Menu Plan Monday: Grocery Planning

Welcome to another menu plan Monday! This one is a little different. We’re preparing for vacation 2016, with which I will thrill and bore you after our return. While we’re still here, I plan on dinners involving as many leftovers as possible.

Since that’s not too interesting, I thought today I might go into a bit of my method for grocery shopping and saving. I’ve always been frugal, and when the girls were younger, most grocery stores in my area doubled coupons up to $1. This was great, and I could get many items free and extremely cheap each week. The doubling has ended, and coupons have changed as well.

Just a week or so ago, as I looked through the slim coupon section that came with the Sunday paper, I thought about how many fewer coupons there are now than there were ten or even five years ago. These days, it’s all about coupons on your phone through an app, or coupons you can “clip” online to your store loyalty card.

Honestly, I long for the old days of clipping coupons for real with a scissors. While I use lots of online and phone-based savings, I find them more cumbersome — do I really want to look through several apps each week at the coupons I’ve virtually “clipped?” I do not. But change we must. So.

On Sunday afternoons, I sit down with the Meijer and Kroger ads, since those are the two major groceries stores I shop. I circle all the deals I’m interested in with a pen. Then, I go online to the Bargains to Bounty site. She lists all the sales each week for Meijer and for Kroger (she lists deals for other stores too, but those are the ones that interest me). I’ll note whether she has any deals I missed, and she also lists coupons corresponding to the sale items. I can either find those coupons in my paper coupon binder, or I can make copies of online coupons. If there are savings through an app, I note those as well.

As far as phone apps I use to save, I use Checkout 51 (this one is offering a $5 bonus when you redeem your first offer), Ibotta (this one offers you $10 when you use your first offer), and SavingStar. With each of these, you basically look through the items each features each week. If you buy those items, you take a photo of your receipt with your phone (for most you can also scan the receipt and email it), and you’ll earn .25 or $1 or whatever the listed rebate amount is.

I have used all three of those apps, and I’ve been paid by each of them. Of the three, SavingStar seems to have the most issues with me needing to re-send a receipt or something.

homemade pizza

I take out an envelope that I have gotten in “junk” mail, and put inside it any paper coupons I plan to use on my trip. I write the items I plan to buy on the outside of the envelope. If there’s an item I need to submit a receipt for with an app, I mark that “IB,” “SStar” etc. That way, when I get home I’ll remember to do that.

I make my list based on what items are on sale. Once I’ve listed those, I look through recipes to plan the meals I’ll make for the week. I check the fridge and pantry for any items I may need for those, and add items to my list as needed.

Then, armed with my handy coupon envelope, I head out to Kroger and Meijer on Monday. I usually also hit Walgreen’s and CVS for any deals there (I learn about those from the Hip2Save site).

So, there’s my grocery planning prep. What are your grocery planning tips? Leave them in the comments — I’m always anxious to learn from others. Wishing you all a lovely week!

You can find more menu plan Monday ideas at OrgJunkie‘s.

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4 thoughts on “Menu Plan Monday: Grocery Planning

  1. Technology is slowly edging me out of saving much money with coupons. I don’t shed too many tears because these days I just don’t seem to buy many groceries. I don’t eat out a lot either. I have so much food in my home that sometimes I go on a “just use what you’ve got on hand” rampage. I remember years ago hearing that coupons would become a thing of the past. Maybe we’re seeing that happening. Bon Voyage !

  2. SIGH. I wish grocery stores would bring back doubling, too. I still use what coupons I can, although the number is much less than it used to be. Target has deals on paper goods where you get a $5 gift card when you buy in bulk, so that’s where I stock up. Thanks for the tip about Checkout 51. I’ll probably try that one!

  3. I joined Ibotta, but have so far saved 75 cents. Is it worth it? I usually just buy what I think I want. I don’t get a paper, so I can’t check the specials. So, I just randomly buy what appeals to me.

  4. I don’t use many coupons either. I take advantage of the BOGO offers on items I use a lot. I no longer buy in bulk since I don’t have much storage space in my new place and it is just my husband and me now.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.