Many years ago, I started sharing my grocery shopping trips here on the blog. It quickly became one of the more popular features, but it took a lot of time for me to write those posts every week. Since some readers didn’t have access to the local deals either, I eventually decided to drop it. Still, I continue to receive questions about what I am buying with our grocery budget every month. So, after many requests, I’ve decided to revive the grocery posts for those who are interested! My goal is to give a brief summary of each trip (with a picture) and specific prices so you can see exactly what I am buying. Whether you have the stores where I shop or not, I hope it will give you an idea of ways to save on your grocery budget.
I am sharing each trip as it happens throughout the month on my Instagram page, as well as the Joyfully Thriving Facebook page. It’s a great place to ask questions or to pick up some of those deals while they are still good. Be sure to like both pages so you don’t miss out on those trips!
There are a couple things you need to know first about my grocery shopping.
I currently have a $400 monthly budget for our family of 5 – my husband and myself, and our three kids – ages 5, 3 and 1. Just because this is our grocery budget does not mean it should be yours. Set a budget that works for you and your family. Your budget will be different than mine.
We live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where grocery prices are very reasonable – especially when it comes to dairy. I am so thankful for our dairy prices because we go through a lot of milk and cheese in our house!
I practice stockpile shopping, so my shopping trips are often eclectic. I buy what’s on sale and stock up then so I can stretch our money further. Some weeks you will see me buy lots of meat, and then I won’t buy any for awhile because I have some in our freezer. The same is true on many things. Here’s how to make a stockpile work for your family.
Finally, I always shop the sales to save money and then I use coupon apps to make money on what I purchase. Ibotta and Fetch are the apps I use every shopping trip. You can sign up for Ibotta here, and sign up for Fetch here. Use the code QN5PY when you sign with Fetch and earn a bonus 2,000 points.
With all those disclaimers and explanations in place, let’s get to my shopping trips from April!
April started with a Spring Break trip for us to Myrtle Beach. We stayed in a condo with a kitchen for 3 days so I packed some food and then we visited a local Walmart once we arrived to pick up some more groceries. No pictures but the highlights included milk, bananas, a frozen pizza, cheese, french toast sticks, extra sunscreen and Claritin (South Carolina allergies were not good for me!), among other things. We spent $50.77 on Spring Break groceries.
When we came back to town, I made a big produce trip to Aldi. I also decided to try and limit my shipping a bit, so we could eat from the freezer and pantry. We did finish up several odds and ends from our pantry and freezer so I’m calling it a success.
Our Aldi has recently raised prices so I’m not buying as much there as I used to. When I spent time comparing prices across some of the major stores, Aldi wasn’t as low as you might think. (My comparison price list is available here.) Still, Aldi has good produce prices! Highlights include cauliflower ($1.89), broccoli ($1.49), lemons ($1.99), sweet potatoes ($2.49), clementines ($2.49), carrots ($0.99), peppers ($2.89), apples ($2.99) and bananas ($0.80). My kids like Aldi turkey ($3.99) and my husband likes Aldi sausages ($1.89). We all like their pepperoni ($2.19) better than the name brand. Milk ($1.78) and eggs ($0.79) rounded out this trip. I spent $42.62 on this produce trip to Aldi.
I made a Saturday run to Meijer (without any kids!) to stock up on their weekend sale of canned veggies that were 3/$1. I bought a case of both. We have well water so when I go to Meijer, I refill water jugs for $0.39 each. Nobody else minds the water, but I still prefer filtered and it’s a small price to pay if I will actually drink more water. Ground beef was on sale $1.99/lb so I bought 7 pounds and froze it. Kleenex were $1 a box after sale and coupons, and I bought Kraft cheese for $1.50 a block. Grapes were on sale for $0.98/lb. During my weekend trip to Meijer, I spent $40.02.
Kroger has great sales and this mega sale was no exception! I bought 5 pounds of butter ($2.49), sour cream and cottage cheese ($0.89), Triscuits ($1.79), Kettle chips ($1.49) and Creamette pasta ($0.49). I had several Kroger best customer coupons so used those to buy french fries ($1.39), tortilla chips ($1.17), cheese ($1.32), 18 eggs ($0.78) and sausage ($1.79). I was excited to find french bread clearanced to $0.99 and Hershey’s chocolate chips priced at $0.99. I don’t know why they were marked so low, but you can never have too many chocolates in my humble baking opinion! Oh! The RXBar and Crunch bars were free, thanks to digital coupons. I also had a $5 off $25 digital coupon from a survey I answered. At Kroger, I spent exactly $50 and saved 51%.
That was my before Easter trip, since we were going to my in-laws for Easter. My brother was here for 36 hours, so I served him lasagna but didn’t have to prep a big Easter meal. We took deviled eggs and cheesy creamed corn. Andy did go out shopping for the kids Easter baskets and spent $13.32 at Meijer on Easter candy. I counted that towards our budget too.
I ran into Aldi with all 3 kids on the way home from preschool. I quickly remembered why I don’t do spontaneous trips with all the kids. I forgot several things, but we were in and out in under 15 minutes so that was good. Apples ($3.99), lettuce ($1.99), bananas ($1.18), cream cheese ($0.89), broccoli ($1.49), eggs ($0.78), milk ($1.77) and butter ($1.99). I bought my full 6 pounds limit on butter and froze it as soon as I came home. Rolls were marked down to $0.25 and the sprinkles were only $0.74 – a fun splurge for cookie decorating. I spent $29.60 on this quick Aldi trip.
The girls and I went to Meijer the next morning with our list to do some more shopping. I was thrilled that the 5 pound bags of unbleached flour were $1 this week! I bought 5 bags, to use for my homemade bread. They were actually part of the “Buy 10 for $10, Get the 11th for Free” which breaks down to $0.90 each, in my mind. Chex Mix, canned peaches in fruit juice, black olives, refried beans, enchilada sauce and Crystal Light (for my brother) were the other items that took me up to 22 items. We needed new light bulbs in the kitchen, and a 3 LED box was on sale for $10.49 instead of $14.99. Chicken was $1.89/lb. I got a free donut for my birthday, and had a coupon for free tomatoes. I bought 2 totes for the playroom, and used my $4 Mperks reward so really only spent $0.99 a tote, instead of $2.99. Finally, I stocked up on toilet paper again. We always use Scott so I watch for good deals and stock up then. It was on sale and had an Mperks coupon, so ended up being $6.99 for a 12 pack. At Meijer, I spent $66.95.
The girls and I tend to shop in the mornings while Nathan is in PreK and the stores are nice and quiet. We shopped the new Kroger sales, just last Friday. These deals are good through this week and the first part of next still, since it’s a 2 week sale. I was thrilled with the half gallons of milk being on sale for $0.88, which made them cheaper than a gallon. We needed more kids ibuprofen, and would you believe Kroger’s brand is $0.80 cheaper than Meijer’s? That surprised me. Kroger instant pudding was also $0.40 cheaper than the Meijer brand. Don’t rule out more expensive stores because the deals are worth comparing!
Paper towels, thanks to a sale and digital $2/2 coupon ended up being $4.50 a package. Again, I stock up on paper products when I find a good deal like that! We liked the weekend deals of Kroger cheese ($0.99) and Doritos ($1.59). I needed more olive oil ($2.99) and it is cheaper at Kroger than even Aldi! Larabars ($3.49) and fruit snacks ($0.99) were part of the current deals. I used an Ibotta deal on the fruit snacks to make them only $0.49 a box. My kids were thrilled since I rarely buy these any more. My favorite deal? Dark chocolate private selection bars were only $0.79 each when you bought 4. I treated myself to 4 for my chocolate stash. My Kroger total was $63.33 and I saved 42%.
My grand total for April was $357.61 spent out of $400. I had hoped it would be lower, but stocked up on more deals at the end of the month. I am excited to have paper products back on my shelves again, and butter in my freezer again. I’m still under budget so am pleased with that.
How did you do this month shopping? Any thoughts on my shopping in pictures and the new format? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! And I’d love to know your best deals this month, too!