Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Grocery Shopping Challenge

I decided to give myself a challenge.  I got $100 and told myself that that was all of the money I had for groceries for the next two weeks.  This meant that if I found a great sale I had to figure out how to work it into that $100 and not go over.  I was aware of about how much I spend on groceries,  but we have been eating at home more since Michael’s arrival and I wanted to see how much I could get for the $100.  I only allowed myself to use that cash.  I couldn’t use my debit card or credit card.  I did allow myself to “reimburse” that money for household purchases – like the $5 I spent on toilet paper at Martin’s.

I do want to note that I probably spent more at Martin’s than I normally would.  The two weeks that I gave myself the challenge I had received coupons from them for $10 off of a purchase of $50 or more.  I saw the coupon as a way to stockpile on meat and to save 20%.

I didn’t take pictures of my haul from last week.  I only made one trip to Martin’s.  I got groceries for $35.40 including pork chops and a whole eye round roast (~5.25 lb) in addition to produce and other odds and ends.   I didn’t get a chance to use the pork chops before their sell-by-date.  I pulled them out of the refrigerator that morning to freeze them and noticed a foul smell when I cut open the plastic wrap.  I took them back to Martin’s and because of the double your money back guarantee I got $7.94 back.  That gave me $72.54 to buy groceries with the next week. 

I did buy a few things that aren’t pictured, but here are the pictures from my big trip to Martin’s Thursday night:


  • Multi-Grain Cheerios - $1.50
  • (2) Ziploc Freezer Bags - $2.09
  • (4) Coke Fridge Packs - $9 (For Steve to take to work)
  • (6) Campbell’s Tomato Soup - $1.98
  • Tazo Tea - $0.49
  • Bananas - $0.41
  • Red Grapes - $2.13
  • (2) Cucumbers – $1
  • Sweet Onion - $2.01
  • Romaine Lettuce - $1.76
  • Butternut Squash - $2
  • (10) Dole Smoothies – FREE
  • Pork Loin (10.05lb) - $18.89
  • Spare Ribs - $13.18 (Manager’s Special)
  • (8) Nestle Nesquik – FREE
  • Zone Bar - $0.25
  • Luna Bar – FREE
  • Think Thin Bar - $0.75

Shelf Price (before sales, coupons, markdowns, bag credits, or tax): $158.63

Final Price (after sales, coupons, markdowns, and bag credits): $47.29

Total Savings: $111.34 (70%)

As part of my challenge I also had to include tax in my $100 – I paid $2.11 tax at this visit leaving me with $23.14 for a few things at Kroger and if I wanted to get a few more sale items.

Here is a picture of what I picked up at Kroger on Friday night:



  • (3) Quaker Oatmeal - $1.50
  • (4) Maruchan Yakisoba Noodles – FREE
  • Dole Asian Salad Kit- $2.09 (Manager’s Special)
  • (2) Pita Bread - $2
  • Best Life Buttery Spread – FREE
  • (2) Organic Milk  - $5
  • (2) Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup - $1
  • Kroger Banana Peppers - $0.99 (Manager’s Special)
  • (3 dozen)  Kroger Medium Eggs - $1.50

Shelf Price (before sales, coupons, markdowns, bag credits, or tax): $37.39

Final Price (after sales, coupons, markdowns, and bag credits): $14.08

Total Savings: $23.31 (62%)

I paid $0.51 tax at Kroger leaving me with a balance of $8.55. 

I spent $2.01 on a loaf of my favorite grilled cheese bread at Martin’s when I returned the pork chops. 

I also ran into Martin’s on Saturday and spent $4.94 for some pepperoni and ham from the deli for our pizza night along with 8 more cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.

The final amount spent: $98.40

I was proud of myself and I think I bought a good selection of stockpile items (oatmeal, sodas, meat, and soup), produce, and dairy.  In case you are wondering what I am going to do with 10 pounds of pork loin.  I am going to cut off a portion of it for a roast.  I plan to grind the rest of it.  I am going to make and freeze sausage with some it and freeze the rest of it in about 1/2 pound portions to add to ground beef for things such as meatloaf, meatballs, chili, or hamburgers. 

Do you use a cash only grocery budget?  How do you budget for things such as unadvertised sales, manager markdowns, or items you want to stockpile?  How do you keep a tally of how much you have in your cart?  Any tips, ideas, or advice are always welcome.  :)



Their Mommy His Wife said...

that's terrific that you were refunded double for the pork chops. Thanks for mentioning that because I am new to the area/Martin's shopping and I was unaware of that policy!
Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the Nesquick coupons?

Anonymous said...

Great job - I try to use cash but often fail. This has inspired me to try harder. Don't forget the money back guarantee is also on produce. I returned 4 peaches that just didn't taste good at all. I had already cut them up, so I just put them in a ziploc bag, and got about $5 back last week. No questions asked.

Ann said...

Debbie - the Nesquik coupons were in the 8/1 RedPlum Insert. They were for $1/2 and I combined them with the coupon doubler last week when the milk was 10 for $10.

Anonymous - you are right the double your money back guarantee is good for produce as well. I have been told that it essentially is for anything that is perishable in the store except for sushi.