Weekly Grocery Shopping Trip for a Family of 6 – $78.70 Spent

Today I thought I’d take the time to post our ENTIRE shopping trip for the week.  I know there was quite the discussion here about just how in the world our family (and many of yours) can live on so little per week for groceries.  I’ve come to show you how!  Now here’s the deal though – you won’t find every single morsel that we’ll be eating for the week here in this post.  Why’s that?  Because we have a generous stockpile from previous weeks and that is exactly how we’re able to spend so little per week.  I didn’t need to buy any meat, with the exception of the Tilapia because my freezer is sill full from the Safeway Turkey sale and other clearance meat finds like these that Sumiko shared last week. This week take for example the 7 boxes of cereal I bought pictured above.  We will not go through all of them in one week because we’ll have eggs one day and oatmeal another, etc.  This allows us to add a few boxes to our stockpile.

Another thing to note is that I shopped at several stores, I did this through out the week as I had time.  The bulk of my shopping is however done on the weekends.   I’m not going to list the specific coupons I used for each item but you can find them detailed in the links following.

Target
Whole Foods
Fred Meyer
Albertsons
Safeway
Grocery Outlet (no coupons – always great deals!)

Here are the deals I purchased with the totals listed below each store.  I spent a total of $78.70, which is over our weekly budget of $75 by $3.70.  I didn’t have to buy the Tilapia, but I’m trying new things with my diet this week and needed to expand my options a bit.

Grocery Outlet

Nature Valley Granola Thins, 36ct – $2.99
Del Monte Jarred Pears – $0.99
Del Monte Jarred Peaches – $0.99
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – 3/$1 (already used 1)
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Minis – $0.99
Powerbars, 12pk – $6.00
Sweet Mini Peppers
______________________________________________
Total: $15.97

Target

Massive Box of Goldfish – Clearance for $3.18
Target OJ – $1.38
2 Activia Yogurt 4pks, FREE (not pictured because they’ve already been eaten!)
______________________________________________
Total: $4.56

Safeway

Bagels, 6pk – $2.79
YoKids Yogurt Tubes – $0.88 after clearance and coupon
______________________________________________
Total: $3.67

Fred Meyer

Tilapia Filets, 2.5lbs – $9.99
*This seems really expensive, but I’ve never priced Tilapia and I really wanted to try them this week. Going to X out the Eggplant Parmesan sine Eggplant isn’t in season, who knew?! :)

5 Boxes Frosted Mini Wheats – $0.75 each
This deal was super cool because I got a raincheck on teh 50% off sale that ended yesterday, they were sold out when I went. Today the regular prices was lowered to $3.49, so $1.75 per box. Used my $5/5 coupon AND my FREE Gallon of milk coupon = $3.75 for all 6 items!

3 Loaves Whole Wheat Bread – 3/$4
Silk Pure Almond – $1.68
Silk Pure Coconut – $1.43 (old catalina coupon)
(2) Fage Greek Yogurt – Clearance $2.19 each
Asparagus – $0.99/lb – 3.5lbs total
Ruby Red Grapefruit – 3/$1
Organic Kiki – 6/$2
Celery – $0.89
Cucumbers – 2/$1
Green Beans – $1.49/lb ($1 worth)
Green Bell Pepper – $0.50
18ct Eggs – $2.19
Cuties, 5lb Box – $5.88
Brussels Sprouts – $1.49/lb (1lb)
______________________________________________
Total: $44.65

Whole Foods

Nasoya Tofu – FREE
Garden of Eatin’ Chips – $1.69
______________________________________________
Total: $1.69

Albertsons

2 Honey Nut Cheerios – $1.75 for both
2 Yoplait Greek Yogurt – $0.99 each
1 Gallon of Milk – FREE!
2 MckCormic Recipe Inspirations – $0.25 each
Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta – $0.45
2 Wholly Guacamole – $1.00 each
2 Greek Oikos Yogurt – FREE
______________________________________________
Total: $4.69

VitaCost

3 Jars of Peanut Butter & Co. – $3.47 Shipped (credit deal HERE)

So I’m sure you’re wondering how cost effective it is to drive from store to store.  That really depends on your location, gas prices, proximity to stores, etc.   If I had purchased everything pictured above at one store regardless of the price I’m CERTAIN that my total would have at the minimum doubled – so right off the bat that is a $75 savings.  I surely didn’t spend $75 in gas going from store to store.  So again, this is something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself.  Do you have the time and resources to shop around, if you do I’ll bet you see your spending drop drastically.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments about a specific deal or anything in general about this shopping trip.  Please feel free to share your tips too, I know so many of you are even more frugal than I am!  We can all learn so much from each other.


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Comments

  1. Gina Chatterson says:

    Wow ! I had no idea the prices at the Grocery Outlet are so low! I always drive by but never stop, not any more!

    • It’s very hit or miss Gina, but YES do stop in. There is always some kind of amazing deal going on.

    • Gina @Bend Cookie Company says:

      Love love love Grocery Outlet, Gina. You can’t always depend on them having the same brands and varieties every week, but it is a great place to buy cereal, beauty products, yogurt, cheese and even fruits and vegetables. Check it out!

    • I find it a great place to buy yogurt and snacks. Yogurt is always 3/$1 and I can often find quart size for 99 cents because it’s short dated. If you drive by anyway, definitely take the time to stop by!

  2. Can I have question about clearance meat? so far I have found it only 30% . Whom do you ask at store about clearance schedule? or is it that NV stores dont clearance meat more 30%?

    • I would ask the butcher directly, it’s going to vary by store. I would just suggest look at the clearance meat section every time you shop – make a habit of it.

  3. Cheryl Bryan says:

    I love that you are posting this! I’ve been following your blog for about 10 months now and, through you, I’ve learned how to slowly build a stockpile of the core items that my family of 5 uses. Your trip looks similar to what I now know how to do.

    Before finding your blog, my weekly budget was $150 for groceries which was sometimes difficult to meet, and that didn’t even include Costco. I have since dropped my Costco membership and, because of my stockpile, I spend anywhere between $50-90 per week – with the higher spending weeks being due to super good stock-up sales (meat, cheese, coffee, etc…). This has lightened the burden of being a one-income family and we have been able to maintain our savings for emergencies and even do fun activities that we didn’t do (shouldn’t have done) in the past.

    Your frugal guidance in invaluable and I sincerely appreciate what you are offering to all of us. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Cheryl, what a wonderful comment! I’m so happy to hear you’ve been able to apply these strategies and see that it’s actually making a difference. Would you say that the effort it takes is worth it?

      • Cheryl Bryan says:

        It’s absolutely worth it. Many times over. It does take effort – and I’m following your lead, so I can only imagine the effort it takes for you!

        I admit, in the very beginning I was so excited that I may have overdone some things – trying to chase down too many deals and trying to learn all of the stores at one time. With your blog, I’ve learned how to better organize the entire process and manage my time better, since I’ve built the stockpile, I’ve scaled the trips down to the weekly needs and really good deals. It does still take time and effort, but I’m seeing the payoff. It’s amazing.

  4. I usually shop at several stores throughout the week, too, but I try to schedule them around my weekly schedule so that I am not spending gas money to go out of my way to a certain store. For instance, on Tuesday nights, I go to my mom’s house for dinner, so I plan on leaving an hour early and stopping at the Shop Rite that I have to pass on the way to her house.

  5. This looks typical to what one of my trips to the grocery store might look like. I budget for $125 a week for a family of six. I make the budget high in case I hit a great meat sale or cheese sale–last week shredded cheese was on sale for 2 cups for a$1. We use it a lot, so into my freezer it went. I got to the Dollar Tree for our bread—$1 a loaf and again, I freeze it.

    I price match fruits and veggies when possible. I try to hit clearance meat—best times to find it are WAY early in the am or late at night. Meal planning saves us a ton! I coupon when possible and have a great stock pile of cereal, pasta, rice, etc. :D Looks like I’m right on track! I do have to say it didn’t happen until I started following TFF. Thanks Julia!

  6. Julia, I have been following the frugal find for a while, without necessarily actually following your advice. I guess it just seems like a lot to undertake, but I really see how much money it saves your family. I’m sure you remember from before you left the Christ Community, but I don’t have my own family yet and live at home with my parents and grown siblings. We have family food and then individual food with 6 people on all different work and school schedules, so it is hard to imagine undertaking all of the grocery shopping myself so we can all save some major money. But I really want to try and budget groceries and start using coupons because I see how much money and food we are wasting. So you have any tips for the smoothest way to start doing this? I’m a total novice. We don’t get the newspaper so I don’t have inserts or coupons yet. But I want to start, but not with trial and error. I was in line for 25 minutes at Safeway behind a sweet mom who was using a lot of coupons, and I didn’t mind but it could have been frustrating that she had no organization or system. Also, how do you know which coupons can be rung up at the end, or which ones need to be rung up before the item?

    Thanks Julia! I wish you guys hadnt moved! I’d just tag along for one for your weekend trips!

    Janellle

    • Janelle, since I don’t have experience in your exact situation I’m not sure I’ll be a ton of help. That sounds a bit complicated, but IF you are willing to take on the shopping yourself the best thing I can suggest you do is watch the free online coupon class videos. I go into details about how to use coupons, where to get them, how to shop at specific stores, etc. I hope that helps! As always, please ask questions I’m happy to help.

      http://thefrugalfind.com/online-coupon-class/

  7. Susanna Burke via Facebook says:

    Awesome! I just returned from Nob Hill with my weekly haul-spent $86.61 for my family of 7, and got so much stuff I could barely get it all on the counter for a picture!

  8. I dont personally eat Tilapia but I know it’s pretty inexpensive at WinCo. I would try there next time save 3 0r 4 dollars.

  9. Do you shop before making your meal plan or do you plan your meals based on what’s on sale and clearance? I’ve been following e-mealz and thats been great, but I feel guilty buying the clearance meats because they are not on my menu. When being on such a tight budget I can’t do both-follow my e-mealz and create my own dinners and keep under budget.

    • JG, I meal plan based on the sales and what is in my stockpile. I too am signed up for EMealz but I have found that the way I shop just doesn’t match up with their plan sadly. However IF you do not coupon and/or stockpile regularly Emealz is an incredible way to save.

      • Joelene Green says:

        Thanks! I don’t feel so guilty now if I don’t use their meal plan. I want it to be worth the subscription fee, but I do get more for my buck watching for clearance and coupons. I got the subscription on the groupon deal so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad. :-)

  10. Teresa Howery- Pale via Facebook says:

    WOW!!! Crecent rolls 3 for $1. I thought getting them for $1 each at the 99 cents only store was good. We’ve used them to make hot pockets nd put cinnanmin in them for a treat. I’m going to call my GO tommarow to see if they have them.

  11. Cheri Matthews says:

    I always buy Talapia from Grocery Outlet and I paid $5.99 for the same size package that you have pictured. I love it and because of my special dietary needs, its one of the few fish I can eat.

  12. Kerry Orvis Hill via Facebook says:

    I came in $3 over budget too! :D How do you decide how much meat to buy when it is on sale? I skipped the Walmart trip this week and shopped at our local grocer. Whole chicken was 77 cents a pound. Ground sausage was 1.29 a pound. Pork choppies (sirloin, bone in) was 1.59 a pound. I bought 4 rolls of the sausage, 2 chickens (because I have 2 in the deep freeze already), and 3 trays of pork choppies. There were six generous pork choppies in each tray so I split them up into four packs, giving us four different meals for about $12. The rest was mainly milk ($2.27/gal) and fruits and veggies. It’s hard for me to decide how much to get when something is on sale. I know the sale will come around again, but I worry sometimes that I will miss it.

  13. I typically purchase my Tilapia at Safeway. I like the frozen bag (similar to what you have purchased) and I usually buy it when it is $6.99, but I am not sure how many pounds. The bag I buy has each fillet individually wrapped which is great when I need to make room in my Tiny freezer. Let me give you my super simple but amazing recipe:
    Put a little butter (or Olive Oil if you prefer) in the pan and a little garlic (use whatever kind you like) and melt in pan on Med High.
    I put a mixture of Cajun seasoning and the Seafood Magic seasoning on each side of the fillets.
    Saute the filets in a pan for about 3 min on each side until cooked.

  14. I also wanted to say that I would love to keep my trips much cheaper. However, I work 40-45 hours a week outside of the home. I have really buckled down my spending over the last 3 years when the economy started going downhill since my husband is a contractor and we never know how much money he is going to make.

    We went from $150-$200 per week (I KNOW!- That was High) grocery budget for 2 people to $100 per week for 3. In addition I have a very picky 4 year old who loves to eat and a husband who eats more than most teenage boys. Because couponing/meal planning is so time consuming in itself, I decided that most weeks I will only shop at Safeway (The store about 1 minute from my house). I do also shop at Rite Aid, CVS & Walgreens. I do the Safeway trip on the weekend. And typically do one drug store on my way home on up to 3 different nights. However, I only go to the drug store if there are good deals on things I need or need to stock up on and it is worth my time & Gas.

    I tried to go to several different stores (Target, Walmart, Grocery Outlet, Sprouts) depending on their deals for a little while, but I found it took me longer to plan when I added the additional stores and it took up too much of my weekend.

    So for me & my family, we do it this way. I keep our shopping within the budget and spend more time with my daughter because of it. However, because of sites like yours I know if there is a really good deal at another store and will occasionally make an extra trip. I can’t imagine what it was like for my mother as a single mom living on a tight budget without tools like the internet to help find ways to save $. I am so grateful for all of your hard work.

  15. Don’t have time to go to all those stores.

  16. Julia, I too (like Janelle) have been following your blog for awhile, but haven’t been living it. We are finally trying to get our budget under control, and I’d like to start stockpiling, etc….mostly, I would like to seriously cut down our weekly budget. Do you have and older posts for newbies? I’m definitely overwhelmed, and not sure exactly where/how to start. What do you do first, find the sales, then plan your meals, or what? I’m at a loss, and would definitely appreciate a “Frugal Living for Dummies” type post! We are also in Bend, so any deals you use, I can use as well!

  17. Just realized I didn’t check the notification boxes….definitely want to read any follow-ups!

  18. Thanks for all the time and effort you and Mr. Frugal put into this site each day!
    I followed your advice, and developed a nice stockpile, ect. for a good 6 months……but I feel I just can’t continue. I would find myself SO focused on chasing the deals that i wouldn’t be giving as much attention to people and areas of my life that I cared about FAR more than if I was able to get a couple of boxes of trashbags for free. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are families who are being blessed a tON by couponing, ect. However, in my opionion, just because money is being saved doesn’t mean that it isn’t costing valuable resources in other areas of my life. Am I the only couponer who feels “controlled” by the need to “get the deal” at all costs?

    • Kim, that’s the BEAUTY of a stockpile. Trust me I take breaks from couponing, sometimes long breaks. That’s WHY I coupon. I know life is hectic and sometimes you flat get burnt out, that’s what your stockpile is for. Take a break, enjoy your family and dive back in when things mellow out.

      On another note, something you might consider. I take each of my 4 children with me on a rotating basis when I go grocery shopping. We grab a hot chocolate before hand ($5 goes into our “kid’s date” envelope each week) and we turn the everyday errand into a special time with mommy. This is a wonderful way to bond and educate your children on budgeting and finances.

  19. Tanna Block via Facebook says:

    I usually make my meal plan for the entire month, then do all of my month’s shopping in one big trip. Would I be saving more by shopping by the week instead? Costco is a big downfall for the grocery budget. I buy meat and most of my produce there. I always thought I was getting a better deal there, but maybe not!

  20. Mara Sharpes Maxwell via Facebook says:

    Thanks for taking the time out to do this post its very helpful $75 for a family of 6 wow. I set my budget and I hope to be down in your amount soon ;-)

  21. Tanna, there are some great buys at Costco for sure but not everything there is a great deal. We’ll be writing more about this very soon!

  22. Sabrina Smith Leist via Facebook says:

    I just spent $300 at Sam’s Club and another $50 at Walmart for 2. It should last more than a week. I need to stay my butt home and not eat out!

  23. Hi Julia

    I have to just say that ur site is my favorite from all of the other coupon sites. It has changed alot in my life. Before I lost my job in may of last year I was making $1200 a week and then unemployment came which is $450 a week. So drastic changes to say the least lol, however I wanted to just point out that when I made the big bucks I had less food and toiletries than I do now…. I have a huge stockpile and give away items to loved ones and friends every week who are in the same boat. All in all I am glad I found your site and you have been a tremendous help to my family and friends. When I finally make big bucks again I will be able to put that money to other uses :)
    Kelly

  24. I started couponing a year ago. You were one of the first sites I joined and I remember watching your how to videos and was amazed.
    Even before I used coupons I always went to several stores.. .so that part of couponing wasnt new to me.. it just made it more fun! :) This is almost exactly what my weekly trips look like.. a few good stock up deals and the cheapest price of the necessities..
    I went from being on food stamps last year and struggling to figure out if we should buy garbage bags or dish soap that week. And now since I have started couponing we dont worry about that sort of thing.. we are luckily blessed to not need food stamps anymore and there are some items that I just dont even need to worry about .. for a long time! I caught the couponing buzz that you get when you first start and this year really wanted to be more realistic about the deals I’ll run after and what is really worth it for me and my family.. I always tell people about you when they ask about couponing because I feel you do it for the greater good of your family.. and not just for attention. I sincerely appreciate all you do and I hope you know a year later you really made a huge difference in my family’s lifestyle!

  25. Tanna,how do you meal plan and shop for the whole month? Please share. Don’t you need milk,fresh veggies and fruit each week?

  26. Krista Hodgins Stracuzzi via Facebook says:

    I spend $150 a month on fresh produce alone…not sure I want to feed my family crescent rolls and crunch water (celery)..any money saving tips for those of us that eat mosty fruits and veggies instead of processed and prepared foods?

  27. Did you see the brussels sprouts, asparagus, cucumber, kiwis, grapefruit, cuties, and other fresh produce?

  28. Krista Hodgins Stracuzzi via Facebook says:

    I did, but that would not feed my family of 5 for a week….come on now. We eat, on any given day, 2 apples, 2 pears, 4 banana’s, baby carrots, tomato’s, avocado’s…and I have not gotten to dinner yet. Tonight’s dinner was salad(spinach, green leaf lettuce, red and green peppers, carrots, and tomato) topped with feta cheese, walnuts..there is NO way I could feed my family that hight quality of food on that low a budget..just not possible..

    • Buy more of the longer life fruits when on sale. For example, apples, oranges, carrots, and heads of lettuce keep for quite a while. Try to just buy the produce on sale for that week. Stock up on frozen veggies when on sale (I paid $.72 per lb for frozen veg this week). Frozen veggies are often healthier since they are picked at the peak of their season rather than fresh produce which are picked early to ensure shelf life. Our family of four eats healthy and average $300 up to a high of $400 for everything, including diapers, toiletries, paper goods, and plenty of extras to share or donate. Don’t forget you can take all your local ads to Walmart and have them price match. This is an excellent way to get all the great produce deals available in your area at one store. :)

  29. Maybe you’ve missed my other posts, like the one today where I talk about stockpiling your freezer with seasonal produce. I’m not trying to convince you that it will work for your family, but it works well for mine and many others.

  30. Samantha Miller Doerfler via Facebook says:

    Thanks for the demonstration. I think this will vary by each family (if you want organic, eat mostly fresh stuff, etc.) and meat would add a lot of additional cost if you factored it in, even if you get a great deal on it. I think overall this is a great way to show people how you make it work and then everyone can use your info to figure out how it would work for them. We use mostly organic so I do a lot of small trips to produce markets and whole foods for weekly deals. Different items but same idea, right?

  31. Samantha Miller Doerfler via Facebook says:

    Thanks for the demonstration. I think this will vary by each family (if you want organic, eat mostly fresh stuff, etc.) and meat would add a lot of additional cost if you factored it in, even if you get a great deal on it. I think overall this is a great way to show people how you make it work and then everyone can use your info to figure out how it would work for them. We use mostly organic so I do a lot of small trips to produce markets and whole foods for weekly deals. Different items but same idea, right?

  32. I’ve read quite a few comments about what is missing in Julia’s weekly trip. Please understand that those of us who deal and coupon shop buy extra when prices are fantastic so that we don’t have to buy when prices are up. For example, some of you mentioned the lack of meat, I stocked up on about 16 pounds of chicken breasts last week when they were $1.44/lb for me via sale and Just for U at Safeway. We freeze and save much of that meat for weeks when chicken is not on sale. No doubt Julia already had other types of meats from previous weeks sales, longer lasting produce at excellent prices, and frozen produce from great deals. This week I bought about 4 pounds of cheese at $2.40 a pound. I won’t have to buy cheese for several weeks. I paid $.24 per cup for Brown Cow (all natural) yogurts so I purchased 14, enough to last two weeks (we split the cups). Those of us who use the stockpile method may have unique looking carts (heavy on some items, noticeable absences of other items), but we end getting almost every item we buy at fantastic prices and still eat a great variety of foods.

    It really works!!! I’ve been doing this 3 years and there is a learning curve, but if you want to cut your budget, learn the best prices and stock up when your favorite items hit those prices.

    I saw a few comments about not wanting to shop at so many stores. I hear you! For some of us that don’t have store clusters or live in more rural areas, this may not be practical. Don’t forget, you can take all your local ads to Walmart and price match. It will take a little assembling and extra time at check out, but you can get most of the great deals available in your area at one store! They even price match drug stores.

    Again, serious couponing is not for everyone. It takes some work. But, please don’t write it off until you give it a serious try. It took about 3 months to build my coupon collection and stockpile, paying about what I had paid before couponing. Ever since then, our savings have been amazing.

    Julia, keep up the good work!

  33. I linked to this post in my meal planning post on my blog. I want you to know I’m a huge fan!

  34. Nicole Magnuson says:

    I’m not a planner, but I stock up on stuff I know we’ll always use, like pasta and canned beans, and then buy one of new items and go back and stock up if my picky eater likes them. The granola thins were a hit!

  35. I appreciate your list…but I don’t see any meat!!!?? My family likes square meals and I have no left overs. We go through at least 4 to 5 gallons of milk as week! With cooking and drinking alone. There is no way we could servive on your list for a week. How do you do it?

  36. Are you adding things to your stockpile on this amount a week too, or is this just the amount you spend on what you will eat this week? I would think stockpiling must take a little bit of extra money.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to use this $5/$20 coupon.  Grocery Outlet is a staple in my weekly shopping budget, you can see what I found this week over here. Grocery Outlet is like a treasure hunt, you never know what deal you’re going to find!Would [...]

  2. [...]  Comparing budgets is like comparing apples to oranges.  While our grocery budget is currently $75/week it used to be $50 and I imagine as our 3 boys and 1 girl enter the teen years it will likely go up [...]

  3. […] Sample Weekly Grocery Shopping Trip for a Family of 6 – $78.70 Spent […]

  4. […] because it means that even when produce isn’t in season I can still enjoy it.  Recently I stocked up on asparagus and over the summer I stocked up on strawberries, we’re still using them 6+ months later in […]

  5. […] but for $4.99 it’s worth the ease and time I’m saving.  I’m still well within my $75 grocery budget each week, so it’s a very welcome convenience.  The past few weeks I’ve made chicken […]

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