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  1. I tend to shop the ads so that means in our town I go to 2 grocery stores (all we have) and Walmart for everything else. For meat, I have to shop the ads, regular Walmart prices are just too high compared to sales. When I go to the “big town” I will try to stop at Aldis– I would love to have one in town to do most of my shopping at, but with gas prices we just don’t think the cost savings justifies the time and gas commitment to go there every week.

  2. I shop two stores – Walmart and Aldi – for the same reasons you mentioned. We get the bulk of our groceries at Aldi, and get whatever Aldi doesn’t carry at Walmart.

    We shop twice a month, and my husband picks up milk and perishables in between as needed.

    • I have really tried to not shop WalMart at all if I can. ALDI has started carrying a lot of things they didn’t used to, so I’m trying to make my lists around just what they carry. (WalMart is a huge time-suck for me), but on those weeks when I have to go there, I will often have my husband go do the WalMart shopping.

      • That’s a great idea! I’d love to avoid Walmart completely, but until Aldi starts carrying wheat flour and nursing pads….. :O) It is a huge time suck for me too though,

        It is so nice that Aldi is carrying more variety now though. It has really helped us to cut down on how much we need to get at Walmart!

        • WalMart here just started carrying the wheat berries I typically buy, but I only have to do that every so often. What about Amazon???

  3. We shop mostly at Walmart . HyVee is across the street and they have a few staples that are cheaper so we get a few items there. We do not shop the weekly sales or use coupons. We save money by sticking to the same weekly menu. Example: Every Monday breakfast is oatmeal, lunch is grilled cheese, dinner is spaghetti. Every Tuesday breakfast fried eggs, lunch tuna sandwiches, dinner chicken and potatoes, ect…It sounds boring but it saves us a lot of money and time. I do not have to spend lots of time making a new menu and meal plan every week. We shop monthly .We have 15 children but lack fridge space we go to the store every few days to pick up milk,lettus,apples etc…. We also have 4 bread machines that we run every night that supply us with bread for the next day. It is much cheaper than store bought bread.

    Cute pictures!!


    • I wish I could just stick to one or two stores lol.. I check all the ads and will go to whichever store has the best deals.. I shop at least twice a week and we have 5 grocery stores around here. I tend to go to Albertsons when they have doubler coupons (i’m big on coupons), Fred Meyer, and Walmart the most. In addition to couponing I have recently started to make our own bread, household cleaners, and laundry soap to help cut costs. This weekend I am getting my first bountiful basket.. I’m so excited! I hope this will supply us with all the fresh fruits and veggies we need every week (for $15!) I also have been thinking lately about shopping more at Costco.. buying in bigger quantities to help eliminate some of the trips to the store would be nice! With two kids and a home daycare.. it seems we are always needing something! Especially Milk 😛

  4. I usually shop once a week at one store only. The store may vary depending what I need to buy. I usually plan my menu ahead of time, but look for sales in store and may substitute if I find a sale on something else. I seldom look at the ads ahead of time, I feel like I spend more when I do that. Even with shopping my pantry first the grocery bill seems to keep creeping up and I plan at least one meatless meal each week, 2 if you count eggs. If I see a good sale I may stock up on something we eat a lot of. I also usually visit my local health food store once every 2-3 months and shop on Amazon if I find a good price on something bulk.

  5. We shop every two weeks (hubby is paid every 2 weeks). I buy nearly 90% at Walmart. I really wish I could incorporate Aldi’s in our trip..sometimes one more stop is just too much. We live out of town, and dh and I go w/ all 7 children. I would LOVE to shop somewhere besides Walmart, but my budget just can’t handle it yet. The last time I went to Aldi I was amazed at some of the prices..or so I thought. I stocked up on a few things..then made my trip over to Walmart, only to find that some of those items were cheaper at Walmart! Ooops. There lies my problem LOL. I need to check the ads before going there, I guess.
    I do shop our local grocery store for just the sales. I like to give them my business when I can, and they do have great sales. I buy my beef there, and usually produce. We buy our milk, eggs and bananas at Kwik Trip. Can’t beat those prices anywhere!

    • Hmmm…I don’t think I’ve ever found anything cheaper at WalMart as compared to Aldi! Oh wait, toothpaste perhaps. I’ll have to keep my eye on that because I can definitely tell a difference between my Aldi shop and my Walmart shop.

      • I remember the sugar was cheaper at Walmart, even though the sign at Aldi’s said ‘lowest price in area’ or something like that. BUT…Aldi’s canned goods were way cheaper than it kind of evened out.

        I don’t know..I squished my grocery budget down as much as I can, I think. We’re at 700 or so/month for the 9+ of us..for food and non-food. (diapers/Goodnights and dog food alone is over 100/month)

        • The sugar bags are still the 5 pounders at Aldi. They are 4 pounds at Wal-Mart. I rarely find things cheaper at Wal-Mart than Aldi. Milk is always cheaper at Sam’s Club but not enough to justify an extra trip just for the milk.

          But I really think Aldi saves me money because I’m not nearly as tempted. They have a limited selection of non-food items. But Wal-Mart is an oasis of temptation. Items just seem to jump into my cart. I started shopping at a non-super grocery store for items that aren’t at Aldi. (Meijer didn’t work in this case.) I find that even though they are marked higher than WM, I’m still spending less because impulse spending doesn’t happen when I know the items costs more. And again, the temptation to buy a movie or new towels just because they are pretty is eliminated. It’s all psychological.

          • That is precisely what I am finding too. The non-food items at Aldi are not a temptation to me, so I spend much less and rarely find “extras” I just “have to have.” 😉

        • Yeah, I have a hard time separating out non-food items to see where I am really at. Crazy how much just a few of those things can cost!

  6. I am an Aldi devotee! But, I have to admit I don’t shop Aldi exclusively (some of that is those items that aren’t available at Aldi, some of it is scheduling, and a big portion of that is I have a child on a special diet so I have to get certain things where I can get them.) Grocery shopping is really my worse possible chore! I wish that food in the cupboard would just reproduce itself!

  7. We do one store shopping every two weeks for our family of five. A couple years ago we cut our grocery budget in half . We cut back by cutting out most pre-packaged items and shopping smarter. We don’t have an Aldi so we get everything at Wal-Mart. We get our local newspaper and I look at the Wednesday inserts. In our paper, there are 4-5 grocery stores that advertise each week. I save those and when I do my meal planning on Friday, I pull those out. Wal-Mart will price match any competitor ad so I look for the best prices in the other ads and circle them with a black sharpie so I can find them easy when I get to the checkout. I usually price match things like eggs, milk, cheese, produce and meat. A local grocery store always has the huge box of Luvs diapers for $12.97 which is cheaper than the Wal-Mart brand so I usually match those too. It takes a little time at the register but I save quite a bit of money!

      • Yes, Wal-Mart with match store brand to store brand or substitute their brand. And I never had a problem matching meat prices per pound as long as it was the same meat like “boneless pork chops”. The only thing Wal-Mart does not match is the “Buy one get one free” unless a price is listed in the ad and it is usually not. I don’t have time to run around and get the best deals so I price match everything I can.

  8. I typically shop 4, sometimes 3. I go every 2 weeks. I check the sales at certain stores but I also know what items are simply cheapest at different stores. I typically hit Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and sometimes Costco, Raisin Rack (local health food store). Once a quarter I go to Amish stores and buy spices, whole grains, etc. in bulk. I have a list that I use, but if I see a great deal I buy that. Like when I found hormone-free butter for $1.50/lb. I bought 25! I also shop local farms. But I’m picky about meat and organic foods and stuff. I often adjust my meal plan after shopping if there were sales. Like, at Trader Joe’s, sometimes I can get fish in “odd pieces” for about $4/lb. instead of twice that, so I will often buy fish in this case. I’m also working harder to use everything. If we have steak for dinner, I don’t throw the bones out. I make a small pot of stock. Who cares if I only get one quart…that’s one (free) quart we didn’t have before! Still working at it, though, because our grocery budget has gone up a lot in the last year. Granted our kids are getting bigger and we have a third eater, but…well…I’m working on it. :)

    • We pretty much only eat the buffalo meat that is our freezer, so that has not been an issue for us. We have a dairy down the road I would like to stop in at and see what they have. And, that’s quite a price on butter! Wow!

  9. I do the same thing. I try to do the majority of my shopping at Aldi and the rest at Wal-mart. Right now our Aldi is being remodeled….ughhhh. I had to do my shopping at Wal-mart and did not do nearly as well. Plus we have been raising a lot more of our own food and I can a lot! We try and buy our meat a quarter at a time, we are begining to raise chickens for eggs. Still it seems we spend so much money on food. It is a struggle to figure it all out. Thanks for your tips!

  10. I appreciate your blog. I’ve never thought about shopping my pantry other than to see if there’s anything that I want that I don’t have. I’m sure we have several meals waiting to be prepared. This excites me because I’ve been trying to be a better home manager. I want to save us as much money as possible so I can continue to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool my children. Thank you!!

  11. I have found recently that our Walmart is quite a bit more expensive than HEB (large grocery chain, exclusive to Texas, and some parts of Mexico). And I have also found that as long as I stick to the loss leaders/weekly ads, I can find a lot of good deals at Super S. So I can’t really shop one store if I want the best deals on meals, but I can limit it to only the things I know are lower at each individual store. I love the idea of shopping my pantry/freezer first. I need a good list of pantry staples so that I can begin stocking up.

  12. Amy, I shop three stores — partially because of Samuel’s Celiac Disease and the need to find gluten free foods. I shop Costco {you must know prices in order to “get” the deals otherwise it’s way too easy to spend too much}, Trader Joes {great gluten free items for a reasonable price}, and then either Target/local grocery store.
    The list is critical. When I don’t have a list or a meal plan then I spend too much. And, lol, I love shopping the pantry — the other night I might beans and rice with garlic/onions in it and my family LOVED it. That meal? Shopping the pantry meal. And now they’re begging for it again.
    Great post, my friend!

  13. With Wal-Mart’s price-matching policy, I can really save a lot of money! They will match any advertised price within a 50 mile radias. At the cash register, I just have to tell them what the advertised price was & they change their price to match! I don’t even need to have the ad with me! I just take a list of which ad-match items I’m getting, including the lowest advertised price & which store advertised it.

  14. My husband is a Pepsi sales rep so he goes to four or five different grocery stores every day for work. He knows where to get the best deals and which items are cheapest at which stores (and what sale items are actually good prices for what you get!) I try to have my meal plan for the week done by Sunday so I can give him the list on Monday morning for what I’ll need and he picks up items as he can throughout his day. Usually, he does the bulk of the shopping at his last store of the day, which varies each day as to which store that is….sometimes Walmart, sometimes other local stores. I note on the list which days I will be using which items so if he’s at one store but knows he can get a better deal at another, he can see if he has to pick it up anyway or if he can wait another day till his there. For us, just going on a planned menu each week has made a considerable difference in saving on the grocery budget. With five kids, every bit helps! =)

      • It sure is! Right now, having five kids and the youngest two being twins I can’t imagine having to take all the kids myself and trying to wrangle them and a cart….LOL My husband really has a knack for numbers and math in general (that’s why he’s a financial coach, along with his pepsi job) so it works out well…..usually, when I’ve done the shopping, I always end up getting something that he’ll ask “oh was that on sale?” and I’ll be like, ummmm I don’t know…..usually he can tell me that if I would have gone to store X I could have gotten a better deal, or if I would have waited till next week it would have been marked down….LOL

  15. I do shop one store only and I don’t normally shop the ads. But I DO shop my pantry/freezer which saves me TONS of money! I love this website where you can put in all the items in your pantry/freezer/fridge and it pulls up recipes you can make with those items. Amazing and incredibly helpful!

  16. As soon as the story flyer comes in the mail I go through it and circle the items that interest me. I incorporate those into the list of things we already need and go from there. I only shop once a week at one grocery store.

    I skimmed through the book, Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family, and it was a bit overwhelming to imagine myself shopping once a month, going around to two or three stores, clipping coupons and planning meals ahead of time. Oh – and cooking a month’s worth of meals in a day!

    I haven’t implemented all their tricks, but I have done a bit more couponing and found some websites that match coupons with sales (I check Coupon Mom and Coupon Divas). Then I check the Stockpiling Moms coupon database (, plugging in brands that are on my list or on sale to see if there are any coupons. And if something is on sale I pick up more than one to add to the pantry.

    There are some items that I’ll buy because we need them, but I generally stick to store brand/generic because it’s almost always cheaper. There are some things I won’t compromise on – for instance, I buy King Arthur’s white wheat flour instead of store-brand regular or wheat. When it comes to meat, I usually buy the organic stuff and even then only when it’s on sale. I look for the price-off stickers when the meat is near its sell-buy date and often score good deals; if I find a bunch I grab ’em and put ’em in the freezer.

    • I use Money Saving Mom’s email alerts by store so I can see the match ups. But rarely do I use them. Our city is laid out really oddly and it literally means a drive from one end of the city to the other if I were to try to take advantage of all the sales. Aldi is one of the closest stores to my house, and thankfully, one of the cheapest! :)

  17. PS – I occasionaly order online at Amazon, Vitacost or iHerb for things like coconut oil and rapadura sugar since my stores don’t carry those. And there are some other things that are cheaper, like unsweetened coconut.

  18. Good post. I’m in Canada, so we don’t have Aldi, but we have Superstore (Loblaws) which is sooo much cheaper than anywhere else. in addition to having a full grocery store (including a huge selection of ethnic and specialty foods), they also have the advantage of carrying a large assortment of non-grocery items (my Superstore has clothes [Joe Fresh brand, very good price], shoes, electronics, pharmacy [and a doctor’s office and eye glass dispenser!], a bank [awesome!], housewares, and pretty much a bit of everything under the sun, generally at about the same price as WalMart. We don’t have a SuperWalMart, just a regular one, so I generally do all my shopping at Superstore).

    One thing I find with Superstore is while they price match the competition in the area, sometimes there’s a lag in them “catching up” on prices once the flyers are out. Flyers in our ares run Friday-Thursday, so if you go shopping Friday thru Sunday, they usually haven’t matched the price yet. But if you go Monday, you almost always get the matched price. I make a point of checking competitor flyers so I know what the price matches should be.

    The other pluses of shopping Monday (especially in the morning): 1. store is virtually empty. 2. Lots of discounted products from the weekend, especially meat and bakery. 3. Delivery is Monday morning, so produce is almost always fresh “off the truck”.

  19. I do once a week shopping, but go to two stores. I go to Sunflower Market for all of my produce, since their produce is so much cheaper than Wal-Mart and I find the quality of produce to be better. I do Wal-Mart for everything else, and try to plan according to the ads. I could definitely do a better job of shopping my pantry. We also do Sam’s Club about once a month or once every six weeks.

    In my perfect world, we would have our own chickens for our own eggs, be able to buy farm fresh chicken and beef, have a bigger garden for our produce…and I could go to Trader Joe’s for everything else! 😉 But I’m thankful for what we have, and we make it work!

  20. I should add too that we don’t really buy an meat at the grocery store: We eat about 90% meat purchased in bulk in the fall directly from the farm (we have a CSA with a local farm). Most meat from the grocery store is stuff like wild-caught, IQF fish (fresh fish is not readily available where I live). I find that helps immensely as our meat budget is set for the year by August/September, so whatever is in my freezer needs to last. Also being Catholic, we practice abstinence from meat on Fridays throughout the year, which meats we need 2 meatless dishes a week (on Friday, plus one others so we have leftovers for lunch). That helps too.

  21. I shop at locally grown (eggs, meat and sometimes produce), earth fare (for milk and some bulk foods), ingles (cat litter), Kroger (in town store), Aldi, bountiful baskets and a local Amish store for bulk. That’s what we have to do now.

  22. I shop like that most the time, Amy. It does help considerably. Sure wish I had an Aldi’s closer though. I have a staples list for Aldi’s that I send with my husband whenever he has hospital calls to make in the big city. Then I shop the grocery ads for our store here in town. I do also have a Sam’s list for things like the large cans of green beans, yeast, and shredded cheese and other things I buy in large quantities which my husband also is kind enough to pick up for me when he’s out of town. (But you have to really watch Sam’s. It’s not always cheaper because it’s in bulk.)

    • My husband has a Sam’s card through work, but we never use it…had a hard time (like you said) finding anything that was really cheaper. Sometimes I do think it would be nice to not to have open 9 million cans of tomato sauce though. 😉

      • The tomato sauce comes out about the same in price as Aldi’s. The same is true for the green beans last time I checked. Opening all those cans is the very reason I buy it at Sam’s. My hand get pretty tired of working my hand held can opener. And I like to have the large cans to use around all our tomato plants in the garden. :0) (When I don’t need the whole can of tomato sauce, I just freeze part of it for later.)

  23. The best way we save money is when my husband does our shopping. He only buys what is on the list and isn’t tempted by ANY shiny objects ( like me). Since we have a large family of ten, we get most everything at Sam’s Club, and then the rest at, you guessed it…Walmart.

    • As I mentioned in another comment, I have a hard time finding anything at Sam’s that is a better price. As far as I can tell, I’m paying for the convenience of not needing to open 60 cans of tomato sauce. Would love to hear what you have found to be a really good deal at Sam’s. :)

      • We don’t have a lot of choices here. I’ve never heard of Aldi’s. We basically have Sam’s, Walmart, and some chain grocery stores. I have noticed that Sam’s has made some of their “bulk” items more user friendly. I guess you may have to pay more for that, but like I said, I have nothing to really compare it to. When something is sold in bulk form, and it’s possible, we divide it into appropriate sizes and store it that way…e.g. we buy a big “log” of ground beef, and divide it into 2# portions and freeze it that way. Some things are better priced at Walmart though, since Sam’s has limited generic items (they’ve gotten a lot more than they used to have, though). I’ve never really gotten on the coupon clipping, sale shopping bandwagon simply because it seems like a full-time job. Honestly, our best way to save money is to have Daddy shop!:)

        • I’m not a big couponer either. Just can’t seem to find the time and I don’t think it is the best way for us to save money at this time.

  24. I do not shop weekly. It saves my family money to shop at a restaurant supply store so the bulk we get there allows me to shop 1 -2 times a month. I also shop one ‘regular’ store, Fred Meyer, for the smaller items. I watch their sales and ads and rarely have anything I can shop from in my pantry. I spend $500 a month on groceries and toiletries for our family of 8. I am still trying to pare it down as prices have gone up significantly and affected how much I can actually purchase. I am still looking for affordable Peanut Butter as that is a staple in our house.

  25. I go to three stores, each once a month. I operate off a “well stocked pantry” that holds the ingredients of all the meals I make, rather than making a menu. I have a permanent list for each that contains what I buy there because it is the best value. If we don’t need it that month, I simply cross it off after I print it. I shop Aldi, Sam’s (I do have to be careful there), and our local Hyvee, looking at the ad and stocking up on good deals.

  26. I certainly miss Aldi’s…used to have one when we lived in Kansas City, but there aren’t any nearby Iowa/SD/Minn. where we live. I have found that one store shopping is really the best way and since we do twice a month shopping I’m thankful for our Sam’s Club~I tried the couponing and the multiple stops and hours of planning/organizing/clipping coupons, but found I can get the same items or a reasonable facsimile for less at Sam’s. Thanks for the tips. One can save money if we just look…sometimes no farther than the pantry!
    Keep up the God work.

    • Sams’ is helpful for me because of click and pull. I can see what my bill is before I check out, and can change, delete or add a treat! Plus, no impulse shopping that way. Yes, I still have to get those things that aren’t on click and pull, but I go have them pull my carts before I start so I am more focused. And I would recommend checking your fresh fruits and veggies (the bottom of the bag/container) before you check out. Sometimes those choosing it for you aren’t as careful as you would be

  27. What I have found most helpful is to shop the sales for meats and veggies, and see what we can make from those.
    I also “treat” us to a “meat” meal–roast, or chicken (not casserole), pork or turkey (one more turkey in my freezer from Thanksgiving sales!). Then it morphs…beef and noodles then becomes beef stew. Chicken then becomes a chicken cass or chicken burritos…and ultimately add rice and veggies for stirfry or soup. pork becomes bbq pork and beans…and then, yes, soup! You get the idea. I try to make the soup special by buying (or making) nice rolls. It’s even better if you can do bread bowls. I try to serve a dessert w/ soups, too.
    mom to 10

    • You’ve taken the “rubber chicken” idea to the max! Great job! If you ever want to guest post on how you do this, would love to have you! :)

  28. Hi Amy,

    I loved your post today! I love how you broke it down and wrote out all the steps. It is very similar to what we do, but we do our best to shop once a month. I love that reminder to check the pantry first :) I often forget that step.


    • I used to forget that too. I just planned a menu and shopped, then realized later I had several meals already in there! How’s that cheese, Honey? 😉

  29. I totally agree- stick to the list ! This is the crucial part. The only way I let myself deviate from this in anyway, if if I come across something on sale that is on what I call my “long list”.It’s kind of a seasonal thing, but I keep an ongoing list of things that we are going to need to have ( or want to have) upcoming and that I can be looking out for the best of deals on. This might be something like a winter coat, a new pair of pants/shoes/etc. that someone in the house is in need of, something for the kitchen, or birthday presents. These are the kind of things that we have already deemed worth getting, but want to make sure we get as good a deal as possible on. And of course, if our budget that month can’t handle the purchase, no matter how good the deal (or it can be re-arranged to accomodate an unusually good deal)- it’s a no go.
    Now when I got to a grocery only store, this is not an issue, but we do shop Costco about once a month, and it can be a good place to happen upon things on the “long list”.
    Our biggest expenditure is fruits and veggies, but hopefully my garden will do better this year and I can do something simple about that ;D

  30. Just did my grocery shopping this week (I go every two weeks except for milk). Just under $90 for basically two weeks of groceries (two adults, three children). We also have a small garden (mostly salad greens right now) and I get a CSA share (worth $20) every week at our neighborhood farmer’s market.

    I too look at the sales on line and shop the sales (except that often the sales aren’t on things I buy).

    This week’s purchases included $10 worth of canned tomato products on 10/$10 and $10 worth of applesauce also on $10/10. I tend to buy things when they’re on that kind of sale and then plan around them. I also don’t buy meat at the grocery as we get that from my sister who farms and I just work off of that throughout the year- when we run out we’re out until the next year…


    • Kyndra,
      I agree most sales are not things I buy. However, last week, we stocked up on cream cheese w/ a 10/$10 sale! :)

  31. Like you, I usually shop at Aldi. Only going to Walmart for items Aldi doesn’t carry. As a Pastoral family of 6 on a budget of $40-60 a week for food and personal care items, Aldi is our best friend. I was thrilled when they started carrying Soy milk for my younger children! I’ve found with Walmart that if you do your “homework,” and look through the ads, Walmart will price match any competetor’s advertised price on the same item. That has saved me a good deal of money too.

    I plan our menu a month at a time, keeping our menu taped to the wall next to the stove, and the grocery list (broken down by week) on the refridgerator. When I shop, I take the whole month worth of shopping lists with me so that I can pick up sale items that maybe on a future list. I’ve found this works well for me and allows me a few extras from time to time. (It’s amazing how much of a moral booster a box of Poptarts can be for my kids!)

  32. I’m working toward a once a month trip, but I’m still figuring out the amount needed for a month. I’m also working towards the average amount I need of all my basics for a month ( or how long it takes me to use a big bottle of something). This will I think will help while doing a one time month trip. I’m doing this to build up “extra money” within the budget so I can have extra for other foods that need investment…like a grass fed cow. :)

  33. We are really changing our eating habits, which includes much more whole foods and less processed. So, where and how we were shopping has greatly changed too! We now shop mainly Costco and Aldi once a week. There are basics at Costco we get that are good deals, like milk, eggs, bananas, organic spinach & carrots. Then I shop Aldi each week for the produce that is on sale. We stop by Target on occasion to stock up on organic apples and grab whatever is a good sale and of course, check out their clearance! :) As for our meats, our chicken comes from a meat market that we get groupon deals for and beef I stocked up at Winn Dixie when a grass-fed kind was on sale. I still do try to check out other grocery stores for their deals, but now that I am not couponing very much, I don’t go to those stores as often. I have found that shopping at different stores does help to keep costs low, but it’s also very time consuming and you have to be organized with your lists, coupons, and shopping! And that’s not very possible at times! :)

  34. Once a month we do a big grocery trip which includes all non-food items (toilet paper, shampoo, etc) and we go to Costco (we take about 1 hour to shop there) and get all bulk items we need (canned foods, frozen foods, meats, and some fresh foods such as eggs, cheese, etc. depending on whats available there at that time) and then to Fred Meyer (we take about 1 more hour there) to buy anything we couldn’t get from Costco; usually fresh fruits, veggies, (we don’t buy those in bulk, because they go bad before we can eat them up), bread (preferred brand is not at Costco), tortillas, etc. I use coupons for Costco every month from the coupon book they send. Only use coupons at Fred Meyer if I can find coupons for the things I usually buy. Then every week, we take about 15-30 minutes at Fred Meyer to pick up fresh fruit, veggies, eggs if needed, bread, yogurt, etc. We only live about 5 minutes from Fred Meyer (moved to town 1 year ago), so we do sometimes make random trips there if something comes up. We live about 20 minutes from Costco.
    I enjoyed this post! God bless!

    • Also, we try to buy grass fed beef and organic fed pork from a friend once a year in bulk, but buy chicken and any seafood (salmon) from the store.

  35. We shop 1x monthly and then 1 trip 1/2 through for perishables and lunch stuff my husband needs to pack a lunch (if we run out of anything). I shop all at Aldi and honestly I don’t think we could make it if I didn’t!!! I usually do have to make a Wal-Mart stop to get the last few straggler item’s I couldn’t get at Aldi. I often just need a hand-held basket for these items and then I am forced no to buy more since I can’t tote the kids and that basket for too long. I love posts about grocery shopping. I don’t know why but for as much as I hate grocery shopping (this is why it’s a 1x a month deal) somehow it floats my boat to hear what you all do and what works for bigger families!

  36. Did you know that Wal-Mart price matches sale prices from other grocery stores?
    You might could even save more! :). Good luck! And thanks fr this article! My husband and I just started trying to save on our Groceries too!

  37. I almost always just shop at Fry’s (Kroger) because in my small town it’s the best option (we have Walmart but I can’t stand the place!) Also, Fry’s gives 1 gas point for every dollar you spend. 100 points is 10 cents off per gallon, up to 1000 points and $1.00 off per gallon. And as some others have already said, we end up with more than we need when we shop at Walmart :( I try to do once a month shopping with weekly stop-ins for fresh stuff. Meals plans save me!!

  38. I am trying to do Aldi’s 1x a month for staples, our closest Aldi’s is a 30 minute drive. I would love to have a local one because their milk and bread prices are great, I just can’t get a month’s worth of milk at a time. I have to do Walmart in the mean time and I stick strictly to my list and avoid everything else as MUCH as possible! I really despise shopping at Walmart for many reasons but I just have no where else to shop, we are pretty rural and I guess we should just be thankful to have a Walmart 😉 We have a Kroger and I do them sometimes for toothpastes or some cereals but they have to be a good deal and I do coupon at Kroger since they double the value on the coupon. I like Kroger’s milk too and it is the least expensive in town. I also do CVS about 1x a month for shampoos and the like, I get them with coupons and I use their Extra Care Bucks program and most of the time I can get plenty of personal care items for under $10. We buy our meat from a local farm, a side at a time (we split a whole cow with either family or friends) and a good friend gives us as many fresh eggs as we want to eat. I have 2 pretty large gardens and I can and freeze from it all summer, in addition to any veggies that I can barter or is just given to me. We’ve enjoyed fresh canned tomatoes all winter and only recently run out. I still have quite a bit of my other veggies and some fruit. I hate grocery shop but I try to be a good steward over the money and our budget and I pray the day before that I would be smart with it. Right now, I shop on Thursday because that is the day my husband gets paid and my little one takes a swim class in town on Thursdays but I am going to try to change it up in a few weeks when swim is over and go on Mondays.

    • Sounds like a really great plan! We are currently getting all the eggs we can eat from a family whose son stays with us once a week. It’s his room and board. 😉

  39. I shop once a week, and once a month i’ll run to costco. I only shop at a local grocery store. I’ve had one too many issues w/walmart, so i don’t even go there at all. and compared to our local grocery store it’s not that much cheaper. and to boot, it’s a good 15 miles from our house. not worth the gas to get there. Our grocery store doubles coupons and sometimes triples them. so really it’s a win win.

    as for menu planning. i make it for what we have on hand. and if we want something else that week i’ll go and get it. the freezer is pretty well stocked. I stock up on chicken and beef (we don’t eat deer or anything like that) when it’s on sale. for instance Monday I’m going to another local store where they have all parts of a chicken (except wings and boneless skinless breasts) for .99/lb. the boneless skinless breasts are 1.99/lb. i’ll usually get 50 lbs or more and put them in our deep freezer.

    • Savalot is very similar, but I like Aldi better for quality of food. However, for years all we had was a Savalot in the area we lived in, so that’s what I used. :)

      • I love Aldi so much better than SaveALot! It’s cleaner, the quality of food is so much better and it just seems more professionally run. We have 3 kind of local SaveALots and all of them are a little on the dirty side and I dislike more of the food than like it. I have tried many,many things at Aldi’s and the only thing I have not cared for is the tuna. I like name brand tuna and I also like Walmart brand tuna so I guess Aldi’s just has a bad taste or something.

  40. Wow!! I learned a TON by reading this post and the comments! I used to shop at 3 grocery stores weekly and coupon extensively. Now, as our family has grown we decided that this was not the season for me to do marathon shopping on a weekly basis! Instead, we are focusing on buying in bulk and storing it. Truthfully, we are saving money PLUS getting healthier food this way :) I do shop at Sam’s for some items like toilet paper, real maple syrup ($13 for 32 ounces!!!), cheese ($5 for #2), beef (while we are in between cows), butter (less than $2 a pound) and bread. Not everything is a good deal but we save substantially on enough items to make it worth it. PLUS, my kiddos think it is a fabulous place to take a field trip. We usually go on Saturday morning and hit all the samples! You can get a free meal out of it and my kiddos think its a real treat :) We also shop our Farmer’s Market every couple of weeks, however, that is about health and supporting our states economy. I am SURE we do not save money that way!!!

  41. Shopping one store is one of my major grocery strategies too. That way I am completely clear on the sales, the coupon policy, and can get the best deal from things like gas rebates. I don’t have the time (or the organizational skills!) to keep up with all the policy ins and outs for multiple stores. Knowing my ONE STORE well, has helped us stay on budget for going on 9 weeks now (and more before that, but I had to re-focus recently).

  42. Thank you for this inspiration, Mrs. Amy. I live in an extremely rural part of north Florida/south Alabama. The grocery store, excluding the “mom and pop store,” is about 30 miles away. And that is for Walmart. There are no other discount stores: no Aldi, no Savalot, no Costco. There is a Sam’s club that an hour’s drive away. The short of it is that I could *really* benefit from a once-a-month trip, both in time and in saving money.

    Another commenter mentioned using Amazon. We buy some food items from Amazon. We bought the “Amazon Prime” membership so that we get free 2nd day air shipping on most items. It just makes sense for us: a trip to the city costs us about $20 just in gas and typically takes no less than 4 hours if I bring the brood. With Amazon Prime I can save my gas and have them bring my groceries to my door.

    Currently I shop every two weeks. My plan is to work shop for 3 weeks and move up to once a month. I already use most of the planning tips you mentioned. My holdback was space. Where would I store a month’s worth of groceries for all these people? After reading your post I am 100% sure that if you can do it with your family, certainly I can do it with seven. :)

    Thanks again!

  43. Great article and I read every single comment, too!! Grocery shopping is something I dread with the rising prices, and I am so frustrated at the check out. Anywho, we are about 30 mins from the closest store, and we stay home M-TH and Fri am we are in a homeschool co-op, eat lunch there, go to the chiropractor, grocery shop, and any other errands all get put onto Fridays, and I always bring a loaf of fresh bread and a jar of pb and honey and a bowl for each child, and cut up fresh fruit/veggies and dried fruits so all my 4 boys under 6 stay happy for our day out! Also, we have a Trader Joe’s about 2 hours South of us, so about every 4-6 weeks I plan a day out with any ladies, and we head to Milwaukee for a Saturday day trip, and we hit up Trader Joe’s and WHole Foods, and we go out for a local lunch and then all split the gas, and that’s all my staples, so I’m just getting my fresh produce on Fridays. I’ve taken my reciepts from TJs and comparred what I’d spend for the same items at our local Woodmans, and I save usually about $50-$70, so even after the split gas and lunch out, I’m saving at least $30-$50, and we only allow nursing babies to tag along, so I’s like a retreat, and since I save money there, my hubby and boys love that they actually get a few “treats” that week, and they get a fun “guys only day”! I also get all my baking type things from a local Mennonite Bulk food store, and we get our personal care products that we dont make, wholesale from the Frontier Catalog one a month. For our family of six, with very healthy appetites and eating almost exclusively organic, we spend about $500 per month.

  44. Don’t forget Amy, that Walmart price matches competitors prices too… meaning check other store ads also, write down the price of what the other stores have things priced at for what you need… then tell the cashier at Walmart what store and the price. Also, match Aldi prices and other store brand prices for the Great Value products… and save even more!!! We get our milk at Walmart for $1.99/gallon price matching from other stores. =)

  45. I do a big once a month at our local wholesale club (BJs) and once a month I will also do a big Wal-Mart or one of the local stores (TOPS or Wegmans). I also shop for staples at Aldi.

  46. Our young family of 5 lives in a major city/surrounded by farms. We get food from multiple sources and never drive out of our way to get it. Organic meat 1/3 the price from a friends dad who is a famer, “ugly” or overgrown veggies from an organic supplier(this can even be free), I frequent 4 stores after shopping the ads(buying in MAJOR bulk when on sale) and always menu planning or just having a plan before I buy. I tend to get coupons from target dot com and spend less on their “whole” groceries then I did when I tried Aldies(I have also found pure products at Aldies but not a cheaper cost than Target). My onions, banana and sometimes farmer pledge milk comes from my local quick trip where I get gas. I will say this works best if you have the money to buy the store out of (long shelf life) groceries when on sale. I also tend to make food(and other things) from scratch, freeze food, and never waste what was bought. Love this whole site by the way. Is the one store idea because of time, kids, temptation to spend, or cost of driving because of distance?

    • There are several reasons we do the one store method (when we can). If I’m pregnant, it is because of the wear on me, often it is due to time, and yes, there is that overarching temptation to spend more (especially at WalMart). 😉

  47. Hmmm. I don’t shop just one store but I do have a definitive season-driven strategy that revolves around sandwiches during the summer. We have a restaurant store that is open to the public and we found that we save almost $4 a pound on deli meat and cheese there. I always look at things from a “how many can I get from this package” mentality.

  48. We don’t have a large family (yet). My husband and I have always believed in less stores more time and more money. I ussually like to do groceries once every two weeks and (pick up produce in season at a market stand inbetween if possible). I have found that while we had two kids this made our homeschool like (and even preschool years) much less hurried. Now we are foster parents and often need to make extra trips to Walmart to get a new child something…or the child we have now lots of milk! But we still try to keep it to once a week and one store if possible. We can buy online or make a special outing to the mall and pick out something there. We have always felt if keeps us less materialistic to just stay out of the stores.

  49. Hello there,
    This is good…I have found the same thing to be true.
    Now that we also have 6 I realized that Aldi helps the bill ALOT, then we do Walmart for the rest.
    When we lived in Maine 20-30min to the store, I did better at 1x week. It was much more orderly and organized.
    I no longer go 1x a week however since we do alot more produce now. I switched last year to smoothies and tons of salads and raw foods that don’t stick around for long.
    So we didn’t get the bill relief as you mentioned, maybe a balance since we cut back on processed a bit which costs more.
    We slip back of course like others but that is the goal. So we go shopping at least 2-3 times a week.
    When I go I can breeze thru Aldis though because the list stays the same…

  50. I haven’t read through all of the comments yet but for me the concept of one-store shopping isn’t possible. I loathe the wal store. I’m really trying to be better at shopping with local business and farms. One way we are trying to cut our food bill, especially now that our fourth son is eating is to grow our own food. It’s a small start but with produce prices on the rise anything helps. We have been shopping Aldi’s a lot lately as we haven’t even had the extra budget for buying local. We stick to the frozen and fresh produce. I wish they had more organic whole grain products we could use for making our own breads.

    I just need to start meal planning as we seem to always have the same boring meals.

  51. Don’t forget that Wal-Mart will price match. I did not want to shop at more than one store either. After I make my grocery list I flip through the ads and write the best price next to each item and which store has it. . The cashiers at Wal-Mart have never given me any problem. I just tell them What the price is and I usually mention the other stores name and they immediately give me the lower price. ( Our Aldi’s produce doesn’t seem to stay fresh very long but I can get the Aldi’s price at Wal-Mart so I get the best of both worlds.)