Monday, January 13, 2014

Why I Bought The Groceries I Did Last Week

I know this post will seem very tedious to some so feel free to move on along to a more thrilling blog.
I want to talk about my meal planning and grocery spending today if you don't mind.

I spent $98.58 on groceries last week. 
When I grocery shop I always go with a list.  The list will include----

1--items needed this week to prepare the meals I have planned.
2--any loss leaders or specials I want from the store's flyer to use this week or to put back for later.
3--special requests from family member for certain items.

What I also pick up during my trips, besides what I am planning on....

1--Unadvertised deals and specials that we like/will eat and I can put back for later use.
2--Instant markdown goods-either products that are going out of "sell by date" soon or items they just have too many of on the shelves, so the store reduces them.
3--Whim items.  You know.....those things you didn't know you wanted until you saw them. lol  I very rarely do this, but it happens.

Most of my groceries are a mix of  what we need this week, loss leaders/specials, unadvertised deals, instant markdowns and family requests.
I will often buy loss leaders/specials this week and then incorporate them into my meal plan for the following week(if I don't use them the week I bought them and change up my menu plan instead).

I try to have things we use frequently in stock at the house.  I buy those at rock bottom prices in the sales cycle so some weeks I buy 2 loaves of bread when we don't need it, because it's on BOGO sale that week and since the bread keeps, it helps me not to buy it the week I actually need it for full price.

Here is the long boring list of the specifics I bought last week....

Local Grocer
2 loaves Bread(bogo-$4.29)
2 pkg. pot pie noodles(bogo-$2.23)
2 bottles dressing(bogo-$2.39)
2.09 lb. ground beef(2.49 lb)
1 pt. grape tomatoes($2)
1 head iceberg lettuce($1.29)
1 1/2 gal. milk($1.96)
4 1lb. bags shredded cheese(bogo-$5.69)

Weis Markets
1/2 gal. wh. grape juice($2.19)-Hubs request
1 case H20($2.50)-son's request
2 pkg. 1 lb. deli meat($6)
2 pkg. 1lb. ground chicken($6)
1 pkg. breaded chicken cutlets($3)
1 pkg. turkey breast lunchmeat($2.99)
1 pkg. 1.5 lbs. hot Italian sausage($2.71)
3.03 lbs. ground beef($2.99 lb)
1 lb. Jack Cheese block($4.99)`
2 pkg. tortillas($3)
6 onion rolls(50%off bakery $1.69)
4 bakery buns($1.49 50%off)
1 lb. fruitcake($2.99)
2 pkg. collard greens(50%off $2.69)
1 head cauliflower($2.50)
1 pkg. portabella mushrooms($5.99)
1 head red cabbage($2.22)
1 pkg. spinach/arugula salad mix(50%off $1.74)
1 premade salad w/chicken(50%off $1.99)

2 Finish dishwasher tabs
1 12 rolls pkg. toilet tissue
2 pkg. choc. covered cherries
2 pkg. gum tins w/gum(presents for next year)
$1.02 spent OOP

What was used last week for meals/snacks......

About 1.5 lbs. of the 5+lbs. of ground beef
1/2 pkg. of grape tomatoes
1/4 of head of iceberg lettuce
1/2 1 pkg. of shred mozzarella cheese*
1/2 1 pkg. of shred cheddar cheese*
1 bottle white grape juice
1 pkg. turkey breast lunchmeat
1/2 lb. Jack cheese block*
1 pkg. tortillas(5 of the 8 in pkg.)*
3 of 6 onion rolls
4 bakery buns
1/2 of the fruitcake
1 pkg. portabella mushrooms*
3/4 pkg. spinach/arugula salad mix
1 premade salad w/chicken

*Though these items were used, we have leftover of those entrees to eat this week.  Some of these "leftovers" were planned so purposefully made to use next week.

And here is what I bought at good/sale price last week, but to use this coming week......

3 lbs. of ground beef and ground chicken(1/2 of each)
1/2 pkg. grape tomatoes
1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1 qt. of the milk
1 pkg. deli meat
2 pkg. collard greens
1 head cauliflower
1 head red cabbage

And here is what was bought to use in the coming weeks(plus I will base the following week's meal plan on these items and leftovers from this week's meal plan, and what is on special THIS week that I can get for a reduced price).....

2 loaves Bread
2 pkg. pot pie noodles
2 bottles dressing
the rest of the ground beef(it's been made into a meatloaf + 3 burger patties and frozen)
1 pkg. ground chicken(chicken was mixed with ground beef to make meatloaf/patties)
1 qt. milk
3 pkg. shredded cheese
1 pkg. 1lb. deli meat
1 pkg. breaded chicken cutlets
1.5 lbs. hot Italian sausage
1/2 block Jack cheese
1 pkg. tortillas
3 onion rolls
2 Finish dishwasher tabs
1 12 rolls pkg. toilet tissue
2 pkg. choc. covered cherries
2 pkg. gum tins w/gum(presents for next year)

So you see, though I spent $98+ last week, which might seem high for just 1 week's worth of food, I am always planning/buying for 3 time frames; this week, the next week and a future week.
If I were to only buy items to consume the week I am buying them in, we wouldn't have as many choices for meals(if I was strictly only shopping the loss leaders/sale items), or I'd have to be buying foods that were not on sale/rock bottom price, so I'd be spending a lot more to pay for these same items.

Shopping the sales, combined with what you have on hand(from previous week's deal shopping)plus being flexible with your menu can save you money at the store.

As for how couponing works into winning this grocery store game you play each week.....

You will notice that I used very few coupons these trips.
5 coupons(and 3 of those were at Rite-Aid)....tortillas, juice, TP, 2 x dishwasher tabs
I did avail myself of 9 Instant Savings and/or 50% Markdown Discount coupons stuck to products at Weis Markets however.....2 x bakery items, 4 x fresh produce, 1 x deli meat, 1 x sausage, 1 x fruitcake.

Since I have stopped buying many processed foods over the last few years, I find I use very few coupons as a result.  Practically the only items I use coupons on anymore are toiletries/HBA/paper goods/cleaning products.  Though I will use a coupon on food if it is something I need and there is a coupon out for it.  I don't buy foods just because a coupon makes it free or almost free.

Buying in bulk at restaurant supply stores, buying at discount or grocery surplus stores or buying markdown/instant savings sticker items and/or buying at rock bottom price at the grocery stores, as well as eating locally and seasonally(when that means paying less for items)are the ways I save in the food category anymore without having to give up flavor and variety and buy cheaper "not as nutritious" foods.

Sure I could spend less and buy a cheaper mix of foods(or a healthier mix for that matter too)but we don't need to scrimp more than we do on food and we want to enjoy eating so I tweek and make the versions a bit better in the health category and everybody is happy.....the Hubs and son and my wallet.  ;-)

So what is your food shopping strategy?




  1. buying bulk is definitely the way I go! Then round it out with the cheap stuff...

  2. It sounds like you got a lot for the money!

  3. Basically, I do the same as you do. Some people say to never vary from the list at the grocery. But, I would miss some great deals if I did not buy the great bargains not advertised in the ads. Others say not to use coupons. I try not to go by hard and fast rules, especially if I have to spend more money, besides being rigid.

  4. I actually will not buy many things that will not last me for at least 3 meals. Even when I am feeling super lazy and opt for something like, Chinese, I buy a reasonable quantity that will last me for at least 2-4 meals. Ditto with anything I cook. Outside of sandwiches or hot dogs, all of my meals last at least 3 meals in all. That probably is an issue for someone like me, but works well with my budget.

    1. Tanner,
      What do you mean when you say, "That probably is an issue for someone like me,"?

  5. My sister wanted to ask you where Ollies was. She is in Bloomsburg but is thinking if she is down your way she could swing by to check out the prices.

    1. There's one in WB but the one in Hazleton might be closer for her?
      WB location 675 Kidder St.(same road the Wyoming Valley mall is on, coming off the interstate/309 expressway, it's the shopping center/2nd light past the mall entrance-the entrance with the Sonic)-there is a Burger King opposite the center entrance.
      Hazleton is at 1099 N. Church St. Take 93 to Airport Beltway Rd.(that goes behind the Laurel Mall), take it to the 4 way intersection/light at 309 where Sheetz is, take a right onto N. Church Rd/309 and it's down a ways on the left in the Churchill shopping center(there is a freestanding Firestone business in the center she will see).
      Yep, I looked and Hazleton is only 30 miles, WB is 45 from B'berg.

    2. Hey, the one in Shamokin Dam, PA is even closer...25 miles 30 Baldwin Blvd., Suite 20(it's a shopping center down the road/north from Susquehanna Valley Mall).

  6. I will never live up to the sluggy standards. But I try.
    I try and stretch one meal into two and then save one meal for the next week. I live such an exciting life. But leftovers make my heart sing.


Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment.
All Anonymous commentors will be deleted.
Please include your name in your comment, or choose the 'Name' option and put your name or whatever you call yourself, in the box. Thank you.

Though I moderate it's partly to keep trolls at bay but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.