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Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

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This might sound a bit scary to some of you as it did to me, at first. Last year I started doing a few ‘Click n Pull’ orders from Sam’s Club  and I loved the ease and convenience of the whole process. Not to mention the time (and $$) it saved me by not walking the whole store every time I needed something. (Don’t you hate it when stores move something and it takes FOREVER to find it? I’ve found that stores have been rearranging EVERYTHING for the holidays and I spend so much time trying to find our ‘regular’ items it’s not even funny!)

Well, some of you may already be familiar with the Grocery Pickup service offered at some Walmarts but I hadn’t had the chance to give it a try although I really wanted to. After shopping with all of the kids last week and realizing how hard it is to get around some of the stores this time of year I figured now is as good a time as any to give it a go. Continue reading Strangers Did My Grocery Shopping This Weekend And I’m Glad!

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Sam’s & Box Turtles

Today I made a quick run to Sam’s Club. I love the fact that you can place your order online and then pick it up. They do all the shopping and have it loaded into buggies when you get there. I love it almost as much as Amazon Prime.

I placed a HUGE order yesterday afternoon. I haven’t been in a few, maybe several, months and with the recent move and hurricane we were really needing to stock up. I guess when it’s cold I get into ‘hibernation’ mode. This was a good thing when we lived in colder places and would sometimes be snowed in or without power for weeks at a time but I guess it really isn’t necessary here. I still like to have a well stocked pantry and I try to keep my freezers stocked as well.

I left early this morning as the closest Sam’s is about an hour away. I try to get there first thing so I can get in and out quickly. Much to my surprise I received the message that the order was ready as I was pulling into the parking lot. I walked right in and scanned my card. Within a few minutes we were loading up my Yukon. And load it up we sure did.

We got a variety of items this time around. Milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, sugar, chicken, pork chops, hamburger, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, apples, bananas, rice, pastas, household supplies, and various other things we use.

The guy helping me load thought I had a daycare… I guess I kind of do.

I must say that this was one of the best trips I’ve made. I think we saved over $50, with in-store promotions, which isn’t great when you consider I spent about $700 but most of these items will not need to be replaced for a couple of months, at least. The convenience of getting it all at once and not running around was well worth it.

The customer service was also great and they helped load my vehicle which was a plus too. I did take a cooler with me for some of the cold products like ice cream. I also took my grocery bags but they had most of the stuff boxed up nicely. I was impressed!

Upon arriving at home the kids were super excited to help unload the groceries. Once unloaded there were boxes all over the kitchen and the dining room.

It was quite a mess but we started with the cold stuff and then worked out way through the bathroom supplies, then the dry goods, and finally I am finishing up with the meat I had in the cooler. Yay!

Now I just need to find homes for the big packages of toilet paper and paper towels. I’m thinking they will fit under my bed for now.

In a bit I will go over the receipt and check to see what items were out of stock so we can make a trip to the local Walmart and then we should be set for a little bit. I still need to do another trip for some more toiletries and a few other items that I didn’t get on this run but that won’t be for another week or two.

The kids had a lot of fun helping and were constantly trying to guess, or suggest, what we should make with the different foods. They also helped to straighten and organize the lower cabinets.

The most fun they had was with the boxes. Their little imaginations went crazy. The boxes became everything from box cars to box turtles. I’m gonna have to carry most of them out in a bit. Hopefully storing them in the wash shed so I can use them as I declutter the porch that is still a work in progress.

I’m really thankful that we do have the second refrigerator and freezer out in the wash shed. I was able to use both of those store some of my purchases. I am planning on hanging a dry erase board in the kitchen to keep track of what foods are in the freezers and second fridge. Another project for my ToDo list.

Anyways I still have a few things to finish up before I make lunch and get everyone down for quiet time. I might even try to sneak in a little nap if I can.

I hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Grocery Shopping

Below are links to posts I have written about shopping and saving!

Shopping: Discount Bread Stores

March Monthly Grocery Trip

My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

January Pantry Challenge Grocery Trip

March Monthly Grocery Trip

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Things have been so crazy busy here but life is good. Actually life is GREAT! Things have been going really well for us lately and this Momma is finally starting to get back on track to my ‘pre-divorce’ organization and I’m loving it. It is exhausting though and it has taken me almost a week to get this post written.

I post our weekly menu plans and for the past several months or so that was a far as my menu planning went. I do have it planned out on a repeating schedule on our calendar but I would have to adjust it on a weekly basis. Fortunately this month I was able to make a change and try to get back into the habit of a monthly grocery shop. In order to do a monthly grocery shop I need to plan out a whole month’s meals at a time, a week at a time. This is really not that hard once you have done a few weeks, and hopefully saved your notes, as you can just rotate the weekly plans to make up a new monthly plan.

The other thing that I haven’t been doing was making my monthly trip to Sam’s club. This was just something that I had stopped doing at some point last year. Then the store moved and I just really didn’t have the time or energy to devote to looking up the new location and making the list for the monthly trip. Needless to say we have seen the consequences of my lack of motivation in that area.

The first step was to sit down and figure out the menu plan. I looked over the recurring meal plans and decided which ones that we don’t really like that much anymore. I either changed them to recur less frequently or deleted them all together. Then I needed to make my grocery list, which was just like I normally do, only multiplied by four.

I wrote down what I needed for the first week and then just added a tally mark beside the items that I needed multiple times for the remaining weeks. Once the list was in hand I check online on Sam’s Club and added the items that I needed to my cart. I did check prices and did not include everything on my Sam’s list. I also checked the special promotions they had and grabbed a few of those items as well.

The greatest thing I like about Sam’s club is that you can do the ‘Click and Pull’ orders. I really don’t like shopping. Anything that makes that task a little easier is a winner with me. Once that was completed I check the Aldi sales and made a list for there as well.

On Saturday I made my way down to the new store location. On the way I noticed that Aldi was directly across the road from Sam’s which made me quite a happy camper.  My order wasn’t quite ready as it was a pretty large order. I walked through the store and browsed. I didn’t take a buggy with me as that may have tempted me to fill the buggy up. My self control seems to hide when I go into Sam’s club. I did rather well though and only grabbed two items that we did need before I got the text saying my order was ready.

I checked out and they have it set up to pull up for pickup. (They actually have a touchscreen outside too that you can use to check in for pickup without coming into the store!) The associates helped me to load everything into my vehicle and they were so friendly! I was beginning to get a little worried about room as I knew I still needed to stop at Aldi before going home.

I did make it to Aldi and thankfully was able to fit everything in:

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This is just one view of the kitchen after we unloaded!

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As you can tell it wasn’t just food that I bought but other household items as well. How much did I spend? This was all under $600.00. I will need to visit the local stores for some fresh veggies and milk but this is the majority of the shopping for the month!

What did I get? (I don’t have the prices as I misplaced my receipts somewhere in the mountain of groceries.)

Some of the bulk purchases at Sam’s:

  • Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and other salad items
  • Ranch (dry packs and bottles)
  • boxed macaroni and cheese
  • hotdogs
  • pintos (Sam’s has a huge bag that will last us a few months at least)
  • tea bags (Sam’s also has the gallon size bags which are wonderful)
  • dry cereal, oatmeal, grits (Sam’s had some really good promos going)
  • bags of shredded cheese (I store these in the freezer)
  • 20 lbs of potatoes, 10 lbs of sweet onions
  • 10 lbs of white sugar
  • large packs of pillsbury crescent rolls (another Sam’s promo)
  • toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning wipes (promo), laundry detergent, paper plates
  • crackers, animal crackers, cheese puffs, pop tarts, popcorn, tortilla chips
  • yogurt, cream cheese
  • canned tuna
  • koolaid
  • nutella, peanut butter, and jelly
  • condiments (bbq sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa)
  • spaghetti sauces
  • variety box of pasta
  • cases of canned tomatoes and veggies
  • lots of frozen veggies, large bag of french fries, box of egg rolls
  • large box of instant potatoes, rice
  • pancake mix and syrup

And at Aldi I got:

  • 12 loaves of bread (I will need to get more before the end of the month but this is a start.)
  • 6 dozen eggs (I may need more)
  • 6 gallons of milk @ Aldi for $1.99 (This was all I could store.)
  • chicken breasts, pork chops, hamburger meat, bacon

There were many other items but that is just an example of what I was able to buy in mass quantity to save time and money. I will still be going once a week to the store to get some fresh items or things that I may have forgotten but the fewer times I go to the store the less likely I will go over my grocery budget.

Some of the meals we will be having include:

Breakfasts (some of these will repeat through the month):

Lunches (these will repeat through the month):

  • hot dogs, mac n cheese
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • PB & Js
  • Scrambled Egg Sandwiches
  • Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Soup, grilled cheese
  • leftovers

Dinners:

Snacks/Desserts (some of the snacks will repeat through the month):

We will also be having a cookout one weekend so there will be a few more things I will need to get for that once we decide exactly what we will be having. It may seem to be an overwhelming task but you can break it down into smaller chunks to make it easier. I can tell you that I am so very glad that I finally did this and hopefully I am back on track to where I once was.

Menu planning has not always been something that I did. I don’t know how we made it as long as we did before I finally started to make out our meal plans ahead of time. For me this has been a big help in itself. The monthly planning is an even bigger help along with the monthly grocery shop. I can see what a difference it has already made at our house here.

I know this is not for everyone but hopefully this post can help someone.

I pray that you all have a wonderful week!

March 12- 18, 2017 Meal Plan

This is our basic meal plan for the week. Sometimes we will switch the days around if I forgot to set something out or put something in the crock pot. Please feel free to use this or change it around to suit your family’s needs.

I have started trying to do easier meals on days that I have square dancing obligations. This helps me to be able to put a nice meal on the table without feeling guilty about having some much needed ‘Mommy Time’. Some of these meals may also help with those that have busy or irregular schedules due to work or extracurricular activities.

I do have ‘Snacks/Desserts’ listed as well. I always try to keep a bowl of fresh fruit out on the counter or table for the kids to snack on. Sometimes I will make a special snack or treat for us to enjoy.

Sunday

Breakfast:

French Toast Roll Ups, scrambled eggs

Lunch:

Egg Salad Sandwiches, veggies

Dinner:

Parmesan Crusted Pork ChopsMashed Potatoes, veggies

Snacks/Desserts:

Popcorn


Monday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

PB & J sandwiches, fruit

Dinner:

Meatball Sandwich Casserole, French Fries, Salad

(This was a meal that wasn’t made last week so I just moved it to this week)

Snacks/Desserts:

Cookies


Tuesday

Breakfast:

French Toast

Lunch:

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Eggplant Parmesan, Salad,  Garlic Toast

Snacks/Desserts:

PB Crackers


Wednesday

Breakfast:

Basic Muffins

Lunch:

leftovers

Dinner:

Fish Sticks, Grandma’s Mac N Cheese, Oven Roasted Steak Fries, Hush puppies, Cole SlawEasy Tartar Sauce

(for hushpuppies you can use the recipe for Hoe Cakes and just drop the batter by spoonfuls into hot oil to cook)

Snacks/Desserts:

Muffins


Thursday

Breakfast:

Pancakes

Lunch:

Soup, grilled cheese

Dinner:

Taco Ring, Salad

Snacks/Desserts:

Fruit


Friday

Breakfast:

Cereal/Oatmeal

Lunch:

tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies

Dinner:

Free Day **use food from the pantry or freezer or order out for a special treat

Snacks/Desserts:

Boiled Eggs


Saturday

Breakfast:

Bacon Grits/Cheesy Grits, eggs, fruit

Lunch:

hot dogs, mac n cheese, veggies

Dinner:

Cookout w/family friends (I will try to post any new recipes after the cookout as everyone is sure to bring some delicious dishes.)

Snacks/Desserts:

Easy Banana Pudding

My First Shopping Trip At Aldi!

I’ve been talking about it for a while now but just haven’t gotten around to doing it. We all have those things that we want to do or need to do but keep pushing them aside or putting them off until later. Well, for me later had finally came and I went to Aldi.

Part of the reason I kept putting it off was because it is a little bit of a drive from me. Earlier this week though I had set my intentions on making this happen, and I did just that. I have been reading some great things about them for awhile. I have heard lots of great things too.

There were a few posts in my FaceBook feed like Passionate Penny Pincher‘s live video that really prompted me to get on the ball and check it out for myself. I have seen other bloggers posting about their savings as well. Part of my New Year’s goals was to be a better steward of my blessings which means I really need to work on some of my financial goals. 

I have been doing a lot of research on grocery budgets and I feel that ours is fairly average considering the number of meals I make and the number of people I feed. We are currently averaging $100 – $150/week on groceries. There may be a couple of times every now and then that I go over that. We don’t eat out very often and I do make a lot of things from scratch. Not only that I do shop the sales and clip coupons too. This does take time but I am dedicated to making sure that we stay on budget so we can work towards some bigger goals in the future.

We had been going to Sam’s club too but they moved their location and it is now farther away from me. Just knowing that there might be a chance to save money on most of the items we need, at one store, was reason to get excited. I’ve watched the videos, I’ve seen the posts, but I wanted to see for myself. Most of the reviews have talked about how amazing this store is and I am a bit of a believer in the ‘if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is’ saying.

So I made my grocery list. I also printed off the ‘The Ultimate Aldi Grocery List‘ from Passionate Penny Pincher‘s site and got ready to go. So binder and lists in hand I made the 45 minute trip to my closest Aldi. I also made sure to stick a quarter in my pocket on the way out the door.

First things first was finding a place to park. Then I went to the front of the store and waited for the lady in front of me to put her buggy back and retrieve her quarter. I deposited my quarter in the slot, unlocked a buggy, and went inside.

As soon as I went in I noticed the nice wide, uncluttered aisles. I also noticed that they did have some really good prices. I mean really crazy good prices. Below is a list of a few of the items I was surprised at:

  • Eggs, Large -$0.69/dozen
  • Bananas -$0.44/lb
  • Cream of chicken soup-$0.69
  • Honey Nut Oats (like Cheerios)-$1.19
  • Whole Milk-$1.99/gallon
  • Tortilla Chips-$0.99
  • Shredded Cheese (3 cups)-$2.69
  • White Sugar (4 lbs)-$1.69
  • Canned Chili Beans-$0.59
  • Canned Corn-$0.36
  • Apples (3 lb)-$2.99
  • Potatoes (5 lb)-$2.69
  • Strawberries-$1.29/lb
  • Cherry Tomatoes-$0.79
  • Romaine Hearts-$1.99
  • Spinach-$1.49
  • Pretzel Sticks-$1.29/lb
  • Baby Carrots-$0.69/lb
  • Whole Wheat Bread -$0.49/loaf

Of course I got way more than this and more than one of many of these items. I was almost afraid to go to the checkout. I was afraid there may have been a mixup on some of the prices. I did keep in mind some of the tips from the video I had watched. I didn’t buy any brand name items as they did appear to be marked up more than what I could get them for at other stores. I also had my sales lists from two other stores so I could compare some of the prices to know if I was getting the best deal.

I did buy a couple of meat items that were on sale but I didn’t really need a lot as I have still have an overstock of some items in my freezer. My meal plan for next week was planned around some of those items as well. I did see some items that I will want to try out in the future but for the sake of my budget I tried to stick to my list as much as I could. The pretzels and strawberries were a couple of my impulse buys.

I was really pleased with the prices on the fresh produce. I have been trying to include more fresh fruits and veggies in our meals and snacks. These prices could help me achieve that goal and keep me within my grocery budget.

Another good thing about the store is that I feel like I could take my kids, well maybe a couple at a time, and not have to worry about them seeing things that they just had to have. It would also be helpful to have another person there to bag the groceries. I forgot to mention that you need to bring your own bags. They have some plastic bags that you can buy at the checkout. The bags are OK, they may last a trip or two, but I will be investing in some more reusable bags. My favorite FlyLady bags are available here.

For me this was definitely an experience that I will be repeating again. Maybe the next time I won’t need to circle the store 4 or 5 times to find everything I am looking for. It is definitely not a ‘one stop shop’ for me but I’m sure it could be for some people. I will continue to clip coupons and check sales. I will probably still shop at 2-3 stores to get my groceries. The stores I shop at are fairly close together and I make one big circle to get back home. When the new Aldi store opens it will be in a location that falls along the route I normally take so I will be sure to include it in my regular stops.

So, you are probably wondering how much I spent? I got a HUGE buggy load of groceries that filled the back of my truck for $127.64! That included about $15.00 worth of toiletry/paper products and another $10.00 worth of items that I had purchased for my dad. My goal was to spend $100.00 or less on groceries and if I hadn’t bought the strawberries and the pretzels I would’ve come in under budget. I can try again next week!

 

January Pantry Challenge Grocery Trip

I wrote about the Pantry Challenge in an earlier post. This upcoming week is the next Pantry Challenge I have scheduled. I thought I would break down what my grocery list was and how much I ended up spending for the meals that I came up.

Below are the dinner meals and the ingredients that I had to buy and the costs.

Meal #1: Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken w/Rice and Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw Mix $2.00

Meal #2: Popover Pizza, Salad

Romaine Lettuce $3.29

Tomatoes BOGO $2.99

Meal #3: Tortilla Bowl Taco Salad, Rice, Beans

Will use the extra lettuce and tomatoes from Meal #2 and I had some extra pintos from last week that had I put in the freezer also.

Avocado $1.00

Sour Cream $1.75

Meal #4: Boston Baked Beans, Mac n Cheese, Fried Cabbage

Cabbage $2.05

Meal #5: Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes Casserole, Salad

Will use the extra lettuce and tomatoes from Meal #2 & 3.

Meal #6: Free Day (I will probably make some Chicken Stir Fry, Chicken Fried Rice, and maybe some fried ramen noodles. (These are links to other recipes as I can’t locate mine at the moment.)

**UPDATE: I found my recipes 🙂 Chinese Fried Rice with VeggiesEasy Fried Noodles, Japanese White Sauce. I had everything in the pantry and freezer to make all of these.

I had some stir fry veggies and chicken in the freezer. I also had some ramen noodles and rice in the pantry. I won’t be adding as many veggies to the noodles as this recipe shows either.

Sweet and Sour Sauce $1.99

Meal #7: Breakfast for Dinner

Krusteaz Pancake & Waffle Mix BOGO $2.79

(This is my favorite brand and I grab it when it is on sale.)

Aunt Jemima Syrup BOGO $3.89

So altogether I spent less than $25.00 to complete the meals from the pantry.

I also had to buy some staples that we buy every week like:

Milk x 4 $14.76

Bread x $4.00

Sliced Cheese $2.00

Margarine $1.00

Apples $3.49

Bananas $4.72

Creamer $3.00

Eggs $2.00

These came to about $35.00.

We had a few miscellaneous toiletries to buy for less than $20.00. I also found a BOGO meat sale and stocked up on some things that we will need later on in the month. I did spend around $50.00 0n the meat! Eeek… well I don’t feel too bad because I know that I am saving money in the long run and I won’t need to buy much more meat for the rest of the month.

You can see my totals below and the savings from the store card, sales, and coupons. Plus at Winn -Dixie you can also earn Fuelperks. Right now I am at $0.55/gallon which is about $11.00 off my next 20 gallons of fuel. I also did the survey at the bottom of the receipt to save $5.00 on the next trip.

If I had been tight on money or if I had decided not to spend any extra I could’ve left the store spending a little under $80.00. I could have also cut back on a few other things and stayed under $50.0. I do try my best to catch certain things, like peanut butter, on sale and grab them whenever I can.

By using what I have in the pantry and freezer I was able to save money and use it towards the sales I found for the meat. It also helps to prevent waste and helps me to set a good example for the kids about being frugal. This can be a very useful tool in any household.