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Amanda 06-11-2005 07:27 AM

How do you save money at the grocery store?
 
How do you reduce your grocery bill? Tell us here!

RobertaD 06-11-2005 10:46 AM

I use a combination of sales, coupons, multiple stores to get the most for my money and stock up when I can get the best prices.

Roberta

Sunshine04 06-11-2005 10:49 AM

I use coupons, rebates, shop at different stores for sale items. I stock up on such that we use often that will keep on pantry shelves & freezer. I make most meals from scratch use the microwave, my smaller convection oven & crock pot. That saves time & electric. When I can, I make enough for 2 meals & freeze one. There are ways of doing things if certain veg. are too high at the time you want them. Instead of fresh peppers you can get frozen chopped for cooking. When peppers are cheaper buy more & chop, dice, or in strips & freeze them yourself. They don't have to be blanched first. Onions can be done same way. When a reciepe calls for fresh tomatoes & they are high use can tomatoes. There are lots of ways to get around higher prices.

ladyIris23 06-11-2005 11:03 AM

I do all of the above. I mainly shop at Super Wal-mart but I watch the ads for the other stores in our area. I use coupons and also rebates. I have a pantry and an upright freezer that I use when I stock up on sale items. Yesterday I spent an hour grilling. I grilled 12 pork chops, 8 chicken breasts, 12 hamburgers, 6 steaks. All were purchased on sale when our local store had 25% off all the meat you can fit in a bag. I used my seal a meal and sealed them in 1 portions and then froze them. This way if I want chicken at 6:00 pm and my son comes home at 9:00 pm and wants a burger and my hubby wants a steak when he comes home from work at 7:00 am no problem just pop them in the microwave or the george foreman grill.
Iris

musicmom1 06-11-2005 11:48 AM

I generally use all of the above, but most important...I don't take my kids when I go. This helps me cut down on impulse buys!

the_panhandler 06-11-2005 12:41 PM

saving $
 
I shop at the "club" store once a month. I often share large quantities between three households for things like flour,sugar,catsup,mustard,vinegar and oil. This way we all get a lower per unit price.

VickiLynn 06-11-2005 12:46 PM

I try to do all the above -- although I've gotten very sloppy lately about using coupons. In addition, I grow some vegetables and do some bulk-cooking, and try to make as much as I can from scratch.

gwtw-mom 06-11-2005 01:27 PM

I only shop once a month (mainly because I hate grocery shopping in the first place). This forces me to create a monthly menu and bulk shop.

Also, all my purchases are either on sale or lower than the advertised sale price and then I use a coupon (try to find a store that doubles them) on top of that. One time when I did that trick I got 2 jars of Smucker's jelly for .25 cents each!

Also, I stick to a strict budget of $150 a month for groceries. That way I won't be tempted to buy something just because it's an awesome buy.

One last thing, I go with a list that is prepared according to the layout of the store so I don't have to worry about searching everywhere and then doing an impulse buy.

Doubling recipes (then freezing half), cooking from scratch, and buying off brand are other tricks I use.

ohiobarb42 06-11-2005 01:54 PM

1. I have everyone in family (of 5) make list of what they'd like to have foodwise and what they need for personal items.
2. I make up a week's menu taking into consideration what family members would like from their lists.
3. I check the local newspaper and store ads for sales items and make a list of the items I need or want to stock up on. I compare these against the menu and family lists.
4. I then make a Master Grocery List made up of items from the other lists and the menu.
5. I get out my coupons and discounts/rebate forms and put together all I can use for the items on the Master List. I use as many as I possibly can. Sometimes these may total as many as 25 or 30.
I NEVER buy anything just because it's on sale or have a coupon for an item unless I know I will use it, can it or freeze it for future use.
I ALWAYS make sure I have eaten shortly before I go grocery shopping. Reduces impluse buying greatly.
If I need a coupon for an item on sale and I don't have one, I ask friends if they have one and I trade with them for another coupon they need.
I take only enough cash with me to cover what I think the cost of the groceries and a cup of coffee after shopping will come to.. (I get the coffee on the way home in the car / reduces temptation to spend more money in a restaurant.)
Any money left over from the cash I had prior to shopping gets put in a cash box and saved until it accumulates to an amount that can be used for something special for the family, an activity, eat out night, etc.

lautton2002 06-11-2005 01:54 PM

saving at the grocery store
 
I do all of the above but also go to our local grocery outlet, the brands may be from other areas of the country but the food is still good quality. Canned veggies are about 39cents a can, name brands are less than half of instore prices. I have a huge pantry, upright freezer and space for bulk storage of paper products.
I buy in quanity when on sale and seldom ever pay full price for anything!
I've also quit buying paper napkins, I've picked up fingertip towels for less than $ each, they last for years. I keep a small wastebasket of worn out cut up towels that I use to wipe up spills etc, no paper towels. We have a picnic box in the car from spring thru fall, with plastic dinnerware, old silverware cups and glasses. A picnic is as easy as a take out from the grocery store if we are caught out or from home if I plan for it.
I also buy cleaning supplies at other places than the grocery store
big box stores are usually cheaper than the local grocery for all cleaning supplies. I buy Simple Green by the gallon and dilute to specs, cheap and good. In the kitchen I use vinegar and water!
My motto is never buy today what will go on sale tomorrow.

Linda C.

Raggd3 06-11-2005 02:53 PM

WOW! What great ideas. This thread is a really good idea. Thanks, Amanda.

I have always used a list. I make up a weekly menu of frugal but nutricious meals.

If I have coupons and/or rebates, I buy those items if they were something I would normally get.

One week every couple months I make meals using just the freezer and pantry. That uses up what's there and saves me from having to spend any money that week.

mowire 06-11-2005 03:31 PM

shopping..
 
I TRY to remember to use coupons!! it has to be on sale!! go by myself soemtimes faster and no extras.Look at marked down stuff like cereal boxes that are smashed!! sometimes cans.{hey dogs dont care if its a dented can :)}
sometimes the dairy or meat from the day before is marked down!!
I havent done any rebates in a LONG time!!!!! too bad.
thats all I think.

Vrsherren 06-11-2005 04:07 PM

My Husband thinks I'm nuts
 
I get all the adds together, see what is on sale and the best prices map out a route. Two of the stores (Super Wal-mart & Schnucks) will honor the adds of other stores so if I don't want to go everywhere I go to one of those with all my adds. I also have a list that I stick to, so before going I decide what I'm willing to cook for the 2 weeks and get evryone's opinion of what they want to snack on and get what is good for them ;)
Our Sam's Wholesale Club has a great meat selection, and a great rating with the health dept. I buy the center porkchops that come 9 in a pack because it gives us 3 meals. I buy the steaks the same way. Its less expencive buying the larger or bulk pkg than the smaller. DH likes the more pricy cuts of meat so buying in bulk will give him what he wants. He also loves meatloaf, and the meat dept. blend for meatloaf is pricy, so I buy lean hambugar and use ground turkey together. Put a little Lipton Onion soup mix (or store brand) and he can't tell so he is happy.
We use instant milk to cook with instead of fresh for 2 reasons. #1 its cheaper and #2 its fat free! But do not buy generic instant milk! It will leave a taletell taste. Sam's had a good brand or use Carnations.
We also go to a family owned and operated produce store. I can get lettuce and tomatoes there much cheaper that any other store, not to mention other fresh veggies. This place used to be an old gas station and isn't the prettiest of places to shop, but has a good health dept. rating and can't beat the service or prices!
I don't know how many of you live near "Pick your own" farms, but we do. We pick blueberries, plums, peaches, nectarines, and black berries to freeze, make jams, pie fillings, or just to eat. I'm type 2 diabetic and I make my own jams and syrups without sugar. Its fun to make and much cheaper than what is in the stores!
I keep 2 sets of sisters (4 girls from 8 to 13 and 2 are mildly retarded or slow to learn) whenever they are out of school and we do it all together. They learn how to compare prices, which is more economical, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and the budget doesn't streach we do! When we go its in the morning and we can take all day if necessary, but haven't gone past lunch yet. They take their "helping" very serious and they don't ask for anything. Yes, I have trained them well :-D




Vivian:wave2:

AnnaInOhio 06-11-2005 04:39 PM

Wow Amanda

Great thread!

We save at the store these days by using coupons on items that we would normally use or if it's a super great price, will try with a coupon.

We have 2 deep freezers and 2 refrigerators so I stock up especially in the winter season with frozen veggies, fish, etc.

Someone mentioned buying fresh versus frozen in off season and she was so right. We have found chopped bell peppers at very reasonable prices (frozen) versus buying them fresh. We use them in alot of things... our homemade salsa, meatloaf's, in our burgers. We also buy onions frozen when we want them for cooking, they are very cheap. If I chop a onion and don't use it all, I freeze the rest of it.

Just a few things I can think of.

Anna

LI Roe 06-11-2005 05:24 PM

Even though it is just me (retired widow, 53, no kids) I use coupons for nearly everything. I walk daily and make sure I have my little envelope of coupons, use them at the grocery store, the book stores, even stores like Linens & Things (which accepts competitors coupons) and craft stores (most do the same with competitors coupons) so if I happen to wander into a store, I check out what is on sale (even better with food store coupons). I stock up on sale items also. When I can't carry the heavy items, then I take my car but most of the time I am walking with my little packages.

I also grill a bunch of stuff and freeze it. Then when it gets too hot to really cook, just defrost and zap it in the microwave. During the winter, I'll cook up a storm of different dishes, freeze it in individual portions and it's ready when I want it. One of my food stores usually marks down meat in the morning (and the sell by date is usually a few days away, in our favor) so I check out that case. One of the local small markets often has bagged bagels for a great price so I pick up a couple of bags and pop them into the freezer.

I'll try store brands, often there isn't a noticeable difference and sometimes it is less expensive than the name brands (unless I have a coupon). I used to buy non-dairy creamer, now I buy the non-fat dry milk in bulk at BJ's and use that in my coffee. Better for you healthwise. I check out the discount and dollar stores, and they somethings have items I can use (I always check expiration dates, some are way past the date). Fortunately, the grocery stores in my area have ongoing double coupons. Have gotten shampoo bottles for as little as 15 cents a bottle. And Thomas multi grain English muffins for 9 cents a package at one time, it was on sale for $1.59 and I had a 75 cent coupon that was doubled.

I also use old towels and tee shirts as rags when I don't want to use paper towels. For some garbage stuff that is too heavy for bags, I get boxes from the liquor store and use them to throw the stuff out in. Also, use them when I trim my hedges, saves on plastic bags.

My goal is to get the most I can for the least amount of money.

And my two favorite words are sale and clearance.

LI Roe

ditzy46 06-11-2005 06:14 PM

At our county library we have coupon swaps. People come in with coupons they don't want and swap with other people for ones they do want, works out pretty good. We also have a big basket full of the coupons that we just drop off. It sits on a long table so that you can take out a bunch and spread them out on the table to look at without rushing through them.

dinsky 06-11-2005 07:50 PM

I clip coupons; when items I use on a regular basis go on sale, I buy an extra; I converted an very large hall closet into a pantry, put a cabinet and a freezer in the garage to hold items; I shop at a warehouse store ONLY for those items that are less expensive; I am consistent about getting rebates; I occasionally shop through discount web sites to get good deals.

The amount the grocery bill is lowered, the amount of a rebate, or any money that is "saved" goes into a special bank account. That account is used for Christmas and occasionally a special gift for my husband (ie valentine's day or anniversary). Whatever is in that account is what we use for Christmas. It is an incentive to save money wherever we can.

:wigg:

stellajean66 06-11-2005 09:18 PM

I too, use coupons and sales items to save money at the grocery store.

cat lover 06-12-2005 04:47 AM

I use coupons when it will almost make the item free or it makes the item a really good buy. I also shop at various stores and the coupns are only used at a store that doubles them so I usually pay less than 25 cents for an item with a coupon. I don't have a "shopping day or a particular store" to shop at. Buy generic or store brand as much as possible, bulk buy at Sam's Club. Since it is just the two of us I buy what is on sale and cook around that instead of "wants", unless I'm making a recipe that I need a particular item for. We have a vegetable garden that we eat out of as long as it is growing and a close farm sells produce cheap that I get what I don't grow. We have started apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, and peach trees. Grow blackberries gooseberries, elderberries, raspberries and strawberries. We also have black walnut trees, pecan trees, and have hickory nut trees. Still want to start a small grape arbor and plant some blueberies. I use a freezer to stock up on sale items and hardly ever buy anything unless it is on sale. Bake a lot and also use my bread machine!

:cat:

danstigerangel 06-12-2005 07:13 AM

I use coupons, stock up on sales items, and go to a few discount stores. I always shop by myself and this allows me to find in store specials, etc.

:-: Lauri

trekmom 06-12-2005 03:39 PM

when I think about it, I use coupons, rebates when there is one and sales. I usually use cash or atm card, but I'm not always by myself-alot of the time, but not everytime I go shopping.
I work at Wal~Mart so I usually shop before I go home. Wal~Mart does competitive ads-they will meet prices of other local stores-within 50 miles; but they don't do free ads-like the buy 1 get 1 free stuff. I'll go to the other stores for those ads. I get an added bonus working at Wal~Mart, I can use my discount card for some items-not food, actually not what is considered staples but some snacks will get discounted. I never really know so I always use my card when I shop at Wally World.
I also like to get to Sam's, although I don't go as often as I'd like to. My mom and dad really like the meats there so I try to take them there every month or so-in fact I think we'll try to get there after my mom's dr. appointment this Thursday and have lunch also through the demo's at Sam's.(another way to save money)

Jora 06-12-2005 05:46 PM

Every week, I shop the sales at the local Kroger affiliate.

About once a month, we hit Sam's Club.

And I participate in the SHARE co-op (www.sharecolorado.com).

I have 2 fridges, both with attached freezers. AND a 20-cu-ft upright (my Precioussss.)

meari 06-13-2005 08:04 AM

I use all of the above when I can. I only go to the store once or twice a month. I also get things at discount stores such as Aldi's and the dollar stores. Incidentally, a couple weeks ago I picked up a free recipe book put out by Aldi's using only Aldi's products -- they were fairly simple and looked delicious! The nice thing about it was it told how much the recipe would cost to make.

Vrsherren 06-13-2005 08:43 AM

Freezer!
 
I've been trying to talk my stingy DH into a freezer for what seems like forever! I could really stockup and save more, but since we have 1 storm a year where we are out of power for a couple of days to a week he doesn't want to get even a small one! Of course we are talking about the guy that will go to the store 3 or4 times a week without a list because he has a craving :worm: Can't save if someone is shooting you in the foot!




Vivian

webe 06-13-2005 12:43 PM

How Do I Save??
 
I stop feeding the kids!! (just kidding)ROFLMAO
Vivian, I know the feeling about trying to shop around a compulsive buyer!! But I HAVE managed to " plant"coupons in my SO's car, and when he calls me from work to ask if I need anything, I tell him YES.... then explain where the coupons are for the item I want....works wonders!!:clapp:
But when I am going shopping, I plan by the coupons and the sales...I usually shop at a local store (Market Basket/DeMoulas) but if Shaw's has a good 10 for $10. or another good sale that works with my coupons, I go there just for the items, as it is not out of my way, I have to pass right by it to get to my regular store. But coupons and store brands work well for the family. As well as the damaged/discontinued goods, I do like to hit the managers specials in the meat dept. Frozen veggies work wonders on keeping the spending down...and keeping the cost of meat at bay, as I make casseroles, and use the veggies as a filler.(a sneaky way of filling the boys up without the calories)
I do stock up on canned goods, but try to limit it to when there is a sale, or I have coupons- works well when I have both to work with.
When meats are on sale I freeze them in a very small upright freezer.
I just renewed my Sam's club card, so am hoping to save even more in the future!!
webe~

sharona 06-13-2005 02:58 PM

I, too, do all of the above. We don't get a Sunday paper, as our local paper is only once a week. I have found a website that lists all of the ads, so I check there before I begin my trek to the stores. the website is Sunday Saver and you can find it at www.sundaysaver.com It's interesting to check prices in other areas of the country as well.

Lorrieee 06-13-2005 08:54 PM

Wow! excellent thread ladies! I am learning so much, thank's FC community for the education on the things that matter.
:jump2: :yakk: :clapp:

twstr 06-14-2005 07:31 AM

So many GREAT ideas on this board. Kudos to all. To add to the list, I am on a coupon train (mine is CrazyforSavings.com/) There are some really good ones out there. Another good one is with www.thegrocerygame.com/ This is a program that has a printable list for the grocery store you choose showing marked down prices...(sometimes even lower than the advertised sales). You can try it out for $1 for four weeks. If you like the savings (Who wouldn't?), you pay $10 every two months. $5 for any additional store you may choose to add.
www.thegrocerygame.com also features a board where members discuss all the really best savings going on around town. These postings include various stores, including stores like Walgreens, Walmart, Rite-Aid, Long's etc.,. If any of you would like to check out this web site and decide to join, would you please give credit to me so I can get some 'free' time with the site? You will need to add my name and email. Other than being a paid subscriber, I am in no way affiliated with the site.
Thanks Ladies and Gents...Happy shopping...
God bless...

Mary McLuckie

Edited by moderator for EMAIL ADDRESS. Please don't put your email addresses in your posts. This is for your own safety & privacy. If you wish to exchange those, please do that through PMs. If you have any questions, contact barbszy.

Vrsherren 06-14-2005 02:42 PM

We've forgotten..........
 
one of the most important rules for grocery shopping!

Never, Never go before you've eaten a meal!! Any food looks wonderful if your hungry, and they count on that. That's why the candy is near the checkouts, and the special displays in the store featuring a product.
When I worked at Wal-mart we were told to put certain items in certain places so people would be tempted to buy them. Useful little things that add up quickly. Next time you're in Walmart and walk down the "Action Alleys" you'll see what I mean!


Eat before you shop so you won't be tempted! ;)

Vivian:wave2:

Deidra 06-15-2005 07:09 AM

Saving on Grocery Shopping
 
I keep price lists to compare sales, I also start out going to Go Grocery (a grocery outlet store) first sometimes to ALDI's and then follow up by going to the grocery store that has the most sales on items I plan on buying. I buy some stuff at Sams Club but you have to check prices sometimes they are higher. They also do not take coupons. And it is easy to impulse buy also . I love Grocery shopping. Once a year we purchase a whole cow and have it prepared at a local meatcutters, we also buy our veggies at the local farmers market (much cheaper and helps local farmers stay in business). Much fresher also. I also use coupons and try to shop at stores where you get double or triple coupons, I buy all my non-food related items at Dollar general, Freds, Walmart, Target etc... and use coupons their.

RobertaD 06-15-2005 10:56 AM

I just had $7.57 refunded to me by checking my register tape and bringing two wrong prices on three items to the attention of customer service. Using Kroger's price guarantee they gave me the money for the two items and the price difference on the duplicated third item.

I carry my coupons with me saving any that I might use and by doing this I was able to get 2 pair of hose for free. I found Leggs & Nonsense in the clearance carts for $.99 and had $1 & $.55 which was doubled up to $1 with me.

Roberta

VickiLynn 06-15-2005 11:19 AM

Roberta - good job checking your register tape. That's something I always forget to do.

Raggd3 06-16-2005 07:28 AM

Roberta, good to see you were right on the ball. I know a lot of times we assume the receipt is correct because a machine does it.

You just proved we can't take anything for granted. Machines make mistakes too.ROFLMAO

I just took a class in nutrician(sp.). And one of the things that was pointed out to us was that we tend to cook too much food each meal. This encourages people to overeat.

So I'm going to cook less, thereby making 2 meals out of the same amount of food.

Hopefully the smaller portions will help us lose a little weight. As well as save money.

webe 06-16-2005 09:32 AM

Maryann~

Yes from all I read and hear we as Americans eat way to large of portions, thus spending too much on food...I too am trying to make what was once 1 meal for the family into 2 meals... but finding it slow in the going, because the rest of them need to shrink their stomachs....(inside and out) mine was shrunk due to illness. Sooooo.... another trick I have discovered, and I am hoping between that and summer heat, by the fall, they will have a smaller appetite (sp), try to make each person set their fork/spoon down between each bite, then have them do that and chew atleast 15 (preferrably 20 times), this gives the brain time to catch the signals from the stomach, I am still trying to make a game of this... may have to make it a competition to really get it to work without me standing there... LOTS of veggies is another $$ saver...I always check the MGRS. specials and check the frozen veggie sales... fill them with salad and veggies.... if they ask for seconds they get veggies or salad. My 13yr old even asks for salad for desert (now that he knows that sweets are limited)
Saving $$ at the stores, and calories at home....what a Sweet deal!!

Roberta...Good going!! I had a register that was messed up, and a cart full of deals... was a big mess, but the cashier had me take the reciept to the courtesy booth, and I walked out with $17- and change in my pocket...(or should I say back in my pocket)

Sue~

Deidra 06-16-2005 10:49 AM

Watch Register Receipts Everywhere
 
In regards to double checking register receipts at grocery stores. Well make sure you check all register reciepts. I live in NC and one of our discount chain stores is known for having things ring up higher than the shelf/listed price. My uncle works for the state and he goes around and shops in stores and checks their checkouts for accuracy. This one Major STORE Chain does not care that it is going on and after the third time my uncle threatened to close their doors the management told him that only 1 in 10 people come back and complain. Think about it if each item is overpriced by 1 cent x how many items sold just how much extra money that makes them. I check all my receipts and keep up with prices in my head till checkout. I am forever catching mistakes. I try to avoid shopping at this major chain due to their attitude my uncle was irate. Hint: Its not Walmart or Target and Martha Stewart is on every shelf.

Deidra

RobertaD 06-16-2005 01:29 PM

On my price errors, I was at the store Tuesday night 11:00 pm and went back Wednesday afternoon 12:30 pm the cheese's tag was last weeks sale that was not pulled on Sunday night (sale price & coupon made the Kraft cheese the same price as the store brand cheese sale price) and the towlet bowl cleaner was a discontinued fragrance that the sale price was never put into the register. So I got the cheese, and 1 towlet bowl cleaner for free and the $.85 price difference on the 2nd cleaner.

I always quickly scan the register tape before I leave any store but don't always catch an error at the store. It is much easier to correct right then.

Roberta

kcqueenm 06-18-2005 08:55 AM

I always try to eat first because if I shop when I'm hungry I ttend to over spend everything looks good when I'm hungry.:sausa:

Vrsherren 06-18-2005 09:45 AM

:typ: I'm always carring my adds with me, and watching the prices as they ring up. If I see them make a mistake, I'll stop them right there. If necessary, I've even gotten the manager to come straighten it out. So now when I pick a checkout the cashier really watches what she is doing as well as scanning in the right prices.




Vivian

Lucky47 06-19-2005 03:24 AM

Grocery shoppinng savings
 
When my all my kids were home I would use a few of the above but what really helped us was , planning my meals in advance and what ingredients I'd need for those meals everyday. Then I'd try to go alone so I didn't have tons of foods put into the carriage. Once I picked up everything for the meals I'd planned, it was always so much cheaper than impulse shopping which I could really get into. Stocking up on sale items we used always helped too.

gkp1031 11-25-2005 06:40 PM

I'm on the road all day, every day for work. So, I carry my coupons with me and I shop at all the stores I go by. I make my lists at home using the sale ad, I attach the coupons I'll use to the list and I stick to the list--no excuses!! Its like a game for me....how much can I save??


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