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Grocery Savings?

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I usually grocery shop on Monday mornings while Brenna is in school. Then I only have one child to deal with. And since the bakery gives free cookies to kids I am able to shop in relative peace.

I had a pretty extensive list yesterday, but I didn't think it was bigger than usual. The bill, however, was. I scoured the bill to make sure there were no multiple items that added up, but everything seemed correct.

There were a few unusual items on the list: disposable sippy cups, sporks & spoons, table covers & bibs for Ireland (the cups and cutlery were on sale and the table covers and bibs are store brand and half the price). And I did buy some ice cream - also on sale. All totaled that only came to about $18 max.

I am always on the lookout for ideas to save money and I had a new comment from Jennifer and went to check out her blog. She had a post on saving money. So I went to the sites she mentioned.

The first was Supermarket Savings. I, quite honestly, read through this and completely disregarded it, mostly because of the six free ebooks. While I am sure I could find a couple of tips I am pretty sure I utilize the majority of her tips. Yes, I deducted this by looking at her summaries. Yes, I could be wrong. Have you tried this? Tell me...

The second site is the Grocery Game. Again, another pay service. There is a special now, 8 weeks for $1, so not a big loss if it doesn't work. Have you done this?

But let me tell you why I am sceptical of these things.

  1. I take a list. I rarely deviate from it.
  2. I buy store brands (although there are some things I don't skimp on: milk (in recyclable glass from a private dairy), meat (because bad meat often has to be trimmed and will cost you more in the long run) and peanut butter (we eat Omega Smart Balance- no trans fats and it doesn't have to be refrigerated) ** by "bad meat" I don't literally mean bad, I mean less expensive cuts. I'll use chicken breast as an example. The less expensive chicken breas has more connective tissues and fat that need trimmed so a pound isn't really a pound, if you know what I mean.
  3. I buy very few prepared or processed foods. I enjoy cooking and baking. I would say that 80% of our food is "from scratch".
  4. The local grocery stores here don't double coupons. I am, quite honetly, amazed that stores do that anymore. Where are they?
  5. I won't use coupons for products I don't normally buy.
  6. I will clip coupons for brand name items if I normally buy the off-brand. However, I don't blindly grab what I have a coupon for- I always compare sizes/prices. Often the couponed item is still more expensive.
  7. I subscribe to coupon websites and check namebrand websites for coupons that I may need.
  8. Fresh veggies rarely have coupons.

So, do any of you use either of the methods I referred to above? Or do you have a tip that you swear by? I really want to cut costs but am unsure what else I can do.

Also, I've heard quite a few people mention Dave Ramsey lately. I like David Bach quite a bit. Can anyone tell me the difference between the two?


Anonymous 9:15 AM  

I love Dave Ramsey. And I love what he's done for our life even more.

I've never heard of David Bach (shows how much I get out), so I can't offer any differences.

Tamara 10:48 AM  

Ditto. We have 1 week left in our D.R. class. it's been quite the eye opener on multiple subjects, not just budgeting. I don't do any of the things above.when it comes to food, i try to buy what I want and not scimp unless its cream of soups or other items that mix into something.

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More 2:55 PM  

I use your method. I am a big fan of store brand and usually find it's just as cheap as a name brand + coupon. I've tried all the coupon sites, etc. and they seem too involved for me to wrap my mind around. (my time is worth something, right...and it takes me too long to figure all the stuff out). I'm not a big coupon clipper and we don't eat anything exotic or expensive. That said, my hubby was lamentin our $600/month grocery bills at the beginning of the year and asked if I could trim the fat a bit. I told him I most certainly could. And I started trimming by not buying his beer anymore. So far, at the 20th of the month, I've only spend $168. How's THAT for trimming? One last thing...I've bit the bullet and started grocery shopping at Super Wal-Mart. You'd be surprised how much cheaper their prices are. One example: diet tonic water. 50 cents/bottle at Wal-Mart and $1.39 at the grocery store.

Jodi 3:09 PM  

I shop like you do and do 90% of my cooking from scratch. Where I find I spend too much money is on snack type foods. Those 2.00 boxes of fruit snacks sound good but when you figure each kid will eat three bags of them in one sitting or throughout the day you need 6 boxes and then the price starts adding up.

I am not saying you do this but this is one area I am much more careful in. We don't buy chips, cookies, snack crackers, or fruit snacks very often. Most of the time my kids have veges and fruit for a snack or I make muffins. I can't justify spending $20 on snack foods that will last two days when I can spend that same 20 on food that will make 5 or 6 meals.

One other thing I try to do is watch the specials at all the grocery stores. If one thing is on sale at one store but not the other I know I need to get it at the sale price. It requires me to do two stores in the same day but it also saves us money.

Jennifer 6:24 PM  

I have to tell you that I use the grocerygame.com website the most. Let me clarify a few things as well as I am certainly not one to waste money and try very hard to get more bang for my buck.
The first point you have.

1. I take a list and rarely deviate from it.
I too make a list that is based on what is on sale, I go by which list suits us better for that week, which happened to be Harris Teeter this past grocery trip. Grocerygame.com helps you to match coupons with what is on sale therefore saving even more. They had things that I normaly buy such as, cereal, Healthy Choices dinners, (I eat these for lunch), chicken nuggets, frozen vegies, dishwasher detergent, razors, gotta shave those legs..lol, various fruit was buy one get one, as pork tenderlions and different cuts of beef roasts, chicken leg quarters, hamburger,(all the meat I bought was BOGO), lean I might add, bread etc. I have also gotten deli meats in the past such as Turkey breast, Ham. I want to emphasize that I DO NOT under no circumstance buy any "bad meat". Also Jiff PB was on sale BOGO free had a coupon for 2 jars so that saved me, I also buy trans fat free spreads, there is always a sale on one brand or other.
2. Most of what I buy is store brand.
3. I admit we do eat some processed foods but not all the time.. we do have mac and cheese some days..but not all the time. We have plenty of fresh fruits and vegies I make things from scratch, I feel if you are making bread from white flour then that is processed anyway.. so if its not 100% whole grain then its processed.
4. Our Harris Teeter and Kroger double coupons. Didn't know that when I went into Harris Teeter last time, nice surprise. :)
5. I don't buy things that I won't use, period, waste of money.
6. Sometimes the coupon doesn't give you the better deal, but the grocerygame helps you weed those out and gives you the better deals.
7.There are a few coupon websites that I use as well.
8. Coupons for vegies are rare, but I did have a coupon for Food Lion $2.00 off fresh produce. I heard and I can't remember where but they are saying now that fresh vegies are comparable to frozen, no nutritional difference and I always have plenty of frozen vegie coupons. :) My trip from HT kept us in grocerys all last week and most of this week. My total was $249.37 and after $124.13! I will take that any day!

PrairieRobin 9:32 PM  

I'm curious - what do you spend per week on groceries?

There are five in my household (incl 3 teenagers). My budget is $135/wk, which includes household items (paper towels, etc) and pet supples (2 cats and a dog).

I look over the ad (we only have a Fareway in Manchester) and see what meat is $2.00 or under per pound. Then I build a menu for 2 weeks, planning for 3 meal a day.

I shop at Walmart or Dollar General for household items, which helps keep the price down.

Carol B. 11:33 PM  

The Grocery Game has been around here in Southern California for a long time. It does work really well (you save a ton), but you have to be willing to go with the brands that are on sale. You also have to have a lot of storage space because you have to buy when things are one sale. I think it is good for families with flexible eaters or great if you like to donate to food pantries (lots of free food). The challenge comes in if your family only likes certain brands of different products.

Jody 6:28 AM  

Prairie Robin- I wanted to reply to your comment but I don't have your email. I hope you don't mind that I respond here.

I usually spend about $400/month on groceries for 4 people. We don't eat a lot of meat, it's more of a side than a focus, and I make a lot of "cassarole" type foods.

I admit that I should watch the specials that come out every week and plan around that instead of just planning our menu based on what sounds good on Sunday evening.

Thanks so much for your comment!

Carol- we are flexible eaters and I have plenty of space. I think, since it's got a low price right now that I will try the "game" and see how it goes. Thanks!

Katy 3:51 PM  

I am so with you. I am so cautious and still it seem slike my bill is high. I suppose things are just costing more. But geez...I want them to cost less....doesn't that count for something?

Cassie - Homeschooling Four 7:44 PM  

I came across your site from payperpost. I saw this post and couldn't help myself. I have always been a very frugal shopper but I have taken that to a whole new level lately. We have 4 children and our weekly grocery budget is now $50/week. I shop at Publix and Winn-Dixie and CVS. My budget includes hygiene products, cleaning products, etc... We also buy mostly name brands (even more so now that I am shopping the deals and using coupons). We make most things from scratch (not bread though, too much work for me). I learned most of what I am doing from www.moneysavingmom.com and thriftyfloridamama.blogspot.com I post my shopping list every week. Feel free to come take a peek.

malkovich03 9:48 PM  

i only cook for two, well, actually it's more like one since my fiance is so picky.

i get a delivery of organic fruits and vegetables twice a month and i plan all my meals around that. i spend about $150 a month for two people.

the sunday before my delivery i take a look at what i'm getting, then i research/plan the dinners i want to make based on whats coming in the box that week. i started getting the deliveries last july and i love them. it has totally changed the way i eat. i'm 'forced' to eat healthy because i don't want to waste any vegetables or fruits in the box!

also, i don't buy any junk food. i will occasionaly buy some baked chips for my fiance if he's been good, haha!

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