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Just Doing My Best: How to Save a Bundle at the Grocery Store

Thursday, February 26, 2009

 

How to Save a Bundle at the Grocery Store


My favorite grocery tip of all time is, "Buy when it is cheap and not when you need it." I save more money at the grocery store with this tip alone. Let me explain what I mean and how it works. For years, I restocked our pantry at Walmart with generics and carefully planned our menus to make the best use of the food I purchased. I price-matched and even brought a few coupons to use on our favorite foods.

While it was a good attempt, I had it all wrong! Now, I scour the sale ads while comparing them to my coupon collection, looking for where they match. If the matching items are inexpensive and something we will use, I buy several and plan our menu around them. A few months ago, I stocked up on some Lawry's Marinade when I got it free at Meijer. They had it on sale for $1 and I had a 50 cent off coupon that doubled. There ya go, free food. I bought a few bottles, knowing the expiration date was quite a while out. This last grilling season, I bought several bottles of mustard for pennies by combining the sales and coupons. I was able to buy enough to last until this grilling season and it probably cost me less than a dollar for all of it. Had I waited until I needed the mustard, I would have paid over a dollar each time.

Though the savings aren't as great for fresh food as packaged food, you can still get good deals. Each time I am at Kroger, I check their sale and markdown meat (a frugal use for that Lawry's Marinade) and that's usually the only meat I purchase, unless I get a special request. I rarely go into the store planning on what meat I will buy, unless it was in the sale ad. Recently, Kroger had a pound of lean ground turkey on sale for 99 cents, so I bought several and double wrapped them for freezer storage. If I had bought the ground turkey when I needed it, rather than when it was cheap, I would have paid an extra $2.xx per pound.

By combining sales and coupons, buying sale and markdown meat, and watching for in-season produce, I have saved our family a bundle. With a little creativity, our meals are formed from these bargains and the remaining food we need to round out the menu or the pantry is very minimal. While this route may take a little extra time as opposed to one-stop shopping, it works for our family and the money saved has been worth the time spent, in my opinion.

Friday's Frugal Tip of the Day: Buy when the item is cheap, not just when you need it. (BTW, this can be applied to more than just food.)

For more frugal tips visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood and you can learn more grocery savings tips at Cents to Get Debt-Free.

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Comments:
Good tip! That's kind of what I do with fresh veggies. When I plan my menu for the week, I generally don't decide which vegetables to buy as side dishes until I'm at the grocery store and see what's on sale.
 
I've been stockpiling like this for a few years now, and you are soooo right. Much better to reach into the pantry for that free bottle of marinade than to have to pay $2.99 for it! As much as possible, I like to keep at least one full bottle/can/jar of something as backup for when the opened one runs out. Of course, I did have to train myself to know when 'enough is enough.' I would end up with 12 tubes of toothpaste and no shampoo, for example. So taking a pantry inventory once in a while isn't bad, either!
 
stockpiling is a habit for me now! :) i actually enjoy it.
 
Hannah, Mom2Fur, and Brooke,

I'm so glad you have already discovered this way of saving. As you have realized, the benefits are well worth the effort.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Heather@JustDoingMyBest
 
I totally agree. Stockpiling is the way to go. I have had moments where I've had to buy something and can't or don't want to wait for a sale (poor planning on my part), and that hurts, lol!
 
Great post! I am really trying to save money on the family grocery bill and you have some great tips here. Thanks!
 

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