Life on a Budget: Groceries

Wait a minute, how is it Friday already? I swear I was just tweeting how it was Monday and I was extra annoyed but non the less...

March 28th we closed on our first home and I swear I've been on the hunt on how to cut costs from all corners. Lately I've been researching the easiest, and most affordable way to do cloth diapering for Sky. Yes, He is 9 1/2 months old and we have been using disposables but Tracen is {unfortunately} still in diapers and I'm about to loose my shit soon with all this diaper buying I've been doing! I've found some good, easy cloth diapering options that I can buy for about $110 for 20 diaper covers (the outer shell part) and about 60 inserts. What is the only problem you ask, proposing this option to Jerek. {dun dun dun} That in itself is a whole other story! My daycare that we use two days a week does do cloth diapering (some don't so this is a bonus!) and for $110 and a little more weekly laundry why WOULDN'T we do it! I spend this amount in a about 2 months for both kids currently.  I really wish we would have just started from the beginning but we can't go back in time can we. I'll keep you updated on this situation as I'm sure it's the highlight of your week reading about if I can convince him or not. The only thing in my favor is that he is a crazy finance/numbers man {does it for a living} and is always trying to save, spend less or pay off debt in some shape or form so I have high hopes for my proposition!

Moving on! Saving money is something we all like to do and when I find something that has worked for me I spread the news like wildfire! I have been known to post coupon hauls on my Instagram letting you know when diapers, shampoo or make-up are mega cheap at CVS. Scoring a good deal is something I LIVE for! When someone comments on a piece of clothing, my stock pile or how am I getting my insurance so cheap I can't wait to explain it to them and share the juicy details.

Take yesterday for example, I go to Meijer to buy basically EVERYTHING because we are bare to the bones for food.When I come home from grocery shopping and try to show Jer my haul and explain all the great deals I find I swear he stares at me like a deer in the headlights! So I decided what better way to share the excitement then with the ones that actually care {your welcome Jer!} This is going to be a little series called Life on a Budget and each post will have a different topic. From home insurance, couponing, mom to mom-ing to groceries, discount codes to shopping, it will be here.

Some weeks I barely have time to throw a grocery list together and some days I can color coordinate my list. This week was more in the color coordinating relm. I had time to make a list, go online to check for coupons and semi- meal plan. I am starting to do an intense 12 week work out plan and start really eating clean so I knew 90% of what I needed for the next two weeks. When I walked in I notice they were having the $10 for 10 deal. Normally this is for a lot of processed foods and I never get that great of a deal but yesterday I rocked it.

Now every body has their own budget for groceries based on their family size and income, but I "try" to keep ours to $150 for two weeks of food. This has grown since Tracen and Skylor eat and don't just drink their calories. Skylor is eating very minimal food right now so he doesn't really cost a lot but Jerek and Tracen eat ridiculous amounts! If I've learned anything from living with boys it is, meal planning is key. When we don't have meals planned we don't buy the right food and we end up making stops every night at the grocery store or eating out. I'm sure you're wondering how I can feed a family of 4 (3.5 really) for two weeks on $150. I'm not saying we don't buy food while at work, out running errands or on the weekends because we do but you need to have a target to aim for.

Coupon Mom
A Full Cup

These three websites are what I use for groceries as well as beauty, hair and cleaning products when looking for coupon/deal match ups. Let me explain.

1. MPERKS: this is strictly a Meijer based program. These are coupons that Meijer puts out for items in the store (some Meijer brand as well.) You can use these on top of coupons from the Sunday paper (manufacture coupons). You can virtually clip these to your account and then enter them upon checking out. There is also a app for your phone to do on the go. I usually go through and clip anything I know we use and then print off a list of the ones I clipped and bring in the store with me for reference (or you can look at your phone while shopping.) At checkout you type in your phone number (account number) and your 4 digit passcode and the coupons come off as the cashier is ringing you up.

2. COUPON MOM: this website shows a deal at the store and any manufacture or store coupons/deals that go with that product and do the matching up for you as well as what the final price will be and how much you saved! For a working mom of two this is a life saver. {Below is a snapshot of the current CVS list}

3. A FULL CUP: this website is very interactive as it has discussion boards for people to post their trips and what coupons they used. When I have more time on my hands (ha!) I like to look at this website and get ideas of maybe some deal I might have missed out on or didn't think about when looking at a circular.

Now I know there are a lot of other websites, forums and message boards that people may look at and I'd love to hear about anything you swear by! I have gotten it down to a system as to what I buy at Sams Club vs what I buy at Meijer based on size, price and quantity. As my family grows and their bellies eat me out of the house I refuse to have to buy crap food because it's cheap. When you plan things out and take the time to look at deals it is worth every penny you save.

I know many friends and family members have said they don't have time to cut coupons or read through websites but I'm here to tell you that you do! I work full-time, have two kids, write a blog, run an Etsy store, and still mange to clean, do laundry, see friends, watch TV, spend time with Jer and the boys and sleep {sometimes}! If saving money and feeding your family is important to you then taking 30 minutes before bed to look at Facebook some coupon websites & meal planning should be worth it!

Fun Fact: I haven't bought shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste, tooth brushes, hair products, body wash, deodorant, baby shampoo or baby lotion in about 3 years because I clipped coupons, looked at deals and stock piled for 5 months when pregnant with Tracen! It can be done people!

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