I've been really lax about menu planning mostly due to pregnancy! I may have planned something for dinner but when I get home, I'm just not hungry for whatever was planned or sometimes I'm just too darn tired to do what was planned. I've been crockpotting as much as possible to eliminate the latter possibility but it has been hard.
So this week, I vowed to get back on track and decided to keep it more general and flexible, which I'm hoping will increase the possibility of sticking to it. I have a work conference next week so I am not shopping for anything other than basics if we run out and doing my best to cook from the freezer/pantry for the next week so that I don't have a fridge full of science experiments when we return!
If you haven't heard, Albertson's is running an awesome General Mills promotion right now: buy $25 worth of selected products, get a $10 ONYO Catalina. Even better, certain products have their own Catalina promotion so you can double dip the Catalinas. So I based my transactions to maximize the Cats. Here are the transactions:
4 $1.25/1 Simply Cookie dough 1 $1/1 Simply Cookie dough 1 $.50/2 Fruit Gushers 3 $.40/1 Fruit Gushers
plus I had a $3 Cat & $2 Cat from a purchase last week (unclear how I got the $3, $2 was from Aunt Jemima syrup). I just noticed in reviewing my receipt that the cashier doubled 2 for $1 each, not sure how that happened? Anyway, OOP was $10.30 and I got $10, $3 and $3.50 in Cats that I rolled into the next transaction.
5 Simply Cookie Dough $12.50 6 Fruit snacks $12.50
5 $1/1 Simply Cookie Dough 2 $.40/1 Fruit Snacks 2 $.50/2 Fruit Snacks
1 doubled for -$1 minus $16.50 in Cats from previous order, left me with OOP $3.20 and I got another $16.50 in Cats that I used for this:
2 doubled for -$.50 each, minus $16.50 in Cats from previous order, left me with $5.50 OOP and ANOTHER $16.50 in Cats.
My family couldn't possibly take any more sugary snacks so my final transaction I bought basics like eggs, bananas, milk, cheese, apples, carrots and a rotisserie chicken (my husband makes an awesome chicken soup). I did use 2 BOGO coupons for eggs and got free Darigold Singles Chocolate milk with one last doubler! I used the $16.50 in Cats to bring my OOP down to $17.54. Plus, I got a survey at the bottom of the receipt for $2 off my next purchase!
I think it was a great trip and really demonstrates how you can work the deals to help lower your costs overall on the staple items - that's really what it's all about for me.
It's been awhile so I thought I'd better take a look at how we are doing on our budget goal for the year. Looking through all my receipts and credit card bills, I just realized what a weird month August is for us, grocery-budget-wise.
Why? Well, for the past 2 years we've gone on a 2-week boating vacation to Canada (last year's actually turned out to be 3 weeks due to weather). Two weeks on a boat to remote areas of Canada. Limited facilities and very limited provisions. For example, this year, toward the end of our stay I could not find a loaf of bread. The two stores on the island that were within walking distance of the marina: both sold out!
As a result, we definitely don't do my "normal" stock up, deal-finding shopping during that vacation because it's just not possible - there are none of the traditional large supermarkets where we are and I just don't have the space on the boat to lug around my coupons, if these mom-and-pop stores would even take them. Even leading up to the trip, we typically go to Costco for the stock up because it all comes in bulk and then I separate into individual portions to pack into coolers, coolers and more coolers (we have a small fridge and an even smaller freezer on the boat).
We spend a lot more than usual in advance of the trip because we are without the ability to just run to the store for little things or take advantage of the deals that may be running during those weeks. Plus, we go with friends and often share dinner responsibilities so I'm not just feeding my family most nights, but this year up to 9 adults as well.
So I decided not to count those unusual circumstances, like the big Costco trip, and just tally what I spent at my normal grocery stores. Even then, I spent quite a bit more than usual in August, it appears.
My monthly budget for this year is $83.62 per month:
I'm really hoping that the coming months will have better stock up deals for the holidays! I want to stay on this budget but the holidays could bust it. I also have saved all my grocery receipts separately and am hoping to post some cool final totals at the end of the year, like "amount spent" and the one I'm super curious about "amount saved" from coupons and sales! Should be SO interesting.
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I am an attorney, working mom of 3, who loves a bargain, a great deal and freebies. Who doesn't want the best, for less?
Come here to see my triumphs and budget tribulations, good deals and my take on what the good life can mean...