How I Saved 106.86 My Last Shopping Trip Using Apps and Coupons!

Okay, so when I embarked on this clean eating journey my food intake changed dramatically, as did my grocery bill. Many of the foods that became a staple in my pantry were on my husband’s list of favorite foods to eat. I found myself buying groceries for two different menus. To decrease the expenses we decided it was time to increases the produce in our garden. We both enjoyed the majority of the vegetables. I saved a bundle on zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and cantaloupe alone! As much as this helped our budget, encouraged me to eat healthy, and also provided vegetables for our family, there were some things on my grocery list that we couldn’t grow!

I had a desire and a need to reduce my grocery bill. I was determined to find ways to trim back, and cut corners. So, I decided that coupons would be my first choice. I’ve always enjoyed saving a little money here and there with coupons, but most of my coupon experience was limited to accidentally stumbling onto a coupon in the insert from the Sunday paper, or a magazine. I needed to get into some serious couponing. No, not extreme, but serious. I read as much as I could online about shopping with coupons, bought a few e-books, and watched the amazing show about extreme couponing. It all seemed complicated, but remember, I was determined to save money!

Before long, I figured out a system that worked for me. It wasn’t complicated, and it didn’t involve a lot of time, but I was saving money! I clipped coupons, scoured the sale papers, loaded online coupons to my Kroger card, printed free coupons, bought from coupon clipping services, and watched sale weekly sale papers. I also loaded a few apps to my phone that added to my savings. These apps worked with stores such as, Aldi’s, The Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and The Dollar General. I frequently use Checkout 51, Ibotta, Wal-Mart Savings Catcher, and my Plenti card. The savings from these apps can really add up quick!

I love a day of savings! 106.86 total savings

I love a day of savings! 106.86 total savings

Over the past three years I have learned a lot about clean eating, using coupons, finding the best sales, and using them to stock my pantry. Today was a great day of savings. The day began at Wal-Mart when I purchased a 16.5 Purina Small Bites dog food for just 1.00. This was made possible through the use of a 4.00 coupon that I clipped from the insert in the Sunday paper and a 7.00 check from Purina. My husband saves circles from bags of Purina dog food that we mail to the Purina company in exchange for checks that are redeemable for more dog food. That’s instant money! Using the combination of the coupon and the Purina check I bought a 16.5 bag of dog food for just 1.00! A total savings of 11.00.  I purchased ten more of the 4.00 coupons from Klip 2 Save, which is my favorite coupon clipping service. Each coupon costs a couple of cents, but still reap a huge savings! My plans are to fill our dog food bin for the winter for only a few dollars! I left Wal-Mart and headed to Kroger for even more savings.

Checking my list, I carefully scoured the Kroger shelves, selecting items that were on sale, close out items, as well as items from the reduced price bin. The deals were fantastic! I found usable and worthy items in the close out and reduced items bin that I had coupons for! I was pumped! I made my way to the checkout line with a cart running over with super deals! I had set a dollar amount that I didn’t want to exceed! As the total quickly began to climb, I was a bit nervous about the cost before my Kroger card was swiped…it exceeded my goal. But, after swiping my card, and handing my stack of coupons…my total sale was far below my budget! My total savings for a huge haul of groceries was 59.76. I was pumped!

Now, on to the gas pumps for even more savings, just another reason that I love shopping at Kroger! When the computer at the pump ask if I wanted to use my full .20 of savings, I selected yes with a grin on my face! I would get my gas for 1.78. I hadn’t paid this little for a gasoline in quite some time! A total savings of 3.80.

I love saving at Kroger!

I love saving at Kroger!

The next stop on my route would be Rite Aid. I was on a mission to find hair color at the lowest price possible. I had a couple of 3.00 coupons and a few buy one get one free coupons, that meant I could get two boxes of color for 2.00. I picked up six boxes of hair color and strolled up to the check out counter. The price rang up and I swiped my Plenti card. I noticed my accumulated points and decided to use them. I was thrilled to discover that the six boxes of hair color that I planned to pay two dollars for…was totally free! This freed up my coupons as well for future purchases. I left Rite Aid with six boxes of hair color that I purchased for 0.00!  A savings of 28.00, and enough hair coloring to last for a year!

My final stop would be The Dollar Tree. Again, I went on a mission! I was going in to purchase Gain fabric sheets and Hall’s cough drops! Again, I presented paper coupons for the Gain fabric sheets. I paid 1.50 for the fabric sheets, instead of 3.00. As soon as I got in the jeep I quickly used the Check Out 51 app to scan the receipt receiving a 1.00 for one of the bags of cough drops! Total savings 2.50 on a 5.00 purchase!

Save with Check Out 51

Save with Check Out 51

Once I arrived at home, I was excited to share the huge amount of savings with my husband! As we put away the huge load of groceries, I scanned the bar codes for savings on items that were offered on Ibotta. With a full pantry of groceries that satisfied the needs of clean eating, healthy eating, grandchildren’s cravings, and my husbands midnight snacks, I sat down to scan the lengthy Kroger receipt for Ibotta. Cha-ching…1.80 was added to my Ibotta account!

Save more with Ibotta

Save more with Ibotta

It was a great day of shopping and a great day of savings…not to mention a full fridge, full pantry, full tank of gas, and enough hair color to last for a year! But, the best part of all…my total savings for the day was 106.86! Be sure to check out my post The Journey Begins to find out more about my journey to a healthier life style.

Stocking the Pantry…

It was a new morning, a new day, a new beginning for me. My mind was made up. I would make the changes necessary to live a healthier life. This no longer was about losing twenty pounds quick. It was about changing the way I see myself and others. I would no longer be intimidated by other people’s weight loss. Commercials were not going to cause a burning desire to purchase the latest weight loss gadget. I had a vision, a road map, a guide, and a newfound desire to live a healthy life, one day at a time, one meal at a time, one prayer at a time.

First things first…I needed to make a list of items that I would need to have readily available in my pantry for the journey ahead. This meant that I would have to reorganize my shelves. I couldn’t throw away all the things that my husband still enjoyed indulging in. Things such as; cakes, cookies, chips, and much more. This simply meant that I would have to create and maintain my own section of healthy foods in the pantry. My desire is for him to be inspired by my new way of eating and make much-needed changes in his diet as well. Foods such as; fruits both dried and fresh, vegetables, granola, whole grains, Greek yogurt, water, protein bars, protein powder, fresh chicken, fish, turkey, and ingredients to make healthy salad dressings, and much more would have a place in our kitchen. This wasn’t going to be an easy task, but I was committed. My mind was made up!

All the foods that I had loved to share with my family were still at my fingertips, but I also had a well stocked pantry.  I was right, it wasn’t an easy task at all. I discovered that healthy eating was very expensive. I no longer prepared one meal, but often prepared two meals as my husband was not quite ready to join me in healthy eating.

Below are a few of the items that I stocked my pantry with, and are a must for clean eating. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and learn more every day, but this is how the journey started.

Fresh organic vegetables, fresh organic fruits, grains, dry beans, stevia, lean chicken, salmon, lean turkey, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds, coconut oil, almond milk, whole grain cereals, raw honey, protein bars, Greek yogurt, fresh eggs…and a desire to research recipes and ideas.

After the initial grocery escapade. I begin to think of ways to decrease my growing grocery bill. Two things sprang to mind. I loved to use coupons, so I would search for coupons that were usable, and would lower my final grocery cost. I also realized that I could decrease my grocery bill tremendously simply by growing the vegetables that I loved, and required to make this massive change. We could do this! After all, we had the land and we already grew some vegetables. Yes, I was feeling more confident. We could do this! It would take a lot of planning, work, time, dedication, and sweat, but I was determined!

Slowly our garden grew each year, as did my herb garden. We have recently added chickens to our small farm, which supplies us with plenty of fresh farm eggs. My husband and son also contribute to the cause by providing our families with venison and most recently elk. You can’t get much more organic than venison and elk meat!

I am still learning about clean eating as it is a day by day process. I also love to learn from others. This is truly a journey that has changed my life in many different ways. A journey that I have never regretted!