Who Needs Coupons When Beer is Always on Sale

Talbots taste, Target budget? Visit me at Blissfully Domestic, where I wrote about putting together a fashionable black-and-white look for work, without forking over major cash. Be sure to read the comments as I mention a couple of great websites for finding fun jewelry on a budget.

Speaking of major cash, I freaked out early this week while looking at our grocery and dining out expenses so far this year in Quicken. We have a little over $500 less going out per month now that Miss C is in kindergarten and we’re not writing daycare tuition checks, not to mention Miss A is diaper free, but we are spending money left and right on groceries and dining out.

I finally checked out our local Aldi as my mom always has the most incredible avocados and other goodies from their store (and my blog buddy Amy is the Aldi queen). I loaded up my cart Tuesday and spent a whopping $33. It seems I can’t get out of Publix for a quick bread and milk run for less than $50. The store was clean and well organized. Although they have a variety of miscellaneous bargains in the center of the store, I didn’t feel compelled to shop for 9 million other things like I do at Wal-Hell, where I’m convinced they pipe subliminal messages throughout the store sound system so that you’ll spend at least 45 minutes and $100 in the store.

I am a huge fan of Publix, especially for seafood and meat and the girls are addicted to their free bakery cookies, but I’m going to try the Aldi’s experiment for a while. So far the girls love their cereal bars and generic strawberry Newtons, and we had a Southwest style chicken salad with a black bean and corn relish and blue tortilla chips last night and Tuesday with all the ingredients, except for the chicken, from Aldi. Of course now we have plans the next three nights that involve eating out, but I have a coupon for the pizza place we’re eating at tonight.

How much do you spend on groceries per week? Not counting dog food or toiletries and other vital necessities such as beer and wine, we are spending about $110 a week and that’s with a 5-year-old who lives on apples, store brand bread, and yogurt. This is pretty much with me being lazy and not clipping coupons and being a slacker meal planner. I do buy a lot of store brands, and I try to stock up on whatever meat is on sale. Still, I’m curious to see how I can whittle down our grocery bill if I actually try. What a concept!

19 comments

  1. Jill says:

    I am not a coupon clipper either. Mostly because coupons are for things I don’t really buy. Plus, it would involve buying a paper and having more paper sprawled out all over my house then I already do (and who needs to add to that mess)! Anyway, we spend about $400 on groceries and that is with shopping at whole foods some because of food alergies. I do stock up on meats and rice milk (we are allergic to dairy) from wal-mart.
    I do have some tips though…make as much as you can from scratch. Try not to buy packaged foods. You can make a lot more for less if for example, you season your own rice (instead of buying Lipton varieties). And even though the bagged salads are more convenient, buying a head of Romaine from a local produce stand only costs me $1. And when you do make meals…make twice as much and freeze the other portion. Try to think of meals to make that would use the same ingredients like if you have bought a whole thing of celery or potatoes.
    Well, that is enough rambling. Good luck!

    Jill’s last blog post..The Picture

  2. krissy says:

    I don’t clip coupons at all. I do get a discount at Target so I buy the essentials there. But I usually spend $50-$100 a week on groceries. And we are a family of 3! Yikes.

    I am however the clothes bargin queen. Diva is dressed out in Limited Too, Gap, Children’s Place, Old Navy, etc but…...we have a terrific consignment shop in Sioux Falls and I get her clothes and mine cheap!! LOVE IT!

    krissy’s last blog post..Weeeeee!

  3. Blonde Mom says:

    Krissy:

    Good for you. I’m also a huge clothes bargain queen. My neighbor gives me ALL of her daughter’s hand me downs. Some of them are from her daughter’s cousin so they are “well-loved” by the time we get them (the play clothes any way) but I do a lot of shopping at consignment sales and get Gymboree, GAP, too. Love the kids’ sales!

  4. The Mrs. M says:

    I have hubs and I on a strict budget (hey i plan to have babies one day people! let the saving begin!)

    People laugh at our meager grocery budget but it works great for us. We budget $200 a month and often have a little left over. Which we justify for eating our or buying beer because even on a budget we have priorities.

    I shop at Kroger and buy mostly store brands except for my honey bunches of oats cereal which just isn’t the same in store brand. We eat really well too. We cook nice meals at least 5 nights a week. One of the remaining nights we spend at our fave Mexican restaurant because we want to help keep their lights on and the remaining night is leftovers or pb and j.

    I have friends who spend $300 and $400 on groceries for just the two of them. I don’t get it

  5. Blonde Mom says:

    Good for you Mrs. M!

    On the surface I guess $110 a week on average for four doesn’t sound bad, BUT we eat at my mom’s usually one night a week and we are eating out dinner at least one night a week and buying a bottle of wine (at least) a week. So that creeps up…a lot.

    I know we can do better.

  6. Lisa says:

    We spend way too much – Hubby’s all over me right now to “scale it down”. If I plan meals out, I tend to spend less than when I’m flying by the seat of my pants.

    What we’re REALLY bad at & are trying hard to work on is going out to eat. We budgeted $250 for dining out in April & couldn’t stay in that budget. Pathetic, huh? Now, we did have out of town guests and Goosey’s birthday, but we’d spent half the budget in the first week!! (I’m hiding my head in shame…)

    Can I get a $$$ tree, please?

    Lisa’s last blog post..(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

  7. Amy says:

    I shop at Wal-Hell for everything (it’s a time thing, I really do HATE that store) but we spend on average $500/month including the toiletries & dog food- beer & eating out are extra.

  8. Holly Schwendiman says:

    Funny, I was just sharing this spending what you earn thing with my hubby last night. We make more money now and have less expenses than we did two years ago when I was shelling out my son’s preschool fees but I don’t feel it. Have you tried using Mvelopes.com for management? I love it.

    Hugs,
    Holly

  9. Jill says:

    We spend about $400 per month for a family of 5. My kids are picky eaters and don’t eat much. I swear my two year old runs on apple juice fumes. I buy most of our groceries at Wal-Mart. I only buy meat from Omaha Steaks (I have issues) and we buy produce at a local farmers market every week. I’ve tried to do coupons, but it stressed me out too much trying to keep up and figure it all out. We rarely eat out (less than once a month) and Doug and I both take our lunch to work. I have a neighbor who is a big fan of Aldi. I’ll have to check it out.

    Jill’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – “Sweet. Corn.”

  10. Ellen says:

    I’m still working on reconciling my cheapness and my hope to someday be healthy. It’s expensive to buy healthy! I’ve been eating a lot of fruit lately which is a budget-breaker.

    Ellen’s last blog post..This Face…

  11. Amy says:

    Thanks so much for the link love, Jamie! I am so happy that you had such a successful shopping trip at Aldi- great job, girlfriend!

    We spend roughly $250 a month on groceries. I started at $200, but with the price increases, our budget increased too. Between that and gas, it could darn near kill a girl 😉

  12. Mrs. F says:

    I try to keep the grocery bill at about $50 weekly. But we always go to Costco about once a month and spend roughly $200 on food items. So I guess we spend about $400 a month on food. Last month I did not go to costco at all and spent only $200 on groceries, however now my cupboards are bare and a $200 trip to costco is in order, stat.

    Mrs. F’s last blog post..I am Still A Beer Girl

  13. Karianna says:

    Oh my gosh, we spend over $200 a week. Some of that is because of “Whole Paycheck” and my son’s desire to eat only vegetables, fruit, and yogurt (all organic.) Yes, I should be proud, but that stuff is expensive!

  14. Pam says:

    I try to use coupons and I go strong for a shopping trip or two, then I forget. I try to plan a menu so I’m not standing in the kitchen at 5 p.m. trying to figure out what we’re going to eat, but most days I’m winging it. One day I’ll get my act together. Like when we’re retired and eating at the Early Bird Special 5 nights a week.

    Pam’s last blog post..4 Out of 5 Dentists Recommend It

  15. Kristin says:

    Well..not good at coupon clipping but I am nutty when I go to Safeway.. I make sure that when I buy something it is part of the club card and each week I try to see if I saved more than the previous week..I am nuts..i know..

    Kristin’s last blog post..Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus

  16. Mof2 says:

    Wow, I haven’t stopped by in a while…I had to read at least an hour to even half way catch up!! I will be here more often! : )

    Groceries, I hate shopping for them, I swear I would buy all my food online and have it shipped to me if it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg! We shopped at Winn Dixie a lot because of the $10 off $50 or more coupons that we would always get. Then I discovered Publix! It’s the most wonderful grocery store ever! Haha. Needless to say we are back at WD because Pubix has the coolest extras that no other grocery store has, so we were spending WAY too much. We are on a tight budget of %250 a month on groceries for a family of 4. Don’t sound like a lot, but we never go hungry believe me! We always have way more food then we need.

    I wished we had an Aldi. My best friend called me last night to tell me about one.

    Mof2’s last blog post..The Ultimate CupCake…

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