Meal Planning with Coupons

I’ve heard quite a few times, “But I just don’t use/buy the things there are coupons for, so couponing wouldn’t really save me any money.”

If you buy pasta, rice, potatoes, canned soups, chili, vegetables, fruit, beans, milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, packaged meat (lunchmeat, hot dogs, sausage, tuna, etc.), bread, cereal, oatmeal, flour, sugar, spices, baking mixes, cookies, crackers, candy, granola bars, medicine, diapers, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, makeup, batteries, ETC., couponing will save you money.

Before I started couponing I thought I was a frugal shopper. I would pour through my favorite cookbooks to plan out the meals I wanted to make that week, make a grocery list, and then go shopping. I was pretty good at sticking to my list and buying “cheaper” generic brands. When I came home I had bags of groceries full of the ingredients for my weekly meals and snacks, and usually a few treat splurges as well.

My grocery total was almost always $80-100 a week for our family of (then) four. When I started couponing my weekly bill dropped to $35-50 a week because I started using coupons, but also because I drastically changed the way I planned my meals for the week.

  1. Now instead of planning my meals I plan my shopping trip first. I look through the grocery ad to determine sales.
  2. I find the coupons I need to match those sales.
  3. I plan my weekly meals based on the ingredients on sale that week (or from my pantry/freezer stockpile). 
  4. THEN I go shopping.

(And can I let you in on a little secret? Cooking with the couponed ingredients is working much better and my meals are often healthier and cheaper than they were when I was doing the beans and rice challenge!)

How about a recipe? This one uses ingredients that are on sale this week and will get you in the mood for Thanksgiving!

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

The ingredients:

  • 1 pouch stuffing mix ($0.25 after coupon)
  • 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup (free after coupon)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or milk ($0.17)
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (on sale for $1.99/lb)

Mix stuffing mix with 1 2/3 cups hot water; set aside. Cube chicken and place in a casserole dish. Mix soup and sour cream (or milk) and pour over chicken. Spoon stuffing over top. Bake uncovered at 375F for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Serves 4.

Variation: Substitute 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey (Thanksgiving leftovers!!) and bake until the casserole is hot and crispy on top (approx. 20 min.)

It’s a very filling all-in-one kind of meal. I served it with a can of green beans (on sale this week for $0.50). Total for meal: $2.91!

Want to learn more about cooking based on what’s on sale? Good! Every Thursday we’ll be doing just that :). I’m teaming up with {superstar} Erin Chase, author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook to bring you a weekly Bargain Meal based on what’s going on at Kroger. (But don’t pout if you don’t shop at Kroger, these meals will will definitely apply to you too!)

BargainMealoftheWeekButton Bargain Meal of the Week

Linked to Life as Mom

5 Comments on Meal Planning with Coupons

  1. Aja Shoup
    November 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm (5 years ago)

    I am going to Aldi’s in Etown today. They are super ubber cheap too!!

  2. angie
    November 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm (5 years ago)

    I so love that recipe it was a staple in mom in laws menu

  3. Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs
    November 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh my GOSH!! You are gonna be famous. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!! (Oh, and you HAVE to try the meat loaf.)

    BTW – I could use some great coupon binder dividers!! Know anyone who has some pretty ones?

    • pameladonnis
      November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm (5 years ago)

      @Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs,
      Kelleigh, you should do Safeway!!!! DO IT! DO IT!
      Meatloaf is on my plan for this weekend!!
      Ugh, the binder dividers are half done sitting on my computer!! Let me get this Christmas kit done and then I will finish! Thanks for the push ;).

  4. Chelle
    November 11, 2010 at 5:01 am (5 years ago)

    You are such an inspiration! Yesterday at the checkout line I was thinking, “Pam would be so proud of me” because I had $16.55 in coupons. LOL! Usually I’m too lazy to use coupons…

    Now I have an envelope full of them, but I’m still not organized enough to use them efficiently.

    I will be watching for more of these ideas.


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