Wherehouse stores or grocery game?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 02-02-2005, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies....our biggest expense, it seems are our household and grocery store/wherehouse store trips. I do an initial costco/sam's club run once a month then supplement with the grocery store once a week for produce/milk, etc....
But I always wind up taking a trip to Target every week or so for some kind of household/personal product. We spend about 1200 a month between groceries and household products!! What on earth am I doing wrong here? We have five children if that helps at all. Do you all think that the wherehouse type stores are worth it or should I just stick to the grocery game (coupons) and avoid any target/costco/walmart type stores?? I am trying to be as frugal as possible but I am so challenged in the "shopping for the home" category.....any suggestions??
tia

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#2 of 30 Old 02-02-2005, 08:05 PM
 
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well, for me. I get all of my cleaning supplies at the dollar store, or I make them.
We do have a store called Discount grocery outlet, that has good prices on that kind of stuff. Also, big lots is good for such things.
I spend about $800 or less for all that stuff, and I have three kids, ust to give you an idea
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#3 of 30 Old 02-02-2005, 10:10 PM
 
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One of our biggest problems was getting caught up in the "separate cleaner for everything in the house" syndrome. I recommend checking out the book Clean Home, Clean Planet from the library. It outlines how to clean your whole home w/ just basics like vinegar and baking soda. It will save us a lot of money.

You might consider also making homemade toiletries. A lot of people use baking soda and vinegar to wash their hair, use olive oil instead of lotion, etc. I have just gotten the book Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair, and am considering trying to make some of the things in the book.

Are you able to grow some of your own produce? That would save a lot of money, especially if you buy organic.

It can be cheaper to buy dairy, meat, eggs, and produce directly from local farmers. A farmer's market is a good place to start, but you might also ask around or just keep your eyes open when driving down the road. Around here, lots of farmers have signs out by the road saying what crop is available now.

A lot of people make price books, ala The Tightwad Gazette, so you can see if that "sale" is really a bargain. I've found that I have to check unit prices at Costco, b/c often things aren't actually cheaper. But, when I find a really good deal, I do stock up.. I don't pay for a membership, though; I use my mom's.

Oh, and I'd recommend joing the Pantry Challenge thread in the Meal Planning forum. There's a large group of us that is committed to trying to eat out of our pantries and freezers instead of going to the store. It's been a huge inspiration to me. When I think I need to go to the store to buy something, I ask myself, "Is there something I can use in the pantry instead?"

Good luck!
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#4 of 30 Old 02-02-2005, 11:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mykdsmomy
the grocery game (coupons)
I shop mainly at grocery stores (a regional chain, a national discount store, Trader Joe's, and the bread outlet) and I NEVER use coupons. Coupons encourage you to buy more expensive, brand-name, convenience-type foods. I mean, really, when's the last time you saw a coupon for store-brand brown rice or generic oatmeal?

I spend $300 a month on all groceries and household supplies. I have two kids, and we don't buy snack foods or dry cereal. I rely almost exclusively on staples and fresh fruit/vegetables.

I have never set foot in a warehouse store, so I can't help you there.

Namaste!
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#5 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:15 AM
 
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What dharmamama said!
We've never used coupons. Store brands are ALWAYS cheaper than name-brands + coupons. ALWAYS!!! Get to your library and check out the Complete Tightwad Gazette. She's a bit extreme for most of us MDC mamas, but you can still adopt her philosophy. She's got 7 kids and only spends a hundred or two on groceries per month - if that's not inspiring, I just don't know what is

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#6 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:59 AM
 
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I'm in a similar situation. I spend too much on "household" expenses. Here's what I've decided to do/am doing to try to change things:

1. I don't go into Sam's...if I need something, I ask a friend or my mom to pick it up when they go..that way, I don't buy other stuff I don't need

2. I quit buying cleaners. This has saved me sooo much. I use vinegar and water to clean everything.

3. I joined the pantry challenge and am trying to not go to the store for a month except for milk, meat, and produce.

4. I have decided to stay out of Walmart and Target. If I need something, I'm going to ask someone else to pick it up- or send dh because he will only buy what's on the list.

5. I do use coupons, but I only cut them out for the things I already use..like Suave shampoo or batteries, etc. Then I wait until they go on sale, or are buy one get one free and I use my coupon then. This weekend, Colgate toothpaste (the big tube) was on sale at Albertson's for 2 for 3.00. I had a dollar off coupon. So I got each tube for 1.00. That's cheaper than the generics at Walmart! So, I think sometimes coupons help, but you have to know how much things really cost and what's worth it.
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#7 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 02:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama
I shop mainly at grocery stores (a regional chain, a national discount store, Trader Joe's, and the bread outlet) and I NEVER use coupons. Coupons encourage you to buy more expensive, brand-name, convenience-type foods. I mean, really, when's the last time you saw a coupon for store-brand brown rice or generic oatmeal?

I spend $300 a month on all groceries and household supplies. I have two kids, and we don't buy snack foods or dry cereal. I rely almost exclusively on staples and fresh fruit/vegetables.

I have never set foot in a warehouse store, so I can't help you there.

Namaste!
This is not true for everyone. I shop using coupons and I save at least 50% off my grocery bill every time I shop. You can get name brand brown rice cheaper than the store brand with a coupon and you stock up. Same with oatmeal. I even used a coupon to buy some free range hormone free chicken legs today.

I don't think the grocery game is worth the money. If you find a good couponing board you can find the same information for just the cost of your time.
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#8 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies... I have to check out the tightwad gazette....sounds very inspiring!! I know there has to be a way to cut down on our grocery/household bills...thanks for all the great advice!

Here's me I married then we had dd15 , dd11 , ds10 , and then and now we and I blog!
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#9 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 10:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by leomom
If I need something, I'm going to ask someone else to pick it up- or send dh because he will only buy what's on the list.
I laughed out loud at this. Just yesterday I told my husband I was NEVER going to send him to the store again because he ALWAYS manages to pick up junk we don't need because "it's on sale." I had FINALLY weaned my kids from boxed cereal, and yesterday my husband shows up with cream cheese (which I asked him to pick up) and TWO boxes of cereal: Honeycomb and Cocoa Pebbles!! I never fed my kids that junk even when we did eat boxed cereals! "But they were on sale for $1.66 each!!" Who cares, they are junk and now I have to go through weeks of the kids begging for boxed cereal again before they accept that I am NOT going to buy it!!

My daughter called the Cocoa Pebbles "brown Kix." I put them in the basement.

Trishshack, that's great that coupons work for you. I'm glad you save money. I never find coupons for the things I buy, though, because, in general, there aren't coupons for staples.

Namaste!
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#10 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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I use coupons for diapers (sorry I do not cloth diaper, leave it at that), household cleaners, and plastic wraps etc.

I don't use a lot of the products that the coupons are for- I agree there are a bit expensive and its a lot of processed stuff. But if it works for your family, who am I to judge.

I understand the target thing. I avoid going to Target until we have a good sized list and then I go when I am in a hurry so I do not browse and find other great things to buy. Or I send DH since he just gets what we needs and goes. Try to only go every 4-6 weeks and you will see a dramatic cut in your household budget.

I do not do warehouse stores. I despise the Walmart co so that takes care of Sam's. A lot of my friends go to costco and so does my siblings. A friend w twins got all her baby needs there when they were little and it was cheaper for them. When I have gone into these places with members, I do not see the savings for my family so that was the end of that. We are not big buyers of things in bulk anyway. I will post an article that could help you with the warehouse store thing.

Please join us at the pantry challenge. I have had a lot of inspiration and I cut $150 off my budget last month because of it.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#11 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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Are Warehouse Store Wearing Out Your Wallet? Do they save you money or just create more work?
By Jill Cooper

http://www.LivingOnADime.com/

It's Saturday morning. With grocery list in hand, you drag a very unwilling family out to the car where you proceed to take them on a mega shopping spree at Sam's or Costco. Marching down each isle you tell your family members "We need 3 cases of corn, 4 cases of green beans and -- Oh! That's a good deal on peanut butter so let's get 3 gallons. Of course Susie, your can get a bag of cookies. They are so cheap! .and Billy you can have a few bags of your favorite chips! Yum! Oh look -- samples! These taste great. Let's get some! What a great buy on chicken - we need 20."

At the dog food aisle the excitement mounts as each member of the family grabs a corner of the 50 lb. bag of dog food to stack on top of the basket. (We won't mention you only have 1 toy poodle at home.) After waiting in line and waiting in line and waiting in line you push your agonizingly heavy and overloaded baskets out to the car. Getting everything into the trunk of the car makes putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle a breeze, but finally home you go.

After you lug everything into the house, it's time to spend the next few hours repackaging things for the freezer. You double wrap your 20 chickens (they could be in that freezer for quite awhile) and frantically try to find places for everything else in your cupboards and panty. By the time you are done, you are so exhausted that you couldn't begin to lift a finger to cook, so you all go out to eat.

A few weeks later you gingerly sniff the gallon of half used peanut butter as you try to decide if that strange taste is because it has gone rancid or simply because you are sick of peanut butter.

You threw out that partially used gallon of maple syrup yesterday because it had sugared and was looking really strange. You still have ten of your chickens left but if you bathe them in some spicy sauce you are pretty sure your family won't notice the freezer burned taste.

In spite of having to throw out most of the 50 lbs. of dog food (after a growing family of mice had invaded it), you're sure you saved money because "they" said you would.

Time and time again, people ask "can you really save money at Sam's or Costco?" I usually answer "not any more so then any place else". I have checked prices several different times and factoring everything in, I have found no exceptional savings.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a warehouse store is for you:

1- Do your homework and compare prices. Buying in bulk is not always cheaper. You really save by checking and comparing prices. I was at Costco one day where there was a display of two Clorox one gallon bottles for $1.98 AFTER rebate. I stood there amazed as people grabbed up this "great deal." I knew I could get that same Clorox for $.98 a gallon at my regular discount store and I didn't have to mess with a rebate, pay postage or lug 2 gallons of Clorox shrink wrapped together to my car.

2- Don't buy impulsively just because it sounds like a good deal. Say you can get 12 bottles of sunscreen for a great price. Think it through before you buy. If your family only uses one bottle sunscreen a year, that means you will be storing sunscreen for 12 years, not to mention that most of the sunscreen will expire long before then.

3- In most homes one quarter of food people buy gets thrown out. Even though my story was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, there is a certain amount of truth to it. If your family of four eats pancakes once a week, that gallon of syrup is going to last you a VERY long time. You might also consider that unless dry goods and freezer items are very carefully stored, they will go bad or get bugs in them. Remember to buy the size appropriate for your family.

4- You need to be very well organized to buy in bulk. All the shows and magazine articles about organizing suggest that most of us are organizationally challenged. Finding places to store everything and then carefully keeping track of what you have is critical if you want to use it all before it spoils.

5- Most people usually spend more then they originally planned on things they don't need. This never saves money. We taste samples and so often end up buying. If this is you be careful. Maybe sampling is a bad idea (unless you're making lunch of it)!

If you have ten kids, run a day care or are buying for an organization then you almost have to buy in bulk. If you have a small or average sized family, you will probably save as much shopping for sales at your regular grocery store or discount store. The key is to do the math and evaluate your practical needs. You have to decide for yourself if buying at warehouse stores actually saves you money or just creates more work.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#12 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:02 PM
 
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PRICE BOOK! PRICE BOOK! PRICE BOOK!


Information is power, and a price book is a great way to organize information and make it work for you. Tightwad Gazette is a great resource on this.

I've been sorting out this same grocery vs. warehouse question, and the answer I've settled on is....it just depends. Sometimes I do better at Costco, sometimes stocking up on loss leaders at the local Albertsons or Smith's is the way to go. Sometimes coupons are worth it, sometimes they aren't. I only shop once a week or less. I review the weekly grocery sales online or on the weekly flyers, I compare things to the going warehouse rates in my price book. I don't leave the house to shop without a plan - (while staying open to the unforseeable bargains.) Information is power, and the price book is a great way to organize that information.

Our family consists of two adults, a teen, a preeteen and a 5 year old. I spend $300 a month on food, or less. I cook from scratch wherever realistic, and that saves a lot of money. I have to kindly disagree with the poster who said store brands are always cheaper than name brands + coupons. I haven't found that always to be the case. Again, it just depends.
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#13 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:18 PM
 
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In response to the article above-

I shop in large quantities all the time, and I never throw food away. (Ok - I did find a moldy lemon hiding at the back of the produce drawer the other day.) What I like about shopping in bulk is this: assuming you are organized to manage your "inventory" properly so things don't go bad, having lots of food on hand KEEPS ME FROM NEEDING TO GO BACK TO THE GROCERY STORE AND FORCES US TO COOK! Every trip to the store is time, gas, and exposure to "needs" you didnt think you had.

As far as organization, if you are buying non-perishables or freezeable items, spoilage should never be a problem. I don't relate to the author's agonized description of frozen chickens or rancid peanut butter (keep it in the fridge! sheesh.) I have found that Costco's 3-pack whole chickens are (usually) the best poultry deal around. I buy 1 pack every month, and each chicken provides two meals - if you make chicken broth from the carcass. That and a bag of Costco frozen breasts (with no additives - hurray!) and we are chickened out for a month. Who out there is buying 20 chickens?

Additionally, the produce I buy at Costco in those groovy "breathable" bags lasts much longer than most produce I buy from the grocery store anyway.

But it is NOT a bargain to buy their pre-made processed food if you are buying it instead of raw ingredients. Thats typically true anywhere. That said, it's nice to have a few "instant" meals on hand for those bad days when you need something totally easy to offset the lure of eating out...
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#14 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trishshack
This is not true for everyone. I shop using coupons and I save at least 50% off my grocery bill every time I shop. You can get name brand brown rice cheaper than the store brand with a coupon and you stock up. Same with oatmeal. I even used a coupon to buy some free range hormone free chicken legs today.

I don't think the grocery game is worth the money. If you find a good couponing board you can find the same information for just the cost of your time.
I save 50-60% (or more) each time too (in fact if I only save 50% I feel disapointed). I just found a great site called http://www.cutouthunger.org it's like grocery game but free, in hopes that you donate some of your deals and freebies to a foodbank.

Speaking of chicken, there's a great recipie for "rubber chicken" (flylady maybe?) The first day you have roast chicken, the next day you take every scrap of chicken and make fajitas (I mix it with rice or nooles and spices or make pot pie) and the third day you use the carcas and stuff to make soup. You serve it with lots of veggies etc so you have leftovers. It works well for us, but we have a small household.

Costco is dangerous -- especially if I bring DH -- he wants wetsuits, garden carts, all kinds of things. I do get a few things at costco -- I like to develop my photos there and get the photo cards, I was buying coffee there, but the 99 cent store currently has some good stuff, cooking oil, spices we use alot, and oxyclean. DH loves their $10 seakers, but they haven't had them in awhile and he can't find any he likes in that price range.
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#15 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 01:46 PM
 
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Me again. I have grocery shopping on the brain this morning.

Regarding name brands + coupons...
One of my local stores has SaraLee wheat bread (the no trans-fat kind) on sale for $1.25 this week, down from the normal $2.49. There was a .55 SaraLee coupon in Sunday's paper, bringing the price to .70 a loaf. The store brands were all more than that, and all had trans fats.

Granted, it is still cheaper to make bread, and I know a few discount grocery stores where I can occasionally get much better bread than SaraLee for about that price - and worse bread for far less if I wanted. I'm just illustrating the point that coupons have some value, especially combined with sales. Would I make a special trip for SaraLee bread? No. But that store happened to have a lot of other very good buys this week, so while I'm there, I buy 5 loafs for $3.50, put the extras in the freezer, and have school lunch sandwich bread covered for the next several weeks.
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#16 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 03:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sovereignqueen
I save 50-60% (or more) each time too
I don't really understand what people mean by this. Does this mean that you save 50-60% off what you would spend on those items without coupons? Or does it mean that you save 50-60% off what you would spend if you bought the types of staples and store brand items that don't generally have coupons?

If I saved 60% on my food budget, I would be spending $96 a month on groceries. While that would be fabulous, I don't think I could do that. But I could easily buy items that totaled $600 a month before coupons and then claim I saved 60% (after coupons) when I spent my usual $240 a month to feed my family.

Can someone explain this to me?

Namaste!
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#17 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 04:15 PM
 
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Man I WISH coupons would work for us. How in the world do you get that percentage off with coupons. I check the Sunday paper and its full of stuff I would never buy and when its close to something its like I have to buy three to get the coupon that doesn't save me anything.

I plan the month out with meals.I think this along as saved us tons of money. And let my husband get only ONE snack food because those along will rake out the money. We spend $300 a month for food and other for a family for 3 PLUS daycare food for 4 children. I only use windex and bleach (have to use bleach for daycare) for cleaning. I save all my old towels and cut them up for make rags for cleaning. Personal hygene is great at the dollar store and we only use the basic stuff. I do get laundry soap at Costco since it really does last me 165 loads.
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#18 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 04:37 PM
 
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I'm going to second the suggestions for making home made cleaners. I use a vinegar all purpose for windows and light cleaning/dusting, and air freshener: 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp dish soap, 1/4 cup vinegar. I use a stronger concentration of the vinegar solution or lemon juice for heavier cleaning like ovens, etc... Baking soda works great for stubborn stuff.

Sometimes cupons can be a better deal, especially if the item is already on sale. I use cupons and also buy store brands. Many times the brand name will end up cheaper than the store brand if you have a good cupon, but not always. I only save cupons for items that I would normally purchase and then watch for it to go on sale.

I used to be able to get grocheries much cheaper than I do now. I would go to every store in town and buy the sale items. Time consuming, but I could get a whole trunk full of grocheries for what I get a few bags for now. Now, I have a child and don't like to go to that many stores, and I also have begun to boycot some of the stores and brands, and also started buying organic produce and natural items. Although, you can save a lot as others have mentioned by making stuff from scratch and not buying pre-made stuff like boxed cereals, etc...

Personally, I have stopped shopping at larger "discount" stores. I guess I feel the savings that they have for our budget isn't worth the cost of their business practices. But that is just me, I don't condemn people who want to shop there to save money.

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#19 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 05:55 PM
 
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I find that I do save money at Costco. Some things that save me are:
Toilet Paper
Chicken
Dog Food
Gas-Our Costco has a gas staion and the price is always about .10-.15 cheaper, so I buy a pre-paid card, first budgeting what we need in gas for the week (or weeks).
I know it doesn't sound like much, but it does save us money.

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#20 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heldt123
Personally, I have stopped shopping at larger "discount" stores. I guess I feel the savings that they have for our budget isn't worth the cost of their business practices. But that is just me, I don't condemn people who want to shop there to save money.

I'm the same way. I'd rather these place were not in my area, but I cannot tell people not to show there because of how I feel. Just like I didn't want anyone to tell me where I can and cannot nurse my babe.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#21 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 06:07 PM
 
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I make all my cleaners- including laundry soap, oxygen bleach (like oxiclean), dish soap, etc. I save a TON of money this way. To get some good starter recipes, this site is fantastic. http://www.recipezaar.com/r/454/pg=1

I shop at a discount grocery chain. I buy my produce at farmer's markets when it's in season. If it's not in season, I don't buy it. I cook almost everything from scratch- including chicken stock from last night's roasted chicken. It's really easy once you start doing it.

If I like a product, I write the company and let them know. Sometimes they send coupons. If I don't like a product, I write the company. They ALWAYS send GREAT coupons. I used two Huggies diapers on dd a few months ago and she had the WORST blowouts- both times! I wrote a letter of complaint via email, and received $25 in manufacturer coupons- one $10, two $5, one $3, and two $1- that were good for any Kimberly Clark product, so I stocked up on Viva paper towels and Cottenelle tp, both of which we love but rarely buy because of cost. It doesn't even cost me a postage stamp because I email the company and include my home address. Also, write companies and ask for freebies. I wrote Pfizer and asked for samples of products for a new mother. They sent me a tube of Desitin, a container of Tucks, a bottle of Lubriderm, a coupon book of more than $10 savings- plus three coupons for free Listerine, Purell hand santitizer, and PediaCare medicine. There are "free sample" sites all over the internet- use them. All samples come with coupons better than you'll find in your local paper.

I don't even bother with warehouses. I've gone a few times with friends, and only once did I find a good deal- on tires. I had a friend buy them for me the next time she was there.

I don't buy toiletries, garbage bags, etc, at the grocery store. Toiletries can be made or purchased from Target, etc. I buy garbage bags in bulk at hardware stores. (They really are cheaper there, at least where I live.)

Average monthly cost for food/personal items for me, DP, and DD- $160.
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#22 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 06:18 PM
 
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There are only three of us, but we spend about $400 a month on food/grocery store purchases. We do a Sam's club run about every other month. We buy peanut butter which comes packed two together in normal jar sizes, tp, paper towels, dishwasher detergent, laundry soap, bottled water, and a few frozen items. I never buy produce or meat here. There is too much and besides, I buy that at Whole Foods as I prefer the organic. We compare the prices to the regular grocery store when we remember to check. I know we are saving money on the items that are bulk purchases.

I watch the specials at the grocery store and Whole Foods and our Co-op. Today, I purchased coffee filters at Whole Foods. I thought they were expensive, however, when I got to the regular grocery store for something that I buy there, I found out I had actually paid almost a dollar less!

One of my plans this month is to record the prices of things that I normally buy at all the stores I regularly visit. This will help me know if we are getting a good deal when we notice a special.

I use coupons whenever possible. I get Mambo Sprouts coupons online, at the Co-Op and Whole Foods. There are usually a few items in there that we use. I take a book everytime I visit. I leave the coupons I don't use in the lunchroom at work. I clip coupons from the paper, but like another poster, I don't use most of those things. Our check out at the regular grocer prints out coupons. I use those as often as I can. Today I used a coupon for $1 off my entire grocery order. I have another for $3 off my order that I hope to use for the next big trip. This store also is associated with a gas station, so each time I make purchase, I make sure to hand over my shopping card. We got 30 cent off per gallon last time we filled up the big car. My friend had so much off she filled her Honda Pilot for 80 cents per gallon!

Our rule is to buy what we use and use what we buy. I am sure we throw out more than we should, but we are trying to do better by making smaller portions of things instead of preparing meals to feed an army.
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#23 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Amys1st
Try to only go every 4-6 weeks and you will see a dramatic cut in your household budget.
This was in regards to Target. I'm curious what people are buying there that would necessitate frequent trips. We have Target in our area, and we like it, but I think I went to Target 3 times last year: to get a DVD for my husband's birthday, to comparison shop for toddler seats for our son, and to buy a pair of gloves for our son. Why are people shopping at Target weekly?

Namaste!
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#24 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 07:52 PM
 
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Why are people shopping at Target weekly?
I don't go there weekly, but I buy things like vinegar, big boxes of baking soda, washing soda, borax, as well as toothpaste, glycerin, canning jars, etc. I need to go this weekend to get a drying screen for my wool sweaters.
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#25 of 30 Old 02-03-2005, 08:29 PM
 
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Personally, I have stopped shopping at larger "discount" stores. I guess I feel the savings that they have for our budget isn't worth the cost of their business practices. But that is just me, I don't condemn people who want to shop there to save money.
I feel really good about shopping at costco. Their starting wage is close to $10/hour, their average wage is around $16/hour, a majority of their employees use their insurance, etc... It is supposed to be a VERY "blue" place to work and I like my $ to go there.

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#26 of 30 Old 02-04-2005, 01:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kytheria
I need to go this weekend to get a drying screen for my wool sweaters.
You can try using a pressure-mounted baby gate (or a clean window screen if you have one) placed over the tub.

I don't find many deals at our BJ's (like Sams or Costco). Mostly it's huge boxes of national brands at the same (or slightly below) prices as the grocery store. I hear new moms talking about buying their diapers there, but even that isn't a bargain if they compare unit prices. Ours has a gas station too, and it's a bit cheaper, but far enough out of my way that I don't go there often. I find better deals at Wal-mart (ugh!) than our warehouse stores.
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#27 of 30 Old 02-04-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
This was in regards to Target. I'm curious what people are buying there that would necessitate frequent trips. We have Target in our area, and we like it, but I think I went to Target 3 times last year: to get a DVD for my husband's birthday, to comparison shop for toddler seats for our son, and to buy a pair of gloves for our son. Why are people shopping at Target weekly?

Namaste!
The targets in my area have more than just baby gear, Dvds, and gloves. Some of them have grocery stores attached to them and huge frozen food sections. Most of the food there is processed, ready to eat variety so we don't get much in that dept except for an occasional trick or treat thing, valentines etc. They also have a pharmacy (the pharmist in ours is wonderful), tolietrees, otc remedies, plus anything else you could think of to decorate your home, bridal registry etc. I have seen people in line in front of me spend $500 a visit! One person was having a dinner party- she bought dishware, linens etc plus her basic toiletrees she needed day to day. So if its all under one roof and there its easy to see how people can get target crazy. Thats why I suggested stretching out time between visits or go in there in a hurry so you do not get caught up in that.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#28 of 30 Old 02-04-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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I have been thinking about the whole warehouse vs grocery store, especially since I dropped almost $200 at Costco last night. We don't have a Sam's Club here, thankfully.
I share a membership at Costco with my brother, so we have a signifigant savings there. My Costco carries a lot of healthy/organic foods for decent prices. For the same price as shreddies, I can get organic cereals at Costco

I think the biggest benefit is convenience, really. I hate to say it, but it's true. I buy my staples there. For instance, when the grocery stores have a gigantic loss-leader sale on flour (usually twice per year), and it will cost $4.50 for 10kg. Any day of the year, i can run up to Costco and buy a 20kg bag for $9.18. It just isn't worth it to me to stockpile so that I can save 18 cents every 2 months, you know? Also, natural and organic peanut butters are 1/2 the price of the grocery stores, etc
So for me it is worth it, but I stick to the list and avoid the giant delicious muffins, useless home decor junk, sporting goods, discount books etc etc and just buy food and such.

We don't get a lot of coupons here, but I do shop the loss leaders at the grocery store. We buy fresh produce every week and plan meals around what is on sale. I believe most months we spend an average of $300 on food.
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#29 of 30 Old 02-04-2005, 07:38 PM
 
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Hi all,
I am new to this section of MDC. Have always been fairly concious of sales at the grocery store and try to use what we have (have a long way to go in this department...) and can do GREAT with coupons when using on a sale item!

I have saved a lot by reducing my number of trips to Target and Costco to when I REALLY need to go. Yes, I can buy Windex cheaper at Target than at my local grocery store but if that is all I need, I save the gas money and the time (AND the expense that it will cost because once in Target I'll end up with a turtleneck for dd2 and ponytail holders for dd1 and the new Usher cd with that song I like off the radio and that cute Valentine decoration and....) I do go when I have a big list then try to stick to that.

Was in Costco last night and if anyone was watching me, they'd have been laughing. I put SO many things in my cart, only to take them out and put them back - binders and page protectors for my dd1's school stuff (I swear I still have some from the last time I bought at Costco but I need to dig through the front hall closet to find them), a box of greeting cards (GREAT deal - really! - but I just stocked up on cards not long ago and there are always a good 1/3 of the cards that I don't like so is it really necessary to buy it now? No.), Easter dresses for the girls (again, great prices and they love to wear dresses but they have some and Grammy just mailed some she sewed so again just not necessary. I don't browse the videos or cds or books or kitchen items - will just end up picking up stuff I don't need! IF you stick to what you need and know what is a good price (Coke at our Costco is never a good deal - on sale at Safeway beats it every time) then I think Costco is a good deal. We make our money back on film and developing alone!
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#30 of 30 Old 02-04-2005, 08:07 PM
 
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I think you can do well either way (grocery vs. Costco), but you have to think about what you are buying. I split my purchases and do think I save money. But I am careful that what I buy at Costco I can store well and really is a money saver. For me, the items that make sense at Costco are DH's beer, some meat, some produce, juice, paper products, most cleaning products, dog food, baking staples, eggs, coffee, and diapers. All stuff that I can store easily, that I know I will use before they go bad, and stuff I would buy anyway. And the last of those is really key -- if you are tempted into extra stuff, whether by store display, sample, or "because I have a coupon", you will always end up spending more than you needed to. The other thing that is important is to figure out whether a more expensive product is worth it because of better performance. Sometimes the bargain brands really aren't because you use more or don't eat it because it isn't as good. One of the reasons I like Costco is because their "house brand" stuff for many items is better than other brands and thus worth it, even if there isn't a dollar savings. I think it all boils down to being aware of all the factors. Or, to play off of the forum name, "mindful shopping".
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