Today was the second week of my couponing experiment (click here to read the “rules.”) I pulled a few coupons out of my “later” envelope for household cleaning items I needed to restock, and as before, I went through the store’s weekly ad to find groceries that were marked down.
Here is a look at this week’s (on the right) receipt compared to last week’s (our first attempt at couponing, on the left.)
Purchasing almost exactly the same number of items (for the third week straight– a very interesting occurrence, but completely unintentional), we spent a full $50 less than our previous grocery shopping trip. However, our coupon and in-store sale savings don’t appear to be entirely responsible for this difference.
Why was our total dramatically lower? It’s WHAT we bought: inexpensive proteins (we have started leaning towards meat that is priced at a discount) and a TON of veggies. On this trip we bought almost no processed food, luxury, or convenience items. I did buy one bottle of wine to taste this weekend, but it was under $15, as is my cutoff for the Soccer Mom Sommelier.
So what did we learn this week? Meal planning proves itself again to be absolutely crucial for maintaining a budget and keeping grocery spending under control. (Read more about how we save $1000 a month with our commitment to weekly meal planning!) Also, even though you sometimes hear “it’s too expensive to eat healthy,” this couldn’t be further from the truth! The most inexpensive items in the store are fruits and vegetables, especially if you look for what is on sale. Even meat can be found for a steal if you actually check the weekly ads and go for inexpensive options (lean ground beef vs. steak.)
Look at just some of the amazing produce we bought this week:
Halfway through the initial one month “experimental period,” it seems that for our lifestyle, the biggest way we can save money is to cut out processed foods and to stick to store sale items whenever possible. Though I definitely don’t think it’s a waste of time by any means to clip coupons (it really only takes me a few minutes), and it at least shaves a few bucks off our total bill.
I can’t stress enough what an amazingly positive thing meal planning has been for our family. I never thought it was worth bothering before, but boy was I wrong! Not only are we keeping our grocery spending to a consistent, predictable range ($150-200/week for 3 meals a day for a family of four), but we are eating even healthier than ever! With our Bahamas trip rapidly approaching at the end of the month, meal planning has been a bonus for our waistline too!
I can’t wait to see if we can repeat the success we had today — check back next week to see how we did!