Shopping Adventures – The “I Can’t Believe How I Didn’t Figure This Out Before Now” Edition

Shopping with the $5 Dinner Mom

So it turns out there is a Meijer not far from the gym that I frequent. What do you know?

It only took me a year and a half to figure out that if I take another way home, I can stop into Meijer for a few groceries and still be home in plenty of time to get my middle son on the bus for preschool. I’m usually very good with maps, but I’m not familiar with that area of town (obviously!)…and just didn’t connect how close they were to each other.


(So now I don’t have to go too far out of my way when there’s a great sale at Meijer.)


This week I decided to stop in because of the great coupon matchups for some of our favorite products…and because of all the great produce included in the Buy 10, Get 11th Free promotion.


  • 4 boxes of Chex cereal for $6.50 (used 2 $1.75/2 coupons)
  • 3 boxes of Green Giant veggies for $.67 each ($1 sale, used $.60/3 newspaper coupon, doubled to $1)
  • $1 English muffins, whole wheat


  • $1 baby carrots
  • 2 $1 3-lb. bags red potatoes
  • $1 lettuce
  • $1 red pepper
  • $1 cucumber


Total spent at Meijer: $25.50


And then there’s the mega event sale at Kroger that also had some great coupon matchups on some of our favorites too!


  • 4 boxes $.49 Mom’s Best Naturals (coupon)
  • $.14 Hunt’s tomato sauce (coupon)
  • $.25 Hunt’s diced tomatoes (coupon, also used newspaper coupon)
  • $1.19 Garden of Eatin’ chips (this week’s newspaper coupon)
  • $1.49 Trop50 orange juice (Facebook coupon)


  • $1.50 strawberries
  • $.99 avocados
  • Bananas
  • $.79/lb sweet potatoes


Total spent at Kroger: $44.00

Total for the week: $70.50

Total for the month: $238.21 + $70.50 = $308.71 (Yay! Finally within our $80/week budget for this month!)

My grocery store’s ad scan and my “Shopping FAQ!”

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. Carrie says

    I’m confused by this – is this all you eat for the week? If not, then doesn’t your total need to include the food you’ve previously bought that you are also using?

    • kristin says

      if i understand you correctly, she’s just posting how much $ she spent this month on her food, it’s not supposed to include what she already has on hand… hope this helps :)

    • says

      Carrie…this is an example of one of my shopping trips. I share them as often as I can. The total is for what I buy each week. I have quite the stockpile in my freezer and pantry for foods that I’ve purchased (and included in my overall monthly total). I use the stockpile foods with my recent purchases to make our meals each week.

      I usually spend about $45 on “weekly ingredients”…stuff I buy each week (bread, milk, rice milk for my kids, produce), then $20ish for “other ingredients” I need to make different meals, and $15-$20 for “stockpile” items…products that are rock bottom. In this grocery trip, the stockpile items were the canned tomatoes, Chex, and delimeat. The delimeat will last 2-3 weeks, the others can sit in the stockpile for longer and we’ll eat them when we need to. So next week I won’t need to buy cereal because I purchased enough to last several weeks in this trip.

      Make sense?


  2. Leah H says

    Carrie- My budget is my budget. No matter if I use things from the pantry, I allow myself the same amount each week at the grocery stores. If you use things from the pantry (which I always do, and lots of it) I consider that just part of the previous week’s budget. It’s just part of budgeting and couponing. It all rolls over into the next so you always have plenty…. for less!!!! Of course if I am under budget, then even better!!

  3. Dianna B says

    YEAH ME! I have cooked from the pantry for two weeks after doing a major buy the first part of the month. I planned my menus, wrote out my shopping list, marked off what I had in the pantry, and that was my big grocery buy. It was a little more than I planned, but still with in my budget. I was thinking that maybe I had bought for three weeks instead of two, well I did. I will be using very little of my budget this pay check, so will put that back for when I hit on a great sale. Also, it is looking like I am right on schedule with a major purchase in Feb. Just depends on how things turn out with my stove repairs. At any rate, yeah me, I stayed on budget for the first time in years, only need to go to store for milk and bread. Maybe a little fresh fruit.

  4. susanne says

    Had a similar experience last fall. There is a BiLo in THE SAME SHOPPING CENTER as my gym. They have a great gas promo .05 for every $50 spent, and they double coupons up to $1 (or maybe .99). On our trip up north in December (Thanks to some other great store promo and gc rewards) , I had a 1.50/ per gallon reward!!!! That was SWEET!

    Thanks for sharing your journey — it helps me know I am not the only one paying cash and sticking to a budget :)

  5. says

    I love reading about your store trips and how it means to stay on budget. I looked at everything from last years spending to try to figure out the best budget for this year again. Last year I worked hard on using up the stockpile pantry and freezer stuff and I am getting much better at menu planning based on what is already in the house. But it is super hard to stick with a monthly amount (I couldn’t do weekly when I tried) when there are really great deals like I got this month with $1.66 lb boneless chicken. I spend at least $90 just in chicken for the month and then I am totally off for the monthly total. Do you keep a special fund for super good deal purchases or do you just try to fit them into the monthly budget?

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