Meal Planning and Couponing Update

Apartment Nov 2011

The last time I wrote about meal planning, we didn't have a car and only made one grocery run per month.

Since we bought our car over the summer, my trips to the grocery store have increased from once a month to once every two weeks to once a week.

So, my meal planning process has changed a bit. Now, I sit down every Sunday with my newspaper coupon circular and the store's weekly flyer to plan out the week's menu. I still keep track of the menu on our Google Calendar to make sure we don't have the same things over and over again.

I know they say you're likely to spend more by making such frequent trips to the store, but I really like going every week. Mainly because I can match coupons with weekly specials to maximize savings. Here's just one example:

Rosetto Cheese Ravioli
Regular Price = $5.00 Each
Sale Price = Two for $7.00
Two $1.00 Off Coupons
Price Paid = Two for $5.00

Ravioli is the main ingredient for this favorite recipe of ours. The recipe makes four servings and we have enough ravioli to make it twice, so that works out to about sixty cents per serving.

A little bit more on saving money. There's just one grocery store we frequent here in Pittsburgh, Giant Eagle. This is quite different from our parents' neighborhood in Houston, which has three grocery stores, a Super Target and a Super Walmart within a five minute radius. There are other stores in Pittsburgh, but they are either expensive {like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's}, require a membership {like Costco} or are only located in the suburbs {like Aldi}.

Giant Eagle also has a gas station. You get money off our gas bill {called Fuel Perks} when you buy groceries. You get money off your grocery bill {called Food Perks} when you buy gas.

We try to maximize our Fuel Perks by purchasing gift cards at Giant Eagle for other stores we frequent. You save ten cents a gallon for every $50 spent in gift cards. Some of the stores Giant Eagle sells gift cards to:

- Amazon
- Lowe's
- AMC Theaters
- Old Navy/The Gap/Banana Republic
- Michael's
- JoAnn's
- Home Depot
- Marshall's/TJ Maxx/Home Goods

Since our Giant Eagle is in a huge shopping center with basically all of these stores, it's really not inconvenient to stop in and buy a gift card first. Every little bit helps!

Food Perks work by giving you 1% off your grocery bill for every ten gallons of gas pumped. You can accumulate up to 20% off, but the Food Perks do start to expire after a while. We made it to 15% before they started to expire.

I made a huge shopping trip to stock up on items like meat, peanut butter, cheese, and ice cream. Anything that's on the pricey side. I spent about $300, but when I redeemed my 15% Food Perks, the total came down to $255. Not too shabby for at least three months worth of those items! Did you know you can freeze cheese?

Sorry if this post was super lame. I've officially become a boring mom who likes to brag about how much she saves at the grocery store...


  1. Totally not boring! I always wish I was better at couponing! Haha. I do plan our meals, but we pretty much only shop at Wal Mart because there's one right by our house (and we have to drive to Atascosita for Kroger/HEB), and Wal Mart doesn't really do sales like the big grocery stores do...

    Plus we can't use the fuel rewards because Jeff works for an oil company and he gets a discount on their gas so we can only buy gas at the gas stations for his company...

    Plus we don't get the newspaper delivered, and I can't seem to figure out whether or not it would be worth paying for it just to get the coupons...

    I do use the random coupons that come in the mail though, but the last two times I've done that, the checker at Wal Mart forgot to scan them and then I had to stand in the Wal Mart customer service line for 20 minutes just to get my $5 in coupons... so frustrating!

    I'm glad you're more successful at it than I am. :)

  2. we're all about freezing cheese!


You are awesome.