I shop once a week, at a couple of different stores. Two of my stores are literally next door to each other (Publix and Kroger), so no time wasted from one to the other. The other stores I frequent are three different international markets (beloved for different reasons), plus Aldi's. I don't hit all 6 in one week, though. Every other week, I tend to do a big shop, hitting at least 2 stores, and it takes 2-3 hours. The alternate week, my list is smaller, and it's around 30 minutes. I probably spend 30-45 minutes making a list and getting coupons together. I cut coupons on Sunday nights while watching tv, so maybe 30 minutes there? All told, I probably average 2 hours a week on grocery shopping/couponing/meal planning. And most of that time seems like fun, but I realize that is a sickness. LOL
I follow blogs for the specials at Kroger and Publix. I will look at the specials each week, and I'll pick the one that has the most stuff on sale that I need, then shop there. If neither has good sales, I'll hit Aldi instead. I almost always go to one of these three mainstream stores each week. I need milk, bread, peanut butter, laundry detergent, stuff like that that is easiest found at a mainstream store. If a store has something for free or cheap with coupons (and those blogs do the matching for me), I might make an extra trip while I'm out and about during the week. My kids don't seem to mind a 15 minute trip here or there.
I hit the international markets for meat, produce, coffee, beans. Things that rarely go on sale anyway, so I just trust that the international market has a decent price (and they do), and I don't worry too much about comparing prices.
This said, I have the luxury of living in a large city, and I have lots of options for shopping. And nothing is more than 15 minutes away, even with traffic, so that's nice, too.
fascinating discussion. I'm impressed by how much some people pay attention at the grocery store, but I can't figure out how the average shopping trip (updating price books, searching out certain brands and calculating what will get you the most for your money) doesn't take 8 hours? I have started couponing a little though... but I've run into a similar situation as many people - most things I buy are not mainstream, so there aren't tons of coupons available... and the rest is fresh, for which there doesn't appear to be coupons often, either...
I LOOOOOOVE that people use extreme couponing as a way to donate, though. I heard about that a couple weeks ago and thought it was just awesome.
An average shopping trip isn't usually for a whole lot of stuff and is usually well planned in advance. Now, if you take into account ALL the planning time and coupon clipping, organizing and printing each week, it *might* maybe total 8hr in a week, on the higher end of things. But really, it's not even usually that much. I have a few coupon blogs saved to my favorites, so when I am nursing the baby, I surf the net and hit up those sites. Coupon blogs list the stuff on sale for what price, how much the coupons available are and usually where to find them, and the final price after the coupons and discouts. They also list various deal ideas when stores include money back coupons. Many will also list how much the regular price is at that store, so you know how much you saved off that, some will code the final prices as a good price, great price or stock up price (which is of course totally the opinion of the blogger, but usually it meshes with my own opinion.) So, a quick scan of those for the stores I most commonly shop will help me quickly and easily decide what I want to get. Then I just have to find the coupons and toss them in an envelope with my list (so that I don't get more than I plan to) and head out, when I am ready.
As far as what you buy being not "mainstream" and not having coupons.....I find that that type of thinking is more of a mental block than a major issue. Sure, it will be more difficult to find coupon for specific organic or fresh items. But to give an example...Meijer ran a sale last week on cheese, plus they were giving money back-buy so much cheese, get a coupon back for $X off your next order. This was on regular cheese, not the sandwich individually wrapped slices. I bought lots of cheese (it freezes well) and got a total of $11 off my next order back. That can be used for whatver I want, including "non mainstream" items. The drug stores are good at this, CVS has extra bucks, Walgreens has Register Rewards, Rite Aid has something too (not sure what they call them.) And you can often find plenty of coupons for the not food stuff-toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, makeup (if you wear it, there are TONS AND TONS of makeup coupons-I don't wear it so I miss out there.) And, even if you can't find the coupons for the stuff you are buying, it's still probably going to go on sale at some point, so that's when you stock up on it. If you buy organic corn when it's on sale for 50c and ear and freeze it, then when it's back up to $1 an ear, you still have some that you paid half price for.
The people who were featured on the show are part of a group of people (or at least I know a couple of them are) who are trying to donate a lot to food banks for as little out of pocket as possible. The way they do this is by mega couponing and watching sales. There's more information about their project on The Penny Experiment: http://www.pennyexperiment.com/
I personally think what they're doing is commendable, and I'm sure that those who benefit from the food donations are thankful for their work.
I think that's awesome.
Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1). "Kids do as well as they can."
There are printable coupons for Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen (Glen Muir?) right now, for reference. If you "like" some of these companies on FB, often you can get coupons that way. I emailed Chobani and told them how much I love their yogurt, and asked if they could mail me some coupons, and they did.
The only coupons I've seen for organic chicken,etc is when Whole Foods has it on sale, but sometimes Costco is still cheaper.
I'm wanting to start couponing. Oh, and I just learned that I can use coupons with food "stamps" (aka SNAP) and not have to pay taxes on the coupon. I was told that I would so I never used coupons before. Anyways, I am mostly posting to subscribe ;) thanks for the great link to http://www.organicgrocerydeals.com/forums/
loss 2/28/03 ds 1/5/08 dd 2/8/10
When we know better, we do better. ~Maya Angelou