Where Are My Weekly Grocery Savings?

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Last week I got asked the following question: why don’t you post your weekly grocery purchases? Since this happened I have been thinking a lot about this.  Actually, I have been thinking about it for a while since I know there are a few other blog writers who do this on a regular basis. Today I want to talk to you about the reasons I don’t share the details of my weekly grocery trips.

Let me begin by explaining how I do my grocery shopping.  I usually shop on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Wednesday is the day my grocery store doubles coupons and you will usually find me picking up freebies or cheapies after doubled coupon to feed my stockpile or any other loss leaders they may have on sale.  Then on Sunday I shop for our weekly needs at our local Super Walmart. On this shopping trip I usually pick up staples such as OJ, fruit and veggies, bread and milk we need for the week.

Basically I shop twice a week, once to maintain my stockpile and the other for our weekly needs.  To illustrate this let me tell you about my shopping last week.  I picked up sugar and butter (the loss leaders last week), Chinet plates and Glad Cling Wrap (the freebies after doubled coupon) plus Kraft dressing ($0.16 after coupon to pad my order up to $25) at my grocery store.  Then I visited my in-laws in Chicago and saw that Food4Less (Kroger chain) had Hebrew National hot dogs for $2.50 a pack.  I used this $1/1 printable coupon to get six packs for $1.50 each.  This is the same price I paid last summer to stock up on this and I had already gone through all of them.  On Sunday I went to Walmart and bought eggs, milk, bananas, apples, grapes, OJ and a few other things we needed for the week.  In average I spend either $10 or $20 at my grocery store depending if I do one or two transactions.  But lately I have only been doing one.  For my weekly needs I spend around $25-$30 at Walmart.

So, I am not sure looking at my weekly grocery buys will make sense to anyone but me.  That’s because you wouldn’t be able to discern our weekly menu from what I buy.  This is because we eat from our stockpile.  For example, tomorrow night, we will eat steaks I bought almost two months ago.  The next day it will be frittata with sweet potatoes I bought on Sunday plus chicken sausage from the freezer and so on.  Breakfasts will invariably be oatmeal stockpiled in January and lunches will be PB&J sandwiches or leftovers.

I have a lot of admiration for all bloggers who post their weekly purchases on their blog.  If you didn’t know, last year I tracked all of my coupon savings for the entire year and that was a lot of work.  Coming home from shopping and taking your purchases out from bags and unto a table to take a picture is also a lot of work.  I know I come home from shopping and don’t even want to put away the stuff away on the fridge or pantry.  So I couldn’t imagine taking the extra step of arranging it in a pleasant manner to take a picture and THEN put it away.  But I know that a lot of bloggers know their savings stories are inspirational to others and an example of what can be achieved.

So there you have it, my shopping habits, how we use our stockpile to feed ourselves and not having the time to arrange food on a table for a picture is what’s keeping me from showing you my weekly grocery purchases.  As a blog reader, what do you take away from watching other’s grocery purchases and savings tally?

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  • Cjsime

    I refuse on pricipal not to post photos of my shopping trips. I already feel badly that i don’t take enough pictures of my family and if I were to take pictures of every great deal it would exceed number of family photos fairly rapidly.

    Even though I don’t want to take pictures of my shopping trips I love seeing other’s. It is fun and insprirational. It really isn’t any different than any other hobbiest- we all want to see how and what others are doing.

    Plus photos of the shopping trip are usually more impactful than raw numbers.

  • Julie

    When I was new to couponing, those pictures served as inspiration. Kind of like, “Look what she bought for only $XX.”
    Now that I’ve been at it a while, I’m mainly looking for specific deals that fit into my household’s needs. I no longer need to see a grand display, but if you can tell me where and how to get something I’m happy. I much prefer reading information like the nearly free deodorant at Walgreens.

  • Kim@moneyfordisney

    I like the inspiration of seeing a great grocery haul. Honsetly though, i get more from the Walgreens and CVS deal postings and those great freebie finds!

  • Annie

    I noticed some of the bloggers don’t buy much of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables. At the beginning of couponing, I get excited about all the deals that I can get. But now I tend to buy more fresh produce-loss leaders from the ads and specific deals to fit my family needs.

  • i hear ya! im the same way…i do my shopping in only a way i understand — my husband is still trying to figure it out! I post some of the good deals i get on my grocery trips but not all.

    • Well, Tammy, this is what I have realized. By getting all/most of my HBA items free, I can actually spend that money on Fruit or vegetables, or milk,we have two under four and go through two gallons a week. Good think the price has come down.


  • Thanks for answering my question Mercedes 🙂 I am posting mine right now but I have a small family so a bunch of bananas will last for breakfast for 3 days for us. I wonder if it is misleading for people with larger families? Also, yes it is harder to get produce- we eat a lot of frozen veggies in this house 🙂

  • Like you said, it’s inspirational for some people. For me, I see those pictures and think, “wow…good for you!” My cousin who lives in WI has a blog and gets some INCREDIBLE deals. But she also has several stores that double. I could never get as much for as little as she does. We don’t have any around doublers here. And I shop much the same as you. I make a weekly menu based largely on what whe have in stock, buy the few remaining items (if needed) to complete those meals as well as weekly staples, like milk, and I take advantage of the good deals that are available to add to the stockpile and sometimes for meals that week. If you saw my grocery list, you probably wouldn’t have a clue what I was making for dinner.

  • Today I spent $45 (saved $122) at Pick N Save and $19 at Walmart for non-sale items like bananas, etc. I like seeing pictures sometimes, at first I was like, “Wow”, now I just want to know what the deals are, no visual needed!!

    I don’t keep a running tab of my savings, but when I get home on Wednesday’s, I collapse in a pile and tally up my four receipts to see how I did. I am not happy unless I saved more then I spent.

    No one understands how I shop either. We have two Pick N Save’s one mile apart, and I do two $25 transactions at each store. A large part of my trip today was spent buying “free” McCormick Beef Stew mix. I had tons of $1 off, so it was a free filler for me to get up to $25 so I could double more coupons. Now I have like 30 packets of beef stew mix! ??? I have already started passing them out to friends and wondering what other uses they have? I do that often, just “buy” a free filler to get the bonuses or more double q’s. I donated 12 boxes of cereal to the food pantry three weeks ago just to get the free 3 gallons of milk. I might get arrested if I bring home another free box of Kellogg’s.

    When you work on your food storage though, you could get some seriously odd looks when you come home with a hundred cans of Muir Glen tomatoes, and one bag of fresh veggies for the week.

  • I do it when I have a chance but like you by the time I get home from shopping and 20 minute drive from my favorite grocery store, I am pooped and have no time to arrange it neatly (i admire those who can!). It is so much work! 🙂 I do think it is a great visual for newbies!

  • I’m glad to read why you don’t post your photos; I don’t either, for I shop/cook much the same way you do.

    I think it makes Common Sense With Money stand out in a field of frugal bloggers who do share inspiring photos. I’d rather read frugal commentary between deal posts, myself.

  • You already do so much work to help all of us save money, I wouldn’t care if you NEVER ran a photo of any kind on your blog again!

    I can totally relate to how you shop… and I agree that the last thing I’d want to do is pose all of my stuff for a snapshot! I’d much rather read posts about what deals are out there so that I can get them, too than to see a braggy photo post after a shopping trip.

    I appreciate all your hard work at finding the deals. Your site is one of my favorites!

    Thanks for all you do!

  • I love this post. there’s nothing better than opinions. Newby vs. veteran. This is a great read. I do take pics of what I bring home if it’s a good deal. But no one sees it but me and my hubby! I love to e-mail him at work to show him how far his hard earned money is really going. And really, if I do get out during the day (its usually with my twins) I look for my deal bloggers who lay out the “meat & potatoes”, where, who, what & how.
    Thanks Mercedes for posting this and I would love to put you on the map of my Mr. Linky started today.

  • Grace

    The coupon link you posted for the hot dogs goes to a rebate. I was supprised to see that and may end up using it but I’m still looking for the hot dog coupon. My family, 5 kids and 2 adults, goes through a lot of hot dogs in a year.

    • Sorry Grace, I have fixed the link now and you should be able to print the coupon after you sign in or sign up.


  • Honestly, while I like being a bit nosy and seeing what folks get for X amount of dollars, I find that what THEY pay and what I pay are two different stories.

    For example, Crystal’s blog is lovely – I love the pictures she puts up to help beginning couponers get motivated! But she lives in Kansas. That’s a far cry from Wisconsin and our food prices. The day milk went to over 2 bucks a gallon, I cried! Liam won’t drink any milk at all, but I go through at least 2 gallons a week, and now being pregnant with #2, I will probably go through more soon.

    I shop the same way you do, Mercedes. I still have 17 boxes of oatmeal left in my stockpile from that January sale. I pull from the pantry and the freezer all the time – so posting what I buy would just look plain out weird to some folks (why do you need 5 bottles of dishsoap, Andrea? hehehe…).

    My only suggestion would be that it would be fun to exchange recipes, especially for what’s seasonal/what’s on sale this week at Pick/Copps. That way, we can creatively use what we have!

    Tomorrow’s pork chops that I got on sale – is it just me, or is their pork actually getting to be BETTER in quality? I’ll do sweet potatoes and broccoli from the never ending supply of GG veggies, and Friday will be baked chicken, potatoes, salad, and a dessert.

    • Hi guys,
      thank you so much for the input. really appreciate it. What you all have said resonates a LOT to me. Let me answer my own question. I do love seeing their pictures and that’s right for me it really doesn’t mean very much because unfortunately I can’t get the same deals here. So, in a sense is even a bit frustrating because it’s a realization that my area stores are not so great for deals. the pics make me wish I had a store that doubled everyday and without any restrictions. So, I think it’s important people realize that, the photos are great but you need to translate that information into your own context. Do what works for you with the resources that you have available.


  • I totally get what you’re saying, I only rarely post deal scenarios these days and only Drugstore Game ones at that. (CVS coming tomorrow in fact – I had to use that $20/$100 scanner q somehow.)

    But, I do enjoy reading the grocery deals others are getting – the Safeway deals that Gina at Moneywise Moms posts help me figure out what/if I want from Pavilions that week.

    And I would actually find it interesting and a great study in frugality if, for instance, you posted your grocery trip plus your weekly menu and the source for the menu. If you described your trip, and then said the 99 cent/lb sweet potatoes were being served with rib eyes that you got for $2.99 two months ago, and that your meal cost $1.30 per serving, I think it’d be kind of fun. Inspirational, educational, and interesting.

    That’s just my 2 cents though. I know it’s a lot of work, I’m not saying you should do it. Just that I’d read it if you did 🙂

  • Great post Mercedes!

    When I first started reading blogs and couponing I loved to see pictures of what I could get for “X” amount of money. When I first started blogging I shared pictures of my finds regularly in the hope that I could show my readers what was possible with planning and using coupons. Now I’ll post pics if I get the time or save a crazy amount of money, but most of the time I’m too tired to deal with it.

    I still think it is fun to see what people can get for the money, because it still serves as inspiration to me…especially when I start to fall off the frugal wagon. That being said, I also love blogs like yours even though you don’t share that info because you inspire me in a different way.

  • Ditto that Mercedes, hence my latest Mr. Linky. It is frustrating to see what “could” be, but it’s still great to just be informed anyway! You guys have a great evening!!
    BTW–you have great readers and quick responders (I being one of them 😉 )

  • Wendy

    Hi, Mercedes. Love your site! Pictures are great, and work for some sites, but I love that your posts always get to the point quickly (not a lot of ‘fluff’). I appreciate all the deals you find and work you put into the site!

  • I agree with all of you. I sometimes post a picture of something I got a great deal on and want to show it off but I can’t do it every time I go to the store. Because of economic times we have three extra adults in our home and it is hard to keep to a budget much less a weekly shopping schedule. With my job I am free to shop during the day and may stop several times a week depending on where I am, I could stop at cvs, walgreens, krogers, meijers or walmart to pick up store sales or household needs.

    Those that are able to stick to a weekly budget and show pictures do a great job and I love to see and read about it but not every blog can or should do that and that is what is great about blogging you get a variety of subjects at different blogs.

  • Pilar

    Hi Mercedes!

    Loved your post, and I totally agree with you! Prices in NJ are usually slightly higher on groceries. I usually buy a lot of fresh fruits and produce,too, and there’s rarely a coupon for those. I try to compensate by buying and stocking up on other items I can get for free or cheap.

  • Mercedes,

    I agree with you that everyones needs are so different and while the posts are inspirational, it doesn’t help me so much, maybe motivate me but not necessarily help!
    Good post.

  • Delores

    Personally, while I am happy for those that score awesome deals, I sometimes get frustrated. I am like many — we don’t have stores that double coupons, I can’t score the great deals, and the amount others spend on the whole shebang I spend on fresh fruit and veg. alone for 8 of us. What I would really like is some guidance on how to determine what is a good weekly budget for my family given where I live and our dietary needs (one cannot eat wheat and corn, one cannot eat dairy). Is $100 too much per week? I can get away with spending $75… but it is hard. Anyway, I am kind of encouraged by seeing photos, etc, but I mostly appreciate the hard work of coupon match ups for upcoming weeks.

  • Diana

    I just skip over the posts that show pictures of what people bought because none of those grocery stores are in my area. It doesn’t help met at all. So I think it’s a waste of space on a blog. 🙂 Sorry to be so negative.

  • I do exactly like you. Kroger and Tom Thumb trips are to feed the stockpile. Fiesta (Mexican Grocery store) is for produce. Whole food is just for organic lactose free milk and organic rice milk. No meal plan, we eat from the stockpile, with fresh fruit/veggies/milk as part.
    Sometimes I read thru other blogger’s posts of their shopping trips to see if there is a deal I can make myself, even if it’s from another store. I too admire when someone arranges everything for a picture. I don’t even want to carry in the freakin’ groceries from the car!
    Myself, I prefer to only highlight cherry pickin deals from my trips, great sources for a certain item, or where I found some random coupons that I can then use anywhere, so information is more relevant to all readers.

  • I actually like that you don’t post photos of your shopping trips. I have seen this on other blogs, and I really didn’t get anything out of it. More often than not, they aren’t local to me, so seeing what they got at their grocery store isn’t going to help me (granted, you ARE local to me).

  • Annie, I’m with you. When I see the pictures of the grocery runs on some blogs, I think, “That’s all the produce you eat?” We spend more on groceries because we have food allergies and we eat a ton of produce.