Missed the first posts this series? Read them here.
Yesterday, we talked about the importance of shopping at more than one store and how this can have significant impact on your grocery budget. Today, I want to give you some steps to get started in this venture. It’s not rocket science, I promise!
1) Make a List of All Stores in Your Area
Don’t just list the grocery stores, think of any possible place you might be able to buy grocery-related items:
::Scratch and Dent Stores
::Overstock Stores (Big Lots, etc.)
::Big Box Stores (KMart, Walmart, Target)
::Warehouse Stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, B.J.’s)
::Drug Stores (CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid)
::Bulk Foods Stores
::Health Food Stores
I’d recommend searching online or pulling out the phone book to see if you have any of the above stores in your area if you’re not sure. And ask your friends and neighbors if they know of any great places to shop which you might not know about.
If you live in a small town, this should be simple. In fact, you might only have two stores to choose from. (And if you only have one store to choose from, you’re exempt from any of this legwork!)
If you live in a larger town or big metropolis, this is going to be a bigger undertaking. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, limit the stores to those within a 5 mile radius or which are close to areas you regularly frequent.
2) Visit Your Area Stores and Record the Prices of 25 Items You Routinely Buy
Thanks to Joy at FiveJs, we have some handy free downloadable Price Book Forms you can use to record these numbers:
- Price Book (by Store) :: Record the prices for products at a single store. This can be done first, and then the information transferred to individual product sheets like, like the Price Book (by Product) form below.
- Price Book (by Product) :: Record the prices for a particular product at multiple stores.
- Half-Sheet Price Book (by Product) :: Record the prices for a particular product at multiple stores, but laid out two to a page.
Once again, if this feels overwhelming, just pick two or three grocery stores to start with. You’ll have plenty of time to branch out in the future.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew and end up burning out on this whole bargain-shopping thing before you’ve even really started!
3) Find Out What Your Local Stores’ Coupon and Mark-Down Policies Are
Questions to Ask Regarding Coupons:
::Does this store double coupons? If so, up to what amount? Are there limitations on the doubling (some stores will only double one or three of the same kind of coupon per transaction.)
::Does the store accept expired coupons?
::Does the store offer store coupons which can be used in addition to manufacturer’s coupons?
::Does the store accept competitor’s coupons?
::Does the store mark down produce, dairy, and meat on a regular basis? If so, what days and times does this usually occur?
4) Determine Which Store(s) Regularly Have the Lowest Prices and Best Sales
After filling out the price book forms and finding out your local stores’ coupon policies and mark-down policies, you will have a pretty clear picture of which stores are best to shop at on a regular basis. However, most stores run their sales cycles every twelve weeks or so, with a few incredible sales and loss-leaders thrown in on occasion. To get a more accurate picture, I’d recommend tracking the sales at a few stores for three months.
This does not mean that you necessarily need to go to five different stores and fill out a price book form every week. But I would recommend scanning the sales fliers each week and actually visiting each store at least once a month.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to take this information gathered and make a shopping gameplan which will, in turn, reduce your grocery bill.
Of the different stores listed above, which ones do you regularly shop at and find the best deals at? Have you discovered any little-known places for scoring great deals? Tell us about them!
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To help populate your price book, take a look at your recent receipts. Helps a lot!
Thank you so much for all of your hard work. I am really getting into this whole process.
Just a little side note: I remember when I was a kid and I would go grocery shopping with my Mom. She would always know when the price of an item was good or bad. I always wondered how she knew that. But now, as an adult, I understand why she always knew good and bad prices. Because now I do….I did turn out to be just like my Mom, and I’m okay with that. 🙂
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says
Just wanted to say that by shopping at multiple stores, I actually spend less time shopping than when I used to marathon shop at Walmart. I make quickie trips into stores to grab only what’s on sale, and usually try to combine it with another errand in that area. I’m in and out quickly, because I’m only buying exactly what I’ve planned. And, honestly, with three kids, it’s easier to run in and out than it is to keep everyone happy and focused for a 2 hour trip to Walmart.
I am in the process of updating my price book since I have been couponing a lot more. Where I live now, I don’t think it is as important for me to price things at every store. Walmart and Aldi’s, and sometimes Food Lion, generally have the lowest ‘regular’ prices, depending on the item. So those are the ones I want in my book. I use it to compare with the sale and (double) coupon prices at Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Foods. The sale prices are in the fliers, so mostly I am checking to see if a sale is really a sale. I also compare Sam’s prices, but those can be found online with the Click and Pull.
I live in Massachusetts, and believe it or not, there is no Shaw’s or Stop and Shop or Target in my town. The Walmart does not have groceries, nor do we have an Aldi, Meijer or Kroger. The big chain here is Market Basket owned by the DeMoulas family. However, while they are cost competitive, they do not double coupons. I would be really interested to hear if MA & NH residents are successful with this approach. I’ve been trying to make it work for years, but never seem to get big returns/savings on my groceries. I’m still willing to try! Thanks.
I live in a great location where it’s centrally located to everything. I have a Walmart, BJ’s, Sam’s Club, Harris Teeter, Farm Fresh, Food Lion, Bottom Dollar, Kmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid all within a 5 mile radius.
I most frequently shop at Farm Fresh and CVS. Love Farm Fresh since they double up to $1 every Wednesday and .99 the rest of the week. I pretty much shop anywhere the deals are since it’s not a problem for me to stop by them since they are so close in proximity and it doesn’t affect gas usage.
I hardly shop at Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid but there are a few deals that I will go in. I think the Bottom Dollar has the best prices for fish and chicken when they are on sale. And shop a BJ’s pretty much weekly for certain produce and other items that I don’t have coupons for. And I love Harris Teeter triples and super double events. Food Lion also has a few good deals/close outs.
Don’t forget dollar stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar! Seems to me that Wal-Mart is slowly but surely raising their prices on food items, so I have started shopping more at Dollar General. They have perfectly good store-brand tomato, chicken noodle and vegetables soups for 50 cents a can. I also buy their spices and taco seasoning/gravy packets, crackers, and cat foot there.
I shop at Kroger, Publix, Aldi, Ingles (especially good for marked down meat and organic dairy), very occasionally at a local health food store, and 2 international markets (one chiefly Korean, the other half Mexican/half Korean). I usually hit 2 stores every week, with the others on an occasional basis.
I love my international markets. They don’t have great prices on American foods (though the prices are okay), but the prices on produce and meat are the best in town. The quality is really good, as well. And, international treats (fresh tortillas! yummy sushi! marinated bulgogi!) can’t be beat.
I am feeling really frustrated with couponing. I see all of these comments with getting great deals with using coupons and I just can’t seem to get it. I find that even if I use a coupon the generic form is still cheaper. We live in a fairly large city but I still struggle trying to find the 75-80% off sales. Any other advice?
Clare C. says
One other question I would ask at stores about coupons is do they accept coupons printed off the internet. 2 of the 3 grocery stores in our area do not accept internet coupons.
Michelle Z. says
I keep a price book for Aldi, and that’s it. I know that Aldi has the lowest prices on 95% of what I buy, and that I like the quality of almost all their products. I check circulars, and if I see a lower price at another store, I know it’s a good deal.
Nikki @couponcookin says
I try to shop at the stores that double, super double, or triple coupons like Harris Teeter, Kroger, and occasionally Lowes Foods. On a week that does not have a huge coupon event, I try to shop at the store that has the best overall deals. During the summer I frequent Farmer’s Markets as well as pick-your-own-produce farms. Through the years I’ve realized that our local farmers offer the best produce deals by far. I like using them as a resource because I feel as though I am giving back to my community.
Lowe’s Foods is one that I use. They double coupons, which is good. But I haven’t found anyone that blogs about their specials, so I tend to not go there as much. Anyone know of anyone that blogs about Lowe’s?
Nikki at couponcookin says
@Cheryl, I usually compile a list on Thursday’s and post it on my blog. I use Lowes Foods a lot because they are often overlooked, they double coupons, and sometimes triple their coupons.
I do all my non-sale shopping and bulk grains and such at Win-Co. Love it. I’ve found that most of their bulk items are less expensive than the rock bottom prices at my other grocery stores. I’m in SoCal (Inland Empire) and have tons of stores. I stick to those that are the closest (Ralphs and Stater Brothers), just because its too overwhelming otherwise.
Does anyone know of someone who blogs about The Family Thrift Center? Besides Safeway it is the only main grocers in the Western Dakotas.
Rebekah (the barefoot bride) says
Thank you so much for this, Crystal. My mom’s an incredibly frugal shopper, so I’ve learned pretty good skills for stretching a very small budget. However, it’s always nice to get new perspectives and I’m trying really hard to get a solid grasp on what I’d like to try when I have my own household starting this summer. 🙂
These price comparison sheets will be a good step for me. Instead of having to start fresh with learning the best prices for everything AFTER I’m married, I can start tracking prices now and have a good head start before I need the information. Thanks for helping me out!
I have a small Mexican grocer that I really like. It is located near my husband’s work so he often picks up items for me. I admit that it would normally have been out of my comfort zone to shop where the owner and employees do not speak much English, but they are very kind and the prices are excellent! It is worth it to be brave and check out different places.
The Wise Squirrel says
I like this approach! Looking forward to the next step, to see the article on creating a gameplan. As a guy who does the grocery shopping for the family, I’m all about getting it done efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.
I do most of my grocery shopping at Kroger and Martin’s (owned by Giant, haven’t seen anyone else on here mention them). Martin’s has weeks occasionally where they’ll put 4 coupons in their ad to double any coupons up to $1. I’ve also seen them do $.50 triplers. Catch is you have to have their their ad coupons and can only use 4. If you use self checkout, you can always go right back through the line. 🙂 They also will double everyday coupons up to $.50 or bump it up to $1.00 (ex: $.75 off coupon gets $.25 added on). I do paper, toiletry and diaper shopping mainly at Target with coupons but reading this site has made me check into Rite Aid and CVS more. We also have a few shops here that have damaged or close to out of date items. If you’re in PA or western VA, there’s one called Sharp Shopper that I really like. I’ve found a tiny store owned by a local Russian family that sells similar things but also has fresh produce cheap. Apples are always $.69/lb or cheaper and lettuce is under $1 a head! Best tip I have is to look around for places like that because even though they don’t accept coupons, if it’s something you think you’ll need, it’s cheaper to get it and have it than wait for a coupon to come up for another store.
Question: Did anyone have a few times last year when KMart did a double coupon up to $2 event? I hit them hard then (Pull Ups are expensive!) and wondered if they’ve stopped that promotion completely.
Rebekah (the barefoot bride) says
What K-Mart do you go to? I’m in Winchester, and it didn’t appear that this K-Mart participated in the double coupon event.
Need A Nap2 says
There’s a double coupon promotion coming up April 4-10.
Here’s the pdf with participating stores (can’t remember where I found the link) http://www.kmart.com/ue/home/4_4%20Double%20Coupon%20Event.pdf
I’m in Harrisonburg. We had at least two double coupon events last year and the ad mentioned them. Thanks need a nap for letting me know about the next one! I’ll be interested to see if it’s in the ad or if you just have to know about it!
@Caroline, You must live near me. I do either Kroger or Martins (I love that they bump up 55cent to $1), and Sharp Shopper! So sorry for people that don’t have a Sharp Shopper!
@Heather, Do you know about Finder’s Keepers? Corner of Waterman Drive and 33 West. The other place I mentioned is Save and Prosper which has two locations, one in Duke’s Plaza and one on 42 N, just before EMU. Both great places!
Julie @Kingdom Klipper says
I have found that I need to be flexible to go to either Meijer or Kroger. Although Kroger is local and Meijer 15 min away, it is almost always best to be able to hit both stores every week. W/Meijer, using the Mealbox cpns w/ the mfr cpns always yields a great deal ($.17 Old Orchard Juice this week). Then, w/Kroger the shortcuts cpns and cellfire that can be loaded right to my Kroger card and used w/mfr. cpns also makes for great deals!! It’s a rare week that doesn’t merit my going to both!
I shop at the local Dillons in KS as they offer double coupons every day up to $1.00. I usually shop Walgreens weekly also. I will occasionally go to Target for good deals. And once in awhile I will go to Wal-Mart for things I can’t find at Dillons, but I have to admit I’m not a huge W-Mart fan. They dont double coupons and I don’t seem to save any money when I go there.
Our IGA’s print their ads in the free local newspaper that is sent out weekly and the Food Lion put an insert into the same paper. Unfortunatey the free paper never has coupons though. We only visit Sams Club for paper items that we buy in bulk and we were buying bakers yeast and cheese there for a while.
I posted yesterday and I said that I only shop Publix–I guess I was mainly thinking about grocery stores. We do shop Sam’s. Having a price sheet for Sams has been very helpful because I know if a sale + coupon deal is better than Sams or not–some are, some are not. Since I started couponing, we went from going to Sams every other week to once a month or less. We still spend about the same amount each trip so we are saving 50% or more!! It is nice to know for sure that the deal price at Publix is better or to sometimes not waste money on the deal because we know we can get it at Sams for cheaper per unit!
Another surprisingly good place to grocery shop is Big Lots- they usually have rock bottom prices on canned goods, cereal and even bread (better prices than the bread outlets)- of course they don’t take coupons. I have even found organic items there.
@jan, I love Big Lots too. I usually go there for laundry det. and teas. They do have a lot of natural foods for less than health food store prices
@jan, Oh, great suggestion! I’ve purchased groceries there before, too!
Has anyone ever used a Google spreadsheet to keep lists? It’s a spreadsheet that is kept on line and you log in with a password. I am just starting to keep track of prices and thought if I got a few other friends to help we could all help each other and post the prices to the sheet. I don’t see a reason it wouldn’t work. Ideas?
@Konnie, The google spreadsheet is a great idea. I’ve actually been working on a collaborative price book with friends. Its just an excel spreadsheet. Each of them has a store to track regular prices at. I’m traking the flyers. The info gets emailed back to me and once a month I send out an update to everyone. Its come along fast! It was a great way to get a big pricebook going without doing all the work myself.
I was just thinking about this. I used to keep my price book in a address book sized notebook, and stressed so much when I couldn’t get pages for it anymore. Now, I am looking at setting the price book up in a doc and having it online. I usually use it at home now, sitting in front of the computer figuring out sale fliers. And, I have a few friends here that do the same thing and have no problem having the info available to them, too.
I usually grocery shop at Kroger and stick to what’s on great sales. I also shop at CVS, and I get some grocery items there from time to time. There’s an Aldi store nearby, so I probably need to start heading there for produce and cheese. That might be my next shopping goal.
Kelly Hess says
I shop Giant Eagle a lot, since they offer double coupons, fuel perks, plus bonus fuel perks when you use their credit card. I get a lot of baby items at Target because of the coupon stacking. I almost always get my milk from Aldi’s because it is the cheapest. Then I also shop MARC’s (NE Ohio) because they have the lowest prices on a lot of staples and produce. I always do the weekly CVS and Walgreens trips to pick up the freebies!!
Wow! Great info! Especially for a beginning couponner like me!
I shop Publix and CVS mainly, but occasionally there is a good enough deal at Ingles or BiLo to make it worth a trip. Ingles coupon policy is frusterating so I usually only purchase fresh meat there b/c they have run really good sales on that (and on Monday mornings they mark down fresh meat. I have bought organic whole chickens and steaks for $1..total package, not per lb!!). Publix is by far my favorite store, and the one I shop routinely marks down fresh produce which you can only find early mornings.
Do you have any idea if all Ingles mark down meat (so drastically!) on Mondays, or if it’s only yours? What city do you live in?
Thanks for the tip!
@Ashley, Not sure. I live in Easley and shop the Ingles on Hwy 123. Mondays are the only day I have seen the marked down meat, and I should add that you have to go early in the morning to get it. I have a friend that lives in the Powdersville area and i know that the Ingles there does this as well, but am not certain on what day. The most common thing I find is organic whole chickens and they are always $1. It’s like a dream! 🙂 Hope this helps and that you live near an Ingles that does this too. Maybe you could ask at the Ingles you shop at…wouldn’t hurt.
@Charity, I live in N.C. and our Ingles marks down the meat section on Friday morning.Two weeks ago I was able to get hamburger meat for 98 cents a pound and porkchops for $1.28 a pound.We get most of our meat from Ingles but almost nothing else unless they have a very good deal going on.
@Vanessa, that is awesome! Sounds like us 🙂
I shop at almost all of the above. I do a produce co-op through our local homeschool group. I shop at Sam’s for select items (cheese, yeast, spices, honey, milk). I shop at big box stores, especially Target when sales are good. I shop at drug stores weekly. I hit grocery stores only for good sales or when I need something in particular. I found an Amish bulk foods store. Anyone near STL, leave a comment and I can tell you how to find it. I love and shop Soulard Farmer’s Market when I have an extra pair of hands, and health foods stores when I can stack coupons there. The only places I haven’t tried are Asian markets! After Chiara’s comments, I may just have to check those.
One note of disclaimer. I almost never go to more than two categories of stores in one week. If I hit drug stores and grocery stores, I rarely hit a box store or Sam’s, or the Health food store in the same week. It works vise versa too.
I am from STL and would like to know about the shop. Thanks
I am in the St. Louis area and would love to know too – thanks!
Sadina, You take 70 W to 61N. Go North on 61 until you reach (the first exit North of Bowling Green) highway 54. Take 54 West to Curryville where you’ll find highway M. Go South on highway M approximately 1/2 mile. You’ll see an Swartz’s General store on your left. Go approximately 1/4 mile past Swartz’s General Store and on the right you’ll see Swartz’s Bulk Foods Store. I’m guessing they are father/son. You can find an actual “map” of all the Bowling Green Amish stores here. http://www.bgchamber.org/amish_map.pdf
Karen, what items do you like to buy at the bulk foods store, if you don’t mind my asking? I’ve been going to one down in Washington (called Loaves and Fishes Amish and Bulk Foods) for some of the more healthy ingredients that I like to buy, but I’d love to have somewhere else fairly local that I can compare prices with. Anyway, just wondering! Thanks for the info.
@Karen, oh, and what health food stores have you found worthwhile? I haven’t had much luck in that area!
@julia, Julia, I head down to Whole foods at 170/64. This past week I got Kashi cereal for $.73 ($1.50 Vocal Point mailer and printable from the website below) and Cascadian Farms cereal for $.23 ($2 coupon from Recycle Bank and $1 printable from below)! Right now they also have 7th Generation printables which will stack with MQ’s. I have found that the checker’s don’t understand that you can have one MQ and one Store Q per item, but the person in charge of the front that night understood and accepted all my Q’s. They have printable coupons here http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons/ which stack with manufacturer’s coupons.
I like to buy their 50# bags of oatmeal ($20) and whole wheat flour ($16). They also have organic whole wheat flour for $25/50#. I love to buy their spices which varies from spice to spice. I bought a liter bottle of Mexican Vanilla for $8. They don’t have the greatest deals on beans. Sometimes they have PB, sometimes they have cereals. When I go out there though, I make a day of it and hit the general store and the banged and dented store too. This past week they had organic Muir Glen cans of split pea soup for $.90!
Dana @ The Coupon Challenge says
I’m fortunate to live close to numerous grocery and drug stores. I stick with Farm Fresh and Harris Teeter because they are both close and double coupons up to $0.99 everyday. FF has double $1 Wednesday’s and HT usually has a super doubles or triples event every 6 weeks or so. I also have a Bloom that I could walk to, but I never shop there because I know with the double coupon I could get the item cheaper on sale.
My own circuit is Costco -> Target (next door) -> Sprouts -> Kroger
Once every so often I make a longer trip to an Asian market for their deals.
About once a month I hit Big Lots and the dollar store – great for cleaning supplies, toiletries, whatever food items they have in stock.
Sprouts is fabulous- On Wed. the previous and current week flyer specials are good.
But absolutely, tracking price is the key. And it’s price per unit (oz, pound, square foot etc.) to make sure it’s apples to apples price comparison.
There are times I can pick up paper, office supplies, and cleaning goods cheaper per unit at Big Lots than Costco.
Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire says
@jobo, I LOVE Sprouts! They have the cheapest produce prices, and their meats are the best, IMO. And double-ad Wednesdays are just icing on the cake.
Jess@ This Frugal Life says
@Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire,
They are building a Sprouts in the town next to me & I’m so excited to check it out!
I find the best place to get fresh beef or pork is at Korean markets, fish and other seafood usually at Chinese markets and fresh cheap produce at Middle Eastern Markets 🙂 Granted, not everyone have these stores available to them but if you do have ethnic markets around you, check them out (I happen to live in Orange County, CA). They might be a little overwhelming at first but may I suggest going without a list the first time, and just check the store out? Maybe have your price book and note prices but I would spend time to go for “fun.” I like to walk around a new store and see what they have, just because 🙂 and then maybe you’ll find a few treasures… 🙂
I’d like to know how people get their sales fliers. The stores in my area don’t mail them out. We have two “mom and pop” groceries which also don’t have websites. I have to go to those stores to see what’s on sale…so I don’t. Also, I don’t have access to a local paper. We get the regional paper at work (I snag the coupons from this paper), but that doesn’t help me for local deals. Am I forgetting another source for getting a sales flier?
Need A Nap2 says
I’m beginning to have this issue too. A few suggestions (don’t know what you’ve tried) – if you go to church you could ask if anybody gets the local paper and would share the ads with you or if they shop at that store could they pick up an extra ad for you or share any deals they see at that store, or you could look at the library to see if they carry the local paper and it has the ads? Not sure how far it is to the library! 🙂 You might even call the store and ask what the major sales are for that week.
Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire says
@Sarah, I live in a suburb of Dallas/Ft. Worth. I get my fliers in my Dallas Morning News subscription. The paper targets each subscriber’s locale regarding grocery fliers. We have 4 grocery chains in my particular suburb, so those are the 4 that my newspaper includes. Any chance your regional paper does that, too?
Newspaper subscriptions are getting crazy expensive, so I wouldn’t go that route if you’re only wanting fliers and coupons. But if you’re a newspaper junkie like me, it’s worth it.
If the stores don’t have websites, my only other suggestion is to ask people to pick the fliers up for you if they happen to go into the store. Or else hit the stores just for the fliers, if you happen to be out and about.
I tried to click on the links above regarding the Price books 1, 2 & 3 and it stated that this “page has moved”. Did anyone else get that message?
@Teresa, Sorry about that! I fixed the links and they should be working correctly now.
@Crystal, the first one (price book by store) is still linked here. The other two are linked to the PDFs
Joy @ Five J's says
@Gina, I think the first pdf link should be fixed now.
I found a salvage grocery in a small neighboring town. It’s only about 10 miles away. Of course I never know what I’ll find there, but it’s certainly worth my time to check it out. They generally have rock bottom prices on their items. I go about once a month and stock up on damaged packaged foods, plus foods that might have just passed their “sell by” dates. I am picky about which foods I use that are passed their dates, and by how much, and always use those quickly.
Jenni @ Life from the Roof says
I would be interested in hearing where commenters from the San Francisco Bay Area find their best deals. I am sticking mainly to Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Costco these days out of the need to keep things quick and simple with two little children. Even when I am shopping without them, if I have more than a few stores when I’m shopping on Sat. morning it can turn into a several hour trip.
Beyond the stores I listed above, I like to go to Ranch 99 up in El Cerrito for my asian ingredients when I need to stock up. I love love love Farmer Joe’s off of 580 and Fruitvale for my produce, but again, it’s often a question of having the time to go there.
Kerry D. says
@Jenni @ Life from the Roof, From Silicon Valley, I shop those three too: Safeway (every week), Trader Joe’s (every couple weeks), and Costco(every three-four weeks) but adding in CVS most weeks (even some food these days for me) and every couple weeks, Lucky’s where I’ll stock up on a couple of their loss leaders. I’ve also found my local Lunardi’s has a lot of aged produce marked down on Wed. There are all quick shops, except Safeway and Costco (mid week mid day only!) and I’ve managed to get my grocery/household items down from $1,000 month (DH and I, plus three teenagers and often friends) to about $700 month. I think I can get it down to $600 by this month. Maybe more? (And no double coupons here.)
Kerry D. says
@Kerry D., I was also going to Big Lots, but after iffy cooking oil and broken taco shells, I’m not sure about going back for food items. I would have returned the oil, but a lot was gone after we’d had fried rice. 🙁 And we ate the broken taco shells because that was what was for dinner.
Tried to click on the printables but none are working.
I grew up in an extremely rural area and they have one horrible grocery store on the whole island. They can travel 30 min to a Walmart though so that helps a bit. Luckily I now live within 5-10 min of every major strore in Va. It makes a big difference on our grocery bill!
I live in a very rural area and I have a super Wal-Mart and a small locally owned grocery store so my choices are slim. But I wanted to share something that has helped me save a fair amount of money since I can’t always get to stores that have better prices. I comp-ad shop. I take the weekly circulars from stores in bigger communities (or if you live in a place with multiple stores close by you can do it too.) and I take them into Wal-mart because they promise to match any local ads. This saves the leg work of trekking to different stores. If you know what your local Wal-mart prices are then you can usually spot a pretty good deal when you see one. I just thought I’d throw this out and hope it helps! 🙂
None of the price sheet downloads are working. Could you please help? 🙂
Milk Donor Mama says
I shop at Meijer the most frequently. Two Meijer tricks:
1. Check the Meijer Mealbox website. Click on the “specials” tab in the box on the right side of the screen. You can print store coupons from there that can be combined with manufacturer’s coupons. These coupons are not available in the store.
2. If you choose to get a Meijer Mastercard, about once a month they have a day where you get 15% of general merchandise and 5% off grocery items when you pay for your order with your card. In addition, for every $2k you spend on the card you get a $10 Meijer bucks gift certificate. It’s not much, but for those of us who use the card responsibly and never carry a balance, the perk is better than what I’ve had on other cards (I do not need junk from the Sharper Image, I rarely fly, etc).
@Milk Donor Mama, Regarding the Meijer Mastercard, if I calculate it correctly, you’re getting .5% cash back (in the form of the $10 gift card). That’s really low. Hopefully you really take advantage of the 5% off grocery once a month, because you can do a lot better with a different cash back credit card (and pay it off every month, of course!).
@Emily, Purchases at Meijer are worth 2 points, as well as at Meijer gas stantions. Also at the gas station, you get 5 cents off per gallon. I only use this card for gas and to get the special 15% and 5% discounts that they offer. When you think about the 5% of groceries, you will be saving $2.50 off of your $50 grocery bill. It all adds up if you can be responsible.
Jen@balancing Beauty and Bedlam says
Since a few of our local stores do double coupons (and occasionally triple), I stick to really getting to know their cyclical sales, and coupon cycle for items. By sticking to a few stores, (which means not having to shop each of those stores every single week, but yes, having to shop a few) and rotating their sales with my stock piling, it works perfectly for reducing the grocery budget….
So Harris Teeter, Lowe’s, Sam’s (for a few necessities) and produce wholesale supplier are my favs.