On Buying Groceries…

Photo Credit


Groceries. We all need ’em.   We all buy ’em.

I thought I’d share a little bit about our “system,” in case it could be a blessing to some brother or sister out there!  (*Note….I know this is not the only or best way, but it’s what is working for us right now!)

Every other Friday, when Mr. Wonderful gets paid, he gives me $100 cash.

I guard that $100 very carefully.


Let me share with you how I guard my $100…..

  • I stay out of Walmart.  Walmart is a very dangerous place.   For example:   coffee creamer.    It is very hard to buy plain old generic coffee creamer when they have sugar free hazelnut coffee creamer staring me in the face.   I repeat…..stay out of Walmart.
  • I ONLY go to Save-A-Lot and/or Aldi. They have everything you need to live a meaningful, fulfilling life.   Don’t worry if you’re the only one there who still has all their teeth.  Your $100 will go soooooooooooooo much farther shopping here.  Trust me.
  • Make a list.   I know we’ve heard it a million times, but it’s the only way to really save money.   Before I go, I check my pantry/freezer to see what meals I can almost make, and pencil in my meals on the calendar each day for the next two weeks.  Now I just have to purchase the ingredients I am lacking.    (BIG money saver right there!)
  • Stop buying pre-made “stuff”. Before you leave the store, check your cart.   Do your best to put back items that are already made, i.e; pizza, snack cakes, cookies, frozen meals such as lasagna, even bread.  We are basically PAYING someone else to do our cooking when we buy these items.  BUY INGREDIENTS, not PREPARED FOOD.
  • If something goes on sale big time……STOCK UP big time!! This is just something I have started in the last year, and it has helped with grocery bills, tremendously! So, when green beans went on sale for $.39 a can, I went crazy and bought a years supply (48 cans).   How do I figure up a years supply? I figure we will eat green beans once a week (52 weeks per year) and just rounded.   If you will stock up one sale item every month or so, soon you will be shopping from your STOCKPILE, and not so much the grocery store.   AND you will be eating SALE priced food, which just tastes better to me. 🙂     (Some of the items in my basement stockpile right now include:  green beans, corn, cream corn, cream of mushroom & cream of chicken soups, spaghetti sauce, noodles, tuna, and stuffing .)
  • Be willing to buy generic. Do the name brand chocolate chips taste a little bit better?  Maybe, yes.  Is it worth your family going into debt over?  No.   Absolutely not.  A long time ago a friend came over to my house with her 10 month old twin boys.  I offered to give them some “Cheerios”  (except they were “Rollin’ Oats”).   She then said, “No thanks, neither of my boys will eat off brand Cheerios.”


America, we have a problem.

I would like to note that every week, I usually end up “going over” my $100 and end up putting $20-$30 on the debit card for things like, milk, eggs, etc.  This doesn’t bother me, however.  It’s better in my eyes to at least have a $100 goal, than to go crazy and just buy whatever!

Also, I would like to note that this is just what is working for me right now….by no means do I think it’s the only way, or on par with SCRIPTURAL advice.  In fact, you may have an even better system……please share any helpful hints with us!!   As sisters we are here to encourage each other in the Lord!   I love you, my sisters!


Saving on groceries for the Glory of God,



14 Responses to “On Buying Groceries…”
  1. Katy says:

    Oh thank you so much for sharing this! I am getting married in May and starting to prepare now and I love frugal shopping! Aldi’s and save a lot are amazing! Thanks for these tips 🙂

  2. Jason Vaugb says:

    You’re feeding a family of five on $250 a month!!! I’m impressed.

  3. Darla Ferguson says:

    I LOVE Aldi! Just ask my husband! I make that announcement to him almost every single week when I’ve FILLED my cart for < $65!

    One huge advantage you didn't mention (but I will!) is that Aldi is also a huge time- and headache-saver. I can trot in there with my list and my reusable bags (NEVER pay to buy bags, girls! Use eco-friendly bags or reuse the "other stores'" bags and keep them out of the landfills!) … anyway, as I was saying, I can trot into Aldi and be back out in 30 minutes! Seriously! No calculating prices for which brand is the better deal—they're ALL great deals! And the lack of choices keeps me focused and I no longer get a headache from grocery shopping! Because of these reasons and more, my dislike for Wal-Mart has grown proportionately to my love for Aldi!

    And now I will share something I just learned this afternoon. Maybe it's old news to some of you, but it's new for me, so I'll share anyway because I'm excited! I found soap.com. I never thought I'd buy toothpaste and deodorant online, but here I am! With their free shipping on orders over $25 and their on-line coupons, I hit the jackpot! Now, you do need to know your prices because not everything was a deal. But even then they're still no higher than Wal-Mart. What I did was to check on all the items on my personal care shopping list and only purchased those items which were already good deals but ALSO had instant E-coupons (which you just click the little box right above the item–easy!) THEN I got to take off an additional 15% because I'm a first-time shopper. AND I got free shipping because I spent $25.02, just squeaking past their $25 minimum. AND it will all be delivered to my doorstep on Sat without my spending a single penny on gas! I call that a deal! And that makes this SAHW smile!

  4. Mollie says:

    Thanks for all of your reminders! I love Aldi’s and it is so nice having it so close. I also wanted to say that the produce at Aldi’s is always 10times better than Walmart. Always seems more fresh and cheaper!

  5. Darla, I am LOVING that soap.com idea! That is one of the few things I venture away from Aldi for (okay, that and I really want Hershey chocolate syrup!) – personal and cleaning products. I will definitely check this out!

    And Melissa, I love your system. I plan my meals for a month, and have a pre-printed grocery list so i can just circle what I need that month. We definitely spend more than you do – with 6 of us, and Nevin taking breakfast and lunch to the shop with him we end up more like $700/month. But, that does include almost every meal for the month for six people, so I am not too upset.

    Aldi is definitely a lifesaver – that is where I do the bulk of my shopping, and yes, I too love being able to get in and out in 30 minutes.

  6. Tarah Chambers says:

    CASH, CASH, CASH! That is such a big deal! We have been doing the “cash only” system for some time now. And like you, I do go over the cash budget a wee bit sometimes, but in the long run we have saved so much. I am a visual person and the sight of the cash leaving my hand is much harder than swiping that debit card so I think much harder about my purchases now. Aldi is also a staple (for some things) for us. Come on .99 pineapples and carrots for .39? You can’t beat it. I am a label reader and conscience of what is in my food and they have started carrying many more all natural foods which I am loving. (We avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, artificial sweeteners and colors as much as possible.) I love that you are not ashamed to be frugal Melissa! We are kind of known as the cheapo’s amongst many of our friends and family but we “Live like no one else, so that later you can live like no one else!” in the wise words of Dave Ramsey!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I do many of these things. Except I don’t make as much from scratch as I’d like. I like to refer to myself is poor on time. So sometimes its worth it for me to buy a few convenience items. I agree that Aldi and Save A Lot are huge time and money savers which is the best of all things in my eyes.

    Thank you for sharing about soap.com I am heading over there to get my order ready. 🙂

  8. Melinda says:

    I do shop at walmart, and dierbergs/schnucks for their 10/10 items, but something I have really wanted to start doing is only going shopping once a month. I want to calculate how much we need for the month, make a menu, make a list, maybe even make the meals to freeze. I would include toiletries and cleaning supplies. I ALWAYS run out of dish soap or TP when I least expect it. I walk in to get those two things and the cuties nab me, and the need for yogurt, and why not get some extra butter, b/c we always run out of that, too. If I go less, I spend less. I have also started buying from a produce co-op. I spend $23 every two weeks on fruits and veggies and get more than $23 would get me at any of the stores. I know there is a food co-op, but I have not checked the prices.

  9. Last year I spent .70 per person per day on food. If you want to include diapers for 2 and tolietries then it was $1 per person per day.

    Technically, however, it was less than that, because while that is what I spent, we do not have an empty pantry and freezer right now. In fact, my freezer and pantry have quite a bit. I am very grateful for that, because I am not shopping right now (due to lack of income). I was able to spend $69 in January (that’s for the whole month). I have a family of 8. My husband has had his income cut 70%, so we buy food when we can, and oftentimes, we cannot.

    We do not have Aldi’s or Save a Lot here, and none of our stores double coupons, but I’ve still fed us for very little.

    Buying in bulk is a large part of it, as well as taking advantage of sales and coupons.

    We are eating a lot of our least expensive meals right now, as we did last year.

    To even out the costlier meals (those that cost $5 or $8 for all 8 of us) , we have lots of less expensive meals more often. I buy oats in 25lb bags (they just went up to $9.85 last month, but they were $7.60 last year). My family eats about 75 lbs of oats a year. That means I spent $22.80 for a year’s worth of oats. We use oats to make a mock chicken fried steak and sometimes for cookies, but even if you look at them just for breakfast, we have them 3-4 times a week. If we just had them for breakfast 3 times a week for a year, that’s .15 for breakfast for the family (add in some brown sugar and salt and it would be around .20; .22 if I use powdered milk in it). My husband doesn’t eat oatmeal for breakfast (he eats potatoes most days). This means that with sugar and milk it costs me .03 per person to have oatmeal. That leaves me .67 for lunch and dinner and snacks per person.

    Coupons for oatmeal still don’t make it quite as inexpensive as buying it in bulk. Buying in bulk saves me a lot, and since we have a big family, we eat a lot. (I measure 4 cups of oats for all of us for breakfast .)

    Another great thing about feeding the children oatmeal: the children aren’t asking for more to eat in an hour! So, not only did I feed my family for .22, but, since they’ve eaten whole grains, they are fuller, and I can skip a morning snack as well.

    Another thing you can do is stop buying drinks (if this is a part of your budget). Drink water instead! You’ll be healthier, and you’ll save quite a bit of money.

    I agree with you on buying ingredients; we do the same.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

  • Click to receive an email when this blog is updated...

    Join 86 other followers

%d bloggers like this: