go into detail on how to use all these programs, but I am a bit lazy and it is all explained right over HERE. It can be a bit complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it all it’s a piece of cake! For example, I very rarely pay over $1 (many times it’s free after coupons) for deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bodywash or razors (and I mean the good gillette proglide ones). Most people get lotions for little or nothing too, I just don’t like commercial lotions and only use coconut oil. Make sure you have their wellness savings card to get the sale prices! I don’t scour the ads and come up with my deals on my own. NO WAY, too much work. I let the people over HERE do all that work for me and I just pick the deals I want.

Rite Aid regularly has sales on their food items as well. I will show you what I have done for this week. These deals are good through 2/3/11 here in sunny So Cal.

I had $8 in +UP rewards from some purchases I made about a month ago that I needed to use before they expired. These are the ones that print on the bottom of your receipt.

This week I stocked up on ice cream and potato chips….yes I know not the healthiest, but the chips are good through November. That means they can go in Dallas’ lunches and be ready for our summer camping trips. Yes, I am thinking of summer in February!

Lays Stax Chips are on sale 2/$2. They also produce a $1 +UP reward for each item when you purchase. Plus there is a $5 +UP reward when you purchase $15 dollars worth (limit 1 per household).

Dreyers Ice Cream is on sale for $2.99 and is producing a $2 +UP and is also included in the $5/$15 stated above.

This was spread out over 3 Rite Aid stores:

4 Dreyers Ice Cream @ $2.99

4 Lays Stax @ $1

Total=$15.96

– $8 +UP (from my purchases last month)

New total=$7.96 which I paid with debit card

THEN I got back on my receipt 4 $2 +UP (ice cream), 4 $1 +UP (chips), $5 +UP ($5/$15 promotion). That $17 to use again without using any coupons! So then I “rolled” that to the next store.

6 lays stax @ $1 each

Total= $6

-$6 in +UPs from last store

Paid $0, yes I walked out of the store without paying a cent.

Plus I got back 6 $1 +UP rewards.

I went to another store and did it yet again…

4 Lays Stax @ $1 each

1 doz. eggs @$1.99 (not the best price, but I was out and I used my +up to pay for them)

Total=$5.99

-$5 +UP

Paid $0.99

Got back 4 $1 +UP

So, out of my pocket today I paid $8.95 and still have $16 +UP to use in the next few weeks. Essentially it did not cost me anything for this stuff.

I came out with 4 tubs of ice cream, 14 cans of chips (like pringles) and eggs. Now the trick is to keep it going. I have had rolling rite aid +UPs since last summer! Other food items I have purchased at rite aid with my +UPs and sales are things like, pasta, cereal, nuts, beef jerky, velveeta shells and cheese, milk and probably other things I can’t think of off the top of my head. I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes work and a little patience as you learn, but well worth it in the end. Good thing I have a big pantry!

Oh…and to get started, the easiest is to transfer a prescription. There are coupons for a $25 gift card regularly in their ads for transferring a prescription there. You can do up to 4, but only 2 times a year. I did this last summer and got $50 for $10 in co-pays. It’s a great way to get started stretching your money there!

The Pantry Challenge is Done!

I spent the month of January on a Pantry Challenge. Challenging myself to limit my grocery spending and using up what we had in the freezer and the pantry. I set a limit of $100 for my family of 3 and I only wanted to purchase produce and dairy for the month. I also ended up changing my rules allowing myself to spend money on items I needed for my doctor ordered diet change as well as any super deals I couldn’t pass up if my funds allowed. Last year I was able to swing it for $50 for the month. Not so much this year, but we had some changes. My diet restrictions placed on me by my doctor right as the challenge started as well as the fact that both Dallas and Lance are taking their lunches this year.

As of last week my total spending for the month was $94.06

I did go and get a few things later this past week:

over 12 lbs tomatoes (Mmmmmm Tomato Soup!)

a container of grape tomatoes

celery

cucumber

DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………My total for the month $98.78!!! Technically it’s not over until Monday, but our weekend is full and I won’t be shopping!

Can you see me dancing?! So, we still have lots of food. I know I stock up a lot, but if we really needed to we could live off our supply for 3 months easy! I like that peace of mind….or maybe just all the good deals, doesn’t matter I guess! The only thing we completely ran out of was eggs. And that was just yesterday. I will be limiting my spending again in February. I am challenging myself to keep it it $150. We are getting really low on a few essentials like cheese, which I stock up on at Sam’s club. I am increasing my budget a bit to allow for those few stock up items. Let’s see how February goes!

Grocery Totals….Almost to the End of the Month! Can I Make it Under $100?

We are almost done with the Pantry challenge! Monday will be the end, but I think I may continue to just shop how I have been and only stock up if there is a screamin’ deal and I have the funds! Although, I may increase my budget to $150 to allow for that, I haven’t decided yet…

I made a few short trips the end of last week to the store. I had to go to the Hispanic Market for some good produce deals and I came home with over 7lbs of apples (made homemade applesauce!), 7 nectarines, 3 avocados and a can of peas. My total for this trip was $6.03.

I had to go to target to pick up my new glasses and while I was wondering around the store I grabbed a couple things I needed for my altered diet like all natural peanut butter, whole fruit jam (no sugar) and salad dressing. Since I have been eating so many salads, I ran out of my favorite and all we had left was ranch and I only like ranch from a restaurant, not out of the bottle! I tried to make a few dressings, but I just didn’t like them! My total for Target was $6.23.

Then yesterday I made a quick trip to Food 4 Less to get a few items, both produce and dairy, but also a couple things for my diet. I purchased:

3.5 lbs apples

1 spaghetti squash

4 tomatoes

cauliflower

spinach

6 cans of tuna

milk

ricotta cheese

Mayo

V8

Foil (I had run out. I was going to wait to buy this, but I really could have used some the other day, so I broke down and bought it.)

Can of green beans on clearance.

My total for here was $30.50

I spent $42.76 all together. Add that to my previous weeks and I am at $94.06. Just squeaking under my $100 budget! I may need another head of lettuce later in the week, but other than that we should make it!

Grocery Trip…


I ran to Fresh and Easy today to pick up some milk, yogurt and a bit of produce for the week. While there I scoped out the clearance section like usual. They had ground beef marked down to $1.29/lb, so I had to snatch it up for the freezer. I just couldn’t refuse at that price since we were down to our last pound in the freezer. I bought 6 pounds. Yep, another rule broken…I am amending my rules! If it’s too good a deal to pass up, and my budget allows, I am buying (although this is my normal shopping routine anyway!).

I spent a total of $16.42 for the items in the picture bringing my total for the month to $51.30. I set my budget at $100 for the month. I was hoping to stay at $50 like last year, but with Dallas taking his lunch everyday and my dietary restrictions and my inability to pass up a good deal, it looks like we will be closer to that $100 mark than I had hoped. I still think $100 for a family of 3 is a great deal for the month though! According to the USDA average food costs we are doing amazing. For a family of 4 in November 2010 (remember we are a family of 3) the “thrifty” plan says average is $506 per month and the “liberal” plan is $986 per month. I don’t know that I have ever spent that much in a month on groceries…even when I was planning my big birthday bash! A normal month of grocery shopping for me is under $200, I guess we fall under the super duper thrifty category….

If you would like to try this in your house, the first thing you need is a well stocked pantry/freezer in the first place. If you are wondering how to do that on a budget, read THIS.

Grocery Update

Many of you know I am doing a pantry challenge this month that seems to have been a little more challenging than I thought. Not the eating from the pantry part. We are doing that, but staying out of the store. I think I just like to shop and get good deals more. I don’t know. I did pick up a few things this week. I got a 25 pound bag of bread flour. I had not planned on purchasing this, but I forgot that I had given out a gift certificate for bread once a month at my Christmas gift exchange last month at my girls Bunco group. See certificate: bread gift cert. I knew I was getting low on bread flour, but I figured for us I would just use all purpose for the rest of the month, then I remembered I had to make bread for someone else and I wanted it to be my best, so off I went to get my beloved bread flour from sam’s club. I also picked up 2 bags of dry beans at the dollar store. I have to eat lots of beans on my new diet and I was sick of the pintos and black beans that I have on hand. I also decided to whip up some navy bean and ham soup for a friend who just had a baby last night out of the beans I purchased and the ham from the other day. I am breaking my own rules all over the place! That’s ok though. I am still well under budget!

Last weeks total: $25.64 + $9.24 (from the beans and flour)= $34.88 for the month so far. I still think that’s fine, don’t you?

Keeping Tabs on My Grocery Bill

I said I would keep myself accountable for my grocery spending while doing the pantry challenge this month, so here is an update. We were completely out of milk. I made a run to the store for milk and plain yogurt, which are allowed on the rules I set for myself in the pantry challenge, but there were a couple other things I couldn’t pass up while I was there! I went to Fresh and Easy close to my house and they had all their ham that was leftover from the holidays 50% off. I got over and 11 pound ham for $4.27! I couldn’t pass that up. It is also good for my new dietary restrictions! I then picked up some nitrite free turkey lunchmeat in the clearance section also good for my new diet.

I spent a total of 14.63 getting these items (that I forgot to take a picture of). When added to my trip last week I have spent a total of $25.64 for the month so far. I have given myself a budget of $100 for the month, but I would really like to keep that at $50 like last year. I have already made my menu plan for the week and I shouldn’t have to buy anything to make it through the week.

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