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I am SO OVER grocery prices. Also coupons SUCK. How are YOU saving money? - Page 3

post #41 of 96


Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
I think it is a myth that Wally World is cheap, because mine isn't!! Everything is comparable to Target.
This has been my experience too. Walmart sometimes has good prices, but I won't go out of my way to shop there. I've seen lots of stuff the same price or cheaper at Target. Sometimes it's $2.99 at Target and $2.97 and Walmart, but my sanity if not worth the trip to Wally World.

One thing to check out is restaurant supply, cash and carry type stores. You need to compare prices, but I find that I can usually get things for the same price as the grocery store without needing to wait for a sale.
post #42 of 96
I've found a locally organized coop for grains and flours, sugars, honey, etc that helps. I now pay $17 for 50lb oats, $34 for 50 lb organic sugar. The initial outlay for 350lb of food is costly, but much cheaper in the long run.

I found this on a pro-arms website and it is organized by a very Christian family. I am an atheist lesbian who has never seen a real gun in her life! Whatever... I add to their total orders and I get cheap, decent food! So look around and keep your eyes/ears open. You never know when you might stumble on to something.

Also, my first thought was that you eat a lot of meat. Could your protein come from more eggs if other sources don't work for your health?
post #43 of 96
I shop at a couple of ethnic markets, and I find much better prices on produce and meat (barring manager mark-downs) there.

I, too, think grocery prices have gone up. As well as my little eaters are growing, and they eat more. i used to be able to spend $30 at my (local, a bit hoity toity) farmers' market and have enough produce for the week. Now, that's not enough for us. A CSA provides about the same amount of food around here (they aren't huge quantities), so it wouldn't save us any money. I do much better at the international markets. One week this summer, our local farmers' market wanted $1 per EAR for corn. Yeah, I can't afford that.

I shop at a couple of different stores (I'm in suburbia, so I just keep a list, and if I'm near a store, I'll pop in for their loss leaders/specials/consistently cheap items). There are a couple of local blogs to me that follow the fliers and coupons, so I can tell what is a good deal/free. That helps, too, because I don't have to spend much time on it. I get the newspaper anyway (it's one of my favorite splurges), so I don't have to go searching for coupons or anything. I have started concentrating my coupons on more non-food items, to cut that part of my budget. Things like laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. We use Suave shampoo, but getting it for $0.25 is better than buying if for $1.50, you know?

But, really, the major way that this is helpful is that I live in a place with lots of grocery deals (Publix has really good sales), everyone doubles coupons, and those blogs make it really, really easy. If I lived somewhere else, I'd have to come up with different ideas.
post #44 of 96
Originally Posted by nina_yyc View Post
I am not awesome at watching the grocery budget. I find that anything I do beyond the basics - meal planning, at-home cooking, less meat, cheap cuts, sales, flyer-watching etc. does not make a difference, or costs a lot in time.

When I do stay on track, it's because I'm doing the math in my head as I shop, weighing all my produce so I can estimate. Then I can really figure out whether I can afford X or Y.
i'm the same. my biggest enemy is loading up on fresh fruits and veggies only to realize that i've just spent $6 on apples.

have no advice...also trying to get my own food budget down.
post #45 of 96
I think the others have given good advice. Regarding coupons, if you have five coupons and buy five boxes of pasta, you can use five coupons in one transaction b/c yiu are purchasing five items for which you have coupons nYou can't use five coupons on one box of pasta. The only exceptions that I know about are stacking store coupon (such as Meijer Mealbox, CVS, Target) and a manufacturer coupon. I try my best to stack coupons like that at Target, especially for things like diapers.

Another bit of advice is to ask yourself if you really need the product. I have found that some of the items I used to buy that I had to cut, I don't really miss them anymore. Somethings can't be cut, but be creative about ways to do without other things.
post #46 of 96
Our town has one grocery store who has driven up their prices considerably since their competition went out of business a couple of years ago. I've started making trips to grocery stores in other towns. I drive a 130 mile round trip commute to school 4 days a week and pass by a few towns. I get out of school early on Fridays so I have decided to use Friday afternoon as grocery shopping day. I go to Aldi's in one town, and then a small chain grocery store in another. I'm going to scope out the grocery stores in the town my school is located as well. What I can't get from those two places I buy from our town's grocery store. I don't buy organic. I buy the sale meat. I usually buy only what I need from the weekly ad. My kids take their lunches 3-5 days a week. They qualify for free lunch but the lunch is total crap so I spend a little extra money to make sure they have a more nutritious lunch. Dh and I are looking at purchasing a small freezer so we can buy things in bulk when they are on sale and be able to store them.
post #47 of 96
Coming in late and haven't read everything, but here are a few things that have worked for us:

1. Keep a price book. As a couple of PPs have mentioned, don't just assume that Wal-Mart or another reputedly cheap store will always give you the best price.

2. Join the Pantry Challenge in this forum and/or master the art of "Universal Recipes."

3. Get really creative with leftovers! There's a great article in The Complete Tightwad Gazette (available at your local library or through inter-library loan! ) called "Leftover Wizardry."

Sometimes it's just a matter of stretching groceries to last, which enables you to beat grocery stores at their own game.

I agree with you about coupons, btw. Most provide what I call "junk discounts," or "discounts" that are insignificant with a bunch of stupid conditions attached, (e.g. you must spend X amount of money first). It's usually for products that I don't normally buy, don't normally need, or can get for a cheaper price without the coupon (e.g. different brand or store). I still keep an open mind and peruse coupons occasionally, but a genuinely good deal is rare.
post #48 of 96
The price book is a great idea. You can use it to help you know when prices hit the "stock up" point. It does take some time to put it together but will be a very valuable tool.

How about doing some freezer batch cooking? Calzones, homemade burritos, etc... are easy to batch up and put in the freezer for easy lunches and dinners.
post #49 of 96
Not sure if this is available in all areas of the country. We have a "bent and dent" store here that is awesome. Basically when a grocery store has cans that get dented, buy a bunch of something "new" that doesn't go over well etc the food has to go somewhere. This store buys up all those items and sells them very cheap. The amazing part is lots of it is organics that folks wouldn't buy in regular grocery stores because they were to expensive! I've bought lots of organic tomato sauces, pastes etc for 50 cents a can. Salad dressings. you name it. Sometimes they even have stuff like multivitamins, contact solution, etc. Like I said not sure if these are everywhere.

We also like Save A Lot for stocking up. We are very lucky to be able to raise our own beef, pork and have chickens for eggs.

Groceries are a huge expense, no way around it.
post #50 of 96
Originally Posted by Farmer'sWife View Post
I know it varies depending on your local grocery stores, but I find that shopping the loss leaders at the grocery store (the stuff on sale in the weekly flyer) results in better savings than shopping at Walmart etc. By stocking up when things are on sale, I hardly ever pay full price. I've also found that coupons aren't very helpful for the types of foods I buy (mostly non-processed or generics). I use them if I can, but I don't go out of my way to coupon.
That's what I do. I also garden and raise my own meat, but I know that's not an option for everyone.

I suggest looking elsewhere for food. You said you live in an agricultural area. Now's a great time to pick the ends of potato fields. If you drive by and see a picker, stop and ask if you can take the ends. Corn's in now too and here, there are ads all over the place for corn from individuals for much less than you'd spend at the store.

If you do garden, swap with a friend for something you don't have.

I do shop at the grocery store, but I get the majority of my produce and all of meat from other places. It does take some looking. Everything that I buy at the store is on sale and I buy alot of it. Summer/fall is a great time to get free produce if you can find it and freeze/can everything you can.
post #51 of 96
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post
Some examples of great deals I have gotten this way:

In June, Pampers put out $2 off any pampers wipes. I managed to snag a TON of these coupons by trading for them with other coupons that I had and wasn't using. Walmart had individual tubs of pampers wipes on sale for $1.99 the last week of June. I now have 6 months worth of wipes stockpiled in my changing table, that I only paid sales tax on.

A month or so ago, Barilla had a great coupon for their whole grain pasta, I think it was $1 off 2 orr something like that. It was a coupon to print off from the internet. Meijer ran a sale around the same time on the Barilla pasta and by combining the coupon with the sale, I paid $0.14 a box for whole grain pasta, I bought like 20 boxes. It's better to get 20 boxes at that price than to only get the one or two I would use that particular week, then two weeks later when I need pasta again, paying full price. I do have the room to store them though.

Ortega had a coupon out recently for $1 off ANY 2 Ortega products. Meijer ran a sale on Ortega which included the individual packets of taco seasoning. The sale price was $0.49 each-free taco seasonings. I had 4 coupons, so I got 8 packets, and we only make tacos like once a month.

Thanks for this explanation. I have a few American friends who talk about their incredible savings with coupons ($150.00 in groceries for 17.51!) and I've always wondered how they do that. Now I know. Coupons don't work like that here. We have restrictions on how many we can use, and they usually (always?) only apply to regularly priced items. Now, I understand the coupon "game" and why my friends have so much fun trying to "beat" the market. Wow.
post #52 of 96
I am so there with you! I remember when a jar of spaghetti sauce was $1 a year ago and now its $.50 on sale at Wal-mart.. what happened? And its not like we are even getting "cost of living" wage increases, my last raise was .10! The cost of living is fastly passing the income.

With that said, we split our shopping somewhat. We have VERY FEW options for shopping, the local grocery store is really expensive so I only go there for produce and milk, their produce rocks. Otherwise I shop where I can find the deals. Mostly its once a month to Wal-mart, but their produce sucks so bad if I started my trip in that section I'd probably walk out each time. Thankfully DH directs me to the back first so we have everything we need by the time I get to produce and am fully in shock of how disgusting the selection is. (Our Wal-mart produce really is THAT bad. Last time I went to grab corn there was mold on it!)

Today we did our large monthly trip and spent about $300 on food stuffs for 5 people. That was without half the produce I had planned but will pick that up at the other store. I realize our bill is SMALL compared to a lot of families and I attribute that to our planning. We plan our meals a month in advance and have it on the computer. We then have all the items needed for those meals (and snacks etc) on a master grocery list and qty of each needed for the month. Before we head out I print the list and we mark off anything we DON'T need that is left over in the cupboards, or adjust qty of the items. We also have a large upright freezer so we can buy and store everything. The theory is that the less "small" trips to the store each month the less likely we'll spend extra money on stuff we don't need. And by having the meals for the month planned out its never a mad dash to the store to pick something up. We started that a couple months ago and so far its saved us quite a bit of money and its far less stressful when it comes to meal planning now.
post #53 of 96
You can try writing the companies you like and asking them for coupons and tell them how much you love their company. This works some of the time.
We recently moved and our COL has went up by 15%-20% on groceries. We buy mostly organic, wild caught fish, and eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, not much meat, a lot of beans per week. We make most of our foods, like pizza crusts, biscuits, cornbread, etc. from scratch.
It has been pretty rough working on a budget when the COL went up so much. And we lost our big garden, but we do a bit of gardening in pots, which helps some. We continue to eat mostly at home for every meal and pack lunches for trips out of the house. We plan out meals and keep snacks simple. We hit up local farmers markets and prepare and freeze good fruits and veggies. And try not to buy drinks on the road frequently, but rather pack our own homemade tea. It is really a struggle keeping the food bill at a reasonable level in a higher COL area.
post #54 of 96
I think meal planning is extremely helpful in keeping the grocery bill down. I spend $475 each month to feed a family of 6 - 4 teenage boys, a tween girl and an adult woman.

We're essentially vegan (rarely use dairy products and only eat meat at holidays or when one of my friends is moving and gives me the stuff in their deep freeze), which definately helps, and I cook mostly from scratch.
post #55 of 96
What works for me is to find ways to make meals cheaper/less expensive...and not waste anything. For example, I always buy whole chicken or chicken legs/thighs because I then have the bones I can use to make broth.

I buy bone-in ham because again..I can use the bone to make broth.

My oldest daughter is gluten-free. Instead of buying gluten-free bread for her, I just buy a big bag of corn tortillas, keep them in the freezer and pull out as needed for sandwiches, pizza, etc.

We do soup/bread quite a bit. Bread, I make myself. No-knead bread is super cheap and super, super tasty Goes so well with home-made soup.

We don't buy any snack items. The only "munchy" type things we eat homemade popcorn and roasted chickpeas (made from dried chickpeas).

Other snacks we have, I make my own cookies, muffins, cakes, frosting, etc.

Save bread crumbs/ends to make croutons.

Make my own salad dressing with olive oil/vinegar etc. If I want to make a "ranch-style" dressing, I would use plain yogurt. The internet makes it so easy to find recipes.

Store-bought hummus is pretty pricey. Hummus made yourself with dried chickpeas is fairly inexpensive.

Potatoes are really cheap and baked potatoes (quick in the microwave) make great snacks. I also use them to make "fries".

I get my produce from an organic produce coop. It is $25/week for two bags. It usually includes several different fruits and vegetables each week. I don't get to choose what is in the bags, but I really like it because that is my produce "budget" for the week...although sometimes I buy frozen vegetables in addition.
post #56 of 96
I do save money with coupons, but I go in phases. There are a set pattern of sales out there, September is known for being the "pasta war" month, so spaghetti sauce and noodles go on sale. There is a system, the next sales are baking sales and turkeys, stock.

WM can be cheaper for SOME things and not so much for others. I will buy some of my food there, but usually my local little store has great deals.

Like many have said, Loss Leaders, they are the biggest bang for your buck. According to couponmom.com the front page is usually a savings of 50%.

I'm a stockpiler, I live 15 minutes from my small town, I also really don't like grocery shopping much, so I try to stretch my money as far as I can.

Last week I spent $122, I bought a LOT of food.

I purchased much of our freezer stash because we were running incredibly low on most meat and we are a meat eating family.

10lbs of lean burger
10 lbs of buttermilk sausage(made in store)
2-3lb roasts
12 cans of beans
3 gallons of milk for the freezer
4 lbs deli ham-3 went in the freezer
4 lbs of butter-to get me through until the fall baking sales

I purchased much of our freezer stash, I also got a bag of .99 bananas that got frozen for making banana bread and muffins for the winter. My store had a 3 day sale, so the burger was part of that sale. right now I am getting ready to make meatballs and meat loaves with 5lbs of meat.

I really won't buy anything that isn't on my list or on the sale flyer. Our family is pretty broke right now(like many) and so we get $225 in FS and the kids get WIC, so we have a budget of about $300 when it is said and done. I am making this budget work because that's what we've got.
post #57 of 96
coming back to read in full later.

A few things I do:
  1. soup with cornbread (gf) a lot
  2. make my own chicken broth once/week and use chicken meat to stretch another two meals (chicken potpie with potatoes, tacos)
  3. stretch ground beef with beans, as in tacos
  4. save every scrap of vegetable in a ziplock, store in freezer, use scraps at beginning of the week for chicken stock
  5. I sew my girls skirts (simple, elastic waist band skirts)
  6. make many of my own cleaning products
post #58 of 96
I absolutely second (third? fourth?) that meal planning is a huge saver.

Snacks here are 3Tblsp. popcorn in a paper bag, microwaved. Cheap!

Also, I buy a lot of things bulk from a mill. Once or twice a year, I make a trip and buy 200+ lbs of lentils, rice, oatmeal, wheat, etc.. and save a ton on shipping for a year's worth of that stuff.

I also agree with stocking up through the sale ads/coupons.
post #59 of 96
there are a lot of mama bloggers who take the time to post deals with links to coupons. moneysavingmom.com is one who provides weekly deals to many chain grocery stores. The hillbilly housewife also has a great website with "cheap" recipes.
post #60 of 96
Not much advice, but I feel your pain! We have fabulous grocery stores, but even doing The Grocery Game, they are pricey. I don't like WalMart either, but it is amazing how much cheaper groceries/cunsumables are there.
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