Mee Seminary Life: Our Grocery Budget Tips & Tricks

Higher education is expensive y’all, and seminary is no exception, so we are always looking for ways to save money these days. Over the almost two years we’ve been at Southern so far, I’ve learned some tricks to staying within (and some weeks under) our grocery budget. I love saving money on groceries because it make Nate happy and it also makes me feel like I’m being a good steward of what the Lord has blessed us with.

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I’m no money-saving guru or anything, but these are tricks that have helped us. Hopefully they’ll help you too!

  1. Make a budget. It sounds so simple and dumb, but it really helps me save money when I know I have a certain amount to use. Plus, it’s so satisfying when I end up not using my whole budget one week, and I happily tell Nate I saved us some cash. Also, when you first come up with a grocery budget, be flexible with it. When we first got married we came up with a certain amount for groceries each week, but that has changed as we’ve learned how much food we need for each week and such.
  2. Use cash. This is another weird thing that works well for me. At the beginning of the week, I’ll withdraw the amount of our budget in cash, and then I’ll use it to pay when I go grocery shopping. That way I have visual reminder of how much I have to work with and I don’t spend it as easily. I know you can just go online and see your bank account, but this extra step has helped me stay in budget.
  3. Variety is key. Shopping at a variety of grocery stores has helped us stay in/under our grocery budget each week. Some stores have better prices on certain things than others, plus it’s fun to have a variety. I know this doesn’t work for everyone and I respect that, but variety works for us right now. We shop at: Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and occasionally Target. My favorite is Aldi for most of our weekly grocery essentials, because they just have super awesome low prices (We’re talking a gallon of milk for $.95 and eggs for $.89. Wow! Prices change from week to week, but Aldi is the most consistent with lowest prices). My family always shopped at Aldi when I was growing up, so I learned to love it from a young age. I know its European style of running things kind of throws people off, but once you get the hang of bagging your own groceries and learning the layout of the store, you’ll love it. I mean, the PRICES people! Trader Joe’s is awesome too, but I love it for different reasons. I love that it offers so many healthier, organic options, as well as lots of fun specialty items. I love Trader Joe’s for its fun, friendly vibes too (that’s why I started working there πŸ˜‰) Costco is more of an occasional grocery stop for us, but our favorite things from there are their natural peanut butter and bakery items (we had their cheesecakes in our wedding, and boy were they good!). We don’t buy a lot of groceries at Target, but once in a while they’ll have awesome deals with their Cartwheel app that make me want to shop there more. Target is more fun for home decor and clothing and such.

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I hope y’all enjoyed reading about what helps us stay within our grocery budget each week.Β Feel free to leave me a comment with your tricks/tips for staying within your budget. I’d love to hear!

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7 thoughts on “Mee Seminary Life: Our Grocery Budget Tips & Tricks

  1. Liz, I love Aldi too. Especially their dark chocolate with almonds. πŸ˜‰ Their produce is fresh and the best prices I’ve seen. The organic spring mix greens make eating healthier really easy too. I just saw a cute keychain that holds a quarter for the shopping cart. I’m attaching a link to it. https://www.etsy.com/listing/292037703/aldi-heart-snap-tab-quarter-holder-key?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_d-craft_supplies_and_tools-other&utm_custom1=4b55d66f-5826-4391-b847-0cc5acfb6b10&gclid=CjwKEAiAirXFBRCQyvL279Tnx1ESJAB-G-QvS4w4iJpxJpUNDzGnxWXRw1M-y4EXu5sCkQiXgVFRhBoC9Hzw_wcB

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    1. Awesome MaryLee! I love it when other people love Aldi as much as I do. That keychain is such a fun, handy idea! I always try and leave a quarter in this little slot by my steering wheel in the car. Last time we were there a sweet lady just gave us her cart though. πŸ™‚ I haven’t tried their dark chocolate with almonds yet, but it sounds so delicious. I’ll have to pick some up next time I shop.

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  2. I can’t wait until there is an Aldi closer to us! In the meantime I shop at Walmart, Gordon Food Stores and Econo. At Walmart, I take advantage of their price matching and faithfully bring in my sale flyers. I mainly do that for produce and dairy. Gordon is great because they have items in bulk (but not as bulk as Costco) and their prices for meat and cheese are usually the cheapest around. I buy big bags of frozen chicken breasts there and 5 lb rolls of ground turkey which I divide and freeze. At Econo I always check their reduced for quick sale carts. I snagged some amazing deals on Monday like salmon for $2.69 instead of $4.99, 3 whole wheat pizza crusts for $.99, and zucchini for $.99/lb. Also I use rebate apps such as ibotta, Checkout 51, MobiSave, Receipt Hog and Walmart Savings Catcher.

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    1. I hope you get an Aldi closer to you soon, but way to go on making the most of what you have near you! I love that you shop at a variety of different places. Way to go on saving money by using price matching and apps! I haven’t heard of all of those apps. I’ll have to check them out.

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  3. Hi Liz,

    I never heard of Aldi stores before. But the prices sound good! I wish we had those in New Mexico :(.
    I’ve found Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Costco as the best options in this town to get fresh produce for a lower price. (most of the time Sprouts offers organic products for cheaper than the non organic) and grains and nuts are sometimes even cheaper than pre packaged food (oatmeal 2 lbs/ $1 .. quinoa $.89 lb ..etc). I spend around $25-30 on a cart full of groceries for 4 people (my toddlers eat like adults lol) that last almost 2 weeks!
    I agree on Trader Joe’s healthy unique products and good vibes. I specially love their pita bread, pasta and spices but I’m obsessed with their basil plants and orchids! they are bigger, healthier and cheaper than anywhere else here and they last for a long time. (and I definitely suck at keeping plants alive…including cactus).

    I also think using cash is a great idea. In Mexico (where I am from) that’s mostly the way they do it (probably because you have to get everything from farmers markets) but I lost that habit when I moved here. I think I should consider using cash more often.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this, I’ve been following your posts and recipes and I find them very helpful and encouraging. I have no idea what I would have done on my first years of marriage (and even now) if other christian women didn’t take the time and effort to bless others sharing their journey and words of encouragement on their blogs like you do.
    I pray for you and Nate and we look forward to meeting you sometime we visit grandpa Keith in Tennessee. πŸ˜‰
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Nancy!
      I can’t wait to meet you too! Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and respond. It means so much to me! I love how you take care of your family by shopping at a variety of stores to find the best deals. I’ve never heard of Sprouts, but it sounds awesome! I love that you’re from Mexico! I’d love to travel there someday. I think it would be so fun to shop at farmers markets too. I’ll have to look and see if I can find any here in Louisville.
      Love,
      Liz

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