Kroger Shopping Trip

After several weeks of discussing and praying about our finances and budget, the Hubs and I have decided to “go back” to our old ways of shopping.  At the beginning of the year, we were BLESSED with a year’s worth of groceries from Walmart.  For the past 6 months I have done my grocery shopping at Walmart, learning the ins and outs of saving and stockpiling there.  I did not “overspend” and was on track to use the card over the entire course of the year.

But…we found that our overall mentality about money and our budget went from…

“We’ll buy what we need, stockpile our favorite products when we can, and splurge here and there”…


“We’ve got some extra room in our budget since we don’t have to pay for groceries this month, let’s do this…and that…and we can get this too…and what about these 9 things from here…and I’ll grab a snack while we’re out (instead of packing one), and why don’t we…”

You get the idea.  This mentality of having “extra” money for groceries has been spilling over into all other areas in our budget and lives.  We have not been living beyond our means, but we have been living beyond them after factoring “not paying for groceries.”  So, we have not been meeting our personal financial goals of saving the money that we were not spending on groceries since shopping at Walmart. 

“Plastic,” be it a gift card from Walmart or a credit card, allows consumers (myself included) to think they have money they really don’t have.  When not used with discipline and caution, “plastic” can be very dangerous…leading to debt and financial disarray.  This gift card will run out eventually and we’d rather not find ourselves in financial disarray when the year is up.  We realize that once it runs out it runs out.  So in the mean time we need to be practicing self-control and discipline in all areas of our finances!

This is a personal decision that we’ve made to help ourselves have a more positive and healthy view of money.  We need to get our budget back under control.  We will continue to stop into Walmart here and there for different grocery needs, or to stock up on certain items.  But, the majority (95%) of our grocery shopping will be done at Kroger. 

With cash.  And with discipline!

That being said…

The mission: Use these coupons and spend less than $80!  (Almost accomplished!)


So here’s what I got for just over $80!  Not too bad, considering we had 2 parties over the holiday weekend!


(Can you see my little man peeking over the Cheerios box???  Reminds me of the Richard Scarry books growing up…I loved hunting for the hidden creature!)

What’s Free:

4 McCormick Spices
3 pouches Uncle Bens “Ready Rice”/Brown Rice – no preservatives or additives!
1 box Success Rice
2 BBQ sauces

Awesome Deals
6 boxes of Cheerios $1.19/box (after sale price, store promotion and $1 coupons) (reg. $4.59!!!!!)  Note: My normal “never pay more than” price for a box of cereal is $1.  But these boxes were 25 oz…way bigger than the smaller boxes I normally stockpile for $1 or less!

2 75 ft. of foil, $1.69 (after sale price, store promotion and $1 coupons) (reg. $3.29)

Bag of lettuce, $.88 (on sale $1.88, used $1 coupon) (reg. $2.99)

1 1.3 lb. Alaskan salmon fillet, $3.86  (On sale $2.99/lb!!!) (reg. $8.99/lb.)  I’ve NEVER seen fresh salmon at that low of a price!

4 packages of Tyson boneless/skinless chicken breasts, $2.06-$2.62 (on sale for $1.99/lb. and used 4 $1 coupons) (reg. $4.99/lb.)

LOTS of produce on sale at great prices this week as well…including blueberries, peaches, strawberries, cherries, plus red and orange peppers.

Total Spent: $83.86

Oops!  I went over $3.86 :(  Thankfully, I had 2 $1 bills and some change.  If I hadn’t had that, I would have asked them to take something off the order!

Amount Used in Coupons: $30.75
Amount Saved in Sale Prices: $50.04
Total Savings: $80.79 (50%)


  1. says

    You did a good job articulating the mentality that caused you to pause (hey, that sorta rhymed) and reconsider. People can read this and apply it to so many areas in their finances: a windfall tax return they vow to “put toward debt”; a savings account too easily accessible (just in case); and of course, credit cards in general.

    Question… With the addition of another Chase, will you be changing your website to $5.50 Dinners? Heh-heh.

  2. says

    I always use cash to shop for groceries, but I do shop Walmart. i used to use coupons and shop at Kroger and other stores, but I find I lack time now that I’ve got teens to run around, plus the other kids… I just can’t seem to find the time. So it’s Walmart for me with cash. Cash makes a huge difference in how much I spend. It really helps to see it leaving the wallet.

  3. Jodi says

    I’m glad you shared about your budget. It’s almost like we don’t know what to do when we’re thrown off by such a powerful thing (plastic), especially at Walmart. All I can think is, “why Walmart?” I figured they would have given you a gift card to a grocery store chain; otherwise, you could just spend that card on other stuff @ Walmart. (or would that work? b/c if that happened to us, I could totally see my husband in the electrics isle.) Sometimes a blessing turns out to be a curse. Scary to say, but it’s soo true!!

  4. says

    I just started couponing & menu planning two weeks ago for our family of 6. I’m not at 50/50 yet, but in two weeks, I believe I have stockpiled enough food to probably get thru another two weeks (I’m going to try to plan my next week’s meals around what’s in my freezer, pantry, & BOGO cabinet.) 1st week I saved 34% on my bill (& realized 17%). 2nd week I saved 46% on my bill (& realized 23%). This only includes the grocery store There was other spending as we are still learning to curb, but considering we easily spent $75 several times per week at the grocery store & another $250-350 monthly at Sam’s…this is a HUGE improvement. We’re saving money just by not running to the store every night.

  5. says

    Wow. You did great job!!! I wish I could get those kinds of deals. The sales around here just aren’t that good. How I wish we had a Kroger. I usually save 50% at the grocery store, but strive to always save more. I do the best I can with the stores here, and use Aldi’s to supplement with basic needs (especially baking supplies).

  6. Roxanne says

    Good job with the shopping!!

    I love that you actually feed your family such a quality, nutritious diet on a budget.

    Your shopping trips are brag-worthy to me. Not some other frugal bloggers who boast of their 87% savings and then show a picture with no fruits or veggies!

  7. Rochelle says

    Looking at your little boy I just started thinking about how the experts say take a picture of your child frequently so that if they go missing, you’ll be able to post on flyers, etc.

    I’m pretty sure this is not what they had in mind! :)

  8. says

    Holy cow that’s a lot of food for $83. Your family will be well feed indeed. It just goes to show what a little planning and discipline can do. Thanks Erin,

    Terry P.

  9. B says

    i’ve been reading your site for awhile and love it! thanks so much for the salmon and cheerios deal – maybe since i’m in S. CA the salmon was $3.99/lb but still a HUGE deal for FRESH salmon!

    also – just fyi to your readers, my ralph’s gave me a hard time with my printed out cheerios coupons. i finally convinced them to take off the value of coupons off my final bill but they said that one of their cashiers just got fired over coupon fraud (customers xeroxing the coupons). they told me i have to print the coupons out in color in order to use them in the future – too bad we don’t have a color printer. :(

  10. says

    I have to say your blog is GREAT! In fact im going to tweet about it as soon as I am done writing this post.

    Stopping by from SITS to invite u to our Jewelry Giveaway. We are a small charity made up of many men/women/kids who send cards to those battling cancer.

    Get in on our Giveaway and maybe even join our program:)We have many ways people can be involved… it’s such a fun project & helps others at the same time…can’t get better than that.

    I would LOVE to add you to our community and put your blog on our website. Stop by and check us out and please email me if you have any questions.


  11. says

    Thank you for being so candid in your account of working with plastic. I’m not sure I find that I spend more with plastic (debit, not credit), simply because mentally, I’ve got *this amount* to spend and no more. Same general principle as cash, just a little different.

    Great job on your Kroger savings. I still have not gotten the hang of the cereal deals…I always end up over spending some how :(

  12. says

    We have done the same thing recently when BG gets a commission. We did so well for so long, then fell off the wagon so to speak! Glad we are not the only one!

  13. says

    LOL at my own situation. I understand everything you said. BUT I am trying to save more money myself and am very tired of running around to all the stores chasing deals. So for the next month or so, I am taking $75 to my Super Wal-Mart and doing all my shopping for the week. keep in mind I have a good stockpile going and do plan to use much of it. But basically I am doing the opposite of you.

  14. says

    I have found that shopping at Walmart is actually more expensive for our family, especially since the three local super walmarts have stopped accepting Internet coupons. I can print these for free at work during my lunch hour, and so paying for the Sunday paper with coupon inserts is just not a reasonable option for us at this time. Since I use Internet coupons nearly 100% of the time, I had to stop shopping at Walmart since they won’t take them. I used to spend 3 hours working my way through Walmart on each of our major grocery shopping trips. Now I can go to 9 stores (CVS, Walgreens, Kmart, Target, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, IGA, Sav-A-Lot and Super Target) in 3 hours if I’m by myself. Spending the same amount of time shopping and spending less money since I can use all my coupons to stay within our budget. I have no problem doing this since I only shop about twice a month.

  15. Cassidy says

    Why do I always see brand names in your piles of groceries, when generic brand things are often much cheaper, even with the coupons? You could be saving yourself a lot of money.

    • says

      I find that combining stores sale prices with coupons is MUCH cheaper than store brands…even FREE! If there is not a coupon available for a certain name brand product, then I’ll get the store brand…but that is a rarity!

  16. says

    Since my hubby got laid off last week we redid our whole “food” budget. This allowed us to make 3 good meals a day for Monday-Saturday and on Sunday for lunch we will get to go out. {And by out we mean something cheap, McD’s, Taco Bell} On Sunday I walked out to the living room too see my hubby pulling out grocery ads and coupons. He was comparing prices and taking it upon himself to cut coupons! This man has NEVER EVER EVER had anything to do with coupons, since I did 99% of the shopping. {We both knew this would be safer. He is an impulse buyer} So Monday was his first real shopping day, he went while I was at work. He got only the items on the list and handed them his little stack of coupons. Then he loaded the car and noticed one coupon had fallen out of his pocket. {Which he said freaked him out because he then knew he had paid full price and I would be unhappy. Haha} Turns out it was the free Uncle Ben’s rice! So he walked back in, picked up the bag and walked up and handed them the coupon and out the door. He was so proud of himself for saving money, and his free bag of rice!

    I wish we could find more people to do a coupon exchange in our area, im sure not everyone uses all the coupons they receive and it would be a good idea to trade out.

  17. says

    Wow Erin….great savings at Kroger this week! I only use coupons from the Sunday inserts right, but I thought I did well with a 43% savings! Although I did still spend $103 for everything though! The $18 case of beer for the holiday weekend didn’t help though, nor did the three packs of overnight diapers, haha! Loved the salmon deal this week too. We’re trying to get into eating more fish so this was perfect. We grilled ours in foil packets topped with snow peas, carrots, and Kroger brand terryaki ginger marinade and then served it over brown rice. It was really good but didn’t get to finish since our son decided to throw his plate of rice and salmon across the room when he was finished eating. =)

    Can’t wait to see your shopping trip for this week!

  18. Monica F. says

    Hi Erin, I’m new to your site and I have a question about things like tp, laundry soap and things like that. Are you including those items as part of your grocery shopping or is it separate? If separate how do you budget for those items? Thanks for all the tips and access to other money saving web sites.

    • says

      At the moment I have most of those items “stockpiled”…meaning I have bought them when on sale with coupons in previous weeks. I plan to grab a few cleaning supplies this week, as they’re all on sale! And coupons came out for most of them this week too! Also, whenever my mom comes in town it’s her “tradition” to buy us a thing of laundry detergent. I buy it every now and again…but it helps that she gets that for us too! I do have those in the budget now…I just don’t buy them every week. Also, we don’t use too many paper towels…I prefer using dishrags for cleanups. Every little bit helps!!!

  19. says

    Agree and agree with you about the plastic – it certainly has it’s lure and it does affect your mindset elsewhere in your finances.

    Glad you’re back to Krogering! There will be some great sales as back to school times come closer!

  20. Nikki says

    Thank you so much for sharing about budgeting and developing a healthy view of money.This reminded me so much of Dave Ramsey’s message that I forwarded your entry to our Financial Peace University coordinator at church. Spending with cash can truly help us gain more control over spending.

    As for grocery shopping with coupons and sales, it is the way to go. I live in Chattanooga TN, and we have Publix, Bi-Lo, and Food Lion around me as grocery options to Walmart, most of which have double couponing policies and great sales on brand products. I used to shop for things at Walmart, but am actually saving more $$ (at least 50%) at the other stores. Also, for any of your readers who live in GA, TN, FL, NC or SC, a website that is extremely helpful in matching area store weekly sales prices to coupons is called

    Love the photos on your blog. It makes me want to jump in the screen and take a bite!

  21. Heather says

    Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I just went throught this about a month ago. My dad sent me “secert” grocery money (I tell my husband every penny that comes in for the sake of the budget.) and we went and bought things that we consider splurge items. When we had our budget meeting at the end of the month to see how we did I was horrifed to find all the needless spending we did. So back to the old ways and remembering the lessons we have learned from you and others. I don’t feel so bad that we messed up now. We are only human.

  22. says

    Great job! For the past two years I have been spending less than $40 a week for my family of 4 plus a dog this includes cleaning items and H&B. I am determined to keep my budget low. If I don’t than I would have to go back to work. Staying home with my boy’s is my main goal.

    You have to think that saving money is the same as making money. Most people just don’t look at it that way. Being brand loyal went out the window when I started doing this. I just tell myself that I am thankful I have toothpaste to brush my teeth and food to eat when so many are without. Who cares if it is my favorite brand or not. My teeth are clean and my belly is full.

    You have so much good healthy food in that photo. Way to go!

  23. says

    I have been really bad about spending money lately too. We have had extra money, and I guess I have had the “it’s extra SPENDING money” attitude.
    I have been doing better with coupons and wal-mart, but in our small town we only have 2 grocery stores and wal-mart to chose from.

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