Grocery Budget Featured This Week - HOW Do You Implement the Suggestions??

Updated on May 04, 2010
A.G. asks from Portsmouth, VA
15 answers

This may sound like a silly question, but I was reading last years grocery comparrison that was featured today and wondering how people go about executing some of their suggestions. I have a family of 5, two parents, two three year olds, and a baby(4 months). I spend about $650 per month on groceries and the occasional takeout or eating out which I know is way over what it needs to be. ( I am not including pullups or diapers which I get at BJ's) I usually shop at Kroger as it came out cheapest in my comparisson when we first moved here(except the commissary which I can't seem to get too - military). I was getting pretty good at using coupons until the littlest one arrived this winter, but adding a third child has definately set me back on having time to do it and I really just have to choose one store per week, I can't make it to more than one. I do meal plan and we don't use a ton of processed foods anymore though we could do better there too.

Several people mentioned that Walmart does price matching. Thier standard prices are definately not the best here. How do you go about getting the best price there?? Do they do it at the register?? Do you go to customer service??? I would totally feel comfortable doing that for large items, but doing it every week for groceries seems like it would be intimidating.

How do you organize your coupons? I've tried cutting them, I've tried not cutting them and keeping the flyer (coupon Mom). I just seem to end up with big piles of papers that expire before I can use them. When you add in the printed couponswhich may or may not be accepted, it just becomes a big mess.

What can I do next?

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answers from Austin on

As far as being organized, I have a cheapo coupon holder I got at the dollar store. I sit down with the weeks ads and then go through my coupons.
I have heard that they price match at walmart, but I don't go there because we ALWAYS end up spending money of things like matchbox cars, playdough, etc.

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answers from Detroit on

Yes, walmart price matches...
Every penny counts right? :-) I am a SAHM of a soon to be family of 6 (5 days over due), a large dog, and a cat... Our TOTAL HOUSEHOLD (everything, diapers, paper products,light bulbs, cleaning stuff, animal food, EVERYTHING) budget is $600.- a month...
Save the fliers on sunday and any fliers you get in the mail... I typically do not page thru fliers in store, but sit down with my morning coffee and look thru the fliers to see what is on sale. I then write down in a notebook
a) what store followed by a list of what products, sizes, and price. (Take the fliers with you to the store to verify if asked)

I do cut coupons but mainly on things we use all the time... Our local Krogers doubles coupons including a dollar BUT if a different local store has a better price, I will go to walmart, tell them the price, throw in the coupon and not have to drive all over town.

They do the price comps at the register, I always seperate the price comps to the back of the belt so I can pay attention to what is happening and not miss anything (that list helps you KNOW what you seperate out). There are some times that i find it better to go to krogers and use their double coupons, and times when the .50 saved for doing that can turn into 5.00 by price comparing walgreens, cvs, and other local stores at walmart...

Just let the cashier know, I have price compares and ignore the harrumping noises some of them make... They are getting PAID to do their job... I price compare EVERYTHING even if its priced at $2.- and the sale price is $1.99... Thats a penny saved off of the bill (and the tax in the end)...

Once you start, its fun ! And to avoid those "extra" things kids get you to pick up... Either learn to say no. lol or avoid that half of the store when kids are with you...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

check out

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answers from Minneapolis on

I spend (during the school year), about $300 a month to feed 2 adults and 4 kids (13, 12, 10, 9), and that includes paper goods, shampoo, toothpaste, kitty litter, etc. We almost NEVER go out to eat. I have been working to get my grocery budget perfected for years :) Here is what has worked for me:

1. I don't cut coupons anymore. I tend to buy stuff I don't need, waste time with the cutting process, don't even spend the money on the newspaper anymore, and don't waste ink with printing my own coupons.

2. I plan every single meal we have, one week in advance. So, yesterday, I planned my menu for this week (I don't really have to do much anymore since I have so many plans drawn up I just pick one). Usually there is a "theme" to my menus like Saturdays we always have a crockpot meal and Sundays we always have like roast or baked chicken or a "big meal" like that. For each meal plan, I have the corresponding list of groceries that I need. I buy those groceries and only those groceries.

3. I do 99% of my shopping at Aldi. I think your nearest one is 3 hrs from you but I could be wrong. If you don't have an Aldi then Walmart is probably your next best bet. You are right, Walmart more is tempting to purchase "off list" items because there is SO much to look at.

4. Never take your kids to the grocery store! They are the main source of impulse purchases - also never go shopping hungry (I think we have all done that before and know it's not a good idea).

5. If you like to do all your shopping at one time for the month, check out websites that talk about OAMC (once a month cooking). They have tons of budget friendly receipes and have instructions and support for cooking all of your meals for one month in one day/weekend and freezing them all. The great thing about this is you tend to eat out less since all you have to do each night is pull something out of the freezer.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Walmart, where I live is definately the cheapest place to shop by far. They do price match. I take the ads from other stores that are advertising things cheaper (make sure to get exact size, quantity, brand, etc as being advertised) and put all those items at the 'end' of the checkout belt. I also circle the items in the ads I have purchase to make it faster and easier for cashier to locate. I tell them I have the items circled and they are advertised cheaper in these ads and I want them price matched. They just do a price override. Many times they do want to keep my sale/ad paper. I have one of those small cardboard coupon organizers (bought at the dollar store) I cut and keep mine in there. Before I go to the store, if I know I have a coupon I am going to use I put it in the front of the dairy, meat. I also only cut out coupons on the items I normally buy and know I will buy. I have never had a problem with Walmart taking printed coupons. I know Target and Homeland have issues with it, so if I go there I just use the self-check out and use my printed coupons.

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answers from Killeen on

You really need to get to the commissary if you want to save money!! If you are a meat-eating family; then the commissary prices are much cheaper then anywhere else you would go! Even if you just go once a month to stock up on meat alone. has the commissary sales and coupons online so you can look in advance to see if they have any of your "staples" on sale. They take the printed coupons, and usually have the coupon-ed items on sale as well. Additionally they have a lot of coupons on the shelves by the items that are not advertised.

It really is about taking the time and getting organized. Once you have done it a few times, it becomes easier. Plan your meals in advance and make a list- and only get what is on the list. Even if they are having a sale on cookies- don't buy them, just get what it is on the list!

Make a budget and stick to it. If you have to bring cash to pay with, then do it- I'm sure you won't go over your budget that way!



answers from Cleveland on

I have found that most of out local store will not take printed coupons. So, I try just getting the ones I know I will use mailed to me... mainly Huggies & Pampers - although I do use others now & then.

I do look at the unit price on the store shelves & buy the store brand most of the time. Also, we have started going to a meat market with in the last year... we go about once every 3 months & stock the freezer with meat. I can get all my meat in a frozen bundle for about $2.39# (including hamburger, steak, pork chops, chicken, ham, ribs, roasts, ground sausage & ground beef). Now if I pick stuff from the meat case it does cost a little more. But we get about 50-70# of meat & it last about 3-4 months and we are a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids - 6, almost 5 & almost 3).

I also try to stock up on stuff that is on sale... it does seem like everything is on a routation. Things go on sale about every 4-6 weeks... so if you know you will use them get them. I don't really do the meal planning thing like a lot of people say to do. I just buy what I know we will use & try to get a few of them so that I don't need to buy it again till it's on sale again.

We try to buy the fruit that is on sale - we have had luck getting strawberries lately B1G1F & a few weeks ago that has bagged apples B1G1F. Also, in the summer I like to hit the road side farmer markets for fruits & vegtables... they are so much cheeper then stores. Or grow some of your own - even if you have to do it in large pots on a patio.

If I go do the shopping by myself, I can get away with feeding my family on about $300-350 per month - now if I take the hubby & kids... it is closer to $450 or more a month. Still not 100% sure why, but it just works out that way.

Also, I've been finding myself doing more 2nd day meals... we had steak one day, then I used the left over steak to make beef stir-fry. Or eat a roast one day w/ potatoes, carrots & gravy - then the second day, warm up your gravy add in the left over roast cut in small pieces & have over egg noodles... this can also be done w/ chicken & turkey meat.

Good luck finding a way of reducing your grocery budget. It doesn't just happen over night... I have been shopping this way for years & it took me a long time to figure out how to save money. But if you keep trying - you will find your way.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi -
I'm curious why you can't get to the commissary. Is it just too far away? Ours is a pain to get to too, but I make the effort to go once a month and stock up on as much as possible. I then ask my husband to stop to pick up produce, etc. from the small commissary on his base on his way home from work. It saves us a couple hundred dollars a month and is worth the extra effort. I can't speak for the prices at Wal Mart or their price-matching program, but I know that for most things the commissary is less expensive than any retail store. I know this doesn't answer your question, but perhaps you can come up with some creative way to get to the commissary for a big shopping trip without the kids (so you can get more in the cart!).
Best of luck!



answers from Washington DC on

There are 5 of us in our house (2 adults, 3 kids--14, 14, and 8, and 2 cats and a dog). I live in a smallish town. There are 3 main stores here, and a discount grocery store (which I never go to because the quality of the products tends to be bad, and if I am going to spend our hard earned money on something, it better be good). I tend to actually spend about $300 per month.
We have a Martin's (Giant in some places), Food Lion, and Wal-Mart. I tend to do my grocery shopping at Martins. I saved $60 on my total bill last Sunday. The total bill was a little over $200, and I paid a little over $140. I cut coupons, use the coupons from the register, and use my store card. I also print out coupons from home. I use Martins most because 1) they tend to have better sales than Wal-Mart, and they also have a lot of BOGO, Bouns Buy, just lots and lots of things that save me a lot of money, 2) another perk with them is that if you use your bonus card and spend a certain amount over a certain period of time, you get a discount on gas. I currently have .30 off each gallon of gas. Gas is 2.85 here, I can get it for 2.55 and 3) they do double coupons up to a dollar, and sometimes they will have special coupons in their flyer to double a dollar coupon. Even if I price compared at Wal-Mart, it would still be cheaper to shop at Martins because Wal-Mart does not double coupons.
I will admit that I usually get our toiletries and pet supplies at Wal-Mart because grocery stores tend to be pricer on those items, even when they are on sale. Every so often I will find a great deal at a grocery store, but not always.
I have a cheap coupon folder that I grabbed for a few bucks. I buy 2 newspapers on Sunday, and I find the time to sit and cut and organize my list. I also meet up with my niece and we go through each others uncut coupons and take what we want. I only cut out coupons for things I know we will use.
Yes, it can take some time. But I have already saved my family a ton of money by doing it this way.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I always spend more when I don't plan in advance! I think planning is the best way to reduce your grocery budget. Coupons and I don't work well together! ;-)



answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure if they have this in your area, but at some Giant supermarkets in Maryland they have hand-held scanners. You scan your card when you enter the store and get a scanner (similar to wedding/baby registry).
You shop, scan, and bag as you go along. It is wonderful!

This helps my budget because it has a running tally of my bill. If I go over my budget for the week, I can scan and remove some un-needed items.

I also organize my coupons according to the aisles in the store (cereal, frozen, dairy, etc) and use a receipt holder with pockets. I check them about once a month for expired ones, usually while watching TV.

I also collect extra coupon fliers from my father and mother-in-law.

Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

My mom and grandmother always organized their coupons in a recipe box. Just write the month on the tabs and keep the coupons in there by date of expiration. That way you can just flip to the current month and see what you have available that's about to expire.



answers from Washington DC on

I have a family of 3 - me, my husband and our 2 yr old. We spend on average $60/wk on groceries and household supplies.

I organize coupons in a file box. I have them in the order that most of the stores are organized.

Before I go shopping, I pull up the store's circular and get an envelope. I match coupons to sales and write the list on the envelope. I also take my coupon box with me to the store.

Many stores (Target included) now give a discount for using your own shopping bags. Target gives $.05 per bag...which adds up! Target also price matches.

I have found that meat is cheaper at warehouse stores, like Costco. For example, a big package of ground beef at Costco is $.65/lb cheaper than at the grocery store! Milk is $1/gallon cheaper at Costco!



answers from Norfolk on

Hi A.. I too am a coupon mom. I have a seven year old and a two year old. Sunday afternoon when I get home and rested from church is when I curl up on the couch and clip coupons. I then go through the weekly circulars and look to see what sales are happening. I do NOT put the coupons with the flyers. I have a coupon organizer that has 6-7 dividers in it and I have labeled each one. Fortunately, I am pretty good at remebering what's on sale at the stores that I frequent.
As far as Wal-Mart. when I take advantage of their price matching, I take the circular with the cheaper price and put it and the item(s) at the end of my order. I give the cashier the competitor's circular and they override the price when they ring it up. I do the price matching for allt ypes of items. It's my money and I want to get the most for it that I can.
Oh, another thing about the coupon organizer. What I am seeing more and more when shopping is ladies with notebook with baseball card sheets inside. Each sheet has 9 pockets on it and it's front and back. I asked one lady about hers and she said that she puts two coupons in each pocket. One facing frontward and the other backward. All the ones I have seen have dividers in them but you can do it however you want.
I hope you can keep doing coupons because it really does pay off.


answers from Washington DC on


I SOOOOO miss shopping at the commissary!!! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!! Especially when it comes to diapers and pull ups!! Not only are they cheaper (at least they were when I was shopping there) and they accept coupons.

How to organize your coupons? WHATEVER works for you - some people organize them by category (diapers, meats, condiments, dairy, etc.) others do it alphabetically, others the way they shop - produce, dairy, meat, cereal, etc. but the system has to work for you - so how I do it may not work for you.

I have a big bright green plastic basket (one that you can pick up for $1.00 and people have used to carry their beach stuff in (sunscreen, etc.) that holds mine in envelopes a pad of paper and a pen. However, what you need to do is not feel so overwhelmed with it. Yes, it can be a chore, but it's worth it - as you can save a ton of money.

I've not taken Wal-Mart or any other store up on their price matching so I can't help you with that. Sorry.

Don't overwhelm yourself with coupons. If you have too many - you will be overwhelmed. You might be able to use them all. Keep only what you are going to use within the next 30 days. If that's too much - cut it back to what works for you.

I hope this helps!!

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