Shopping Trip

I made my big shopping trip on Tuesday night. I carpool with a friend and we usually go to the commissary about every two weeks. I supplement milk, eggs, and produce with a trip to Aldi’s on the off week. As I mentioned in a previous post, I grocery shop with cash which helps me stay under budget.

My grocery budget for the month is $600 for my family of 9. We usually have people over for dinner once a week, we have one date night once a week, and we go out as a family once a month. My husband usually takes his lunch to work, but since he had knee surgery he is eating 3 meals a day with us until he recovers. The eating out money comes from a different part of the budget $600. The $600 includes food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, diapers (I have a few in pull-ups at night), and over-the-counter medicine. It does not include formula for Cora.

I created a pdf file with my shopping list, prices and coupons if you are interested in seeing how much I paid for groceries. I cannot guarantee it is 100% accurate as I was copying it from my receipt and I didn’t remember what coupon went with what product, but I did my best.

  • My total before coupons $183.04
  • Total after coupons $157.67
  • Coupon savings $26.37

As you can see I am not one of those buy $200 worth of groceries for $1.79. I only use coupons if it is for an item I already purchase, or I am interested in purchasing. I love cereal, butter, yogurt, and household coupons the best because those are items we already purchase. I have seriously slacked off on my CVS shopping and need to get back in it. It bugs me to pay for things like toothpaste, shaving cream and other toiletry items when I can get them for free or almost free at CVS.

Don’t forget to stop by Jen and Kate’s blog to see how they are doing in the 3 Moms ~ 3 Kitchens ~ 31 Days series.


  1. Hurray for a real shopper! Thank you for sharing the nitty gritty details of your life. I, too, am a frugal shopper who looks for all the deals but cannot get $200 worth of groceries for $2. It’s good to see that you eat healthily and make every dollar stretch without compromising your menu or health. Way to go!

  2. I agree w/ Lindsey .. I love to hear the honesty that you shop smart and get deals, but don’t get $200 worth of groceries for $2. I always compare myself to all those super savers out there and always come out “sub-par”. I also love your honesty in videos when your kids are roaming around or your hair and makeup aren’t perfect. —- You look great, especially for a homeschooling mother of 7!! Love the all over honesty and openness of your blog. thanks!

  3. Michelle says:

    Made me feel great too. I “try” to be one of those wonderful shoppers, and I am usually able to save a ton, but we always seem to need or want things that either aren’t on sale, or I dont have a coupon. I’m always bummed when I see what I’d spent hours planning as a less than $10 trip turn into a $70-$80 trip. Your post makes me feel normal again! Thanks!!!

  4. Michelle says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to ask. Where’s the meat?

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I didn’t need any meat because my last trip (in February) I stocked up so now I literally have a freezer full of meat. I only buy meat when it is on sale, so I don’t purchase it every trip. Thanks for asking, I meant to address that in the post but forgot.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing – I coupon the same way you do. I only clip for things that our family would actually eat or that I want to try, and then I (mostly) wait to pair those coupons with sales. I generally have a $20-$40 savings per trip, more if you add in the discount from the sale price.

    Also, thank you for posting the commissary deals – I had no idea that those were available! It makes me so excited to go through the online list to plan my shopping.

  6. I’m glad to see were all in the same boat. I’m following each site of the “3/3/31” to get ideas from cooking to budgeting. Happy Housewife was the first site I found about six months ago to try to take hols of my groc. budget, then Bauty & Bedlem, now checking Stolen Moments. I’m wonder… we al pay different prices for items in differernt states?

    I’m a big Adlis shopper from Buffalo, NY. Family fo 6, 3 teenages. During the month of March I’m trying to keep the budget to $500. Theres no Harris Teeter or Costco here. We have Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Tops Market, Wegmasn and Aldis. This is what I wrote on Stolen Moments… in response to her Groc. Budget

    I do shop at Aldis and always thought their prices were the same everywhere…but I may be wrong. I live in Buffalo, New York. I have noticed that sometimes I go in there and they have hand printed price sign on certain items (must be immediate mark down, I gusss). Yesterday they had white whole grain bread for $.79 each! Not my favorite bread but good to have in the freezer. Other Aldis prices that are pretty consistent:

    Skim milk, gallon $1.69 (mine last fine)
    200 ct tissue $1.19
    1 ply 100 ct bath tissue (like Scotts) 4pk $2.29
    Parmesan Ch (plastic shaker bottle) $2.49
    White Flour 5# $1.39
    Cereal usually $1.29-2.19 bx typically
    Cinn Graham Crackers $1.39
    Rye Braed $1.49
    Split Top Wheat $.99 usually$1.19
    Peanut Butter $1.39
    Nacho Chips $.99

    Produce / Dairy vary:
    3# MacIn. Apples $1.99- 2.29
    Romaine Hearts 3 ea consistently $1.99
    Strawberries 1#(right now)$1.99
    Red Grape 2# $3.49-1.57
    Dozen Lg Eggs $.89-.69
    The things I like about Aldis are the layout is simple & quick to get thru the store, they typically keep items where they are, no coupons to worry about “did I remember those coupons?”(the price is the price), very basic & simple. Occasionally they will have non-food items at a great price. I bought a sink faucet there for $29, a bath rug 2×3 for $3.99, 2pk of ladies PJ bottom/yoga pants for $6.99. The clientele runs the gamete from ladies with Coach Purses and large diamonds to a homeless looking person. It makes me chuckle….a deal is a deal!

    Are your prices similar? What state are you in? I noticed coupon scan be differnt from area to area, why? I usually use coupons for the advertised wkly items, that we will use.

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I do think prices vary by state, which is one of the reasons we teamed up for this series. I live in a high cost of living area (Washington D.C.) and Kate and Jen live in lower cost of living areas, but I have access to more stores. Your prices seem really good. I shop at Aldi and while they have great prices, their stock rotates all the time. Last time I shopped there they didn’t have bananas or strawberries, but I’ll be back there again today.

  7. I feel so much better now!! I do save a ton by combining coupons with sales but I have never been able to get the $200 worth of groceries for $2 or whatever! I would imagine maybe those who do that are buying a whole lot of stuff that is free/almost free after coupons but if you have to add milk, produce, meat/chicken or whatever I don’t see how you could do it. I was feeling bad I could never achieve THAT level of savings but I guess it is not the norm.

    I quit CVS shopping a while ago but we have a really good stockpile of shampoo, toothpaste, etc. I dread having to get back into it because you have to put money out of pocket to begin with and stuff there costs a lot. For a while it seemed they weren’t running very good deals.

    • Michelle says:

      I totally agree with the cvs shopping! I was really into it for a while, bit it seemed like I was putting so much out first. Then I would have weeks with nothing I was interested in and a ton of expiring extra bucks. I ended up using them to buy milk and other groceries that I could have gotten much cheaper at the grocery store or super target. Then I’d gave to start over collecting extra bucks all over again. Publix, my grocery store allows you to use 2 Q’s on BOGOs, so I can usually get toiletries just as cheap without having to “front” money, then get back extra bucks.

  8. How funny you should mention CVS. I had a friend tell me just yesterday that I needed to start shopping there with coupons and take advantage of the CVS bucks.

  9. Oh good, I’m so glad to know that I am not alone in the coupon world!! I thought I must be a really lousy shopper because I could never get my $200 grocery bill down to $20 or less!! We are a family of 5 and I manage to keep us around $500 per month, including toiletries and misc. non-food items…..thanks so much for your blog and the links to other like minded moms…..I am learning some great tips from all of you!

  10. I may have missed this elsewhere…but do you buy meat? If so, where?

    • Yes, I buy meat. Usaually look for sales in a small local market and when in any store I llok for reduced meat. I allways thought reduced meat that was gross! But if the meat is not dis-color, looks fine, I figure it a five minute ride home to the freezer. I’ve never had a problem with reduced meat. I only plan my meals around that inexpensive meat that I have on hand.

  11. I live in Canada so we don’t have any of the stores that you ladies mentioned. I’ve gotten in the habit of checking the clearance section for fruit and vegetables (especilly bananas)and also the bakery. I do use coupons but i’ve never been able to get my $200 grocery bill down to $2. For 5 people I’m usually at 100-150 a week. not bad for my area. I’m with you , I only clip the coupons for the things that my family will use, and tehn i combine it with a good sale.

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