Monday, February 7, 2011

Perimeter Shopping: How did I do?

Since joining the February Eat from the Pantry challenge, I have been doing well with intentionally eating what we have on hand. Saturday night we had steak, baked potatoes, and roasted winter squash. Sunday was pizza for the Super Bowl. Tonight was mahi mahi with homemade frozen pesto, penne pasta, and steamed broccoli. We had smoothies with frozen fruit and fresh yogurt and toasted zucchini bread for breakfast. Kids usually prefer toast or cereal. Lunches are left-overs or soup.

It had been 11 days since I visited the grocery store and we were low on milk. So off to Kroger I went with my plan to stick to Perimeter Shopping. Just like it sounds, you only buy goods along the perimeter of the store and don't walk down any aisles. Generally, that's a healthier way to shop. My one exception was one loaf of whole wheat bread.

I've given myself the leeway in this challenge to include fresh fruit & veggies, milk, bread, eggs, cheese, and deli meat because this is a priority for my family. I'm not going to deny them fresh food because I'm trying to make a point. I also find that mixing in steamed veggies with meat I pull from the freezer or fresh bread with stew makes it all taste so much better.

So how did I do? Pretty well for me: I spent $56.01 and saved $31.29 (37%)--proving that you can still coupon on the good stuff.
  • PRODUCE: I saved on produce by buying what was on sale: red peppers, broccoli, red grapes, asparagus, mushrooms, and bananas.
  • BREAD: I saved on fresh ciabatta bread with a $2 off $7 at the bakery coupon from Kroger's home mailer. Yes, there are cheaper breads but I won't buy crap bread. My sandwich bread would have been an awesome deal if they hadn't over-charged me. Nature Pride was on sale for $2.19 and I had a $1 coupon from the Kroger home mailer. Anyone know their policy for when they make a mistake?
  • DAIRY: I got one Voskos yogurt free with a coupon and a 4 pack of Activia for just $.88 with a $1 coupon from again, the Kroger home mailer. I got two blocks of Kraft cheese for $1.17 each and some shredded Kraft cheese for $.67 after coupons. The milk, half & half, and sour cream were just on sale.
  • DELI MEAT: I wasn't going to buy any deli meat, but HIllshire Farm was $3 each and I had 2 $1/1 printables, making them $2 each. I decided not to pass it up.
  • FREEBIES: I grabbed a treat for the kids: two Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, on sale for $1 each. I had 2 $.50 coupons (which were doubled). An e-saver took another $.40 off, making it a $.40 money maker. I did not get the Dove or Colgate freebies because the Dove deodorant was not marked as $2 and my coupon was for Colgate Total. It might have worked, but I wasn't going to push it.
My goal is to make it another 10 or 11 days before returning to the store. I'm hoping not exceed $200 in grocery or pharmacy shopping for all of February. So far I'm under $60. We'll see!

What are your tricks to surviving a Eat from the Pantry challenge?


  1. has a great feature for an ingrediant search. You can type in what you have on hand and find recipes to make. This has helped me so much when I look in the cupboard and say "what can I make with this???" :)

  2. Kroger's policy when they mistakenly charge you the wrong item on an item is to give you the first incorrect item free and refund the difference on the rest of the items you purchased. Bring your receipt to customer service and show them the price you were charged. They'll go see what price is listed in the store, and after verifying you were overcharged they'll refund the full price of the first loaf of bread you bought, and if you bought more than one, they'll give you the difference on the rest.

  3. I love using coupons, but sadly our little town only has 2 Piggly Wiggly's and a Wal Mart, the Pigs don't except computer printed coupons or gives no double values, so that leaves only Wal Mart in town that accepts PP Coupons. I wish we had a Kroger close by, but it is 56 miles away in another town.

  4. Thanks for the tip about Allrecipes; I use them all the time. I just found a recipe for leftover pork loin that I'm using tonight.

    Christy, thanks for the Kroger policy. Do I have to take it the same week as I bought it to prove the price?

    And Molly, I'm sorry you live so far from a store that supports couponing. My relatives are in the same boat and don't understand why I don't buy everything at Wal-mart. Hang in there!

  5. BTW, I took my receipt yesterday (weeks later) and they gave me the full price of the bread plus tax. Kroger is great!