Kroger Shopping Trip – The $35 Challenge Continues…Or Not!!!

Shopping with the $5 Dinner Mom

Life happened.

Not in a huge tragic sort of way, but in a throw off your entire routine kind of way.

Just after dinner on Saturday night, Steve mentions that there’s something really weird on Charlie’s eye. I took one look and knew right away it was pink eye. I grabbed my phone and called the on-call pediatrician to see if they would call in some drops, or if they wanted me to take him to an urgent care. Thankfully, she called in drops to my Kroger. When I called to see if they were ready for pick-up, I found out the pharmacy was closed. (I thought it was open until 9 pm. Oops!)  So I had to call bother the pediatrician again (who was clearly out to eat with her family) and ask that she call it in to the only 24 hour pharmacy around, CVS.  She politely obliged, and was sure to remind me about the connection between pink eye and ear infections.  (Which I didn’t remember, as all the other times we’ve suffered from pink eye, we did not have any issues with ear or sinus infections.)

I made my way up to CVS around 8:30…only to find an hour long wait.


There was a snowstorm coming in. (The same one that dumped 18 inches on Minneapolis.)  And people needed their medications. An hour’s worth of people.

There was 1 pharmacist and 1 tech working. (Which I found a bit odd, seeing as they were the ONLY pharmacy open for miles at that hour. And they knew they would get slammed with the pending storm.)

There was a little boy back at my house who needed these drops before he went to bed, otherwise he might have woken with his eye sealed and swollen shut.

It was a long hour.

On Sunday morning, we stayed home from church.  Steve wanted to take Ryan to church, but I convinced him that might not be a great idea because pink eye is so contagious.  So we all stayed home.  And what do you know, Ryan’s pink eye starts in the early afternoon on Sunday…in both eyes.

By Sunday night, Charlie’s one eyed pink eye has turned into two eyed pink eye…and I’m beginning to dread the eye drops more than they are! Each session ends up being a wrestling match…and the drop of medication inevitably hits their cheek or eyelash instead of their eyeball as they flail about and knock my hand away. *sigh*

Fast forward to Monday afternoon…everyone’s eyes are looking better. The kids are playing with a BIG box that arrived in the mail, coloring on it, turning it into a house.  I’m chopping apples for dinner, when Charlie walks over and says, “My ear hurts.”


(I flashback to the pediatrician reminding me about the ear infections.)

Hoping that it wasn’t an ear infection and maybe just  fluid behind his eardrum making that “popping sensation,” I have him take a few sips of water and yawn…hoping they will “pop.”  He says they feel better and gets back to “his house.”

15 minutes later he comes over again and says he doesn’t feel good and that his ear hurts again.  I take one look at it and called the pediatrician.  It was bright red on the outside part of his ear, which is a sure sign of an ear infection.

They were all booked up for the afternoon, so we jumped in the car and went to urgent care.

(And by jumped, I really mean in a sloth like way. Because we all know that you can’t just jump in the car with 3 small children in 15 degree weather.)

Verdict: Double ear infection. More antibiotics.

Steve met us in the parking lot at Kroger after work and we did a quick car swap. He took the kids home and put the dinner that I was almost finished preparing into the oven, while I went in to get the meds and do some grocery shopping…in 20 minutes or less.

So I sped through Kroger with no list, no coupons, getting what we needed for the week. I did call Steve and ask him to read the list I’d already made…just to be sure I wouldn’t have to make another trip.  In the end, I busted my $35/week challenge. And I’m OK with it. It was more important for me to make the most of my 20 minutes waiting for the medication and get back home to my little patient.

Life happens.

And these kinds of challenges can played another week.


So sorry for the “sun glare” in the photo. I’ve never seen such a disorganized “what I bought at the grocery store” photo, but I was lucky to get a photo last night!


  • $1.67 frozen burritos – for Steve!
  • And that might be it!


  • Bananas, oranges, pineapple, cantaloupe, and blueberries for my sick one (they are his fave!)

Coupons Used – NONE! If you look closely, behind the box of Wheat Thins is my stack of coupons that I’d planned to use this week. Well, maybe you can’t tell, but behind the Wheat Thins was my list and stack of coupons.

Total spent at Kroger: $57.14


On Saturday morning, during a rare moment to myself (and before the pink eye insanity began), I stopped into Walgreens to buy a restaurant gift card for a friend who recently suffered a death in the family.  While I’d seen ads for this year’s Jingle Cash at Walgreens, I didn’t know the specifics.  So, I was pleasantly surprised that the catalina machine spit out a $5 Jingle Cash for me. *sweet*

So using my accidental Jingle Cash, what you see above cost me $.74! Would have been just $5.74 without the Jingle Cash, which still would have been a great deal for all these goodies!

My grocery store’s ad scan

Thanks to Andrea at Savings Lifestyle and Marcy at Stretching a Buck for posting the best deals and coupon matchups at my stores each week! Find the coupon match-ups for your grocery store at The Frugal Map!



  1. says

    I realize that you didn’t meet your challenge, but I just have to comment that you handled everything amazingly well. I’m extremely impressed that you arranged for your husband to meet you in the Kroger shopping lot so that you could still get the shopping done. Your ability to plan under pressure totally wins out! I hope your kids feel better soon!

  2. Aileen says

    I agree!! I only have one child and know that I would NEVER be that prepared, take care of the kids, get all the meds, and still make dinner without pulling all my hair out or going crazy! I don’t know how you do it. I hope everyone is well soon.

  3. says

    I have a small tip for eye drops. If you have them lay down with their eyes closed, put the drop in the corner of their eye, and then have them open their eyes, it works like a charm (I have to do The Mr.’s as he can’t handle anything in/near his eyes).
    It doesn’t help with the slight sting, but it does get it in the eye :)

  4. says

    Sorry about all the sickness- I didn’t know that pink eye could cause ear infections either. Or I knew and I forgot:) Hope your kiddos are feeling better- if they don’t, or for future reference (because kids tend to get sick) here’s my blog post on what I do when my kids get sick. I try to avoid giving them antibiotics if I can, but these could be used either in lieu of or in conjunction with antibiotics to speed healing and increase comfort.

  5. Julie R. says

    Pink eye must be the “in” thing right now; my daughter developed it on Sunday after spending time with her cousin last Thursday, who we did not know had pink eye until Friday. Eyedrop time at our house is like WW3; I will be glad when we are done with them! I will definitely be watching her ears closely; I didn’t realize the connection between the two until today when I heard about it from my boss and you. Hope everyone is on the mend soon!

  6. says

    I was going to tell you the same thing with the drops. Have them lay down with their eyes closed then place the drop right on the inner corner of the eye and have them open after the drop is placed, keepin their head back so the drop doesn’t drip out. Works like a charm for every age! I’ve done this children as young as they can understand the direction to close their eye.

    • Jenny says

      You two are exactly right! I work for an eye doc and she showed us this exact thing for when we need to put drops in uncooperating patients! Of course, you still need to get their cooperation to lay down, but not being able to see it comin’ does help! We also have them blink a few times when they first open their eyes to help disperse the drop.

      For all moms and dads out there- if you have an eye infection, it is best to see your family’s eye doctor- they have the equipment and training to determine if the infection is viral, bacterial or even just a case of eye allergies! It’s easy to assume the drop will fix it, but if your child does have a case of viral conjunctivitis (which is actually the most common form and extrememly contagious!), your typical antibiotic pink eye drop is not going to clear it up and, left untreated, viral pink eye can spread and cause damage to your child’s vision. We had a 5 year old patient almost lose her vision because of a viral infection so it’s not something you want to mess around with!

  7. says

    Sounds like you are “officially” a professional mom now! But, seriously, you’re right… sometimes we need to get ourselves and our plans out of the way and reevaluate.
    BTW, the folks with the eyedrop tips above are right… learned it with my first, and used it with all 3, plus with my Dad! I put a towel down on the bed and have them lay their head on it and close their eyes, put the drops in the inner corner of the eye, and then tell them to blink. (I get really close so that there’s not a big “splash” feeling when the drop hits, and I give them their own tissue to have at the ready.)
    Kudos to you, again, and keep the great savings tips coming!

  8. says

    You have my sympathy with the pink eye. We just went through it with my youngest child, 8, who had a double dose. Fortunately no one else caught it (though we thought for sure at one point I might be next), and we stayed clear of ear infections. I didn’t know about that connection either.
    Eye drops are a torture for a mother, my little one cried and squirmed every time, 3 times a day, for a full 7 days. Ugh.

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