How & Why to Order Coupons Online & My Weekly Menu

So I didn’t get around to posting last weeks shopping trips, mainly because I didn’t get to do my shopping before Monday and it was a crazy week. On Sunday, when I looked through the Shop-rite flier, I had found some great deals, but didn’t have the coupons I would have needed. Instead of running out to buy a newspaper, I placed my coupon order and planned to shop later in the week. I’ll talk more about that later….

 

To hold us over until I picked up the things I wanted from Shop-rite, I ran to Aldi. Aldi is awesome because they have low prices, even without a coupon, so I don’t feel guilty shopping there.

 

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I also found out that Aldi’s has this amazing sprouted grain bread for only $3.49!!! I’ve been buying Ezekiel bread, so this price tag makes me super happy and it tastes really good too!

 

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We made it through the week with our $130 budget but had to tap into this weeks budget a day early because we had to make food for a late Christmas celebration with my family. This leaves us with a little more than $100 for this week and I’ve made my menu plan to compensate for this. We’ve also been able to stock up on a few things in the past couple weeks so I can get by without having to buy as many groceries. Most of our shopping was done at BJ’s this week.  There are a few staples we like to buy from BJ’s and most of it lasts more than one week. Some of our usual purchases include chicken breast for $1.99/lb, Snyders pretzels for $4.99, the yellow corn tortilla chips are only $4.99 for a gynormous bag, and our favorite roasted red pepper hummus by Cedar is also only $4.99. Their organic salad mix is a great price at $4.99 and I am always amazed how much they can squeeze into that plastic container. It seems to last us a whole week with my husband and I each eating a salad almost every day.

 

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Here’s what we are eating for dinner this week:

Monday: Chili w/ cornbread & Salad
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken w/rice and Green beans
Wednesday: Dinner with our community group and I’ll be making These amazing crockpot mashed potatoes.
Thursday: Homemade Pizza with salad and cucumbers for the non salad eaters
Friday: Pasta with meatballs
Saturday: Quesadillas with rice, beans and corn
Sunday: French Toast for dinner on homemade cinnamon swirl bread

How and Why I order coupons
coupons
I’ve been ordering coupons for a couple years now from couponsthingsbydede.com and it honestly has saved me so much money and allowed me to get more of the food my family likes at a great price. Most people will grab a Sunday paper and cut out the coupons but unless you buy more than one paper you only get to buy 1 item per coupon (unless the coupon is on multiple items).
Here are the reasons I love ordering coupons:
1. If I need more than one coupon for an item, I don’t have to buy another Sunday paper for just that specific coupon. She also has coupons from previous weeks, so if something is on sale and the coupon came out in the paper 2 weeks ago, I can often find it on her site.
2. Her coupon values are better than mine. I live in New England so our Sunday coupons have a smaller value than the area she lives in. For example, if there was a Cheerios coupon, our coupon value would be $1/2 boxes. Her Cheerios coupon value would be $.75/1, and since almost all of our grocery stores double coupons, I would save $1.50 off each box. That’s a huge savings!
3. I don’t have to spend time looking through a coupon flier, she does all the clipping and then mails them to me.
4. This allows me to stockpile some items that we use often. For example, this week at Shop-rite, they were selling the Musselman’s 6 pack of applesauce for $1. Dede had a coupon for $.75/2 which doubled to $1.50 off 2 packs of aplesauce making each 6  pack only $.25!! I ordered enough coupons to buy 8 packs for a total of $2. My kids love applesauce and these are perfect for their lunch boxes. I happened to see that they will be on sale again this week for $1 and ordered 8 more coupons which will allow me to stock up even more. This great deal also made it possible for me to send in quite a few packs of applesauce to my son’s classroom for a special snack since I was able to get them so cheap.
(I should note that I am not an extreme couponer. I don’t usually buy so much of a single item that I clear the shelves and don’t have a huge stockpile going. I try to only buy enough to hold us over until I know the item will go on sale again. )
The only hard part about ordering coupons, is that you have to plan your meals with ingredients that aren’t in your coupon order for that week.  I order my coupons every Sunday and they get mailed out to me on Monday. They usually do not arrive until Thursday and then I head to the grocery store on Friday. I’ve learned to adjust my meal plans to factor this in, and use ingredients that I purchased the previous week using my coupons from the mail. It takes a little planning but once you get started and get into a routine, its really easy.
Dede’s also has a $3 minimum purchase, so you will end up getting a boatload of coupons. If I ever am a few cents short, I just search for products I normally buy and I often find a coupon that I will eventually need and throw that in my cart to hit the minimum.
I will try to post soon about my favorite blogs that do all the coupon match-ups for me.They help me know exactly what coupons to order and which ones are available to be printed. They save me so much time and make shopping a breeze.
Happy Shopping this week! Let me know if you order coupons – I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday 
and 
Results for our First Week with a New Grocery Budget
Our family consists of 5 people, 2 adults and 3 children ages 8, 5, and 2. (Although, I feel like the 8 and 2-year-old eat like adults most days) Last year, we tried to stick to $120 a week but it always seemed like we were running out of food half way through the week. I was always going to the store to buy more food and would end up totally blowing our grocery budget. It became so stressful trying to shop with that budget. Not to mention the times I was making food for a function at church, our small group dinners or making a meal for someone who was ill or just had a baby. All of those things never fit in our grocery budget.
This year, we decided to try for $150 a week to be more practical and to compensate for the growing appetites of our kids. At the moment, I technically only have $130 to actually spend because we have ordered some snacks on Amazon Prime so that cost has been divided among the four weeks this month, leaving me with only $130 per week. I went shopping today and actually did great finding some good deals and feel like this could actually work for our family.
We have also decided to use only cash for groceries, so I have to be careful to not go over. It’s so easy to allow myself to overspend when I just use a debit card so we thought this would be the best way to make sure I kept my grocery budget in check.
My first stop today was Aldi. I had to grab a couple frozen pizza because my husband had some friends coming over to watch football and I love how cheap, yet how big an Aldi frozen pizza is. I also love when I see money off stickers on their meat. I grabbed everything I needed for the week that I knew I wouldn’t get cheaper at another store.
aldi 1.3

 

 Next stop was Shop-rite to grab the rest of the groceries we needed for my meal plan. I found some great deals since it’s their preview to “Can-Can Week” Some of the great deals included:
6 packs of applesauce for .50 (great for the boy’s lunches)
GM Cereal for .32 a box
26 ounce canned tomatoes for .26 each
and fries for $1
(all of these prices were with coupons)

 

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My husband made one stop to Stop & Shop to grab another frozen pizza because we were afraid we wouldn’t have enough for our company so that total was $5.79
So my total spent on groceries this week is $96.35
Leaving me with $33.65 extra this week. This will be helpful if we run out of milk but hopefully we can just roll it over into the next week.
Here is what we plan on using these groceries to make:
Breakfast:
 Smoothies & Toast, Cereal & Milk, Eggs or Oatmeal
 Lunch:
The boys usually take sandwiches for lunch. I’ll add a granola bar, some pretzels, banana and the applesauce I just bought. The Juicy Juice works out perfectly because there is enough for them both for the whole week. Abigail will have nuggets and carrots or a PB & J.
Daniel usually just takes leftovers from dinner which makes my life very easy. 🙂
Dinner:
Monday: Spaghetti & Meatballs with sauteed green beans & bacon (I’ll use the canned tomatoes I bought today to make homemade pasta sauce)
Tuesday: Crock-pot Ranch Chicken dinner (includes potatoes and green beans )
Wednesday: Re-fried Beans and Cheese Enchilada’s with our Small Group (the re-fried beans will be  made in the crock-pot during the day)
Thursday: Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Friday: Homemade Pizza with Salad and Fries
Saturday: Black Bean quesadillas with corn and tortilla chips
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner (usually pancakes or french toast on homemade cinnamon swirl bread)
I’ll update my grocery envelope total next week so we can see if we made it without having to use the extra grocery money left over from this week.