6.04.2010

Friday $avings: Saving at the Grocery

Okay, I realize it's hardly rocket science, but if I don't leave the house to shop, I don't spend money. Go figure. Recently I've been trying (once again) to curb my grocery bill, but with the way we're eating now (more South Beach friendly), I've been going over my goal every week. We have the money to do it, but it's the principle of the matter - a little challenge for me each week if you will. I know what I have in my freezers and I know what's in my pantry and fridge, and I'm also a lot more confident about what is South Beach approved and what's not. I have a much better feel for what we're eating now and what recipes I can make on the fly that fit within our new eating patterns. I am also trying to make only one trip to the grocery each week - if I only go once and am happy with the deals I got, then all the better for me if I don't know what "deals" I'm missing at other times during the week. It's still money out of my pocket (or in my pocket if I don't go).  

So with all of that in mind, I've been trying a new way to shop - and so far, it seems to be working. If I find a good deal on meat (beef, turkey, chicken), I will stock up that week and skip many of the other non-essential items on my list. It may send me over my weekly budget, but I know in the long run it's going to save me money. I haven't had to buy meat in several weeks now, which gave me money to stock up on other items. Here are some recent examples of how I have been able to stock up for the "lean weeks" when the grocery store sales aren't tailored to our dietary needs:

1) Two weeks ago our local grocery had eggs on sale for $0.88/dozen and I loaded up the cart - when kept in the fridge and turned every week or so, eggs will last for a long time. We use five eggs a day for breakfast (plus any baking we do), so I know I'm going to use a lot of eggs before my egg stash even thinks about going bad.

These are the eggs I have left from the $0.88 deal

2) Last week, after weeks of green bell peppers running $2 - $2.50 per pepper (what is that about?!), they went on sale for $0.98/pepper. I purchased eight peppers and as soon as they landed on my kitchen counter I started chopping, dicing, bagging, and freezing them for later. I ended up finding three more in the fresh drawer of the fridge that were on the edge of bad which I added to the chopped and diced piles for the freezers. Now I can be enjoying my $0.98 peppers when the price goes back up and I should be good on peppers until my own pepper plants start producing in the garden (which can't happen fast enough for me!).

Chopped bell peppers on the left (individual helpings inside the larger bag) and sliced peppers on the right

3) For several weeks now I've been waiting for the only brand of tortillas that we can eat (very low-carb, high in fiber and protein) to go on sale. Since I ran out of my last stash, I have purchased one pack a week at regular price (ack!) to tide us over until the next sale...which happened to be this week! I spent $25 at the grocery and came home with a whole sack of tortillas, plus cottage cheese and soy flour. And you know what? I don't need any other groceries for the week - which means I just spent well under my grocery budget! I understand that the "savings" this week is thwarted by the weeks that I went over budget by stocking up on the meat and other more expensive items, but when combined with a low week such as this, I'm hovering right around my target cost for groceries. Happy Dance!!

There are two more packages in the fridge that didn't make the photo shoot. ;-)

4) Finally, each week when I go to the store I look for the Managers Specials or Clearance stickers. Two weeks ago we scored big on some bags of peanuts on clearance (great snacks for both of us). This last week I snagged a cantaloupe for $0.99 as well as a whole pack of limes (which we cut up and put in our Diet Cokes or Sprite Zeros). I've been able to find half-gallons of milk on clearance for $1.21 - and since we're not drinking as much milk on this diet, a half-gallon is about all we need for making our sugar-free Jell-O pudding (which, of course, was on sale!). Even if I buy two of the half-gallons, it's still cheaper than the $2.99/gallon that they charge for milk. Highway robbery!


How do you save money at the grocery? I'm always up for new tips and hints that I haven't thought about before. Along those lines, I'm linking this post up to the Frugal Friday post over at Life as MOM and the Super Saturday Savings at Money Saving Mom - head over to their blogs for more great money saving ideas! Have a great weekend!

2 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing your ideas I never thought about freezing peppers but that is a wonderful idea there are times that I find wonderful buys on them but never buy very much because I dont want them to waste

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  2. You've hit on the #1 (IMHO) way to save money: don't buy it when you need it, buy it when it is cheapest and stock up! You did a great job this week. Even if it puts you a little over budget once in a while, in the long run a well-stocked kitchen will save you lots of money!

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