Author Topic: Grocery shopping badassity  (Read 13524 times)

Tim

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Grocery shopping badassity
« on: June 18, 2012, 05:44:13 AM »
Recently, I started trying to shop by the flyers. One of the things I immediately realized is that I had no idea if I was getting a deal or not. Enter the grocery price book.

I made a list of things I typically buy and wrote down all the prices (along with the weight/volume) the next time I was in the grocery store. When I received flyers in the mail, I quickly sorted the so-so deals from the genuine good deals (saved 45% on cheese last week). Additionally, it makes price comparing between stores a cinch. Just keep the price list in your wallet or on your phone.

Another thing I've found to be excessively handy is meal planning with a food inventory. Every Thursday night, I go through the cupboards, fridge, and freezer, taking a quick inventory. This helps me spot what's been sitting around for a while and gets me thinking about meal possibilities. On Friday, I make the list and plan each dinner. Saturday is grocery shopping day, a monumentus occasion that resembles "Supermarket Sweep".

Anyone have awesome grocery shopping secrets that I should know about?

TLV

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 10:09:42 AM »
We recently discovered a restaurant supply store ("Cash and Carry") just down the bike path from us. It won't completely replace our bimonthly costco trips, but they carry some things in bulk that costco doesn't (all sorts of dried beans and spices) and they have better unit prices than costco on many of the things they have in common.

Will

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 10:56:03 AM »
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to pricing and Costco:  Costco isn't interested in being the "cheapest."  Costco wants to offer quality products at great prices.  So it would be quite easy to find almost anything cheaper somewhere else, but there are going to be lots of times where the cheapest is such low quality, you have to ask if it is worth it?

Here is an example I saw in an article in MONEY from 2003:
"What is striking is that the Kirkland tuna costs more (99 a can) than the Bumble Bee (90 a can). So does that work out in favor of Costco, Bumble Bee or the customer? Arguably, everyone wins. If you buy the more expensive brand (Kirkland, made by Bumble Bee), you get high-quality tuna at a very good price; if you buy the leading brand (premium Bumble Bee), you get good quality at an even better price."

With places like the evil Wal-mart and Sam's Club, they will sell you low quality crap cheaper than anyone else.  Costco would rather sell you high quality stuff for what you would normally pay for average quality elsewhere.  So you might not save as much money buying things at Costco, but the quality will be better in most instances.

LeighinCT

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2012, 12:53:57 PM »
Tim - Another helpful resource for price comparison/
coupon matchup/loss leader highlights is the website

[MOD EDIT: POTENTIAL SPAM LINK REMOVED.]

Look at the header for stores. You can search for
specials and coupon matchups by store. Ignore the processed stuff
in lieu of deals on things you buy regularly.

Happy saving!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 07:18:47 PM by arebelspy »

velocistar237

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 07:30:48 PM »
I recently checked out the book "Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half" and found a bunch of good tips, even though it's not going to cut my bill in half. I recommend it as a good skim from your local library.

LeighinCT

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 08:33:34 PM »
Oh dear! My link was removed because it appeared spammy. Not my intention at all!

Just know that there are a lot of grocery shopping/saving resources available. There are websites that will do a great deal of the leg work for you re. lowest price/lowest unit price so that you don't have to start from scratch. Some flag items when they are marked down as a "stock up" price. Other places can key you into the sales rotations. There is a primary stock-up month and then several months later the same items will be on sale again. For example, ketchup will be available at a low cost in May and then again in September. Peanut butter goes on sale in August. Baking staples go on sale in November. Paper goods in the spring. Spices in the fall/winter.

Do some basic searches online. Link out from there and connect to other links. I'll refrain from posting links but just know that most sites are regional and will focus on grocery stores in a specific area of the country. There are a handful of blogs that cover the national grocery chains as well.

Dicey

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 09:15:43 PM »
Hi Tim,
The famous Amy D covers this topic and how to make/use a price book in "The Tightwad Gazette". If you don't have a copy, your library should. Get the blue one that includes everything.

Another frugal technique is to divide and conquer. Not every store has the best prices in every category. When you get really good at this, you can rotate your grocery list so you stock up on these kinds of things here one week and those kinds of things there the next.

Right now I'm on an eat up my back stock kick. I only buy perishables until I can see the shelves in my pantry, fridge and freezer again. My favorite source? The .99(99) Only Stores. Last week I scored one-pound containers of organic Earthbound Farms Mixed Greens and 10 oz. packages of Cracker Barrel Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese for the princely sum of .99(99) each.

Yup, everything used to be 99 Cents Only, but to combat inflation, prices were increased 99 hundredths of a cent to .9999. The selection can be unpredictable, but after a while you learn what they are likely to have and when is the best time to shop.

BTW, I have no patience for coupons and know all those coupon shows represent a ton of hours of behind the scenes work and occasional questionable practices. At .99(99) Only Stores, I know I'm generally getting such a screaming deal that I don't care that they don't take coupons. They are not nationwide, but a little frugal sleuthing will turn up solutions unique to your area. With your price book, you will know what's a deal and what's a steal.

Jamesqf

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 01:11:09 PM »
I have never really understood this agressive sort of shopping.  Maybe if you have a large family it would work out, but seems as though most of us would wind up spending more on gas going to several different stores than we'd save - and that's not counting the value of our time.

My own solution is to do most of my shopping at one particular chain (WinCo, for those in the western US) which generally has much lower prices than anybody (so much so that I sometimes wonder if they're not a money-laundering front), lots and lots of stuff in bulk bins (like about 20 kinds of flour!), and best of all, no damn Muzak playing.

velocistar237

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 06:01:11 PM »
seems as though most of us would wind up spending more on gas going to several different stores than we'd save - and that's not counting the value of our time.

Amen to that. I stick to one store, and I'm only interested in ideas that stretch my dollar at that store, like using a price book, shopping the flyer, and owning a chest freezer.

arebelspy

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 07:21:39 PM »
Oh dear! My link was removed because it appeared spammy. Not my intention at all!
... I'll refrain from posting links but just know that most sites are regional and will focus on grocery stores in a specific area of the country.

Thanks for understanding Leigh.  We get a lot of spam accounts that sign up and immediately link to other sites.

A blind link to a coupon site included in the very first post by a brand new account is immediately suspicious.

It doesn't appear you're a spammer, and once you've been around for awhile and contributed to the forum a bit, feel free to start contributing links that you think are helpful!
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mm1970

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 08:54:33 PM »
I used to do the price book thing and comparison shopping based on the fliers.  I found that it did save me a LOT of money.  Even considering the extra driving...I would just stop at various stores on my way home from work to avoid this.  I never shopped at 4 stores in a day, but usually would hit no more than 2-3 a week.

But now my shopping habits and eating habits have changed.  We tend to eat a lot more organic and local.  That, alone, has brought our grocery bill up.  I also noticed that I was spending a lot of time to get the "best" price on certain items - more time than I really needed to spend.  For example: grocery stores have sales on whole wheat pasta at about $1.25 a pound here.  With a coupon, you could get that down to about $1.00/lb (they are sold in 13 oz packages).  But the effort to combine the coupon with the sale got to be not worth it to me, when Trader Joe's sells the stuff for $1.39/lb regularly.  Same thing with brown rice.  Lots of research and I could find brown rice for $0.85/lb with a sale, but it's $1.10 a pound at one of the stores, regularly.

I still, on occasion, shop the sales.  But mostly I just buy what's in season at the farmer's market to save money.  I'm willing to pay extra for the local and organic factor, but I can afford it.  If we ever get to a point where money is tight again, I would go back to my shopping strategy in a heartbeat.

Example numbers:
In 2000, family of 2, $5600/year groceries (plus a lot of eating out)
In 2008, family of 3, aggressive shopping strategies, $4800/year (including the CSA).
In 2011, family of 3, less aggressive shopping strategies and more organic/local, $6500/year (including the CSA).

Jamesqf

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 11:02:56 PM »
Same thing with brown rice.  Lots of research and I could find brown rice for $0.85/lb with a sale, but it's $1.10 a pound at one of the stores, regularly.

While in the bulk bins where I shop, the regular long-grain brown rice runs 55-65 cents/lb.  (See why I don't worry about coupons, and wonder about the money laundering aspect?)  And then they've got short-grain brown rice, organic brown of both kinds, jasmine rice, basmati rice, black rice...  Oh, and white rice too.  It definitely would pay to look around for a similar store in your area.

Dicey

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 12:24:35 AM »
Jamesqf -I love, love, LOVE Winco. What an awesome concept! They have gradually moved closer to my home since I discovered their Eureka Store (four hours away) about ten years ago. Because I'm in a high COLA, the nearest one is still about 30 minutes drive; not cost effective on a weekly basis. They are in my rotation and a very important source of staples. I always go to the bulk bins first. My frugal buddy and I go on periodic exhibitions to Winco. We go on a Friday night every couple of months or so and shop until we drop. Did you know that many Wincos are open 24 hours? My pal and I make it a date and shop late in the evening. They lower the lights at about 9:30, so we call it our "Date Night". We don't share carts though, as we each buy a ton o' staples.

I love that Winco is an employee owned chain and that they pay a living wage. When you ask someone a question, they care enough to give you a correct answer and stay with you until you find what you're looking for. That said, I avoid the HABA aisle. I think they use a distributor, so their prices are not as competitive as the rest of the store. If I'm ever going to redeem a coupon, Winco is the place. I'm also a huge Costco fan and I think they complement each other perfectly.

So my rotation includes Costco, Winco, 99 Only, Fresh & Easy (closest to home, great markdown program). Second tier are Grocery Outlet, Trader Joe's, a local produce stand and the Sunday Farmer's Market. Safeway, the only major grocery chain in my part of the world, is dead last. I'd drive myself nuts if I tried to follow all of them every week, so I rotate them depending what I need.

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 03:15:59 PM »
I have never really understood this agressive sort of shopping.  Maybe if you have a large family it would work out, but seems as though most of us would wind up spending more on gas going to several different stores than we'd save - and that's not counting the value of our time.

Obviously my situation is not universal, but I pass by at least 5 grocery stores on a regular basis, so it's not too difficult to comparison shop and DEFINITELY worth the money saved.  I get a lot more variety in my fruit/vegetable consumption than I would if I limited myself to the 1 grocery store with the mostly lowest prices. 

My big money saving tip is that I almost never buy produce for more than $1/lb.  Between the various stores that are readily accessible to me, there is almost always at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable to be had for this price each week.  My one exception to this rule is that I will buy a huge bag of spinach at Costco once a month (at $1.33/lb it's far cheaper than any other dark leafy green in my area, and dark leafy greens are pretty much never on special here).  I pack half of it into ziplocs and freeze to use in cooked dishes, and feast on spinach salad for a week or so with the remaining fresh stuff.

Jamesqf

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2012, 12:43:50 AM »
Did you know that many Wincos are open 24 hours?

Yes/No - I'm near Reno, so basically everything is open 24 hours.  I'm lucky in that my usual one is right off a route that I drive at least once or twice a week, so I don't have to plan a special trip.

Quote
That said, I avoid the HABA aisle.

HABA?  Could you translate?

I've never been a fan of CostCo, and have only been in one a few times.  Never liked the idea of having to have a card to shop, plus their quantities are way too big for a single guy.  For the rest, I stop by Trader Joe's now and then even though it's out of my way, as they have a few items I really like (the cherry cider, for instance) and can't find anywhere else.  Only other grocery store I visit at all regularly is WalMart, as they likewise have a few things that WinCo doesn't carry.

Will

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 12:51:05 AM »
HABA= Health Aid Beauty Aid

dancedancekj

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 10:46:11 AM »
I've never been a fan of CostCo, and have only been in one a few times.  Never liked the idea of having to have a card to shop, plus their quantities are way too big for a single guy.
As a single guy who feels your pain, I usually only buy things at CostCo that I know will be finished quickly (giant tub of hummus for a party) or that doesn't go bad all that quickly (giant blocks of cheese) or stuff that I can keep frozen (chicken, veggies).

cats

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 03:37:59 PM »
I've never been a fan of CostCo, and have only been in one a few times.  Never liked the idea of having to have a card to shop, plus their quantities are way too big for a single guy.
As a single guy who feels your pain, I usually only buy things at CostCo that I know will be finished quickly (giant tub of hummus for a party) or that doesn't go bad all that quickly (giant blocks of cheese) or stuff that I can keep frozen (chicken, veggies).

As another single person, I have actually found a Costco membership to be worth the cost.  I did hold off for a while, but then I got a gift card a while back, so I decided to go check out the prices.  I figured that if I simply started to buy all of my rolled oats, canned tomatoes, nuts, olive oil, onions, garlic, and carrots at Costco, I would easily save $55 in a year, so any other savings would be a bonus.  Of those items, most are relatively non-perishable or at least will not go bad before I eat them.  That said, I do almost all of my cooking from scratch and one of my main snack foods is raw carrots, so I may use the perishable items like onions and carrots at a faster than average rate (e.g., a 10-lb bag of carrots gets consumed in 2-3 weeks).

I also recently discovered that my Costco sells really cheap 13-lb boxes of oranges, which will keep for quite a while if refrigerated.

Jamesqf

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 04:34:25 PM »
I figured that if I simply started to buy all of my rolled oats, canned tomatoes, nuts, olive oil, onions, garlic, and carrots at Costco, I would easily save $55 in a year, so any other savings would be a bonus.

Ah, but you probably don't have access to the bulk bins at WinCo!  Got most of those things there, and cheaper.  Just found out that they keep their list on line: http://www.wincofoods.com/departments/bulk-foods/a-to-z/

I don't do much in the way of canned stuff, as I prefer to buy fresh even if it costs more.  Plus I mostly stir-fry, which doesn't work all that well with canned stuff.  I do buy some meats in larger quantities, which I can then slice up, package in meal-sized lots, and freeze for stir-frying.  Otherwise about the only thing I buy in really large quantities is carrots, but out of 10 lbs I'll eat a couple and feed the rest to the horses.

Dicey

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2012, 01:11:35 AM »
Very close, Will, but no fat cigar. Sorry, I should have translated when I wrote the original comment.

HABA = Health and Beauty Aids.

If you find yourself in a Winco staring down an aisle packed full of toothpaste, deodorant, mini/maxi pads, band-aids, shave cream and OTC meds, you're in what's known in the biz as the "HABA" section. Fortunately, Winco makes it easy to avoid because they put in all in one aisle. It's the only one I skip if I'm shopping in a hurry. Much as I hate Target's return policy, I will venture into one very rarely when I find myself in need of HABA-dashery. I grab what I need and dash out of there! No Wally Worlds where I live, so I can't compare, YMMV.

As for Costco, I'm single and I love the place. Craisins, for example, are $3.00 off right now and supposedly will not be on sale again this year. That makes the 2lb. bag under four and a half bucks! Which is, BTW, cheaper than the bulk bins at Winco. Love my price book!

I also buy the (non-microwave) Orville R popcorn. HABA items at screaming prices. Who cares if I have to buy three tubes of mascara at once? I'll use it all, eventually. Unbelievable prices on OTC meds and prescriptions too. And gas. Lots and lots of lovely, cheap gasoline. (Sorry, I have to drive for my job. Not to my job. For my job. Do you know the gas rebate stops after 3K in purchases? I do, alas.)

I have a Costco sibling who earns both a living wage and decent benefits, which is something Winco and Costco have in common.

If you don't want to buy a Costco (or Sam's or BJ's) membership, go with a friend. Split your purchases. Offer to carry their 50 lb. bag of dog food up/down two flights of steps. They'll beg you to go shopping with them every time. They might even spring for a hot dog.

kolorado

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2012, 08:58:34 AM »
Last year in NJ I averaged $250 a month on food and this year in CO I'm averaging $280 a month. We're a family of 5. I had a garden in NJ but less store options/competition. I really miss Aldi! :( See if you have one of those. A garden is Strategy 1.
 Out here I have at least 2 super stores, half a dozen chain grocery stores, and dozens of specialty markets all within a 5 mile radius. I shop mostly at the cheapest grocery chain and Save-A-Lot. I get a lot of my produce from Bountiful Baskets, a food co-op. Also see if you have one of those. Discovering cheaper sources for what you buy the most is strategy 2. I stop at a second, more expensive chain for their loss leaders. When I need to go to Walmart or Target I stock up on things like coffee, peanut butter(always seems to be cheaper than grocery sales)and HHB(Home-Health-Beauty). Stocking up when there are great prices is strategy 3. I rarely even look in the grocery HHB aisles. This week I will be getting shampoo at the grocery though. A mailed coupon plus a sale will net me my favorite brand for 65% off WM prices.
That leads me to strategy 4, coupons. I do not go out of my way to get or process these since most of what I buy is staples. Some are mailed to me from manufacturers, some come with the local shopping guides free in the mail, some I can load onto my grocery savers cards and some I can print from online sites. When I get one of those RedPlum type coupon things I look quickly through it and make a mental note of any really good opportunities, write the date on the front and slip it into a plastic page protector. If you follow coupon savings sites, they will match up your local ads with the coupons in those sheets. If you know the date each booklet was distributed you can easily find the coupon they talk about without having to cut and file hundreds of tiny pieces of paper. I don't even bother to really skim my coupons until my list is complete. For example, I needed to get shampoo this or next week. The store ad has my favorite brand 15% off the WM price. Since it's a brand item I flipped through my coupon pages and found a coupon for it. It took only 20 seconds to save $3 on what I wanted to buy anyway. Same thing with online coupons. If you see something in the ad that is a pretty good deal, and you needed to buy it anyway, flip through your paper coupons or do a quick online search. Most places take printed coupons now that more security features are built into them. With very little couponing effort, I still manage to save almost $30 a month on items I was going to buy anyway. I've never understood the point of getting elaborate deals which fill your pantry with foods you wouldn't normally buy and eat just because they were nearly free. I'd rather pay $1 can for sale tuna in water than score $.25 cans of tuna in flavored oil.
And that brings me to strategy 5, eating less meat and junk. The more you can make at home from scratch, the more filled up you will feel with less. We noticed this effect years ago when I stopped buying anything with hydrogenated oils and then even more so when I stopped buying items with corn syrup in them. Stick to serving sizes with meat. Never ever "fill up" with meat(well, I guess there's a pass on that at special occasions and holidays). When you eat less, you can eat better quality and you will learn to love fruits and veggies. I've watched an almost complete transformation in my hubby over the last 15 years. Anyone can change with time and effort and should actually come to love the changes.
When you start eliminating junk you will almost certainly be forced to recreate your favorite items at home with ingredients you approve of. Strategy 6, prepping, cooking and baking your own. Basic cookbooks and online sites like Allrecipes are really all you need to do it yourself. Practice makes perfect. I'm in my early 30's now and I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen from my toddler years. I was blessed with a mom who was not only a great teacher but a great cook. I then went on to work in a restaurant and then a bakery. I know I have more experience and interest in the area of food preparation than most people do and that one reason why people often doubt the numbers in my budget. They've never spent 20 happy hours in their kitchen in a week's time.
Strategy 7 is to shop less often. The more often you're in stores the more you will put in your cart because it looks or sounds good. It's really easy to forget what you have at home already and when you buy more you decrease the likelihood that you will be able to consume everything you've purchased before it spoils. I try to do the big stock-up shopping day only once a month. This takes about 4 hours and I usually make 6 or more stops. Then I spend less than 30 minutes on the other weeks just stopping in for loss leaders and perishables. I have a large upright freezer that costs less about $3 a month to run. I have a pantry, a dehydrator and canning jars. I'm not super gung-ho about any method or having a year of food or anything. I just want to have enough of what I use the most obtained cheaply that will last until the next sale where I can obtain them cheaply again. Some things, not many, I will stock up a year's supply. This week I will be stocking up on a a year's supply of blueberries(about 10 lbs). Blueberries freeze exceptionally well and take up little space in the freezer. Prices for this fruit are a their yearly rock bottom near July 4th. Being very aware of what's in season and the rock bottom price will really help the budget. You should never buy oranges in summer or melons in winter. Drives me crazy when I read comments on other sites that lament the cost of produce. Yes, $3 a head for iceberg is very expensive. Maybe they shouldn't eat so much salad in winter.  Try to eat mostly what's fresh and in season and use some of your own frozen items to fill the nutritional gaps. Steamed green beans from your freezer that you bought at $1lb are way better for you than that head of iceberg anyway.
An lastly, strategy 8, don't waste food! Don't overbuy. Process things quickly to avoid spoilage. Eat leftovers for lunch the next day, freeze any remainder for a weekend meal or as an ingredient in "planned-overs". Don't let your picky palette hold you hostage. If all that's left from the chicken taco meal is the beans and a tortilla, don't be a baby, eat the beans and tortilla. One meal that isn't exactly what you wanted isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. There will be other meals coming up that you will love. Sometimes food can be just about sustenance.

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2012, 05:26:22 PM »
We're lucky to have a huge farmers market every Saturday (and Tuesday during summer).  The trick is to go early if you want something specific (like fresh morel mushrooms at a shocking but delicious $19/lb), but the big haul is when there's 15 min before closing. You'll get tremendously good deals on things because they'd rather get something than take them back and get zip.

So hello boxes of pears, or apples for a buck. Or 3 bunches of celery. Etc. They almost give it away. It makes it fun to figure out what to make with the eclectic collection of veggies and fruit too!

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2012, 06:43:40 AM »
Velocistar:  We're in the same general area, so can I ask the name of your preferred grocery store?  We switched from Stop & Shop to Market Basket about 8 months ago, and I would say that change alone saves us $20 - $30 per week.  MB is not as close to us, but the savings are sufficient to justify the extra time & gas.

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2012, 06:52:07 AM »
Same thing with brown rice.  Lots of research and I could find brown rice for $0.85/lb with a sale, but it's $1.10 a pound at one of the stores, regularly.

While in the bulk bins where I shop, the regular long-grain brown rice runs 55-65 cents/lb.  (See why I don't worry about coupons, and wonder about the money laundering aspect?)  And then they've got short-grain brown rice, organic brown of both kinds, jasmine rice, basmati rice, black rice...  Oh, and white rice too.  It definitely would pay to look around for a similar store in your area.
Oh, I've checked all of the bulk bin places - there are 3 of them.  They are all over $1.00/lb.  The 3lb bag from Trader Joe's is the best prices.  Gotta love So. Cal!  I even had a price book that stated WHICH store had the best brown rice price (the co-op), which had the best cornmeal (the fancy store on the hill), and which  had the best oatmeal price (Whole Foods).

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2012, 11:27:03 AM »
Velocistar:  We're in the same general area, so can I ask the name of your preferred grocery store?  We switched from Stop & Shop to Market Basket about 8 months ago, and I would say that change alone saves us $20 - $30 per week.  MB is not as close to us, but the savings are sufficient to justify the extra time & gas.

That was the same switch we made. Absolutely everything is cheaper at Market Basket. Milk is $2.50 rather than $3, eggs are typically $1.29 rather than $1.69, a block of cheese is $5 rather than $6.

I go when they open at 7am on a weekday, and it's still busy. Someday when a visitor asks me what they should do to have an authentic local experience, I'll send them to Market Basket on a Saturday afternoon.

rosarugosa

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2012, 05:11:40 PM »
That's too funny!
Yes, it's amazing how all those dollars and half dollars add up. 

Dicey

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2012, 03:50:01 PM »
Oops! I totally forgot about bread. I get mine at the "Dead Bread" store, run by Oroweat. They have discount days and punch cards. One of my guilty pleasures is 100% whole wheat Thomas' English Muffins, but no way will I pay grocery store prices for them and Costco doesn't stock the whole wheat version. I stock up for myself and my neighbor. It's not at at all close to home, but it is near one of my customers. I can buy a lot and freeze it, so I probably only go six to eight times a year.

liquidbanana

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2012, 10:09:37 PM »
I don't have any grocery shopping badassity that's very original. I have walmart and a very overpriced locally owned store with terrible selection. We eat beans and rice a lot....that's the extent of my saving money strategy for now. lol I'm more interested in growing more of my own and buying in bulk from local producers, more for political/ethical reasons than saving money...so I'm moving towards that.

But it may be worth mentioning for others on here about moneysavingmom.com (if we can link here...I think we can?). This chick feeds a family of five on $40 a week by comparison shopping and aggressive coupon use. Not something I could do in a rural area, but if you have access to more chain stores, it's doable. I used to be so amazed by her! lol

There are also sites like http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ which do all the coupon/sales hunting for you and put it into a nice spreadsheet so you can see the best prices from each store and stock up on things when they are super cheap by going shopping once a week. You'd definitely need a car though, but would still probably be worth the gas expenditure.

HeidiO

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2012, 04:42:25 PM »
   I've used www.grocerygame.com in the past.  If you have a large family or eat plenty of processed foods or have a lot more time than money, I think it is a fabulous resource.  You will save more money than you can believe.  The forums are free and have some fabulous tips.  It's a completely different way to shop - matching sales w/ coupons, stockpiling for 3 months at a time.  I feel like I learned a lot from it.  My issue though, is you will end up with 10 boxes of Fruit Loops, that cost $.50 a piece.  And no one in my family needs Fruit Loops.  And if I get 30 small bags of free potato chips (I did that once) someone will end up eating 30 bags of potato chips.  The other issue is I would buy some box of gourmet food for $.25, then my wife would try it, like it, and come home with 3 boxes of it she bought for $3.50.
  My new try is to go to Walmart w/ all the circulars, and have them price match everything.
Heidi

Will

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2012, 10:03:47 PM »
  My new try is to go to Walmart w/ all the circulars, and have them price match everything.
Heidi

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could price match Walmart into bankruptcy?  I know, I know, but it sure is fun to fantasize!

mustachecat

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2012, 08:23:15 PM »
If there's a Chinatown whenever you live, check it out. In New York, they are, hands down, the best source for cheap fruits and vegetables. The turnover is insanely fast, so it's all fresh too. Stalls and street vendor are cheaper than full-service grocery stores, but even the full-service places will beat out almost anywhere else. As a bonus, there's much less processed food to be had in Chinatown.

At Costco, we tend to stick to pantry staples: bulk sugar, salt, flour, oil, butter, rice, canned anchovies, canned chopped clams, pasta, etc.

Gerard

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #31 on: July 24, 2012, 06:48:43 AM »
If there's a Chinatown whenever you live, check it out. In New York, they are, hands down, the best source for cheap fruits and vegetables. The turnover is insanely fast, so it's all fresh too.

+1. And if you find a big busy place, the turnover/freshness thing also holds for seafood and meat (especially pork). I do find that I have to change my cooking and eating habits a little to take full advantage, but that's hardly a sacrifice. For example, somebody somewhere in China eats a lot of sweet potatoes, so they're crazy cheap in Chinatown. Okay, I can deal with that.

kisserofsinners

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #32 on: July 24, 2012, 05:31:56 PM »
I'm gluten free. I end up eating more Asian and Mexican dishes, as it's not a wheat based diet.

With that i go shopping a local Asian market about once a year to stock up on staples; rice flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk. I went this weekend and saved 60% for coconut milk, 50% for rice flour, and a crazy 80% of tapioca flour. Tapioca flour has become strangely popular in a way that has caused the price to rise over $10/lb in western stores, if you can even find it. The same bag can be found in my Asian market for $.79.

You won't see deals on western product there, but Asian products aren't considered "specialty" like they are at a conventional grocer.

I love it for stocking up on these types of items! I saved >$70 this weekend for exactly the same items and it's only cost me a trip across town (while running other errands as well).

travelbug

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2012, 12:46:35 AM »
I have nothing extra to add, but we do many of these ideas too. Great thread, jotted down afew tips.

N

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2012, 09:03:26 PM »
HABA= Health Aid Beauty Aid

thats funny to me, because HABA is a brand of wooden toys made in Germany. I used to sell them. I wondered why a HABA aisle would be in a grocery store!! :)

BZB

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Re: Grocery shopping badassity
« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2012, 09:29:55 AM »
I'm gluten free. I end up eating more Asian and Mexican dishes, as it's not a wheat based diet.

With that i go shopping a local Asian market about once a year to stock up on staples; rice flour, tapioca flour, and coconut milk. I went this weekend and saved 60% for coconut milk, 50% for rice flour, and a crazy 80% of tapioca flour. Tapioca flour has become strangely popular in a way that has caused the price to rise over $10/lb in western stores, if you can even find it. The same bag can be found in my Asian market for $.79.


@kisserofsinners: That's good to know! My son was just diagnosed with celiac disease a few weeks ago and already our grocery bills are rising. The gluten-free products about 2.5X the normal price, for processed foods like breads and crackers and flour. I should check out the Asian markets, there are many of them in Houston.