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Category: From My Kitchen

How I Cut $80 Off Our Weekly Grocery Bill

Wow! Easily cut $80 off your grocery bill with these simple tips! I love this testimony!

A few months ago, Naomi left a comment on one of posts and said:

“We are also a family of five but we have special dietary issues. My goal this past week was to reduce our weekly food budget to $100 and it was $99! Previously, I thought that I couldn’t save money because of our food restrictions but I wasn’t really ready to try.”

I wrote her back and asked if she could share some specific tips she had implemented. Here’s what she said:

First of all, our restrictions are soy, nuts, and seeds allergies (including their oils). I myself am supposed to eat as preservative-free as possible with high fiber thrown into the mix because of a chronic medical condition. As a point of reference, I was spending about $180 a week on our food.

Here was my strategy:

1) Create a food shopping budget. I based this off of the MyPlate recommendations for food consumption. On my shopping list, I put a dollar amount next to each category that I was shopping. For example, Fruits were allotted $20. Grains were $13 and so on. (My categories are Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy and Protein.)

2) Don’t make a meal plan until I see the local sales. I got this tip from you! I looked all the sale leaflets up online and filled in my shopping list categories, being careful to write down the price of what I was expecting to buy to stay with my category’s budgeted amount.

3) Shop the sales at my local Kroger, Aldi and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. For us, Thursday is “Double Ad Day” at Fresh Thyme, where the previous and coming week’s sales are all up for grabs.

4) I did all my shopping on one day and kept a running total of each category on my shopping list. I knew when I hit $13 for grains.

5) Don’t buy pre-packaged items. A big key for me to make this work for our family was to buy only “ingredient items,” no prepackaged foods. For breakfast this week, we are eating muesli but instead of buying an allergen friendly muesli, I bought the ingredients to make my own.

6) Allow some wiggle room for extras. I gave myself $25 for extras. Fats and sugars fell under this category, along with coffee beans and tea. I used some of this to buy marked down ground beef I hadn’t been planning on purchasing ahead of time. I saved so much, we used some extra money to buy our favorite allergen friendly pizza.

Thanks for inspiring me to try to save! Our pantry and refrigerator are stocked for the week and I feel pleased with myself for saving money.

How We Fed A Crowd While On Our Family Vacation (Full Menu Plan for 26 People)

If your extended family is going on a vacation, these are GREAT ideas for a frugal menu plan!

Need some ideas for food to make while on vacation with a crowd? Two weeks ago, my entire extended family (except my brother who is working on the The Wilds camp this summer and couldn’t take time off) went to Bull Shoals Lake.

We’ve been doing this trip together as a family since before I was married. The number of people who come each year has slowly grown as my siblings have gotten married and we’ve had babies. We’re now up to 26 people total (My parents, my six siblings, plus their spouses and kids!)

On this trip, we stay in cabins that have kitchens so we bring food and make it there for all but one night. We all pitch in to help with meals, ingredients, cooking, baking, and clean up. This way, there’s not too much work on any one person’s shoulders.

Many of you asked for details on what we cook and how it works, so I’m posting our entire menu plan so you can get ideas. 🙂

My sister planned the menus based upon what she knows that everyone would like/eat/would give some options for those on special diets or who have food allergies and then she put together a sign up form on TakeThemaMeal.com for everyone to sign up for what they wanted to bring.

I know that this might not work in some families, but because of the dynamics of our family, this works really well for us. It’s also nice because then everyone can sign up for what types of food they like to bring or what meals they’d prefer to help make.

My sister set up the sign up sheet so that every menu item was on a different line and if you signed up for something, you were responsible to get the ingredients for it and make it for that meal.

Some of the items were really easy things, like bringing a jar of pickles or a bag of tater tots. Others were a little more time intensive, like making bread or mashed potatoes or a main dish.

Here was our menu plan:

Breakfasts

Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Ice Cream Soaked French Toast, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Baked Oatmeal, Sausage, Eggs, Juice
Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists, Eggs, Bacon, Juice
Cold Cereal

Lunches:

Salad Bar, Leftovers, Snack-y Foods (everyone brings some snack type foods to contribute and share)

Dinners:

  • Spaghetti Pie, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Lettuce Salad, Fruit
  • Papa John’s Pizza (we had a gift card and there was a 30% off coupon, so we ended up getting a LOT of pizza for very little out of pocket!)
  • Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Lettuce Salad, Fruit, Biscuits
  • Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Watermelon, French Fries, Corn on the Cob, Veggie Tray, Steamed Veggies
  • Chicken Bean Burritos (topped with lettuce, sour cream, and salsa) Fried Rice, Fruit

And that’s that! I did want to mention that some of the meals were more allergy-friendly than others, so on a few of the nights where they weren’t as allergen-friendly, those with food allergies made some other for the main dish.

Simple Freezer-Friendly Garlic Bread

Recipe from my sister, Olivia

I originally made this recipe a few years ago when I was prepping recipes for some farmer friends to have in their freezer during the busy harvest season.

They loved how easy it was to prepare, and even claimed it to be their favorite recipe out of everything I made for them that year!

Since then, I’ve made it a few different times for various occasions. It’s so quick to prepare ahead of time, and it works really well for spur of the moment guests or when you aren’t sure until the last minute how many guests you’ll be serving.

Pair it with these super popular Individual Mini Meat Lasagnas for a great make-ahead meal for the freezer!

Looking for more delicious bread recipes?

Olivia is a music teacher, graphic designer, and event organizer. She loves hospitality, ministering to the elderly, reaching out to international students, playing harp gigs, adding beauty to everyday life, and experimenting with recipes in the kitchen. Her greatest joy in life come from knowing God and growing in her relationship with Him. 

I spent $69.33 on groceries this week!

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

Kroger had some great digital coupon deals this weekend that were good only on Friday and Saturday. Since I had $19 left in our grocery budget on Friday, we picked up a few of the deals + milk.

And then we picked up the rest of the deals today since our $70 grocery budget re-sets on Saturday.  (I’ll share what we got at the store today in Monday’s post!)

Friday’s Kroger Shopping Trip

Total Spent on Groceries This Week

Total spent on groceries this week: $69.33

Rebates: $0.25 for submitting a receipt to Ibotta, $0.80 back from Fetch Rewards for scanning four receipts (If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards, you can sign up here and use code WW7XJ and you’ll get a bonus 2,000 points = worth $2.)

See this week’s menu plan here.

CHEAP cereal & cheese, two bags of groceries for $3.80 at Sprouts, and this week’s menu plan!

This $70 weekly grocery budget for a family of 5 is SO inspiring and filled with creative ways to save!

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

The Friday-Saturday deals at Kroger were super exciting to us this past weekend! I was thrilled to get cheese for $0.99 per block/bag and the kids were thrilled to get one of their favorite cereals (Honey Bunches of Oats) for just $0.99 per box! I bought two bags of cheese to stick in the freezer for later and three blocks to use over the next few weeks.

I also found organic cage-free eggs marked down to $1.99 per dozen, so you better believe I scooped those up! In fact, I ended up getting 6 dozen!! We love eggs — scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, you name it — so I’m always thrilled when I find a great deal on eggs!

In addition, they had a bunch of organic bananas marked down to $0.39 per pound! Actually, they had a cart FULL of bananas marked down, but I just picked up three big bunches to stick in the freezer for smoothies and banana bread and banana muffins!

Of course, I also picked up the free loaf of Nature’s Own bread that was the Free Friday download this past week. I think it’s probably one of the best Free Friday downloads there has been in a long time.

Saturday Kroger Shopping Trip — $28.42

  • Bananas — marked down to $0.39 per pound
  • Nature’s Own Bread — Free Friday download
  • Organic Arugula — marked down to $1.79
  • 5 boxes of Post cereal — $0.99 per box with Digital Coupon
  • 5 packages of cheese — $0.99 each with Digital Coupon
  • Total with tax: $28.42

Monday Aldi Shopping Trip

I ran into Aldi on Monday to see if there were any markdowns + to pick up a few staple items and baking items. I had a team meeting when I got home and didn’t get pictures taken of my shopping trip, but I did get a video made of my Aldi, Big Lots, and Sprouts shopping trip that you can watch above if you are interested.

Aldi Shopping Trip — $15.22

  • Chicken Breasts — $5.99
  • Cantaloupe — $0.99
  • Baking Soda — $0.49
  • Frozen Broccoli — $1.19
  • Baking Powder — $0.99
  • Milk — $2.69
  • Oil — $1.85
  • Total with tax: $15.22

Monday Big Lots Shopping Trip

I also stopped by Big Lots to see if there were any great buys in the clearance cart. I didn’t find anything great, but I did go ahead and pick up some whole wheat flour for $3.

I am planning to make a trip to Nolensville soon to check out the Bulk Foods Store there to see what their prices are on flour and I also want to check Sprouts, but for now, that was a decent price for higher quality flour.

Total spent with tax: $3.20

Monday Sprouts Shopping Trip

Y’all! I am kind of geeking out over this Sprouts discovery! I still can’t believe that this store has been sitting so close to Aldi and I’ve not been shopping there.

Maybe it’s just a good week or something, but based upon what you all are telling me, Sprouts regularly has great deals. And I’ve been so impressed with the quality of their food and their customer service.

Case in point, when I was there on Monday, they had corn on the cob marked for 5 for $1 — which is a fantastic deal. I started filling a bag and a woman who worked there came over to me and told me that the sign was actually incorrect. The deal was actually only for the weekend. She said that they had just changed the deal in their system and hadn’t gotten the signage changed.

She told me they would totally honor the price since it was marked as such. However, she told me to make sure to tell them at checkout that they’d need to adjust the price. She told me if I had any issues to just ask them to ask her about it. And then I saw her go straight over to the checkout lane and tell them to honor the price until they got the sign changed.

Also, I have no idea if this was because I just signed up for their email list or if it was some kind of fluke thing, but in the past 5 days, I have gotten two completely free coupon offers in my inbox.

These were at the bottom of their emails — there was a promo for a completely free item. I just added the promo code to my app and it added the digital coupon to my account. Free food?? Hello, I’ll totally take it! 🙂

Are the rest of you getting these coupons? Is this something they regularly do?

I have no idea, but I highly recommend signing up for their email newsletters and always opening them and scrolling to the bottom of them. Also, be sure to download the app to add the promo codes for these digital coupons if you get them, too!

Oh and remember the Driscoll’s strawberries I bought last week? Well, I filled out the surveys for the products on the Driscoll’s survey panel and I got $0.50 Driscoll coupons for each survey I filled out.

So you know what I did, don’t you? Oh yes, I took those coupons and went back to Sprouts and bought 5 more packages of strawberries for $0.48 per package!

By the way, when you fill out your 5th survey then they start giving you $0.75 coupons!! Of course, I filled out the surveys for the $0.48 strawberries I bought (well, actually Silas filled out the surveys — I taught him how to and he sat next to me while I worked and filled them out for me!) and earned $0.75 Driscolls coupons! Now I’m prepared for when they go on sale again! 🙂

If you are wondering what we did with 10 packages of strawberries in a week, we ate 6 packages and froze 4 of them to use in smoothies over the next month. I love having frozen berries — especially when I got them so inexpensively!

Monday Sprouts Shopping Trip — $3.80

  • 5 packages of strawberries — on sale for $0.98, used 5 $0.50/1 coupons, $0.48 per package
  • Organic Egg Noodles — used FREE product coupon
  • Tandoori Naan — used FREE product coupon
  • 5 ears of corn on the cob — 5 for $1
  • Total with tax: $3.80

This Week’s Simple Menu Plan

This menu is subject to change a little if I find some great deals or markdowns! 🙂

Breakfasts

Fried/Scrambled Eggs, Cereal, Fruit, Toast, The Best Ever Bran Muffins

Lunches

Mac & Cheese, Cereal, Cheese/Crackers, Fruit, Veggies, Leftovers, Eggs, Yogurt, Salad, Smoothies

Snacks

Banana Bread, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Hard Boiled Eggs, Marked Down Yogurt Chocolate Cake in a Mug

Dinners

Monday: Frittata with sausage, peppers, onions, cheese, Fruit

Tuesday: Leftover Frittata, Fruit

Wednesday: Barbecued Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Fruit

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles, Eggs, Fruit

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas, Fruit, Rice, Beans

Sunday: Snack-y Dinner

Total Spent So Far on Groceries This Week

Total spent so far this week: $50.64

Total left to spend: $19.36

Rebates: $0.25 for submitting a receipt to Ibotta, $0.60 back from Fetch Rewards for scanning three receipts (If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards, you can sign up here and use code WW7XJ and you’ll get a bonus 2,000 points = worth $2.)

I may have changed my mind about Sprouts ($0.98 strawberries!!!) + what I got at Aldi & Big Lots

Shopping at Sprouts on a $70 weekly grocery budget?! I never knew Sprouts had such GREAT deals!!

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

Well, I may have changed my mind about Sprouts! You see, I had checked out Sprouts maybe a year or two ago when we first got a Sprouts here. I had heard from so many people that they had these “amazing deals”… but when I checked them out I was under-whelmed and un-impressed.

So I had written off Sprouts. Because they had great food and fantastic produce, but their prices seemed significantly higher than what I would pay.

Last night, a friend sent me a text telling me that Sprouts had $0.98 strawberries this week. And you all know I can’t pass up a deal like that — especially since I was excited about Aldi having strawberries for $1.29 recently.

So I got myself right over to Sprouts this morning and I was really impressed. Not only did they have LOTS of strawberries available, the strawberries looked like super high-quality and fresh strawberries. I didn’t even really have to pick through them to find the best ones — because almost every package looked so good!

(Psst! There’s a Driscoll’s rewards program and you can earn free coupons here. I was told that Sprouts takes coupons, too!)

I’m going to start checking out the Sprout’s produce deals every week. I’m hearing from my followers on Instagram that Sprouts typically has one or two produce deals every week that are really good. And if you go on Wednesdays, they have Double Ad Day — which means that the ad from the week before and the ad for the next week are valid. So you can double up on the good deals!

(Speaking of Instagram, are you following me there? That’s always the best place to get first-word news… because I often share deals as I find them in real-time on Stories! Click here to follow me on Instagram — and then click on my circle profile to see my latest video clips of the day!)

So I picked up 5 packages of strawberries and I might go back on Tuesday to get more, if we eat these up before then. (Or I might freeze some for smoothies!)

I also got two dozen cage-free eggs to use to make scrambled eggs tomorrow night because we invited friends over for Breakfast for Dinner after we hang out at the pool.

Total with tax spent at Sprouts: $10.97

I also stopped by BigLots to check out their clearance cart and bread racks. I picked up two loaves of Thomas Swirl Bread to stick in the freezer. This bread is SO good toasted with butter! I paid $1.40 per loaf for it.

Total with tax spent at Big Lots: $2.99

And I also stopped by Aldi because it was right there and I needed to get a few items that we are out of or running low on:

Thursday Aldi Shopping Trip — $11.71

  • Gallon of water — $0.79
  • Eggs — $1.17
  • Oats — $2.39
  • Milk — $2.69
  • 3 boxes Mac & Cheese — $0.33 each
  • Cantaloupe — $0.99
  • Pure Cane Sugar — $1.95
  • Total with tax: $11.71

Total Spent This Week

You’ll notice that I went $0.25 over this week on our $70 budget. I knew I was cutting it close but I didn’t realize how close I was cutting it — and that I’d be a little bit over. But considering the fact that I’ve been under budget for the past number of weeks, I’m totally okay with it.

That’s why we have the extra “padding” in the budget from all those weeks of being under budget! But next week, I’ll definitely double-check my numbers better ahead of time!

Total spent this week: $70.25

Rebates: $2.75 for submitting two receipts to Ibotta & for buying the Fage yogurt and croutons, $0.77 back from Fetch Rewards for scanning four receipts (If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards, you can sign up here and use code WW7XJ and you’ll get a bonus 2,000 points = worth $2.)

See our menu plan for this week here.