Grocery Stores Revisited

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I know we've talked about this before many times but I just don't understand. This morning I spent $100 at the grocery store and I barely bought anything. I might try meal planning, does that work?
I know! The prices on food are all over the place. When I buy the store brand for certain items, my husband reminds me that he has a job and I can buy the name brand. Snob.

My boys are really starting to eat quite a bit more now. I think I could really benefit from meal planning too, but I'm also a little bit lazy.

Cereal is almost $5 a box, chips are about $5 a bag when not on sale, avocados are $2.69 each, evaporated milk is $1.70 a can, chicken is over $5/lb, bread was getting up there (almost $5 for Orowheat) so I started buying the store brand since we eat so much of it.
I'm still reeling at the price of some things. I've started bulk buying meat when it's on offer, thankfully they seem to be on offer just after I get paid and using that throughout the month, I might get 2 months out of my last meat shop. I've started eating a lot more vegetarian food, beans, pulses and rice too.

I've seen the price of the cheapest bag of pasta rise from 9pence for 500g to 42pence in a month. I tried that pasta but I got bored because they only do penne and I'm trying to use wholewheat pasta now.

Milk is 1.49 for 2 litres.

I make my own bread so I just have to buy flour and yeast and I can make a good loaf for about 50pence.

I've tried menu planning. I just can't do it. I lack the organisation.
Fat does not make you fat. It's actually pretty important.
I'm about to go food shopping and I know I'm going o spend way to much money. But....!!!! I think meal planning is a big help and you don't get as much stuff that you really don't need for the week. I know if I get stuff we will eat it but sometimes it's not until a week later, this is why I try to meal plan. This week I plan on making lasagna (this usually is dinner for 2 nights and one lunch), some kind of grilled chicken (enough for a dinner and a lunch), sandwiches and salad ( I get enough for dinner and lunch for a few days in case one of my boys don't want leftovers) and then one day we will order pizza (this is only bc I get coupons from papa johns, lol). On the weekends we usually pick at what's in the freezer and fridge then I do the food shopping again on Sunday for the week. Now believe me when I say I sometimes buy stuff that's not on my list but not as much as if I dent have dinner planned out. There are things I know I have to get every week no matter what (milk, yogurt, fruit and things like that). And I think it saves a lot if you pack leftovers for lunch instead of buying, I only do leftovers only for lunch it's rare that I buy. Oh and one last thing always check out what's on sale before you go to the store. And don't be afraid to get store brand!!!! Target has awesome store brand stuff and giant as well. I hope all this helped, if not I feel better knowing how I save, lol.
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Have you tried couponing? You can go to sites like this The Frugal Find ? Save more. Give more. Live more. and learn how.

Depending on how in depth you do it you can get $100 worth of groceries for $15 I'm not exaggerating.

The only drawback is it does take a lot of time in planning and many of the foods you buy are processed and unhealthy. I'm a very healthy eater so I only coupon to a degree and it still helps a lot. However if you eat a regular american diet already you can drastically reduce your food budget and I mean drastically, with couponing. My sister in law feeds her family of 7 on less then $50 a week. But she does spend a lot of time on grocery trip planning.

I'm a vegan so I don't coupon as heavily as she does but I do use it a lot for household items and toiletries and some health foods. With couponing I've gotten 6 months worth of name brand toilet paper for less then $15 total and I never spend more then 50 cents on a box of name brand cereal etc... It's pretty amazing. My household budgeting has changed a lot since I've incorporated this into it.

Last edited by blissdrops; 08-21-2011 at 03:09 PM.
I second the couponing. I never pay more than a dollar or two for laundry detergent now and can usually get toothpaste, deodorant, and soap for almost free. You can't really coupon for meat, fruit and veggies, but you can shop the sale ads. Between the sale ads and coupons, I save about on my grocery bill. I never pay $5/pound for chicken. This week, Tom Thumb has boneless ch breast on sale for $1.99 a pound so I'm going to stock up.
I think that I deceive genius.
I do 'organized couponing', not 'extreme' couponing. I have about 3 or 4 inserts that I clip from every week, it takes about an hour to clip and organize into categories. I dont run out and spend the coupons just because I have them, I save them until the item goes on sale - even if I run to a couple different stores. When I go shopping, I have my coupon binder with me. I ONLY buy whats on sale AND what I have a coupon for. I average 50% savings every trip. It is worth the time I put into it.
My husband thought I was crazy when I told him about starting this, at the time he wasnt working full time and I am currently going back to school. After he saw how much we were saving he is all about couponing with me! Hes now working full time and were in a good place financially, but I still coupon the way I did before. I cant bring myself to pay full price when I know what I could have bought it for. I have a folder in my coupon binder with my 'hall of fame' receipts from my best shopping trips. We no longer dread the grocery store, we make it a game to see how much we can save!

ETA: We eat healthy in my house, I just pass over the fatty/unhealthy/candy coupons (which there a lot of), I watch for organic chicken, free milk, veggies on sale, and good cereal. I buy my natural all-purpose cleanser for .49 cents a bottle as well!
- 2C - Coarse Canopy & med/fine underlayers
- MOP C Hydrating 'poo
- LOreal Natures Therapy Moisturizing condish, ION Effective Care, Garnier S&S (old formula)
- treatments: CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Repair Me!
- plopping, diffusing, and clipping the roots

Last edited by Lucky Charm; 08-21-2011 at 03:49 PM.
I've never been any good at using coupons, but I do save money buying what's on sale at several different grocery stores. It doesn't save money having to drive to all the different stores, but maybe there's one close to your house and a different one close to or on the way to work. I just bought a huge frozen salmon fillet (5-6 servings) at Wal-Mart for $9! My local grocery store sells bags of frozen talapia fillets for only $7 (8 large fillets). A couple of weeks ago I bought a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp for $10 (you could easily stretch that into 2 meals if you add some veggies and serve over pasta).

I also like to remake my leftovers. I buy a couple of whole chickens and roast them...serve one for dinner and with the other one you could make enchiladas, tacos, or chicken salad, etc. Make a large batch of meatballs - have them with spaghetti for dinner one night, use the rest for meatball subs.
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I'm fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world." - Leigh Standley
I've never been any good at using coupons, but I do save money buying what's on sale at several different grocery stores. It doesn't save money having to drive to all the different stores, but maybe there's one close to your house and a different one close to or on the way to work. I just bought a huge frozen salmon fillet (5-6 servings) at Wal-Mart for $9! My local grocery store sells bags of frozen talapia fillets for only $7 (8 large fillets). A couple of weeks ago I bought a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp for $10 (you could easily stretch that into 2 meals if you add some veggies and serve over pasta).

I also like to remake my leftovers. I buy a couple of whole chickens and roast them...serve one for dinner and with the other one you could make enchiladas, tacos, or chicken salad, etc. Make a large batch of meatballs - have them with spaghetti for dinner one night, use the rest for meatball subs.
Originally Posted by kasden
The bolded is very true - I live in a very rural area and all the stores are literally on one main street, almost next door to each other, however if your stores are widespread I wouldnt recommend driving all over the city to save $2
- 2C - Coarse Canopy & med/fine underlayers
- MOP C Hydrating 'poo
- LOreal Natures Therapy Moisturizing condish, ION Effective Care, Garnier S&S (old formula)
- treatments: CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Repair Me!
- plopping, diffusing, and clipping the roots
My mom does couponing too, she's not extreme, but we will pay $1 for cereal, get toothpaste, tooth brushes, soaps, and many other things for free. And if you don't know how to do it there are several websites that you can follow to help you learn... here are some my mom uses::
Southern Savers – Coupons, Ads & Deals
Hip2Save - Not Your Grandma's Coupon Site
Totally Target Getting You More Red for Less Green! and
Free Stuff | Freebies | Free Samples - Hunt4Freebies I love watching your total come down, it's awesome, and then getting freebies in the mail. The other day I got some free nail rhinestones in and some lip gloss.
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I do 'organized couponing', not 'extreme' couponing. I have about 3 or 4 inserts that I clip from every week, it takes about an hour to clip and organize into categories. I dont run out and spend the coupons just because I have them, I save them until the item goes on sale - even if I run to a couple different stores. When I go shopping, I have my coupon binder with me. I ONLY buy whats on sale AND what I have a coupon for. I average 50% savings every trip. It is worth the time I put into it.
My husband thought I was crazy when I told him about starting this, at the time he wasnt working full time and I am currently going back to school. After he saw how much we were saving he is all about couponing with me! Hes now working full time and were in a good place financially, but I still coupon the way I did before. I cant bring myself to pay full price when I know what I could have bought it for. I have a folder in my coupon binder with my 'hall of fame' receipts from my best shopping trips. We no longer dread the grocery store, we make it a game to see how much we can save!

ETA: We eat healthy in my house, I just pass over the fatty/unhealthy/candy coupons (which there a lot of), I watch for organic chicken, free milk, veggies on sale, and good cereal. I buy my natural all-purpose cleanser for .49 cents a bottle as well!
Originally Posted by Lucky Charm
That's what I do, but I call it "realistic couponing." This week, I only saved 39%, but I bought a lot of non-coupon items such as deli meat and cheese, bananas, apples, and the green light bulbs. However, I did splurge and buy some coupon "junk items"....I couldn't pass up the oreos and brownie mixes.
VaughnTrego likes this.
I think that I deceive genius.
Another way to save money, if you learn when they do it stores sometimes have manager's specials on perishables close to the expiration date. You have to use it right away, but you can get some really good deals. I once found a huge thing of pork chops for only 2 dollars. I cooked a couple for dinner that night and used the rest for pulled pork sandwiches. It was enough to cover lunch for the rest of the week.
I get a rush when using coupons and I learned how to use them when I was a poor college kid. I have emailed or called the companies hotline so they would send me coupons. (Saying your in college and just trying to make it, tugged at heart strings)I try to shop on days where certain stores will double your coupons and when they're having sales. I also buy the generic brands if it's cheaper. I buy fruits/veggies from a local hispanic/korean supermarket. It's way cheaper there than at other big name grocery stores. They have limes set at 10 for a $1, plum tomatoes 89cents a lb, a bush of cilantro for 50 cents and the list goes on and they have a big variety. Instead of buying more expensive cuts of meat, I go for the cheap flank steaks and other tough beef. It's tasty when it has been marinated and tenderized. I buy a few cuts of london broil beef and cut into portions.It's only me and my boyfriend so I can make 1 slab last 3-4 meals. We don't buy soda or junkfood a lot because it's not necessary to live (tears. I love sweets) but, we will splurge on something every once in a while or I will bake something for my sugar fix. I get most of my household cleaning products from the dollar store and I stockpile it so I don't have to worry about it for a while. My boyfriend thought I was koo koo until he saw how much money he's saved.
I don't do much couponing, because the food's that have coupons are crap food that I don't want us to eat anyway, so I only really use coupons for laundry/toiletry items.

I do a modified-meal-plan type of shopping. The first place I go is the the case that has all the meats that are on "special". Sometimes I can get BOGO for whole roaster chickens or huge london broils that will feed us for a couple meals. If the deal is really great, I'll buy a lot of them. Once I have my meats selected, then I quickly think up meals to make with them and then visit all the aisles that have the ingredients. Then I hit the periphery of the store for fruits/veggies/dairy/bread. I buy a lot of store brand items. These days, though, I've been getting most of my fruits/veggies at a discount bulk market, and my dairy from a whole foods dairy place, so my "grocery" shopping has become quite a bit less. I have recently found a store that sells deli meats in bulk, for about 1/5 the price of what it costs to have them sliced at a deli, so I'm going to buy myself a slicer.

By doing all these things, I have gotten our food costs down to about $200 per week, for a family of 6, three of them large boys. Less if my older son is off at school...he's the biggest eater of all of us.
Oh yeah, and for the sweet tooth problem check out the baking isle. Those mixes are cheap, simple to make and give a lot more sweet for your buck.
I use coupons and we are members at BJs. They send out a coupon book monthly and they let you use their coupon and a mfg coupon. I buy my pastas, paper towels, toilet paper, detergents, canned products (crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes for example) at BJs. There are only 2 of us and we do not have extra freezer room so I typically do not buy bulk meats. I only clip coupons for items i use-i am not going to buy something just because i have a coupon. In the summer time I buy my veggies at local farmer markets or farm stands. Probably more expensive but I do like to support local farmers and it's fresher. I do sorta menu plan.

Just the amount we have saved on gas alone at BJs pays for the annual membership. SO travels 100 miles roundtrip to work daily.




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I shop at Aldi and PriceRite, and we have a huge local Asian supermarket that has veggies, herbs, tofu, noodles, and more incredibly cheap. I might forfeit having someone else bag my groceries for me, but it's worth it if I'm saving 50% on my grocery bills.

Also, Trader Joe's is much cheaper than Stop and Shop for almost everything that I can't find at the stores listed above.

I also can't stress how much I've saved from buying fewer pre-packaged and processed foods.
VaughnTrego likes this.

My trick is to set a price point that I won't go past. For produce that is usually $2-3 per pound.

I went shopping this morning and got:
4 apples
4 peaches
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
20 oz package of ground chicken
1 bread roll
1/2 gallon of milk

All that cost me $12.

At the risk of sounding racist (?), I figured out where the Hispanic people in my town shop and that's where I go. That store has the best deals and the freshest produce. They often have interesting items like fresh fava beans or nopales that I don't find at other stores. They have a great selection of freshly baked Ecuadorian bread.
Wow, I never thought about trying ethnic grocery stores for cheaper produce etc.

I will say my average week right now is 150.00. Granted this includes cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, groceries, etc. My other issue is living rural...that Walmart is the closest store...with gas so high not worth driving around.

Are you guys able to do the coupon thing at Wal-mart or does it have to be a regular grocery store like Albertson's or Kroger's etc.
You have people pack your bags at the supermarket?

I wish I had ethnic stores near my home. There's a carribean store near work. I might wander in next time I'm passing it.
Fat does not make you fat. It's actually pretty important.

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