Working on saving some pennies

I’ve been working on our cutting my grocery bills down and maximizing my efforts in stocking our pantry. In addition to this – eating out can be a nightmare if not managed.

A family of 5 (with one of the way) can have quite the expensive grocery bill! So I’ve subscribed to a few bloggers who consider themselves experts on this topic as well as completed research on my own and will try to document this in case there are some other folks out there that are wondering… How do they do that!

I am still a novice at this – so I cannot say that I can get $200 worth of groceries for pennies. We also have a few brands that we will not sacrifice – so that does not lend to all the specials available to save a penny or two; but we will make the best of it!

My latest shopping adventure was just this past weekend.  My prep was pretty simple.

PREP WORK

First, I printed out from coupons.com before the end of the month any coupons that were valuable to me and brands my family consumes. I have learned – don’t just print all the coupons out… (1) it wastes money, paper and ink and (2) some coupons have a limit to how many can be printed and you may have taken a coupon you did not need that someone else could have used. *Check back every week to find new coupons & note that the coupons refresh at the beginning of each month and different ones will be available*

Second, I gathered all the coupons that were delivered to my home and mailbox. I do not subscribe to any newspapers nor do I purchase the Sunday paper. I do however receive the P&G mailer for coupons; but all the other coupons just come in a weekly delivery that also has several sales flyers for local grocery stores.

Third, went to individual grocery websites to check for any additional coupons that may not have been on the coupons.com website or in my mailers.

Last I went through all the store advertisements and note BOGOs and other coupons that may not be available anywhere else; such as coupons like $5 off a $50 purchase.

The above was just prep – may sound like a lot; but how much is your prep time worth in groceries in your pantry!

PLAN OF ACTION:

The next step was creating a plan of action. Before the plan can be made you must know what is needed… ie – your grocery list!

I took my list and reviewed each of the advertisements from the local stores. One particular one I do not receive at home and this one was available to me online.

I would mark on my list with abbreviations which stores would have the best price for my item. In addition to this – which stores I could purchase the items at because they took competitor coupons and the greater savings would be from combining the two.

Since I was limited on shopping time this week, I needed to keep my trip to only 2 stores. I could have made a greater savings possibly by going to multiple stores  – but baby steps on this journey!

If I did not have a coupon for certain items – finally I would visit the websites for the brands/products of those items to see if anything was available direct from the manufacturer.

OUT THE DOOR AND TO THE STORE!

The two stores I visited this week were Albertsons & Publix. I have learned a lot about each of these stores and their coupon policies. Publix will take competitior coupons – but only from select stores. Our particular division of Albertsons will take competitor coupons from a greater variety of stores (such as family dollar) but it is always best to check in with the store to make sure rather than wasting your time at the check out line.

My happiest savings this week were as follows: (total savings was around $85; Paid $181 for $266 worth of groceries)

Albertsons: BOGO – Purdue Chicken; 1.29/lb ground beef; and buy 1 get 2 free petite sirloin. There were many other savings to be had … but these were the ones I took advantage of this week. I also used my $5 off a $50 purchase coupon at Albertsons from the Albertsons sales advertisement. I also used a $5 off a $25 purchase from Family Dollar.

12 petite sirlion steaks for $16.08 (Originally $43.08)

10 thin sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts $7.08 (originally 14.12)

6lbs of ground beef for $7.74; Wal-mart is selling 5lbs for $8.94 right now.

Publix: Keep in mind Publix in Florida does NOT double coupons and each store has a list of competitor coupons they will accept. My particular Publix does take Albertsons coupons and I did use my $5 off a $50 purchase this week as I had 2 (lucky me!)

My greatest find however was Kraft Cheese Singles (12oz). Publix had Kraft Cheese Singles on sale for 2 for $4.00. Then I had a manufacturer coupon that I had from my coupon mailers for $1.00 off of 2 packages. Beyond that I had printed a Publix specific coupon for .55 cents off of 1 package of Kraft Cheese Singles… (I printed it twice and was allowed to use one per package). So my 2 packs of cheese – cost me 1.90 total! $0.85/per pack of Kraft Cheese Singles!

As I continue in this endeavor – I will attempt to list things in advance of my shopping trips that I find so that others may be able to take advantage too 🙂

EATING OUT:

We try to take the kids out to something fun and out of the house at least once on the weekend. This past week I was able to do a little pre planning as we had fall pictures scheduled Friday night. Since we were going to be in the south Orlando area – I searched restaurant.com for any gift certificate deals that may fit the area we would be dinning.

Restaurant.com was offering 90% off on gift certificates Thursday with a promo code. You see the final savings after you put in the code. So for example  you can purchase a $25 gift certificate for $1.00 when the 90$ offering is available. The gift certificate will have restrictions but make sure you follow those and you can save some serious cash!

In our case this weekend we chose BB Kings Blues Club. We purchased a $50 gift certificate for $2.00. The restriction was you had to spend $100 to be able to use the certificate. So we ordered BIG and ordered food to take home! our $107 meal cost us $59.00. We had 3 appetizers, 3 kids meals, 2 adult meals, sodas, desserts and got 3 entrees to go! So our family of 5 ate out at a nice entertainment restaurant with a meal to go for another night for less than $60! The entertainment was good too – great house blues band.

We also snagged a few other certificates for date nights and other kid friendly nights from the 90% sale… eating out doesn’t have to be daunting for a large family if you plan ahead!

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If you stumble across and read this post; please leave comments. If others are interested in reading my saving adventures – I will work to make this blog a help to others!

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