Is it just me, or...(grocery store sales) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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???

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#2 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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No, I don't find that at all produce, meat, nuts, dairy goes through price cycles just as well.

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#4 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:17 PM
 
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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).

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#6 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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Yes, same here.

Folks who eat pre-packaged food will save money on their usual purchases. Not most anyone else around here.
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#10 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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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?
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#14 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 87 Old 10-30-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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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.

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#19 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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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!
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#20 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 01:02 AM
 
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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.

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#21 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
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.
I'm jealous, because I'm happy if I can find the above for .99/can.
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#22 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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I don't know if I'm lucky because of the area I live in, but I definitely see flour, sugar, beans (dried and canned), canned tomatoes and pasta go on sale. I'll admit I know that we have great produce prices because I live in an agriculturally rich area...pears for 29 cents a lb, apples 60 cents. I'm not sure how our meat compares because I was a vegetarian for so long and I exclusively buy at costco for meats.

I totally agree with those that think coupons are a bust! The only thing I can reliably use coupons for is the cheaper brand bacon...
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#23 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 02:12 AM
 
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I don't know if I'm lucky because of the area I live in, but I definitely see flour, sugar, beans (dried and canned), canned tomatoes and pasta go on sale. I'll admit I know that we have great produce prices because I live in an agriculturally rich area...pears for 29 cents a lb, apples 60 cents. I'm not sure how our meat compares because I was a vegetarian for so long and I exclusively buy at costco for meats.

I totally agree with those that think coupons are a bust! The only thing I can reliably use coupons for is the cheaper brand bacon...
Wow, those are great prices! I'm originally from the midwest and was shocked when we moved west- it's a HCOL area that doesn't grow much (mountainous) and everything is so $$$$. DS loves apples and I'm happy when I can find them for $1.25/lb. A lot of times they're higher than that...$0.60?!?!?!?! I can't even imagine! It's so wonderful, though, that in a lot of areas, people can eat healthy foods cheaper than they can junk. Here, Hamburger Helper will set you back a few bucks but fresh things cost an arm and a leg. (However, obesity was a HUGE problem in the midwest and isn't here. Go figure! lol)
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#24 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 03:19 AM
 
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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????

OK, rant over, LOL! Anyone else find the same thing???
Um, yeah. I have friends that are huge into couponing. Drives me nuts when they talk about it - because I don't buy cases of Capri Sun or Hamburger Helper or Glade scented candles and so on. Groovy for them, but their coupons don't get me 300lbs of apples.

What I've found coupons for is just Quaker oatmeal and Campbell's soups, that's about it besides the occasional Albertson's and Catalina deals. Oh, the 25lb bags of sugar went on sale at our local (Mormon-run, so they're into canning) grocery store for $9-$10/bag in the height of canning season - normally the bags are $15+ now, and two years ago they were $7.98. But they don't exactly flash deals like that so everybody's fully aware of it.

It takes time/money to grow your own food - be it fruits, vegetables or meats. Since we've gotten into it a bit (growing the fruits/veggies part) we're definitely a bit more flexible if we find something that's just really high quality or we know the grower.

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#25 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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Oh, the 25lb bags of sugar went on sale at our local (Mormon-run, so they're into canning) grocery store for $9-$10/bag in the height of canning season - normally the bags are $15+ now, and two years ago they were $7.98. But they don't exactly flash deals like that so everybody's fully aware of it.
Yes! I watch for green and black olives to go on sale 10 for $10, but for some reason, they never advertise this. Also, I sort of half-a$$ed watch for 10 for $10 juice and I might pick up 2 or 3 extra jars of sale priced peanut butter, but both of these things we get thru WIC, so I'll get more if we are expecting to eat more of them (like DSS is going to be here, holidays, or company coming, that sort of thing). Plus, PB is one of our few brand loyalties- we buy store brand natural PB for under $2/jar normally (and with WIC), but sometimes it goes on sale for $1.50. Again, this stuff is never advertised. You have to be in the store.

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#26 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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We are lucky that our stores run specials on staples, too. I regularly get canned tomatoes, pasta, rice, dried beans (not as often, so I stock up when this goes on sale...maybe 2-3 times a year), cheese, sour cream, flour (usually at the holidays...I try to buy at least 6 months worth, cause I love a certain brand), sugar (once a year at $0.99/5 pounds, but regularly $1.99/5 lbs), tuna, canned anchovies, and mayo (another beloved staple in our house).

Our stores do run specials on fruits and vegetables, but they are rarely as good as the regular prices at our international markets, so I usually shop there for produce.
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#27 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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I have noticed that the sale flyers in the Sunday paper are mostly full of junk food. It's terrible because my DH will look at it and then start adding stuff to the list that I wouldn't normally buy or eat, just because it's on sale.

Here we have Meijer and Kroger as the two main grocery chains. We also have Walmart, but I really don't like to buy groceries there...our local Walmart is so dirty and disorganized.

Meijer often has organic food on sale. When produce is in season they will have organic produce on sale. This year I got organic broccoli for 88 cents a pound. Apples were just on sale, 3 lbs for a dollar for delicious Honey Crisp apples!! They also advertise that their regular produce (again, in season) comes from a local farm. They have a huge produce selection. Bananas are usually 49 cents to 60 cents a pound. Sometimes the organic spinach is on sale, the fresh herbs too.

Meijer also has their own brand of organic dairy and other organic products. I see the dairy on sale a lot, but we buy local milk with the cream on top instead. They have delicious organic instant oatmeal that I buy boxes of on sale. You can buy 20 pounds of long grain jasmine rice for $10 in a huge bag.

The thing is, most of these items are never in the flyer. I don't know why. Sometimes Meijer has a small organic section in their ad, but it's easy to glance over and miss it. You have to go to the store and look at the shelves to find the good stuff on sale.

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#28 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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For coupons that's certainly true. For sales, I don't think it is. A lot of the flyer is devoted to packaged stuff, but that doesn't mean the other stuff doesn't go on sale. I don't buy very much processed food at all (mostly just condiments) and I save a huge amount of money shopping sales. There's usually one page in most of the flyers devoted to vegetables. (not sure if this is true for Superstore, its far from here so I usually don't read thatone) Yesterday I just bought apples that were on sale $1.74 for a 4lb bag at No Frills! And even without true sales, the prices of fruits and vegetables fluctuate every week, so I can buy whatever's a good price that week. Meat (freeze it!) and cheese goes on sale very often and that is in the flyers as well. Flour and sugar goes on sale in the flyer sometimes. And don't forget that not everything that is on sale is in the flyer. You may find a sale sticker on the dried beans even if it isn't in the flyer.

Mommy to  N baby.gif, born 2/20/12.

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#29 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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I don't find that at all-I mean there are those things, but much of what is on sale here is basics. I also do coupon and I do get coupons for those things-but I buy coupons so there is a larger variety. I just bought a bunch of organic butter coupons, coconut milk and coffee. I also live in a produce area, so that's usually cheap. Last week the local store had a fall baking sale, so I stocked up on flour, sugar, choc. chips.

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#30 of 87 Old 10-31-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I live in Toronto and I find there are sales on basics, especially seasonal produce (right now apples, squash, potatoes, parsnips, etc.) and rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, that kind of thing. This week my loss leader items are (Food Basics):

- clementines
- cheese
- raw almonds

And at Valu-Mart where our library is anyway there's pasta, sole (frozen)

and had I not done a CSA it would be cabbage, green beans, and spinach

Flour should be going on sale soon as a holiday baking loss leader.

Dried beans rarely go on sale though, but sometimes they are marked down anyway.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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