Grocery Shopping: Our Way

I just love Sundays. I love waking up, going to church, running errands, cleaning house and having the rest of the afternoon to watch TV, read a book and do plenty of relaxing before a busy work week.

Today was absolutely perfect, except for the fact that we didn’t make it to church. 🙁 Kevin worked this morning, so I got up early and got started on the day.

The local gas station Kum & Go offers free papers on Sunday when you fill up your tank, so Gracie and I hopped in the car and drove to our closest Kum & Go. Gotta love free coupons!

I’m always curious to see how people work their budgets and how much they spend on groceries, so I’ll share our latest trip with you today!

Kevin and I stick to a pretty strict budget, mostly due to our student loans and the fact that we’re trying to save up for some exciting times in our lives, so we don’t go crazy when we hit the grocery stores. We also don’t go out to eat a lot (maybe 1 or 2 times per month), so our grocery budget may seem higher than the average couple.

Normally, we try to budget between $60-$70 total. Today, we came in at $64! And that’s saying something since Kevin’s grocery trip on Friday was a doozie. 

Before every shopping trip, I do three things before making our grocery list.

1. Check out coupons in the paper and online.

2. Read the ads and look for good sales.

3. Go through my cookbooks and my Pinterest recipe board for meal ideas.

Then, I list what we’re out of and what staples we need. For example, before planning any meals today, I knew we needed to get:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Trash bags
Kevin and I were feeling a repeat of the Spicy Chicken Panini Sandwiches, so we wrote that down. We also knew we needed to make a fish dish on Friday (Kevin’s catholic – Lent!) so I found a new salmon recipe and added that to our list. Based on our cravings and what was on sale, we filled in the rest of the week!

We also decided bagels and yogurt sounded good for breakfast this week and we both take leftovers and fruit for lunch usually, so we didn’t need to grab too many lunch items.

Here’s what our final list came to:

We had a lot of items for the meals we chose (i.e. noodles and half & half for tomorrow night’s dinner), which helped us save money this week!

Usually we shop at three different stores (today just two) and here’s why:

Trader Joe’s

  • Milk is the cheapest here than any other grocery store I’ve seen.
  • I like their granola.
  • I like their frozen/quick meals because there’s less fake crap in them.
  • Two. Buck. Chuck.
Aldi – I’ve heard a lot of people hate on Aldi’s but I have no idea why! My defense:
  • Snack food (chips, salsa, crackers, etc.) are really cheap.
  • You can get a great deal on spices, eggs, cheeses and canned food.
  • Produce is ridiculously awesome at Aldi. I hardly ever by produce anywhere else because it’s great quality and way cheaper than any other store. For instance, lemons were $.25 today at Aldi and at Hy-Vee, they were pushing $1 for ONE.
  • Two things to know about Aldi: bring your own bags and you have to give a quarter to get a cart (don’t worry, you’ll get it back when you return your cart).
Hy-Vee
  • I just love Hy-Vee. It makes me so happy and I have no idea why. I think I love it because the grocery stores in St. Louis aren’t very clean or nice (except for the Schnucks in Ladue…but that’s Ladue, c’mon).
  • We get things like: cottage cheese, cereal, meat, bread and frozen pizzas at Hy-Vee. I hardly ever buy anything regular price in general, but I really hardly ever buy something at Hy-Vee unless I saw it on sale in their ad.
  • Two things to know about Hy-Vee: save your cans/bottles and bring your own bags to get cash back.
Now, of course there are trips when we end up with things in our cart that weren’t originally on our list. Here’s the breakdown of what we got at each store today:

 

Aldi
  • Frozen salmon
  • Frozen shrimp
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa
  • Pretzels
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Provolone cheese
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Bagels
  • Broccoli
Total spent – $33

 

Hy-Vee
  • OJ (on sale)
  • Carrots (on sale)
  • Toasted ravs (on sale)
  • Frozen pizza (on sale)
  • Brownie mix (on sale) – this was one of the things not on our list. Kevin’s fault!!
  • Blueberry muffin mix (on sale)
  • Bananas (on sale)
  • Bread for the paninis
Spent – $31
Total – $64!

 

We had a couple coupons here and there, but nothing that saved us a ton of money. I still think we got a good loot!
So today ended up being just perfect! Before Kevin got home, Grace and I took a nice long walk because it is gorgeous outside and I finished up my taxes and paid some bills. Woo for Sunday productivity!

I hope you thought the outline of our latest shopping trip was helpful! Two of my favorite bloggers have also posted some shopping tips recently, so go check them out:

Off to make steak tacos and watch THE OSCARS! It’s one of my favorite TV nights of the year! Who do you think will get Best Picture?!

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