This just in from KCL Debbie… Let’s see if we can all help her out!
She writes:

I have been using coupons for about 8 months now.  I have a good handle on how to get deodorant, shampoo, etc., for free and I know how to roll my Register Rewards, etc. What I don’t know how to do is get my grocery budget down to $100 or  $50 or even $35 a week like so many people do.  I have 5 children at home still (3 teenagers), I’m not buying diapers,  and even with coupons I am lucky to get my budget down to $150 a week.  We do not have any stores that double coupons.  We have a Winco, WalMart, Target, Safeway, SavMart and BelAir.  (No Smiths, Albertsons, Food Lion, Hyvee, etc.,)   How do I realistically get my grocery budget down while still planning for snacks, school lunches, and teenagers?  Anyone want to give me a sample menu and grocery plan for this week?

Well Debbie- I will add my two cents, and then hopefully other KCLs can  leave comments and share how they do it.

This may seem really simple, but GET STOCKED UP! While you are building your grocery stockpile you may spend a little more money than you’d like, but you have got to build up your inventory.   Spend the next month (or two or three)  getting your family stocked on the things you buy.  It’s ideal if you buy a 3-4 month supply of  something, when it’s at a ROCK BOTTOM price.  If it’s something that doesn’t expire, like toothbrushes or toilet paper, buy more than a 3-4 month supply.

My personal grocery budget is $40 per week.  Sometimes I have to rob the next weeks money if there are really Krazy deals and less often I have money left over.  I don’t have a great system down, but I just stock up when something is really low! For example this week at Albertsons chicken was on sale for $1.88/lb and I was running low so I used $30 to replenish my stockpile.  Now, this will last my family for awhile because I only have 2 small children who eat like birds.  Also, I use left over Catalinas for Milk, Bread, Eggs and Produce and try to shop sales for produce items, and cook around those items.

One other thing to note, is that you really should give up your “Old Routine”.  I used to plan out my 5 Meals for the week, go to Walmart buy everything on my list regardless of price, and make those 5 meals.  Those Days are Long Gone! You can not let your list dictate what you buy.  Instead let the price (and coupons) dictate what you buy.  And then plan your meals around what you are buying that week. I do not make special non-coupon trips anymore.  For a few months I had to supplement my coupon shopping with regular trips for necessities, but now I just incorporate that into my coupon shopping.

Also, Debbie- the store you are going to want to get to know is Safeway.  They run promotions and great sales that you can stack with coupons.  When you see Cheese Nips go on sale for $0.50 per box, this is when I want you to STOCK UP.  Order coupons on ebay if you need to- but get 20 boxes and hide all but one from your teenagers.  This will be how you want to shop from now on.  Am I making sense?

Okay KCLs (and guys) it’s your turn.
How to you keep your budget low?
What tips did I miss?
I would LOVE to hear from those of you with Teenagers!
What’s your weekly grocery budget?
Anyone organized enough to share their sample menu and grocery plan?