How much does it cost The Fru-Gal to feed a family of four for one week? I get asked that a lot. I also am asked how much I save on groceries.
I start by looking at the groceries I have on hand: cereals, pasta sauce, pasta, frozen vegetables, barbecue sauce, peanut butter, jelly, water and drink mixes.
These items go on sale often, and when using coupons, I can buy them almost for free.
On Saturday, I stopped at my Wal-Mart Neighborhood store (a smaller version of the Superstore) and got some great deals on meat that was marked down. I bought a rack of ribs, a rib roast, four steaks, a whole chicken and two small packages of hamburger for $25. After that, I was ready to start planning meals.
I bought two gallons of milk, our average amount. Last week, I bought a 32-pack of water at Kmart for $2.50 and had a $2 mail-in-rebate.
Also, last week, Kroger had Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage on sale, plus, they were in the weekly mega deal for 69 cents, and eggs were $1 a dozen. That will take care of breakfast for my family; I already have a stockpile of cereals.
I always make coffee at home, saving lots of money. I always check out the marked-down bread. Recently, I was able to buy two loaves of wheat bread for 25 cents each, and I bought four cans of tuna for 88 cents each at CVS, and Fischer's bologna with a 50-cent coupon at Kroger (which doubled it), making the bologna just 79 cents. I bought two bags of Lay chips at Kmart for $1.88 each.
Everyone at my house takes lunch to work or school or eats at home, so I bought four 12-packs of Pepsi at CVS for $2 because I had $8 in Extra Bucks. These purchases took care of our lunches for the week.
I also have a vegetable garden. On Sunday, I served a whole chicken with mashed potatoes, salad from my garden and a loaf of garlic bread that was marked down to 99 cents at Kroger. For dessert, we had Ben and Jerry's ice cream that I bought at Walgreens. It was on sale — buy one, get one free — and I had six $1 coupons. We had a different ice cream for dessert all week.
I went to Fazoli's one night for the meal deal using a coupon they sent me when I joined their email club. I got spaghetti, meatballs, salad, chicken Parmesan and bread sticks for $20. Also, I used a coupon for dinner at KFC one night.
One night, we grilled burgers and had potatoes and frozen peas.
I usually make at least three trips to Kroger a week just to see what's on sale. On one of my trips I found flat-iron steaks for $4. I bought one and grilled it with peppers, onions and jalapeños from my garden.
Having a full pantry is a necessary part of saving money. When certain items go on sale and I have coupons, I add to my stockpile.
Here is a breakdown of my purchases for the week.
Two gallons of milk: $5.50
Lay's potato chips: $3.76
Case of water: $1
Garlic bread: 99 cents
Six pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream: $9
Dinner from KFC $10
Fazoli's Family Deal: $20
Two loaves of wheat bread: 50 cents
Two packages of sausages: $1.38
Three boxes of cereal: $3
Peanut butter: $1
Tomato sauce: $1
Five ears of corn: $1
Flat-iron steak $4
Green Giant frozen peas: 50 cents
10-pound bag of potatoes: $5
Country Time Lemonade mix: free with Kroger digital coupon and mega deal
One week of food for a family of four cost me a little more than $100.
■ Edible Arrangements has a dipped-fruit deal this week. Get a box of gourmet dipped fruit for just $10, in-store pick-up only.
■ Whole Foods at Lexington Green is having a VIP tour from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday to teach folks how to save money when preparing healthy meals for the family. Register in advance to receive a goodie bag of products and coupons. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.