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Is it just me, or...(grocery store sales)

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
Do you find that if you eat healthy and BASIC and as little prepackaged as possible that there are almost never good sales in the flyers????

I just got my store flyer this week. Other than pork roasts, and certain fruits that I buy, and o yes, Oral B toothbrushes for 1.69 each, there was NOTHING on sale that I would have on my grocery list or would use with my cooking style. I was dismayed to find that probably 95% of the foodstuffs in the flyer were packaged things...Hamburger Helper, Lipton Noodle prepackaged side dishes, etc. For you fellow Canadians, I am talking a Superstore flyer here. The Sobey's and Safeway ones were not any better.

Anyone find this where they live? It's maddening to me to hear all the frugal advice to "plan around the loss leaders/flyers" for your menu, but then when that flyer comes it is useless.... I use cloth pads/divacup, and vinegar/baking soda type cleaning, so even alot of the household stuff doesn't apply to me! Even with sticking to "basics" though I find food expensive...for example, dairy is expensive here and we eat alot of it, although I make my own yoghurt. So is meat, although I have a BIL who works IT for a poultry company and I get 20kg chicken breasts boneless skinless at a pop for 7.00/kg so that helps.

OK, rant over, LOL! Anyone else find the same thing???
post #2 of 87
Yes. Almost all coupons and sales are for pre-packaged stuff that I never buy. And if you eat organic, it is even worse. I have always been intrigued with the grocery games but there is literally nothing that I can use involved.
post #3 of 87
No, I don't find that at all produce, meat, nuts, dairy goes through price cycles just as well.
post #4 of 87
I find it depends on the time of year. Loss leaders right now seem to be local foods--carrots, potatoes, onions, and apples. Clementines are coming into season and all the major chains here have them on sale this week. Butter is cheap this week. Flour is on sale at a couple of places. Eggs go on sale about every 5-6 weeks. Cheese goes on sale about every 2-4 weeks. Pasta goes on sale regularly. I've even seen sales for vegetable and olive oils.

A lot of the sale foods are prepackaged crap, but look around next time you're at the supermarket--that's what most people are filling their cart with. That's also what most of the supermarket is filled with and where the biggest mark up comes in.

I do get annoyed that certain of our staples never really seem to go on a good sale--big bags of rice, canned beans, canned tomatoes, dried beans and lentils. I have to go to a warehouse store to get the 10kg bags of oatmeal that last us 2-4 months depending on time of year; all supermarkets sell are the tiny bags. Dried fruit and nuts and chocolate chips I buy at costco because I'm always shocked at the grocery store prices for the smaller bags.
post #5 of 87
Yes, I completely 100% relate. There is almost NEVER anything we'd buy in the flyers, with the exception of a fruits/veggies and dairy, though I wish they would include organic dairy more often so I could actually afford to buy organic dairy.

Things I wish would go on sale more frequently, or would allow for coupon purchases:
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour, unbleached bread flour, white whole wheat flour, or regular whole wheat flour
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Bags of dry beans
  • Yeast
  • Honey
  • Dried herbs and spices, as well as fresh herbs

At this time I do my best to get these things in bulk when I can afford to do the purchasing at one time, and I try to buy at the stores (according to type of food) where they are sold most cheaply, though sometimes depending on travel that isn't cost effective.

I don't eat meat, but I also can no longer afford to buy organic dairy, even though on the list of the worst foods to eat non-organic, dairy is second only to meat...before all types of fruits and veggies.

If there were occassional sales or coupons that made these items somewhat close to the cost of non-organic, I'd be much better able to buy:
  • Organic cheese
  • Organic milk
  • More organic fruits and veggies
  • Unbleached or recycled toilet paper...and...
  • More humanely raised, organic eggs

I do try to get my eggs from friends who have chickens. But we go through eggs at a pretty good clip (even though we hardly ever eat "eggs" per se, scrambled, fried or otherwise...it is in most things we bake and lots of things we cook as well) and need to supplement.

Butter isn't on my list for now because I haven't found an organic butter that I like the taste of anyway, even though butter is a "luxury," as it is on the expensive side.

I do understand the higher cost of producing organics, but I also know that some of this is market stuff, and I'd like to see more sales targeted in this market with things other than organic granola bars and stuff (which we don't buy...if we want granola or granola bars as a treat, we make our own).
post #6 of 87
Yes, most of the stuff on sale is stuff we don't buy But I have been able to find a few good buys on non-organic staples anyway. $1.49 for 18 pack of eggs, canned tomatoes and beans at 2/$1.00, real whole grain breads 4/$5, butter 4/$5, whole chickens .69 a pound. At least those are pretty good prices for around here. Last week was the first week I went to 2 stores in one day, just because of some of the deals. I am a pretty strict shopper though, list, coupons, sales flyer, etc. I will buy some prepackaged foods like granola bars or fresh pasta if they are on sale AND I have a coupon. Having some foods on hand saves time and that is something I have to look at too. Last Sunday, after we went to the grocery store, I spent all afternoon cooking and baking consecutive recipes in the oven to save energy. My dd kept wanting to play, and Sunday is my only day off...I like cooking, but I like to play too.

Overall I have seen prices dropping on most grocery items. Things like maple syrup and chocolate chips are sky high though.
post #7 of 87
I think that following the sale fliers are going to have lots of junk in them. And from what I have heard the whole coupon thing in Canada is much, much more limited. However, the store I grocery shop in most often marks things down on clearance pretty often (they are not in the sales flyers though). I bought a couple of bags of Bob's Red Mill beans for 50% off this week.

A few weeks back I bought several bags of Cascadian Farms frozen fruits in the clearance area. I used coupons for them (which the store doubled). I think I ended up with 9 bags total for about $3 total (I think the regular price for a single bag was more than that). I also don't have a good local source for blueberries. (I buy and freeze u-pick strawberries and raspberries, have forgaging sources for apples, raspberries, and grapes, and buy big bag of fresh cranberries from a farm stand once a year.)

I have also noticed that often when there is a big seasonal produce sale that sometimes the organics are included in the promo. I can get stone fruits (peaches, plums, necterines) at the same price as convential the two or three week per year that they are truly in season. I have found the same for California grapes. That basically is the only time I buy them.

I also frequently find coupons for the Organic Valley dairy items (which are local for me). They do go on sale once in a while too. Lundberg rices are also something that I have found good deals on (like almost as cheap as the cheap white rice.

Other things that are frequently have good deals are Glen Muir products. Lots of diehard couponers end up with lots of free/cheap Glen Muir items even if they pay almost no attention to eating healthy.
post #8 of 87
I just got a coupon flier from my grocery store, and yes, there is a lot of junk in it. But, it also has coupons for #5 potatos/99cents, canned tuna 59cents, flour 99cents, butter $1.40 and orange juice 99 cents. It is not ideal, but it does help.
post #9 of 87
Yes, same here.

Folks who eat pre-packaged food will save money on their usual purchases. Not most anyone else around here.
post #10 of 87
I can empathize. Canadian too.

One place I've found whole food savings is Bulk Barn. Every so often they have a coupon that's 15% off your whole purchase. I think I get them when I shop at Bulk Barn...as I don't get flyers. Not sure if there is Bulk Barn out west.
I try and take solace in knowing the food we buy and eat is real food that is good for our bodies.
post #11 of 87
I shop for basics (flour, rice, beans, veggies, fruits, meats, dairy, etc). I don't use the flyers or shop multiple stores, but I still find I can save a lot on sales at my ONE store.

I shop once a week, and tour the store checking prices for "things I use". When they are on sale (and lots of things go on sale every 3 weeks or so), I stock up. 8 cheeses (4blocks, 4 shredded), bags and bags of froz spinach, green beans, and okra (favs here), bags of beans, 2 bags of flour, 3 packages of yeast (9 envelopes total), etc. Then I am usually good until it cycles onto sale again. If I need something in between sales, I buy just enough for the week--and then check again the next week to see if it is on sale.

Often $80 worth of groceries is knocked down to $50 for me, just with in store savings and no coupons.
post #12 of 87
Yes, absolutely. I have a friend who was a big Grocery Gamer and I tried cutting coupons w/ her but I couldn't/wouldn't eat any of the stuff that she was buying. We have a Sprouts that has good ads/deals, but my Kroger is all like the OP wrote--Hamburger Helper and other various cr*p. I'd love to find a BOGO for Cascadian Farms or organic meat/dairy/produce.
post #13 of 87
Yep. I have a friend who routinely brags that she used to spend $800/month and now spends only $200/mo feeding her family of 5. She is a "couponer." But the stuff she buys is all packaged dry junk food.

Is there no way to use coupons for big savings on real food? Fresh produce, real meat? I am jealous of her savings but is there a way to do it w/out crap carby foods as your staple?
post #14 of 87
I don't really find that to be true. Prefabricated junk does go on sale, but so do other things. Things like beans and rice I get cheaply at ethnic stores, so it doesn't bother me that they aren't on sale in the regular supermarket often.

I don't buy much organic, but I don't buy much prefabricated stuff. Meat, produce, and dairy all go on sale. I buy lots of canned tomato products which go on sale, as do things like olive oil, pasta, oatmeal, various cereals, coffee, tea, etc.
post #15 of 87
I find this to be true, too, and it's nice to see others feel the same way. Part of it is that I shop the military commissary, which tends to be an average of 30% below retail, and I think the other part of it is product positioning. Just as Hamburger Helper pays to be put at eye level, they pay to be put on sale. This is why you'll usually find that the healthier, cheaper foodstuff is either on the top or bottom shelf at the store. It's also why you never find coupons for it or see it in the sales flyers...it's already the cheapest around and therefore the company can't afford to spend the big bucks on marketing.

I did manage to "save" $30 with coupons a few times at the grocery store, but I was buying stuff that I wouldn't normally buy and I didn't really like the fact that my food standard was lowered by the desire to "save" money. I prefer to shop fresh foods, in season, and to look for good buys on our meat and stock up the meat drawer in the freezer when I find a good deal. I think that works better for us.
post #16 of 87
Originally Posted by yeahwhat View Post
I do get annoyed that certain of our staples never really seem to go on a good sale--big bags of rice, canned beans, canned tomatoes, dried beans and lentils. I have to go to a warehouse store to get the 10kg bags of oatmeal that last us 2-4 months depending on time of year; all supermarkets sell are the tiny bags. Dried fruit and nuts and chocolate chips I buy at costco because I'm always shocked at the grocery store prices for the smaller bags.
I find great sales on canned beans/tomatoes often. I can get 10 28oz cans of various tomato products (crushed, diced, sauce, puree, whole) for $6.90 every 4-6wks. I buy 20 cans, and it lasts a long time. Same for beans. Dried beans, not so much.
post #17 of 87
I couldn't agree more. I make most of our toiletries, buy a few things from WAHMS online, buy lots of foods (eggs, coffee, flours, bacon, butter, oils) and non-food consumables thru a restaurant (we are friends with the owners), grow/forage or buy from farmer's markets produce when in season and then freeze/can/cellar it (apples, greens, every kind of berry known to man, tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, you get the idea), WIC covers nearly all our dairy consumption, I turn WIC milk into Greek yogurt, kefir, and ricotta, we make virtually all of our condiments (mayo, BBQ, salsa, ketchup, pickles, jam, marinara, etc.) and we do all our baking. I buy the Walgreen's brand of toilet paper and water filters.

The only stuff I ever watch for sales are powdered and brown sugar, nuts, stevia, and toothbrushes. Staples never seem to go on sale. Even if they did, they couldn't beat free fruits/veggies, free-to-me WIC dairy, and bulk purchased thru the restaurant. But if I were interested in 5 for $5 hamburger helper? Those flyers would be awesome.

I buy produce that we can't grow here (bananas, avocados, citrus) seasonally, so I sort of follow the sales there. The only produce items I buy regularly are celery and mushrooms. I do stock up on mushrooms when they go on sale, but I can't do so with celery. I just don't bother with flyers anymore.
post #18 of 87
This is why I don't shop at regular grocery stores. The "sale" items are still more than regularly-priced items where I shop! I get as much as I can in bulk from Costco and anything I can't get there (or can but in quantities too big for one little person...nope, I can't eat 10 lbs of bananas before they go bad) I get somewhere else.
post #19 of 87
Yes, I absolutely agree. Of course, we only have one store in our town and the prices are sky high anyway.

I was so thrilled the other day when I was there and found apples way on sale. Yay!
post #20 of 87
I think coupons are usually a bust, but sometimes I can find great deals on things I want. Canned tomatoes are cheap this week so I made and froze a lot of marinara sauce. A 10 lb bag of potatoes was chep so I made a few different soups and froze em.

I think w/o freezing things, the ads aren't much help.

Sorry. NAK
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