Come Grocery Shopping With Me: 4 Years and 2 Kids Later

posted by Andrea | 08/13/2014

come grocery shopping with me

When I first started blogging (about 4 years ago) it was rare that I spent more than $25 per week on groceries.

In fact, it was pretty normal for me to spend less than $15 on groceries for an entire week — like the week I spent $2.56 and got ALL of this!

Groceries

Believe it or not, one week during our first year of marriage, my grocery “bill” came to a negative number — but since the grocery store couldn’t GIVE me money, I just said “keep the change” and walked out with several bags of totally free groceries!

Oh, those were the days!

I absolutely LOVED bargain shopping, playing the drugstore game, clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, printing online coupons, visiting multiple stores every week, sending in my rebates, and scouring store ads to find the absolute best deals on our weekly groceries and toiletries.

It was a hobby of mine and something I thoroughly enjoyed doing. It did not take up much time, it was in no way a hardship or burden for me, and I saved hundreds of dollars every week on things we needed to buy anyway.

I’m confident I would still be doing much of this today if the store policies and coupons hadn’t changed so much (and if I didn’t need to cart two munchkins around everywhere I went!)

Now, 4 years and 2 kids later… our grocery bill has TRIPLED!

I realize that $75 per week probably isn’t that bad for a family of 4 — especially since it includes diapers, wipes, paper products, misc. household items, and all toiletries.

However I also know this number will increase again since we’re gearing up to start Simon on formula. Up until this point, he’s been drinking pumped milk and some Enfamil formula we’ve been getting almost free thanks to email coupons and “checks” that come in the mail. I know formula is expensive, but we decided that at 6 months, we would start transitioning to more formula as well as baby food (yeah, I’m excited!)

 

Sometimes it bothers me that our grocery bill has gone up so much in just a couple years, but I also know that it has been a gradual process and a conscious decision.

There are several reasons we have “allowed” this increase in our weekly grocery budget… and since so many of you have asked if we’re still only spending $25 per week on groceries, I figured it was time for an updated post!

shopping

photo source

Here are a few of the many reasons why we have chosen to increase our grocery budget so much.

1. Food prices have skyrocketed!

For a while, I thought I was just imagining the higher prices — but then, when I was organizing our new mudroom, I found an old grocery receipt that must have gotten stuck at the bottom of a bag I haven’t used in a few years. Before I trashed it, I glanced at the prices and was amazed how much less expensive groceries from the same store were just 3 years ago.

Dairy products, eggs, meat, and produce have become ridiculously expensive; and those 4 items make up the majority of my grocery bill each week.

Nora eats massive amounts of cheese, yogurt, and fruit — and for as long as it took me to finally get her to eat, there is no way I’m going to deny her healthy food choices she’ll actually eat simply because I don’t want to spend a few extra bucks at the grocery store.

There are weeks when I spend $25 just in cheese and yogurt to feed my 2-year-old — I can’t even imagine being able to get all our groceries for the entire week at that price anymore!

2. My coupons sources have “dried up”.

To say ‘I loved using coupons’ would be a huge understatement. I had so much fun clipping, organizing, and using my coupons each week. And it was worth every minute I spent as I usually saved around $40 JUST from coupons each week (which is a lot considering I was only spending $25).

I still try to use coupons every chance I get — but those chances are becoming less and less. We no longer get our local newspaper (read why in this post) so I don’t get any print coupons. All the coupons in the mail are junk, and the online coupons seem to always require that I “like” something on Facebook or sign up for an email chain for a low-value coupon. Plus, then I still need to use my printer ink to print them (and cut them out).

I do use digital coupons every week — but I rarely save more than $5 – $10 with those (yes, small amounts add up, but nothing like the $40+ I used to save each week with coupons).

3. We’re buying more QUANTITY.

Obviously, with 2 little kids (one of whom never stops eating) we are simply buying a greater quantity of food — which is going to cost more money.

We also entertain a lot more than we did before kids because we’re realizing it’s SO much easier to have people come to our house than go anywhere else 🙂 Although other’s often bring food to contribute to the meals, I’ve been baking more treats, buying more snacks and drinks, and preparing more meals than I did in previous years.

We still aren’t the world’s best hosts, we do enjoy having people over (especially in the summer when we can be outside) so I’ve come to terms with the fact that if we want to have people over, we simply need to have more food available.

4. We’re buying more QUALITY.

Dave and I are light-years away from being “foodies” but we have started to buy some higher quality foods every now and then.

We’re buying better cuts of meat, delicious fresh salsas, tons of produce, nicer breads, some sweet-treat splurges, and even nicer beer (per Dave’s request — I can’t stand the stuff). We figure since we rarely go out to eat (besides Culver’s and Arby’s usually once a month) we can spend a little more on quality foods to eat at home.

Although it’s been fun to spend a bit more on these non-necessities, I can’t say it’s been easy on me. As crazy as it sounds, I have a running mental dialog almost my entire shopping trip. “Should I get this one, or splurge on the nicer one for $2 more? We don’t need the nicer one, but it would be fun to have this treat. But we don’t need it. But Dave would love it. Does it make sense to spend more?”

No, I’m not joking!

You can take my coupons away, but you can’t undo years of “frugal training” from my mother!

5. I’m simply less concerned with how much we’re spending.

I’m not sure how to say this in a tactful way — but for the first time in our married life, we have more money than time 🙂

This is not to say that we are “rolling in the dough”… but rather, that we have never been busier before. We’re very busy with our jobs, very busy with house projects, and very busy with our children.

Although we definitely want to be good stewards of our financial resources, we also need to be good stewards of our time. We are acutely aware of the value of our time and we’re not willing to “waste” large amounts of time to save $5.

If we need bananas, grapes, strawberries, milk, chicken breasts, and cheese, but none of those items are on sale at Meijer, I’m going to buy them anyway — even if they are on sale at a different store. I’m just not willing to visit multiple stores to save a couple dollars, because it’s not worth my time investment at this point in my life (not to mention neither of my kids love to run errands with me).

This has been hard for me as I grew up ONLY buying something if it was on sale. It honestly wouldn’t be that much extra work for me to visit a couple extra stores each week — but shopping with kids totally stresses me out, and the faster I can get in and out, the better! It’s worth it for my sanity as a mom to pay more if I can shave 30-40 minutes off my errands each week (not to mention saving on gas by only driving to one store).

.

Although many of my extreme-savings have gone by the wayside, there are still a few ways I do manage to save on groceries:

1. I shop the sales as much as possible.

Even though we don’t get the newspaper anymore, I can still look up the store ads on my phone or iPad (I would highly recommend the free Weekly Ads App for this).

I plan our meals around what is on sale, and stock up on anything non-perishable and freezable when I can.

As I mentioned above, not everything I buy is on sale, but by planning our meals around mostly on-sale items, I’m saving about $25- $35 per week… not to shabby!

2. I buy store brand whenever it makes sense.

I do ALL my shopping at Meijer (which is basically a glorified Super Walmart). I can find almost anything and everything I need in one location — which is amazing.

They also have a pretty fabulous store brand of almost everything — and it’s significantly less expensive than manufacturer brands. Their diapers, baby wipes, and formula are 1/2 the price of national brands — and I’m sure I don’t need to explain how much of a savings that adds up to!

Meijer also runs special sales on their store brand — so it often makes sense to buy almost all Meijer brand items (especially now that I don’t have nearly as many manufacturer coupons).

3. I only shop once a week – with a list.

It is EXTREMELY rare that I would visit the grocery store more than one time a week — probably only if we were having people over and there was no way I could make do without a specific ingredient. This obviously saves me both time and money because I’m not being sucked into making an impulse purchase on multiple different trips throughout the week.

Also, I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot inside a grocery store without a list. There is no way I would remember everything I needed to buy without a list — and without a list, I would most definitely come home with unneeded items (a.k.a. wasted money).

Oh, and incase you aren’t convinced that I’m 100% Type-A — read this post to see how I create my shopping list to save the most time in the grocery store!

4. I plan ahead.

As I mentioned last week, I dutifully plan our weekly meals and do my best to stick to that plan. And since I usually plan our meals around the sale items, I’m able to save a considerable amount of money by sticking to our meal plan.

I’m also always looking ahead in our schedule to see if and when we’ll be having people over. I try to stock up on paper products, napkins, drinks, and snacks whenever they are on sale to make it easier to say yes to company without feeling like I need to go out and buy $100 worth of groceries.

Although our grocery bill is significantly higher than it was just a few years ago, I’m still doing my best to save where I can — and trying to enjoy the fact that we are actually able to spend more without undoing our entire budget.

I realize that much of our increased spending has been OUR choice. We are choosing to have more children, do more entertaining, eat more quality foods, and shop at only one store. It’s a privilege for us to be able to make these choices — and I try to always keep that in mind when I’m swiping my card in the checkout lane.

From what I’m told (from moms with older kids) our grocery bill will only continue to rise — and I’m OK with that.

Who knows, maybe when the kids are older, I’ll leave them at home and enjoy running errands all over town to find the best deals again!

But for now, this is how we roll —  only picture Nora with cookie crumbs all over her face, Simon dead asleep in the carrier, and me somewhat frazzled and sweating profusely by the time we reach the checkout 🙂

grocery shopping

15Shares

Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

Leave a comment

44 comments

  1. joy

    08/15/2014

    shopping witht the baby in a carrier is the way go!
    I also struggle to balance the time/money scale when it comes to feeding our family. I aim to spend $75/week for a family of 6 and no more than $500/month.

    [Reply]

  2. Lisa

    08/14/2014

    Your journey sounds a bit like mine – only mine would say “12 years and 4 kids later”. I am also choosing to shop at only one store (well, OK, two stores…I get whatever I can at Costco, and Meijer is my secondary stop if necessary), choosing to entertain more without worrying about the cost, choosing higher quality foods, and (enter four hungry children!) choosing to buy in larger quantities! I struggled with accepting this when I realized how much our grocery bill had risen over the last few years…but like you, I’m doing my best to be frugal in whatever ways I can. Having said that, there are months when the number hovers around $1,000! Ouch! But time is money too, right? Thanks for the honest encouragement 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Shannon

    08/14/2014

    Totally agree! I’ve also noticed that the coupons out there just aren’t as good as they used to be. I don’t know if it was the surge in coupon counterfitting or those “Extreme Couponing” shows, but the high value coupons are pretty rare and to your point, not worth my time to drive to another store just to match with a sale. It all comes back to time – our most precious commodity!

    [Reply]

  4. Jennifer

    08/14/2014

    I, too, spend much more on groceries than I used to, for all the reasons you mention above. Our children have grown into teenagers who eat more, we’re all busier, and higher-quality food is more important to me now than ever, including organic versions of some produce. I’m frugal by nature so also like you, I cringe at our grocery bills. It helps me to remember that much of the world spends up to 25 percent of their income on food! Our food prices here in the U.S. are pretty low, comparatively. I’d rather spend money on high-quality food than on other items such as more expensive cell phone or cable plans.

    [Reply]

  5. Lynda

    08/13/2014

    Right with ya!! 😉 Time is precious when you have a family and sometimes you just need to get the job done!

    [Reply]

  6. Karen

    08/13/2014

    Great post. I wondered if your budget had increased. Milk in our area , in TN , has gone up to closer to $6 and store brands closer to $4. Just the basics cost a small fortune! Thanks for maintaining this blog. It has been my favorite for quite some time.

    [Reply]

  7. Jen

    08/13/2014

    Thanks for the virtual shopping trip with you to Meijer. I was born and raised in West Michigan and really miss shopping there. I completely agree that grocery prices have gone way up, plus here in TN our groceries are also taxed. I love the tips that you shared, as I am trying to cut down our spending but not cut back on quality.

    [Reply]

  8. Michelle

    08/13/2014

    Thank you for your honesty. I am so tired of bloggers who pretend they don’t pay for groceries. We do the best we can and use coupons when we can. Our grocery budget is the same and my method seems just like yours. Your post made me feel validated and like what we are doing is reasonable for where we are at in life. We also have used many of your recipes in our meal planning- they are delicious!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    08/13/2014

    It is astounding how much grocery prices have risen! I think that it is important to buy quality when you can and if it is important to your family. I think it is great that you are able to do just that. I know you have probably heard this a million times, but just wait until you have teenagers! Thanks for the post.

    [Reply]

  10. Melinda

    08/13/2014

    Thank you so much for this post! I had asked you the other day about how you grocery shop and this post has really helped me make better sense in how I should probably be coupon shopping and grocery shopping in general. Having a little different outlook will probably save my sanity. My kids are all grown and out of the house but grocery shopping still stresses me out. ha.

    Needless to say, I love your blog! I read it everyday. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Melinda! Glad this post could help — and yes, a different outlook is usually helpful with most “problems” in life!

    [Reply]

  11. Kate

    08/13/2014

    I am a nurse in a pediatrician’s office- make sure you ask for formula samples at your baby’s appointments. Most of the time you can at least get a couple sample cans that way. 🙂 That is what I did with my kids. And when I couldn’t get samples I would buy the Target or Walmart brand and my kids all did fine with it.

    [Reply]

  12. Brigid

    08/13/2014

    Great post Andrea! I am in the same boat and was smiling at each of your numbered reasons as I read along. I wanted to pass on to you two bits of info that you may want to try. We have also stopped our newspaper, which was only the Sunday paper anyway, but I do have a few coupon buddies who give me their extra coupons once they look through them-works really well with a friend who buys differently ;0) The second is, many local libraries have a coupon file that people put clipped and donated coupons in. Ours is sitting on top of the shelves next to Box Top collection box, but you may have to ask. Hope your library has one, they are nice. When I was clipping out of the Sunday paper I would leave our extras and take the ones I needed, it was a nice trade.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Brigid! Dave’s mom sometimes gives me her coupons — but the actual coupons just aren’t for anything I buy anymore. They seem to be all dog food, denture cream, and tons of cosmetics.

    [Reply]

    Brigid Reply:

    I agree on the lack of good coupons :0) I just printed good ones from Target, Walmart and All You…Planters peanuts,Goldfish crackers, Cascadian Farms,saltines, Archer Farms frozen pizza-very good and nice when soccer goes late. Try emailing and asking for coupons mailed to you, I do and it works many times.
    Spending money on GOOD food is important so try to find coupons, but never sacrifice quality if you can’t. Happy Shopping! P.S. Nora will be ready for the shopper jr. carts soon! They are both just darling ;0)

    [Reply]

  13. Amanda

    08/13/2014

    For us, a few things have led to an increase in what we spend.

    1. Like you, we got rid of the paper… I was wasting money, not reading it, and the coupons just weren’t reason enough to keep getting it.

    2. Holy prices batman… seriously, it’s ridiculous how much food prices have gone up in the last few years

    3. We eat more organic/less GMO/less processed foods than before. Buying “whole” foods is just more expensive. We now buy our beef from a local farm (I go once or twice a year and buy in bulk and freeze, and if I’m running low and don’t have time to drive the hour to the farm, I’ll grab some from Costco), because it’s grass fed, no GMOs and hormone free. Same with chicken. While there are coupons occasionally, they don’t exist like they do for many other products.

    4. Time. I just don’t have the time to pour over sale/coupon match-ups like I used to. I try to grab a few deals a week that I can do easily. Otherwise, it just isn’t worth it to me anymore. I have a toddler, and I’m pregnant, and I just have other things that require my time.

    I will say, like someone else mentioned, we have weeks where we spend a lot, and weeks where we spend a little. I bought for our 2 week meal plan last week – I spent ~$150. This week, I just needed a few fresh items, and my total was about $40 (and that included a stock-up on tuna because of a great sale)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, my $75 per week is an estimate. Last week, I only spent $40, but this week, I spent $105. However, over the past 6-8 months, it has averaged out to about $75 per week 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. jodimichelle

    08/13/2014

    I love this but no matter what I do I seem to spend more than ever before this year on groceries and I know it’s inflation and lack of planning on my part but going back to work did a number on me in this area. Oh man. I’d love to get it back down but with allergies and school lunches and everything else – it seems like a pipe dream that I’ll ever be able to leave a store for less than $200 any more. Some times it’s even more than that. How big did your eyes just get? SO BIG!! My jaw still drops when I think about it. I just can’t seem to figure out a good formula for money saving in this area that won’t eat up hours of my weekend planning, prepping and stressing. Oh life.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Think of it this way Jodi — you’re working full time so you have less time and more income (I assume) which should easily allow you to spend more on groceries. Plus, allergies and sensitivities can quickly kill even the tightest budget!

    Cut yourself some slack, I’m sure you’re doing great. 🙂

    [Reply]

  15. Stephanie

    08/13/2014

    One other thought about bringing our children to the store….they are people too and have every right to be in the store that an adult does. We all were children once and we need to stop treating mothers shopping as if they are aliens. Children are part of the family, not something that we want one moment but can discard or drop off the next.
    Saying that, there are times that for my own sanity or even for those around me that I will not bring them…..but don’t feel bad if they act out or cry. Children are still developing and sheltering them at home is not always the best training decision. The store can be a great place to continue the efforts of parenting at home, whether that is obedience, politeness, money management, etc.

    Plus for me sometimes it is more work to leave them home (where my husband is busy working etc and cannot clean up after them etc) than it is to take them to the store and come home to a happy husband and clean house. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I love this: “come home to a happy husband and a clean house”!! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    [Reply]

  16. Marie E

    08/13/2014

    Andrea, thanks for sharing. I visit your site every day! Don’t feel bad about spending more money because you have it – that’s a blessing you shouldn’t have to apologize for. I used to moderately coupon but I now have a 2.5 year old and a 12 month old and I work full time and simply choose not to. I’m so relieved to hear another mother say that she fears going to the store with both her kids! I feel the same way but I think it gets easier as they get older (as long as they aren’t tired/hungry/in meltdown mode).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Marie! I honestly don’t feel “bad” that I’m spending more — just kind of bummed that I can’t save like I used to. I know some of it is out of my control (like the price of food) so I don’t beat myself up too bad. And you’re right, I’m happy that we have the means to afford more expensive groceries — there are many families who are not as fortunate and the higher grocer prices are killing their budgets.

    And I can already attest to the fact that shopping with kids gets significantly easier as they get older. It’s already no big deal to take Nora — it’s actually fun sometimes!

    [Reply]

  17. Verity

    08/13/2014

    This is a great post. It mirrors my sentiments exactly. I used to go three or four places to get the best prices with coupons. Now with four small children, it is just best for everyone’s sanity to go one or two places and call it a day.

    One errand day – and then on with our week!

    [Reply]

  18. Shannon

    08/13/2014

    Andrea,

    I have to say that this is one of the BEST blog posts that I have ever read, and I follow a lot of blogs!

    Milk prices have just gone absolutely crazy! I guess the days of $2.00 for a gallon of milk are gone. Here in OH we’re paying around $3.28 per gallon. We were on vacation in FL last week and it was over $4.00 per gallon!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, thanks Shannon! And yes, the price of milk is crazy. I remember when it would go on sale for $0.99 a gallon!!!!!

    [Reply]

  19. Kelly

    08/13/2014

    I’m glad that you wrote this post. We live in East Lansing and shop at meijers. Our grocery bill has also gone up considerably for the same reasons: more kids, less time, healthier more expensive options, fewer coupons and higher prices. I’ve been ignoring the reasons for our higher food costs and just feeling like I was losing my touch. It’s great to see that you puts words to the problem. Last week I put all of our produce on the belt first, it came to $50 by itself (4 kids). I actually felt proud, even though I hate spending that much. I am impressed with $75 a week! I don’t think I could feed my crew for that anymore, though I know I could do better. I have a question and a comment. Do you feel that meijer diapers do as well as the name brands? And, have you ever made your own yogurt? It’s easier, cheaper, and healthier 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Kelly,
    I would say that the Meijer diapers have been working wonderfully for me. I used the a bit for Nora before she was potty trained and now for Simon. I have no complaints (I always used Pampers before). I’ve just started using the Meijer wipes and they aren’t as nice as the Huggies ones so I think I’ll stick to Huggies for those.

    Also, about the yogurt, I used to make my own (here’s the recipe) but Nora won’t eat it 🙂

    [Reply]

  20. AshleyB

    08/13/2014

    Andrea–I know you’re a busy lady, but have you ever thought about making your own yogurt to save money on groceries? I promise, it’s not as hard as it sound!! Check out this great, simple tutorial that doesn’t even require any dishes other than what the yogurt goes into the fridge in! http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/13/monday-mission-homemade-yogurt-the-easy-way/

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Ashely, I used to make our own yogurt (and even posted about it a few years ago) but Nora refuses to eat the homemade stuff and it’s much easier for me to buy the store bought stuff she’ll gobble up than fight with her. Store bought yogurt was one of the first (and only) things she would eat until about 21 months old (LONG story you can read about here!)

    [Reply]

  21. Amy O

    08/13/2014

    Andrea, your picture reminded me of shopping when my older son was two and my younger was a baby. Once while I was going through the store, they were BOTH screaming their lungs out. And a little old lady stopped me and told me that this would one day be a precious memory that I would remember fondly. (Which still cracks me up to this day.) Those boys are now 17 and 15 and we added a daughter so I pay a lot MORE for groceries than I used to. But I still feel like i am spending a reasonable amount. The amount does go up as they bigger – but then again, you eventually won’t need the diapers or formula, which helps reduce expenses!

    [Reply]

    Debby Reply:

    Haha Amy O. I have lived that scenario too with an older person telling me something similar. And although I still don’t find it a “precious” memory, it’s a good laugh so I guess those elders know what they are talking about. My girls are 16 and 18 and never want to go to the store with me anymore. But they do carry it in.

    [Reply]

  22. Shantel

    08/13/2014

    Great post! I used to take stacks of coupons to Target, Walmart, & Kroger every week! I have lost interest and just don’t make the time anymore and that’s OK! I also quit printing coupons, except for a few here and there. I was finding that I didn’t use all of the ones I printed and was going through printer ink way too fast! I have gotten out of routine of my weekly grocery shopping & meal planning over the summer and it is definitely more stressful to be running to the store all the time. Looking forward to getting back to routine with school starting!

    [Reply]

  23. Emily

    08/13/2014

    Hahaha, I loved your comment about Nora with food crumbs all over her and sweating by the end of your shopping trip. Oh have I been there!!! 🙂 I used to shop at meijer for everything but like you said prices were continuing to rise (even with mperks) and it was very frustrating. I have four kids that I take with me. (My 3 month old in the baby carrier and the other three, ages 7, 5 and 2 “helping”). It is a great opportunity for training in obedience and self control. 🙂 I recently started shopping at Aldi and found that I save significant time and money. We can be in and out of the store in 45 minutes compared to the two hour shopping trip at Meijer! (Cuts down on the sweating as well)! If Aldi doesn’t have exactly what I need (like sometimes their produce isn’t that great) I do a quick meijer stop on the way home. Yes it is a pain to haul everyone out of the car again but it’s a quick 20 minute stop and totally worth the money I save.

    We purchased half of a cow last fall and that has been a huge help to our grocery budget. It’s a large chunk of money up front but a huge savings over time. I’m also trying out chicken from Zaycon foods this year. Have you ever purchased from them?

    [Reply]

    Luba Reply:

    Emily, we purchased chicken breasts from Zaycon this past winter and were not too impressed. They were huge and not so normal looking. Maybe other people have gotten better chicken from them?

    [Reply]

  24. lydia @ five4fivemeals

    08/13/2014

    Also, your outfit in that picture is super cute! Color me impressed that you’re able to wear white with two kids. I would be covered in little handprints and mud.

    [Reply]

  25. lydia @ five4fivemeals

    08/13/2014

    Our increased also. Our biggest expense each week is milk. My two toddlers go through four gallons a week and it’s $4.45 a gallon after tax for the store brand. We also buy a LOT of fresh produce and few process foods so that of course if more expensive.

    But we just got chickens so I don’t have to buy eggs anymore. Woot! Woot!

    [Reply]

  26. Kim

    08/13/2014

    I like the last statement of picturing you somewhat frazzled and sweating while in the checkout! It literally made me LOL because I am the same way. When I take my 4 year old shopping with me, it’s so stressful! He always puts a kink in my plan when he wants to stop by the toy section “just to look”. He doesn’t get anything so I figure what’s the harm in looking for a few minutes if it means that I can bribe him to be good for the rest of the trip! Although I do my best not shop with him much…I prefer shopping alone (always have, even clothing shopping which I hate anyway) and so when others are with me (husband or son), it makes the trip way too stressful for me.

    [Reply]

  27. Katie Richards

    08/13/2014

    This post sounds like something I could have written! I used to play the drugstore game and coupon like crazy right after my husband and I got married 6 years ago. I enjoyed it and outside of work, I didn’t have a lot of demands on my time. I never got down to $25 a week but most weeks I paid around $35-40.
    Sure, I stay home full time now but we own one business, my husband freelances (builds WordPress websites) and tends to work more than a traditional office job, have a nearly two year old and are expecting another bottomless pit of a boy to arrive in about a month, own two houses- one to live in, one as landlords (anyone looking to rent a home in Grandville?), and try to support our extended family and friends as much as we are able.
    We’ve simply come to the conclusion that feeding more mouths costs more money (i.e. toddler who doesn’t stop eating and guests several times a week), we appreciate buying quality over quantity (local, grass-fed beef instead of manager’s special), and that the time I have as a mom is more valuable spent with the kids than the money we’d save driving all over town to shop at multiple stores.
    That said, we love Amazon Prime for bulk household items like TP and what little paper towel we use (I’m pretty sure I have enough to last years!) and try to use store coupons for toiletries since those haven’t gotten any cheaper either!

    [Reply]

  28. Jane

    08/13/2014

    I am right with you! I have been shopping once a week for years. It is the most efficient method for us and I think it often results in spending less. I am a terrible coupon user and don’t have the room to buy in bulk. So it’s a weekly meal plan, designed around sales, store brand, shop once a week plan for us. Our budget is more than yours, but it really hasn’t changed much in recent years. But with kids, and even before kids, it was efficient to know what was going to be for dinner every day.

    [Reply]

  29. Jen

    08/13/2014

    I’m curious why you don’t shop without the kids-especially while Dave is home during the summer? I always made every possible effort to leave them home–much less stressful for them and me–even if it meant going at night. I understand that perhaps you’d rather take them during the day than miss time with Dave at night. Just wondering.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well, there are a LONG answer to this question — which is a good question to ask!
    1. I usually take Nora with me because she absolutely LOVES going to the store and she’s usually pretty nice, good, quiet, etc.
    2. Sometimes I leave both kids home or go at night when I need to get a lot of groceries or just don’t feel like dealing with the kids — but this is rare because I really prefer to do groceries and errands in the morning.
    3. Recently, I’ve been taking both kids because I’m “practicing” for when Dave is back in school and I’ll be on my own! I actually hate going out with both kids but I need to force myself to do it so it’s not so stressful for me.

    Plus, if I take both kids, then Dave can finish projects around the house, mow the lawn, etc.

    [Reply]

    Shantel Reply:

    Yes, Andrea! Keep taking them! My husband is also home in the summer but I have learned that as much as I enjoy my alone-shopping time, it makes it more difficult when school starts because they are out of routine and not used to grocery & shopping trips!!

    [Reply]

  30. Stephanie

    08/13/2014

    Enjoy Simon sitting there and unable to move. 🙂
    I did wonder how much you have been spending, because the $25 was impressive to me. It does make sense more in this post. I try to stick to $100 a week for our family of 5. Some weeks I will buy $150 but the next week only $35. Other times there is no way that we will have good for a week if I only spend $100 and I go over budget. It is a constant battle but what do you do when you need to eat?
    I do go to multiple stores, but sometimes I think I should just go to the most expensive store because I know it is expensive and will not even fancy the idea of getting anything we don’t need. Maybe it would save me $. :).
    I do agree that store policies do not make coupons near as inviting as they used to be. I would like to get back into it a bit, but cheese, milk, and produce hardly have coupons and those are my biggest spenders.

    [Reply]