Welcome to Southern Savers, where finding deals and steals is simple and rewarding!

See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

Creating a Grocery Budget

on 1.14.2013 at 1:25pm
24 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.

creating a grocery budget

To coupon effectively you can’t go out and buy every deal you see.  The point is to save money yes, but in the end even deals that cost 25¢ still mean that you are spending money.  I want to encourage to learn to coupon inside of a set budget.  This means that if you have the 25¢ in the budget then buy the deal, but if the budget is spent then pass a few deals up.

As you start creating a budget, look at how much you are currently spending and then set some goals to bring it down.  For our family we were spending around $500 a month before couponing, so my first goal was to drop that to $350 a month or 30%.  It was pretty doable just by taking a few steps.

First, some foods have to go.  Anything that isn’t a necessary food is really a waste of money when money is very tight.  So no juices, cookies, chips and other unhealthy snacks.  We already didn’t buy soda, but we were very juice heavy.  I know this is sounding like a diet, but when it comes down to needing the money, the most unhealthy things are the easiest to remove first.

Second, decrease personal and household product costs.  These items also don’t feed you, but at the same time it’s important to be clean.  When we started couponing I had one in diapers and 2 kids in pull ups.  The need to save money pushed me to finish potty training our twins.  That saved a ton, but the last one in diapers pushed me to learn something else… how to shop the drugstores!  If you are just starting to coupon and are only shopping the grocery store deals, I encourage you to add in just one drugstore.  It’s not that scary, it will do amazing things for your budget!  Following the drugstore deals you’ll see free toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, shampoo and so much more!  We also see the best prices on paper goods and most cleaning supplies in drugstores.  To get started, I would encourage you to start in CVS they are the easiest store to learn.  Watch some CVS how-to videos to get started if you haven’t already.

Third, focus on stocking up.  Our goal in couponing is buy things on sale and stock up on them, but when you first get started you have no stockpile.  So to save the most money at the start, you need to plan a menu based off of the items on sale this week.  Grab those items for this week’s meals, but also grab any items on sale that you will use in the next 6 weeks.  Remember when you see a sale that you will not see that item on sale again for a good 6 weeks, so if you use 1 box a week you’ll need a few of them to get you through until the next sale.

Let’s get started!  
If you are just getting started on saving, I want you to start this week by trying to shave off the first 30% of your grocery expenses.  For the next two weeks, try to incorporate these few tips and see how much you can save.

    • dtcox1

      jenny after following your site and meeting you in boone n c after two yr i went from 125.00 a week with not much and ran out by friday . i now save 54 to 70 percent every week at kroger and 60 to 80 percent a week at cvs i have a big stock pile . and help my parents and neighbors and give to the seniors at my local rec center . i have went down to 50.00 to 60.00 week now for both stores .thank you jenny for all you do for us . love it i save get exerise meet people have fun and save money too

    • S Jones

      I have a family of four and I save $50 to $80 a week using coupons. However, I can not go without including some snacks and juices on my grocery list, which is really cheap using coupons and Publix BOGO sales. I try to only buy things that I need and create a stockpile with really cheap deals. My tip for new couponers would be to plan, plan, plan. My goal for this year is to reduce my budget by 20% and then work my way to 30%.

    • Court

      I spend so much money on organic milk. Where can I find the cheapest ones?

      • Maria

        try looking around for local milk. I buy Happy Cow milk. Its not organic, technically, but is grass fed, etc- just doesn’t have the certification. Its $5 a gallon as opposed to $6+ for organic milk.

      • S Jones

        Whole Foods brand 1 gal is around $3

    • We have to have our snacks and juice. Milk is more expensive than juice, and man does the milk go quickly if we don’t have juice to drink! We were spending $1000 a month on food (teenage son and I have to eat gluten free, other four can eat gluten) and thanks to Jenny’s list and one other site to help with buying the kids’ clothes and such, we’re down to $700 a month on clothing AND food. Still more than we want to be spending, but we’re eating healthy foods and during the tight times, our stockpile carries us through :) When I first started, I listened and made meal plans according to what was on sale, and bought for six weeks at a time. It took me a few months, but I got it and now I feel like a pro LOL!

    • hazelg77

      Love it! I was a mad couponing lady until my family quit eating processed and chemical filled foods. So, there went buying most anything in a box. Anyhow, we are still able to budget and coupon on certain items (paper products, produce) and afford organic and healthy food. I can even find gluten free coupons from time to time!

      Thanks Jenny!

    • Kristen

      Our budget for a family of five is around $350 for groceries and that doesn’t include personal products or cleaning products yet. Give me a little bit, we are expecting another baby. But one thing I’ve been able to do is cut out the junk. I make our breads, snacks, and sweets from scratch. This gives me great peace of mind that I know what my family is eating. We also cut way down on the store bought juice, cut out soda, and drink mainly water. If we want a glass of juice, we have a top notch juicer that we can pull out during a great fruit sale.

    • Kimee129

      I would never have thought of shopping at a drug store for diapers, laundry detergent, and personal care items. I usually went to Wal Mart and got whatever they had. Since I started couponing I now shop at CVS and with their store sales and their “CVS Cash” I have not had to pay for a pack of diapers in almost six months. HUGE savings for this single mom with special needs kiddo! Thanks for all you do.

    • wendy n.

      I try to shop between Kroger & Publix sales, & CVS. It took me a while to give up the rounds in town to find the best deals. It was burnout quickly, even though I stocked up quickly. I now take it in stride. I have almost given up shopping @ Walmart, b/c of the “impulse” buying w/ children in tow. I found that I do fine w/ the above 3 stores and usually save 30-60% for the most part. With a family of 6, this site has helped us out tremendously for the past 2 years!!! We are grateful!

    • crystalgoodwin3

      After I discovered Southern Savers during a couponing class, I started saving some. But I did what most new couponers do. I was trying to get every deal and it was way to much. Now, I do shop HT, Lowes Foods and sometimes Food Lion but I’ve given up on Walmart since they stopped matching the B1G1’s without a price. I definite shop CVS. I love CVS. I never knew a drugstore could save you so much money.
      Thanks Jenny for all you for us.

    • stacey

      Am looking for some type of budget sheet to keep up with my spending and savings. I have saved alot in the past couple of years with coupons, but I want to start saving more. I do better if I have it written down. Do you have anything that you use or could you recommend something?

      • Google “southern savers savings tracker” I love her track I have used it for years

    • thevancleaves

      so where does everyonen get all their coupons?? (the inserts). buy lots of papers??? or are they given from others??

      • I purchase mine. I always get 5.

      • Britta

        They are everywhere. Look out for the Sunday inserts, magazines, call or e-mail manufacturers directly, Internet coupon sites (look on Jenny’s printables page she has links to the major ones,) go straight to manufacturers websites, look for coupons printed on the inside of product boxes, sign up for samples (there are usually coupons in them. Jenny will tell you about these in the freebie roundup catagory,) and ask friends. Once your friends see you are serious, the coupons will come out of the woodwork. My physical therapist even saves them for me. As a thank you I keep him supplied in toothpaste. :)

      • You’d be surprised how many will donate or give you their coupons…Most get the Sunday paper and clip one or two coupons they need (if that). Local places like Starbucks and Nursing Homes get the paper and may not use the coupon inserts. When I buy more than a few papers (normally the 1st of the month) I’ll drop the actual newspaper off at a nursing home by my house and they’re always grateful. GL :)

    • Jeffy Walker

      Its hard some times here in FL, because we can not double! And just because it has organic on it, doesn’t mean it is. Also we only get caprisuns for my sister. And also we find better deals at BJ’s on some things. For example, I got 3 dove men body wash for 1.09!!

    • Jeffy Walker

      And for CVS I found it heard to shop their with the ECB because you can only spend it at CVS!!

    • Linda

      It sounds like most everyone is on the same bandwagon-stay out of Walmart! I have to agree. I used to spend close to $100 every trip I made before couponing. Yes, they are cheaper (per item) but not coupon friendly. I shop a few grocery stores now & Rite Aid. I can’t believe how much I’ve saved. Thanks, Jenny!

    • Angela

      I found your website about 3 years ago. Couponing was a definite learning curve, but once I found my rhythm it was easy. I now save about 30% off my old grocery budget on a regular basis and only spend about and hour or two a week clipping coupons and looking for deals. Now I live in Oklahoma but SouthernSavers is still my favorite couponing site and I recommend it to everyone. Thanks Jenny!

    • tori729

      I am able to average about $50/week on groceries for a family of four (two preschoolers, two adults). That doesn’t include drug store spending. I am going to try to stick to that even after adding another to our family!

    • Renee

      Thank you so much for this post! I have a lot of questions though!!! After doing this for a few years this was my resolution for the year…to stick to a grocery budget with the envelope system! I don’t know what is included in a grocery budget! We are a family of 4+1/2 and I don’t know if diaper(which I never get a the same place)s and formula(that we get at costco) are included…also are you suppossed to have a separate budget for cosmetics, paper towels or produce? Do you count drugstores as part of your grocery budget? Any help would be great…or is this going to be covered in Part 2:) Thank you again and again for taking time out of your full life to organize this blog!!! Its been soooo incredibly useful!

      • Cosmetics comes out of my “personal” (cosmetics, highlights, manicures…when I splurge) budget envelope, paper towels come out of “household/toiletries” and produce comes out of my “groceries” budget. My other categories are “dining out,” “gifts/charity,” “clothing,” “fun spending” (things I want to buy for myself). And I also put money towards a “vacation” budget and “house” (which I used when I bought new drapes for 2 rooms in my house, new artwork, etc etc for my house and a “dog” budget (that I use for buying new dog toys, treats, etc….not for vet care, etc). Dave Ramsey all the way!! :) Google him and his cash envelope budget system :)