So ... here's how we do our food budget. It does take time, but I'm on the go most days anyway. Some things are just a quick run in for one thing, so while this looks like it's horribly time consuming, it's really not.
Monday, I usually run to Walgreens for a few of their great deals -- anything that's free or super cheap, I will usually get if it's something we can or will use. Also Monday, I pay for a produce co-op online (bountifulbaskets.org) and pick it up on Saturday mornings. It takes just a couple minutes on Monday to pay and about 15 to pick up, depending on how busy it is. We get a lot of fruits and veggies, but it's all random. We often run out of fruit before the next Saturday because we eat more fruit than veggies, so we've figured out that when I go couponing on Tuesdays, I need to grab some from Walmart (price matching the best prices from whatever grocery store) OR price match the produce sale at Buy-Low on Wednesday or Thursday.
Tuesday, the local Walmarts double coupons up to a dollar, so I go there for whatever is free or cheap. In our state, there were milk coupons (only available to use if you live in Utah or Idaho) for 75 cents off a gallon. My printer was wonky, but I did manage to print 3 coupons (2 from one computer and one from the other), and got three gallons of milk for $1.38 each. I grabbed a couple other things as I ran through the store and only spent $8. That's pretty normal for me.
A friend of mine called me a couple days later to see if I was going to our local grocery store's meat sale. Yes, yes indeed. See, Buy-Low has amazing prices on different meats every Friday and Saturday, and Wednesday and Thursday they do produce sales. So she went to Walmart and price matched the produce and grabbed some for me. She gave me some $ and I went to the meat sale today and got the meat she wanted. I also picked up some stuff for my mom. There was a pork rib coupon online (that expired today) for $2 off two pounds or more, and their ribs were $1.79 per pound. They were packages of 2.5 to 4 pounds. I had 6 coupons and mom had 4, so we got a LOT of meat for not much money.
Since the husband gets paid on Friday, I do the meat run and other shopping on Friday. Sometimes I go to Walmart and price match, but other times I just go to a local store. But first? I check grocerysmarts.com for my area and see which stores have the best coupon deals for what we need, OR what we will need coming up.
This week, I just stayed at Buy-Low and got:
17 pounds of pork ribs (approximately)
11 pounds ground chicken
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken legs
3 pounds ground beef
2 pounds cheese
4 boxes fruit snacks
2 boxes fruit rollups
2 boxes cereal (I stocked up on cereal at Smith's a little while ago so didn't get lots)
4 packages cookie mix
2 boxes granola bars
4 boxes toaster strudel
1 bag bugles
1 bag chex mix
1 box of 100 poxiples (how my son says popsicles)
I spent $80.22 out of pocket for all of that and saved about $30 just in coupons -- I have no idea how much I saved on the meat. My produce from my friend was only $1.50 for 6 nectarines and 6 pears, so not too bad at all.
Stay tuned for Monday: The Cooking!