07/2/14
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healthy on $75: week 3 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

My original plan was for June to be all about healthy on $75.  And now June is gone so it’s going to continue on through July!  I still have so much to share, and it turns out I’m a little slow at pumping out the posts on it.  Here’s the third installment of my grocery haul breakdown.  Enjoy!

healthyon75

Like I mentioned in week 2′s breakdown, this week was also a bit off since we were on vacation for part of it.  As I begin to write this I haven’t added up the total I spent yet so it’ll be a surprise for me too. :)

What we ate

Dinners

Friday: BBQ’d steak and bratwurst, avocado, tomato and mozzarella salad and watermelon (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Saturday: burritos + corn on the cob (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Sunday: sushi from the grocery store (which was ehh but after 7 hours of driving I was not down with cooking) + peas from the garden

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Monday: brautwurst and potato salad (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Tuesday: fried rice with fresh peas and kale chips

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Wednesday: burritos and brownies (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Thursday: whole wheat pasta with feta and sauted zucchini in a light yogurt sauce + teriyaki chicken

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Breakfasts doesn’t vary very much: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs with cheese and fruit,  blueberry yogurt pancakes with applesauce. Coffee + milk.

Lunches: on vacation deli sandwiches provided by my parents – back home tuna sandwiches and leftovers.

Grocery haul breakdown

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt (when available) to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

Safeway

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  • 2 different pre-made sushi packs

Now normally I don’t include meals out or take out in our food budget, because it’s a rarity, but this is getting included because after a long drive instead of cooking, we picked up food.  Yes, I could have made something, but I went with the easy route.  It tasted okay… but I totally could have made something better.

Safeway total: $12

Chuck’s Produce

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  •  gallon of organic whole milk
  • 2 packages of chicken breasts (on sale)
  • ground beef (discounted)
  • creamer
  • dozen eggs

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  • bananas (on sale)
  • ripe bananas (discounted)
  • 2 lb bag of avocados (on sale)
  • zucchini (on sale)
  • nectarines (on sale)
  • apricots (on sale)

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I picked up one extra package of chicken breasts, which went right into the freezer.  The produce was all on sale saving me money on items I really want!

Chuck’s Produce total: $37.42

Walgreens

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  • 2 package sof starbucks coffee (sale and coupons)
  • 2 deodorants (sale and coupons)
  • toothpaste (sale and coupons + register rewards earned)
  • sardines

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Walgreens total: $14.67

Target

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  • toilet paper (paper and mobile coupon)
  • frozen peas (mobile coupon)

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Target total: $4.68

Dent room

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  • 3 cases of yuuuuuumy microbrews (42 bottles total, 18  x 22 ounces and 24 x 12 ounces)

I wish I could say everyone could get this deal, but it’s special from my husbands work.  He worked in the beverage industry and they have a room called the dent room where you can piece together cases (or get full cases) of beer.  A case of microbrew is just 9 dollars… it just cannot be beat.

Dent room total: $21

Grand total for 5 places: $89.77

Thankful it’s lower than the previous week!  It goes to show that making food at home saves money… had we not picked up sushi, I would have been right near my target of $75.

How I saved money this week:

  • I looked through the chuck’s produce ad before going shopping to make my list based off of what was on sale.  Almost everything I purchased there was at a lower price than regular.
  • I decided on a walgreens and target run to stock up on some items that we always need – mainly the coffee and toilet paper.  The deodorant deal was too good to pass up (just 50 cents each after the register rewards!).
  • In the long run the extra beer will save us money.  All three cases will last a while and since it’s summer time and we’re entertaining more, the extra cost of buying beer each week won’t be needed.

How was your grocery shopping this week?

Heather

06/20/14
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healthy on $75: week 2 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

healthyon75

Weeks 2 and 3 were a bit off for me as far as grocery shopping and meals went.  Our vacation was in the middle of both weeks, so my shopping and eating will look a little different than normal for each week. I also didn’t have to cook a lot which made it different too.

What we ate

Dinners

Friday: cheese (sharp cheddar and gouda), sausage and crusty bread plate (at home date night)

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Saturday: greek lemon chicken and bean rice bowls

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Sunday: burgers at the in-laws

Monday: BBQ chicken, bratwurst (extra from Friday), veggie salad left over from Saturdays chicken dinner, bbq’d broccoli, rice (also leftover), fresh fruit and unpictured (leftover) crusty bread {if I could eat this dinner every day I would!)

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Tuesday: beef, cheddar and avocado burgers, salad with caesar dressing and freshly picked strawberries

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Wednesday: spaghetti with beef sauce, asparagus and salad (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Thursday: Hawaiian chicken thighs, cabbage coleslaw, grilled cauliflower and rice (vacation meal I was in charge of for 12 adults and 4 toddlers)

Breakfasts were the same mix as before: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs + toast, blueberry yogurt pancakes and french toast with applesauce. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Lunches: tuna sandwiches, leftover rice bowls, deli sandwiches provided by my parents on vacation, lots of fruit always

Grocery haul breakdown

Again, lots of little extra trips… let’s see how I did.

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

Natural Grocers

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  • Organic whole milk
  • 3 dozen cage free eggs
  • Bratwurst (on sale)
  • Extra sharp cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Feta
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Raisins
  • Natural cane sugar

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Major savings from a living social I bought.  I spent $7.50 and got $25 to spend.  But, I didn’t need the sunflower seed butter.  That was a total extra.

Natural Grocer’s total: $18.55

Chuck’s Produce

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  • Bananas
  • Ripe banana (discounted)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Onion (on sale)
  • Cucumber
  • Grape tomatoes (on sale)
  • Apricots

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Chuck’s total: $11.92

Target

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  • Disposable diapers for Hunter + Zoe for travels (coupons used)
  • Disposable wipes (coupons used)
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee (clearance + coupon)
  • Foaming hand soap
  • Contact solution (coupon used)
  • Bag of avocados (coupon used)
  • Strawberries (coupon used)
  • Mint Oreos (I was promptly ignored when I told Jacob “it’s not in the budget”…)

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Target’s total: 38.84

Philbrook Farms U-pick strawberries $1.45/lb

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U-pick total: $11

Fred Meyer

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  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Natural cane sugar (picked up for jam making)

Fred meyer’s total: $5.25

Oroweat outlet

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  • 2 loaves of white bread for Jacob
  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread for Hunter/I
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns

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Oroweat’s total: $4.40

Unpictured travel snacks the hubs picked up: water and chips

Total: $7

Unpictured trip to a market on vacation: brown and white rice, a lemon and half n half (organic)

Total: $10

Grand total for 8 places: 106.96

This is how my spending is when I don’t pay attention and plan well along the way.  Had I not gone strawberry picking and we hadn’t done extra vacation food spending, I would have been on target.  I really wanted to make jam though.  The  disposable diapers were an extra expense I don’t normally have.

I plan to balance this extra spending with staying under my budget the next couple of weeks of being back home and in a normal routine.

Still, I feel like there was savings, and here’s how I made that happen.

  • The living social deal I picked up saved me nearly 75%. Natural Grocers is a bit more spendy, but I actually ended up saving money by using the living social. I still have two more to use too!
  • Not cooking – I know this isn’t always an option for everyone (or myself), but with the vacation meals split and a get together I ended up not having to cook which meant less food to purchase.
  • I also brought organic chicken that I had purchased at home for a great deal, pulled from the freezer. Feeding 12 adults can be spendy, but I was able to keep the meal affordable by using up the last or my freezer chicken, using inexpensive veggies and bulking it up with rice. The teriyaki sauce I used was gifted from our neighbors, so I already had that on hand too.
  • I used lots of coupons at target saving me over $16.  Read how I coupon HERE.

My freezer supply of meat is dwindling, but as you’ll see over the next couple weeks, I’m already working on getting a small amount back in there.  And in a way that doens’t blow my entire food budget.

 What’s one item you happily splurge on?  Nut butters are always a favorite of mine.  We like good beer too.

Heather

06/18/14
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healthy on $75: on couponing

healthyon75

When I first found the site Krazy Coupon Lady I was so hooked on couponing. So hooked.  I scored so many items for basically free or super low costs. The site made it easy to know which store had sales going on and which coupons to use plus where to find the coupons. I started with such a gusto! Then mysteriously I found myself with less time so I coupon to a lesser extreme now. I am by no meals like the people on extreme couponing (have you seen the show?).  I don’t have a huge stock pile, but I try to keep a few of the items I regularly use on hand, especially when I find a rock bottom price on it.

This is how my couponing goes now.  I get the KCL daily emails and scroll through them for any deals on items I buy. I will also look through KCL if I know I need a specific item (like deodorant) for a good deal before I go out and buy it.

I email my mom the coupons I want and she prints them for me.  For some reason my printer pretty much only prints an itty bitty size and most store won’t accept them because they don’t scan.  Thankfully they print normal size for her and she gladly helps me out in my money saving efforts.

Hers on the top, mine on the bottom.

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I also do a quick skim through the weekly newspaper circulars (also provided by my parents since we don’t get the newspaper).  I clip coupons I may use (and keep them in my purse) just in case I’m at the store and see the item on sale.

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Once I’ve looked through the stack I staple the corresponding week together (there are normally 2-3 to look through for each week), label it (so I can find future coupons easier), put a check in the upper corner so that I know I’ve looked through it, then promptly put it somewhere messily in my house.  It’s not a super organized system and stacks of coupons are in many different places.  I tend to look through 2-3 weeks worth of circulars when I get around to it, so it’s something I do get behind on.

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One thing I’ve found is that there are a whole bunch of coupons on a lotta junk.  Just looking at the picture above I see foods I don’t buy. It’s true, healthy food is more spendy. I can get free candy bars, but it’s less often that I can get free kale (unless it’s from my garden :) ).  I’ve found a good way to be selective with my couponing. Sometimes I’m brand specific, other times I am okay with whatever the best deal is.

Here is a list of the main items I coupon for.

Food items:

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned beans, tuna, baked beans
  • Chicken broth
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Cereal (not something I normally keep on hand, it’s more a treat food)
  • Peanut butter
  • Coffee
  • BBQ sauce
  • Baking supplies
  • Condiments
  • Chips (rare but I’ll treat the hubs to em)
  • Produce (usually I get savings with Checkout 51)
  • Dairy (usually I get savings with ibotta and Checkout 51)

Non-food items:

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Shampoo/conditioner (Dove)
  • Bar soap (Dove)
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Lotion (Suave)
  • Dish soap
  • Cleaning supplies (I watch for seventh generation deals usually)
  • Kitty litter
  • Medicine (normally advil, tylenol and tums)

This isn’t an all inclusive list, but it’s the basics I keep an eye out for.  As you can see, the list of food items doesn’t include many pre-made or snacky foods.  Typically I combine convenient foods (pastas, broths, beans etc) with fresh foods to create my meals.

When I find a great deal (KCL will mark it as a stock up price), I will pick up an extra 1-3 depending on how many coupons I have for it or how much I’m okay with spending that week.

So what’s on my rador this week to stock up on?  Starbucks coffee and deodorant for Jacob.

I plan to do a post specifically on Ibotta and Checkout 51, the two apps I use that give me money back for making specific purchases.  Let me know if you have any questions on those apps, questions related to stocking up or any other couponing questions.  I’m putting together a Q & A post so make sure to leave a comment with your question so I can answer it!  And if you previously left a question and I haven’t answered it yet that’s because the answer is coming in the Q & A post.

For me any bit of savings matters.  If I only save 25 cents, that’s okay.  It all adds up and helps me achieve my money saving goals. Although it’s usually more savings which makes me quite happy. :)

Heather

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