Extreme Couponing Lesson 37: Stick to Your Plan or You'll Go Over Budget

BlogHer Original Post

I was worried about blowing our $125 a week grocery budget, but I thought we'd blow it because of our first farmers market trip of the year. Well, we definitely blew the budget, but we blew it because I didn't stick to the plan. And because I had a bad plan to start with. Let me show you what happened.

On Friday, I was feeling pretty good about the week. We went to Target and did the Q-tip deal I mentioned last week, and I tossed in a great dog food deal, as well. Total OOP was $20.38 and I got back two $5 Target gift cards.

shopping cart

Credit Image: Polycart on Flickr


Next stop was Jewel, where we bought a package of raspberries, a package of chicken breasts, a very large pork loin and two Purdue Shortcuts. Total OOP was $7.32.

Late Friday night, I pulled together the coupons to take for our weekly commissary trip, and this is where it all went to heck. I added some coupons that were going to expire but were well worth using -- even though we didn't really NEED any of those things right this second. TW and the kids added a few items to the list -- some of which I had coupons for, others I did not. I knew the trip was going to be higher than the $30-$40 I had originally hoped for, but I was feeling cocky and I didn't add any of those soon-to-expire Register Receipts I mentioned in last week's post. (Big mistake.) Total OOP was $55.62.

So going into Sunday morning, (drugstore day and first farmers market of the season day), we had $41.68 to spend. I still thought we'd be OK. And we would have if I hadn't totally blown my Walgreen's trip.

At CVS we did great, which is shocking since they didn't have some of the things I'd planned to buy in order to hit the $30 total for the gas card -- and we picked up a couple liters of Coke Zero because they were on sale and had movie theater coupon hang tags. The OOP was $5.09. Perfect, I was shooting for the $5 mark. Except ... only one ECB printed. I was short $1 for the gas card deal! Gah. No big deal, we passed a CVS later in the morning, and I ran in and grabbed my marshmallows for another OOP of $1.09. That was all just fine. Well within my original goal.

But at Walgreen's. Oy. TW did great. She bought four cans of Pringles and two jars of mayo and paid $1.28 OOP I, on the other hand, flubbed it. They didn't have one item I'd planned to buy. They didn't have the back-up item, either. I picked up a third thing to replace those, and I should have stopped right there -- but for some reason I had it in my head that I needed another $10 to use my soon-to-expire RRs. Yea. I totally blew it. My OOP was $16.68 instead of $5.68.

Oh, well. I shrugged it off and we enjoyed our first farmers market, even if they didn't have much produce (no, I'm not kidding.) We spent $25 OOP on cherries, potatoes, tomatoes, and honey. Grand total for the week: $132.46 (with $10 in gift cards, $1 in ECB, $4 in RRs, and two items for MIR totally $10.99).)

I don't even know where to start for next week!

I still have those two Target gift cards. I've got some OYNO Catalinas for Meyer that I have to spend before they expire. I've only got a $1 ECB at CVS and I've still got about $10 in Walgreen's RRs to burn.

There are some decent sales at both Walgreen's and CVS. We're running low on canned beans. We're almost out of milk. I'm hoping for more produce at the farmers market, because that would be nice, wouldn't it?

Do you think I should try to spend $7.46 less this week to make up for the overage last week? Or is it enough to learn from that poorly executed plan? What do you do when you go over budget?

~Denise
BlogHer Community Manager
Life. Flow. Fluctuate.

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