I’m not cheap. I’m frugal.

Like most twenty-four year olds, my husband and I have money problems sometimes. Like now.

We aren’t broke by any means {we can afford our rent this month, at least}, but we are still stretched pretty thin at the moment. I’m lucky, though, because I was raised by a coupon connoisseur.

Though, I guess if you compare my mom to one of those crazy women on those coupon shows, she wouldn’t be nearly as impressive. But I like to think that my mom is more realistic than those women.

Even if she did save $112 at the grocery store the other day. And spend 86 cents.

I remember cutting coupons in college, my roommates thinking I’m crazy. But I’m sure glad I did. It’s kind of amazing how much money you can save by just looking though the ad and planning your shopping trip and week’s menu accordingly.

I haven’t necessarily been couponing as much as I should/could have for the past year. But seeing as things are a bit tight these days, I knew that the first thing I could cut back on was our groceries. And this is how I did this weekend.

I like to challenge myself, and so I turned it into kind of a game. I’ve decided that we can easily spend $40 a week on groceries, as long as we eat the majority of our meals at home. And while it’s not so difficult to use coupons, it can be somewhat hard to eat healthy on such a budget. So, I’ve made some rules.

  • We will eat at home for 6 dinners per week.
  • We will eat at home for 6 breakfasts per week.
  • We will eat at home {or bring food to work} for 5 lunches per week.
  • One dinner per week must be fish.
  • One dinner per week must be vegetarian.

Sundays are my shopping days. And how did I do today?

photo 2

This was a trip to Vons, where we spent $20 on what was originally a $51 bill. Here are a few things that we got:

  • Tortilla chips {$1.99}
  • Sliced cheese {$1.49}
  • Hamburger buns {$.88}
  • Hot dogs {$.99}
  • Sunny Delight {don’t judge, it was 50 cents}
  • Corn on the cob {4/$.88}

We also got charcoal {$5.99}, which I don’t count as groceries, so technically we spent $14 of our $40 budget for the week at Vons. Some of this is going toward our BBQ for tomorrow, in which we are feeding a few friends, so I don’t think we did so bad!

photo 3

This morning we also went to Ralphs, where I transferred a prescription from Target and got a $25 gift certificate. We spent $9.83 on what was originally a $49 bill, and we didn’t even have any coupons! Here are a few things that we got:

  • Broccoli {$.99}
  • Cauliflower {$.99}
  • Salmon {$6.11}
  • Hamburgers {$7.99}
  • Organic milk {$3.29 – I only buy organic milk}
  • Salad {$3.00}

We also got two packs of gum, which I also don’t count as groceries, so technically our total was $7.83. That means that between the two places, we spent $22 of our $40 budget for the week.

Not too shabby.

On Wednesday, I’ll go to Sprouts to buy some produce. If you have a Sprouts or Henry’s near you, here is a little secret: go on Wednesdays, because they have products on sale from both the previous week’s ad and the current week’s ad. That means double stuff on sale.

And, if you aren’t beyond bored yet by this post, I have actually planned our meals for the week too.

photo 1

If you’re thinking that it’s kind of strange that I put “bagels” and “sandwiches” on a few of the meals, you would be right. I don’t necessarily think I need to plan out meals as simple as these, if I didn’t have bread rising right now so that we can have homemade bagels for breakfast tomorrow and fresh bread for sandwiches.

It’s been a very food-centric weekend. I’ve made quite a few yummy things the past few days, but I’m going to wait for the weekend to be over to post about it. Keep an eye out.

I’ve also spent quite a while this weekend creating a couple notebooks, which I can’t wait to show you. The page above is from my new household planner, which I’m kind of ecstatic about. I also made a recipe notebook, to hold my recipes. I’m thinking about perfecting them, and offering them up for sale. What you think? Good idea?

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I know that this isn’t the most exhilarating post of my blogging career, but I also know that there are plenty of young people out there who have no idea how couponing works. So, that’s how I do it.

I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend, and I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday. Eat yummy food.



Jacque said...

I think this was a great post! I'm watching extreme couponing right now (for the first time ever) and just registered on some coupon sites. With the way prices are these days it's important to be thrifty!

westcoastsoul said...

Go you! That's really impressive :D

Melissa {TheScarletCardinal} said...

Great post Joelle! Any tips on where to find good grocery coupons?

Rebekah said...

I love this! I feel like my husband and I are in the same boat. We're not poor, but we don't have the kind of cushion we would like yet. I'm all for using coupons, but I have a hard time finding coupons that I would actually use besides on household items. We eat at home pretty much every night of the week and day for that matter. Meal planning helps keep our grocery bill down so much!

Amanda said...

Wow, I am super jealous of that meal-planner page! It's so cute and organized! *Sigh*, I wish I was organized. I will definitely have to try coupons! P.S. That's CRAZY about your Mom! 86 cents... wow!

Erin said...

This is awesome, thanks for the tips! :)


KellyMichelle said...

I love organization posts, especially about meal planning and grocery shopping because I need all the help I can get. If you wanted to upload the file for your planning page, I wouldn't object. . . it is adorable.

Jenna said...

Wow - this is amazing - I def need to take some direction from you! You guys spent less of groceries this week than we do and we live in Africa where produce and meat is a lot cheaper (in many instances). To my credit there isn't anything like Vons Club here, which is annoying, or grocery coupons, but I should be much more careful about what I buy... with Jurg still studying and me studying and working full time, it is also a squeeze for us to make it to the end of the month!


You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

i think this is a great post. i'm 31 and still struggling to make ends meet, so it's always nice to share ideas on how to save money.

my boyfriend and i started watching our spending at the grocery store too. i'm not quiiiiite at the coupon stage yet (i know, i'm missing out) but we do mostly go for the store "club" sale items now. and if it's not something that we're brand particular about, we just buy the cheapeast one they have. even doing those two little things really makes a difference. it ends up being like a vegas game when we're at the check out counter, waiting for our savings amount. :)

Hannah said...

Woot woot! Nice work Joelle!!!! =)

Courtney said...

this is seriously so inspiring. i'm moving soon and i know money will be tight. extreme couponing has definitely brought light to saving money through coupons. i know this will be a must for me when we move. you go girl! thanks for sharing.

Holly said...

I'm extremely impressed with your organization for weekly meals! My mom cuts coupons all the time and I have started to as well, it saves you SO much money! Keep up the great work and good luck on the challenges!

Kaitlin Godfrey said...

Great post! I love your menu planner sheet...thats great. I still haven't done my first coupon shopping trip, but I have been clipping them. I need to sit down and plan!!

Amanda said...

You are so organized and inspiring!

KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

I love your meal planner--you have such nice handwriting! I hope you share more of your notebooks with us!!

We try to spend between 40-60 dollars a week at the grocery store and eat almost all of our meals (at least Monday-Thursday) at home too--J eats at school, so whatever I make him must be portable :)

caley-jade rosenberg said...

Such a clever idea! WELL DONE on all the savings:)