wonderfully made: ways we save - groceries

Monday, February 23, 2015

ways we save - groceries

Hey y'all! I've been really open in the past with our money routine and the ways we budget and pay down debt. I used to be horrible at handling money, even just 2 years ago right when we were getting married. I pretty much had no savings and carried a balance on a high-interest credit card when we got married. My ultra-frugal husband, along with some sense that comes with growing up, has turned me into a money-conscious freak! I'm not an extreme couponer, but I've learned so much in just the last two years about managing our money better. I'm excited to keep learning and stacking my savings in the years to come, because I really believe it can get better!

For some odd reason, I really like writing about this topic and I really like sharing it with you guys. I feel like it's our little secret and we can all take over the world with our savings. I started a new post with a ton of different tips and ways that we save money, but I've decided to break it down into a few parts to make it easier for y'all to get through.

Check out my Target post here for tons of ways to save at Target!

Today I'm talking all about groceries. Groceries take up a pretty big chunk of our budget so the more we can save, the better! I've recently found a few new ways to save so be sure to read my tips below!

Here's a bonus tip before we get started: try to avert your eyes when walking into your grocery store February - March or else you'll end up doing this...

...and thus negating most of your couponing. #weakness #iblamethepregnancy

Speaking of pregnancy...the babe is as big as a plum right now! Picky eater confession : I didn't really know how big a plum was so I purposefully sought one out in curiosity. 

Ok, let's get started!

Kroger/Tom Thumb card

We have a Kroger Plus and Tom Thumb Club card and instead of carrying a card (it's always seemed like a pain to get one) we always just type in our phone number at the check out to get our points. This typically saves you a few bucks in store (especially combined with the app) and also takes a certain amount off at the gas pump if you have enough points. I believe Exxon/Mobil uses Tom Thumb points and Shell/Kroger stations honor Kroger points. You can sometimes get $0.20 off at the pump! (I believe these brands fall into the Safeway/Randalls category – for those of you not in Texas!) Back in January I got gas for $1.37 at a Kroger station because I had $0.30 off per gallon! Woot!

Sign up for a Tom Thumb card here!

Kroger App

I typically do all of my shopping at Kroger because it’s cheaper than Tom Thumb, even though we have a Tom Thumb right by our house (I run there to pick up things in small batches or specific items). I have the Kroger app on my phone and I always prep before I go to the store. I just scroll through all of the coupons and add them to my card (which is attached to my phone number, as mentioned above). This way, when I check out in store, the coupons are already attached to my card and I don’t have to clip anything else. Usually items are already on sale in store and the coupon combines with that discount to make the item even cheaper.

I just downloaded this app this month so I'm sure I'll have more to say after I've used it a few times. Basically it's like Ebates for groceries. Instead of getting a percentage back, you get a dollar amount back, usually in the range of $.25-$.50, depending on the item. There are some options like at Nordstrom, Birchbox or Sephora (yes, there are offers for non-groceries as well) where if you spend $50 you get $5 cash back, etc. 

So within the app, it lists off generic grocery items like milk, eggs, bread...the normal things that we buy at least once a month, if not more. There are specific items as well like Chobani yogurt or StoveTop dinners. Each item has an 'unlock' button that takes you to one 'activity', usually a survey question like "what time of day do you drink your milk?" or it will have you watch a short video or something like that. Once you complete the activity, you have unlocked the savings. From there, you go shopping as normal (you don't have to pull out the app in the store-it isn't a coupon for the store, it's a cash back program) and when you get home you scan the bar code of the items that apply and you take a picture of your receipt. After that it works just like Ebates and you accumulate your cash back. After you reach $5 (which happens quickly!) you have the option of transferring it to paypal or your bank. Granted, there are a few extra steps involved but it's really no different than cutting coupons and it's free cash! I also like that it's general items like milk or bread and you don't have to buy certain brands. If you want to try it out, go here and we can be on a team! 

Oh yeah, the teams! By using my link, we are on a team together and if we all use the app, we all benefit. There are individual goals and team goals so the more we have on a team, the better!

Sign up for Ibotta!

Grocery routine

We budget around $300 per month on groceries. I have no idea where this falls in comparison to others, but we could probably do with less and sometimes struggle to stay under $300. Along with my Kroger app, I always make a list of what I need. I semi-meal plan...meaning I look up a recipe (usually on Pinterest), take a picture of it and the ingredients and then add what I need to my list. Then I write what the dish is on the back of my list. I tend to forget these things so keeping track of it that way helps me out. I'm going to start listing out the recipes I've shopped for as well as other options on a slate board in my kitchen, hopefully to spark my memory and keep up with my cooking!

I try to only do one big grocery trip a month. I always take stock of dog food, dish soap, etc and of course ask Mark what he needs. This routine isn't really a money saving effort but I think the more I can fine-tune my routine, the more I can slowly branch out into major couponing and hopefully my efficiency will pay off.

Amazon Subscribe & Save

I took the plunge a few weeks ago and signed up for a few items on Amazon's subscribe and save program. I did toilet paper, paper towels and kitchen trash bags. Basically its a program that automatically ships you an item every 1-6 months (you pick) and offers a slight discount for doing so. Shipping is free! Beware though and do your research - not everything is cheaper than buying in the store. I think they have a long way to go with this program but I'm excited to see how we like it. 

*I noticed last night that Target has this option too and gives you 5% off for their subscription services. I'll do some research on this and get back to you, because you know how much I love Target!!!

So that's how we have been saving recently! Any crazy couponers out there? If you have any extra tips, please leave them in the comments or send me an email! Thanks!

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