Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (11/16-11/22)

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.comCoupon NetworkSmart SourceRed PlumIbottaSnap, HopsterCheckout 51, and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

Favorite buys:
* Free turkey
* Butter for $1.99 and $2.29/lb.

Total Spent: $94.17
Total Saved with Coupons: $3.75
Total Saved with Sales: $20.87
Total Saved: $24.62

Giant: $15.35
Saved with Coupons: $3.75
Saved with Sales: $20.87


 This was kind of a strange week at Giant.  Most of the things that were really good deals were really processed food items that I don’t buy much.  But since I wanted to get the inexpensive butter and my free turkey, I decided to stop by Giant anyway and of course I got a few other things while I was there too.

I was excited to get my free turkey again this year!  Giant does this deal every year where you can get a turkey for free with 400 gas points.  They have promotions every week on certain items and when you buy so many you earn gas points which you can then redeem to get savings on gas or in this case, redeem them for a free turkey.   So in reality, I bought some other things at really low prices in order to get the turkey for free.  But even so, it’s an amazing deal because the things I bought were things that I wanted or use regularly.

The Aveeno was part of a gas rewards deal from a month or two ago that I had a rain check for.  I still have to buy 2 more things with the rain check in order to get the 500 gas points (or $0.50 off a gallon) but in the end, I’ll be getting them all for free or for a slight moneymaker after gas points!  And I love Aveeno lotion.  I don’t use it for my hands but it is the only thing that I have found that keeps my legs moisturized, which is super helpful this time of year especially!

Remember my shoplifting experience the other week?  Well, I made amends and paid for the Jif this week.  <grin>  The potatoes were a good price and I needed them for a meal I was making for guests this weekend.  The milk was just to hold us over until we could get milk at the local dairy we usually buy from, hence the little bottle.  And I got the butter for the amazing price of $1.99/lb!  I haven’t gotten butter that cheap in a long time!  Unfortunately, I could only get one at that price.  But I’m grateful for at least one!

Oh and I was so annoyed at myself!  I did my shopping Wednesday night and got home kind of late.  I had taken our 2 yr. old with me to get a little quality time in with her and since it was so late, getting her to bed was top priority when I got back.  I also had a few other things that I needed to do before I headed to bed.  All of the sudden a couple of minutes before 12 I realized I had some thing I wanted to submit to get money back via Checkout 51 and their offers change at midnight.  I quickly grabbed my phone and started submitting the info.  I was almost done when it hit 12.  I was hoping since I was in the middle of it, that it would take it, but no such luck.  I even emailed them thinking maybe they’d extend grace, but it turns out that Checkout 51 isn’t crazy about that! I guess I can’t blame them, because I’m sure they have lots of people wanting them to make exceptions for their forgetfulness.  So, long story short, I was out about $2.50 and chalked it up as a lesson learned.  You can bet that I won’t likely forget to wait to submit my Checkout 51 offers again anytime soon!


  • Turkey 21.68 lb $12.79
  • 4 Aveeno $2.49 each (bought with rain check)
    - used $2.00 Giant Aveeno ecoupon
  • Land O Lakes butter $3.00
    - used $1.00 Land O Lakes Giant ecoupon
  • 5 lb. Potatoes $2.99
    - used $0.75 Giant brand potatoes ecoupon
  • Jif peanut butter $2.00 (bought with rain check)
  • Store brand 2% milk $1.20

Aldi: $78.82

I stopped by Aldi to get a few of my usual things there and was absolutely amazed to see butter for $2.29/lb!!   I used to have a buy price of $1.99/lb. for butter but the last year I’ve had a really hard time finding it that cheap so I had upped my price to $2.29.  The last couple of months that was even almost impossible!  In fact, when I shared about saving money at a local moms group a couple of weeks ago we were lamenting the high price and talking about how it was going to make it hard to not get expensive doing Christmas baking!  Anyway, I was pretty excited when I saw this price and decided to go gung-ho and stock up.  I use only butter or olive oil in baking and so I go through it pretty quickly.  It also freezes well, so I can easily store it for a long time.  And those of you with an Aldi nearby?  Well, you might want to stop by and get some butter before the raise the price again!


  • 5 lb. Red potatoes $2.59
  • 3 lb. Sweet potatoes $1.19
  • 5 Great northern beans $0.59 each
  • 3 Black beans $0.59 each
  • Onions $0.69
  • 2 Tortillas $1.19 each
  • 24 Butter $2.29 each
  • 3 Corn chips $0.89 each
  • Parmesan cheese $2.49
  • 2 Cream cheese $0.99 each
  • 3 Brown sugar $0.99 each
  • Ranch dressing $1.29
  • Saltines $0.89

Misc.: $0

This was all stuff that I got for free.  My in-laws have chickens and shared some of their eggs with us.  They also gave us some apples that I forgot to get a picture of.

The jar on the left is some kind of hot pepper spread that I got for free on a local online yard sale site.  Now, I normally wouldn’t go getting home canned food from a site like that, but the lady I got it from is friends with some of my friends so I felt comfortable doing it.  I’m going to use it on my husband’s lunch sandwiches for something different since he enjoys that kind of thing.

The two jars on the right are apple butter that a friend gave to me.  They got them and didn’t want them, which was our gain since we love apple butter!

We also used cash that I withdrew earlier for our grocery budget to get milk from a local dairy.  Actually most weeks we get 2 to 3 gallons of milk from them but I usually forget to mention that here.

I also used cash to pay for two bunches of beautiful lettuce from our local farmer’s market.   Again, I get lettuce there every week or two and most times forget to let you all know that!

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6 Tricks to Save Big on Online Shopping

I love the convenience of shopping online.  Being a busy mom of 3 kids, it’s just so much easier to not have to leave my house to get the things I need.  But of course being the frugal person I am, I hate to pay full price for anything.  So I’ve figured out some ways to help cut my cost when I do online shopping.

6 Tricks to Save Big When Shopping Online

1.  Use Cash Back Sites
Cash back sites partner with online retailers and offer you a percentage back for your purchase.  Typically, the amount is anywhere from 2-7%, which might not seem like much, but it really does add up over time.

I love it because I can earn a bit on things that I’m going to buy anyway and it’s easy too- it just takes a couple of extra clicks.  The biggest thing is remembering to actually shop through the cash back site when shopping!  It’s so easy to forget.

I use two cash back sites:

  • Ebates
    This site is great if you don’t do a ton of online shopping because it has a low payout threshold of $5.01.
  • Shopathome
    Typically offers a higher percentage of cash back than Ebates, but the payout threshold is $20.00.  So if you don’t do a lot of online shopping, Ebates is probably a better fit.

2.  Use Promo Codes
I actually rarely purchase something without first looking to see if there is a coupon available.   Most sites, especially big name stores, have promotion codes available that you can use to save on your online purchases- kind of like using coupons at retail stores.  Often I can find codes that will save 10-25% on my order, which can translate into significant savings!

I typically find my promotion codes either on the cash back site that I’m shopping through (see point #1) or at RetailMeNot.com.

Tips: Some sites will allow you to stack promo codes.  For instance, you might be able to use a percentage off code with a free shipping promo code.  I usually just try it- they’ll let you know if it isn’t allowed.

3.  Avoid Paying for Shipping
While I love shopping online, I really hate having to pay the extra expense of shipping.  But the great thing is, if you are careful, you can often do your online shopping and never have to pay the shipping costs.  Sometimes it just takes a little patience.

Many sites offer free shipping with a minimum order amount.  Others have will have frequent promotions where you can get free shipping on any order.  I also sometimes shop stores like Sears and Kmart that offer free in-store pick up.  This isn’t quite as nice as actually having the items shipped directly to your door, but it still saves you the hassle of shopping in the store.  

4.  Read Product Reviews
Maybe I’m unusual, but I almost never buy anything over $25 without first checking out the product reviews.  And I often even scan them for more inexpensive items too!  I figure I’d rather take a few minutes and make sure I’m getting a good quality product than buy something only to realize later that it was poorly made.

Obviously some reviews are not helpful or are obviously just disgruntled customers being super picky.  But once you get used to reading reviews, you can pretty quickly skim through them and pick out which ones are truly honest customers that are leaving helpful, real feedback.

Where do I find product reviews?  I either look for them on the site I’m buying from or I look for the product on Amazon and checkout the reviews there.

5.  Sign Up for Email Newsletters
Many big name stores have email newsletters that you can sign up for where you’ll receive special coupons and promotions throughout the year.  They often even have a special discount as thank you for signing up!

Tip: If you don’t want these emails cluttering your inbox, set up a special email account just for this type of thing.  Just be sure to check it semi-regularly or you’ll defeat the purpose of signing up!  

6.  Use Swagbucks
This is a little different than my other tricks for saving online, but since I use it a lot to cut my online shopping costs I felt like I needed to mention it!

Swagbucks is a simple way for pretty much anyone to earn extra money.  Basically, you can do various things like search the internet, watch videos and take quick surveys and earn Swagbucks for doing them.  Then you can trade in those Swagbucks for gift cards.  The best deal that you can get and the one that is also my favorite, is to use your Swagbucks to get Amazon gift cards.  I typically can earn about $20 in Amazon gift cards a month which obviously saves me a lot when I shop online there!

Swagbucks also has gift cards for other places like Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and many more.

What are your favorite ways to save on online shopping?

How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Toys on a Budget

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Free Reusable Nursing Pads (just pay shipping!)

Like the idea of reusable nursing pads?  You can currently get 10 Pairs of Designer Nursing Pads for FREE when you use coupon code ENBABY at checkout.  You simply need to pay for the shipping which is $10.95!  With over 30 styles to choose from, you are sure to find designs that you love!

Product Details:

  • 5 Ply, 100% Cotton
  • Machine Washable
  • Relieves skin irritation by wicking away extra moisture
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Zaycon Food: $1.89 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast


I received free chicken breast in exchange for a blog review.  However, all opinions are mine. 

You may remember my post about Zaycon Foods’ $1.89/lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast.  Well, I’m excited to tell you that I had the opportunity to try some of their chicken and yes, it’s as awesome as they claim!

Zaycon Foods is a privately owned company founded in 2009 with the simple mission to bring farm fresh meats direct to consumers at wholesale prices. Because they cut out the middle man (ie: grocery store) they can keep their cost lower than what you’ll typically find.  They have events all over the country where they deliver their products- you simply need to drive through and pick them up!

While Zaycon Foods sells everything from raw wildflower honey to non-homogenized whole milk to fresh strawberries, they are best known for their quality meats.  And more specifically for their fresh 100% natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients.  Their boneless, skinless chicken breast comes in 40 lb. boxes, but each box has four 10 lb. bags of chicken it, making it very easy to split your order with someone else if you are worried that you won’t be able to use the whole 40 lbs. yourself.

I was super impressed with my Zaycon Foods experience.  Ordering was so simple; I just went to their website, set up an account and found an event in my area.  Then I placed my order and paid online, so that the day of the event I could just sail through the pick up line!

I got to the location of the pickup for my event about 5 minutes after it started.  The delivery men were ready and waiting as I drove up and all that I needed to do was roll down my window, give them my name and open the rear hatch of my minivan.  After laying down a plastic trash bag to catch any leaks (there were none!), they loaded up my chicken and in a matter of a couple of minutes I was on my way again!  I was more than happy to not have to get out of my car and the whole process was much easier than going to the grocery store with 2 little children in tow!

Once I arrived back home, I got to work processing the chicken.  I froze some breasts whole, cooked some meat and froze it and then canned the rest.  There was a little bit of fat to trim off of some of the pieces but overall, I was impressed with the quality of the meat.  We’ve enjoyed it numerous times since and it has great flavor!

If you are interested in ordering from Zaycon, head to their website and set up an account.  They typically have chicken events happening several times throughout the year so by signing up now, you’ll be alerted when they start their next sales.

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140 Return Address Labels for $3.99!

Want to add a little pizzazz to your holiday mail?  Vistaprint can help you out with their fun customized return address labels!

Vistaprint: 140 Return Address Labels for $3.99!

Right now, Vistaprint has their return address labels for 50% off and you can get 140 customized address labels for just $3.99 when you use coupon code VPLABEL50 at checkout.

Fine Print: This offer cannot be combined with other promotions, including cash back programs.

These labels would be a fun addition to a Christmas gift for those hard-to-buy-for people.  They also have lots of other uses as well such as labeling your child’s personal belongings, labeling homemade gifts (think “Made with love from the Beilers”) or even for gift tags.

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