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« The Solutions That Helped Me Get Out Of My Rut | Main | The Solution To Pre-Purim PANIC! »
Wednesday
Mar182009

A Simple Solution That Helped Me Cut My Grocery Bill In Half - Without Coupons!

I am embarrased to tell you how much I used to spend on groceries. Let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Though I usually shopped at the local discount supermarket, my food bills were quite huge. I always attributed the large food bills to the idea that "Well, keeping kosher just costs more, because you often can't buy the less expensive brands." I also refused (and still refuse) to spend time clipping coupons. Not because clipping coupons is "beneath my dignity" or anything like that. Rather, because most of the coupons seem to be for foods that are either are not kosher or if happen to be they are kosher, they are so highly processed and unhealthy that I don't' want to bring them home to my family at all!

But, times are tough all around, and it was time for this Solution-hunting mom to find a way to reduce her food budget without depriving her family!

So, I hear you wondering...how did I cut my grocery bill in half?

I used an old frugal trick, that many of you have probably heard of...and may not have tried yet. I'm here to tell you it was worth the small investment of time and effort!

I simply gathered the sales circulars from the newspaper (they arrive on Thursday at my house) and looked at each one, and I made a list of what was on sale, at each store, that we could use. Here is a sample of one of my lists:

What's On Sale this Week Feb 2, 2009

Superstore
Tomatos - .99
Califlower 1.99
Green Pepper 1.49
Plum 1.49
Celery 1.49
Apples 2.99
pint grape tomatos 1.49
Oranges 2 3lb bags $5
English Cucs 1.49

Boneless, Skinless chicken breast 5.999/lb
Chicken Franks - 3.99
Miki Hummus - 2.99/300g
Central Epicure G. Fish 3.99 Sweet or savory

Sunlight laundry detergent - 7.97 (64 loads)
Unico chick peas .79
PC Salsa - 1.99

Price Chopper -
Clementines - 4.99/case
Avacados 2 for $1

Sobeys
Cut of Chicken - $2.99/lb
Horseradish - $1.19
Compliments canned beans - .79

Red Seedless grape s- 1.27
English Cucs 1.99
5 pack avacados - 2.99
Granny Smith or Braeburn Apples - 1.29/lb
Corn - 5pack - 3.49
Large Baby Carrots 2.99
Plums - 1.69/lb
Pineapple - 3.49

Food basics
Goldseal Tuna - .99
Plums - .99
Grape s.99
Kiwi - .99
Dole Coleslaw - .99
Baby carrots - .99
SPinach .99
Eggs 1.99

 

Yes, I acutally type my lists.  Call me "Type A," but I like to do it that way!  And, yes, I actually make a list of what's on sale (that is kosher and that we would eat) at each store. This way, when I'm done gathering the information, I can easily determine which store I should head to first.  Sometimes I only go to one during the week. Sometimes it worth it to go to more than one (especially to stock up on a shelf-stable item that has a really good price that week.) Then, I take the time to stop at one or more stores on the way home from dropping my children off at school in the morning. As a bonus, I find that when I just go in to buy the sale items, the trips in and out of the store are quick and simple.

Taking 15-20 minutes to create this list on Sunday has actually cut my large grocery bill in half!  I was shocked. My husband was impressed! (And no, I'm not spending more money in gas because all of the supermarkets are actually on my home from the children's school.)

What was most surprising about this entire experiment was that I discovered that, though *I thought* I was shopping at the best discount store in my area, two other stores frequently had lower prices than the store I used to go to regularly. 

So...the secret is out. I cut my grocery bill in HALF simply by looking through the sales circulars and making a list of what was on sale at each store (that my family actually eats, of course).  Not only did I save money, but I also discovered the best places to shop as well! 

If you need trim your budget, I urge you to give this method a try! If you a reluctant, just tell yourself you'll try it for one month to see if it makes a difference.  You have nothing to lose but a little time :) 

If, you use this method, or after reading this entry you do decide to give it a try, please let me tell me about it by leaving a comment!

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments (6)

Thanks for the tip! I have the same problem with coupons: they're usually for items I wouldn't normally buy.

Here's a tip I'd like to share that works great with your suggestion: keep a price notebook. While I also look for sales in store fliers, I often wonder whether a given price is a good deal. The price notebook will help me keep track of regular prices in a few stores and will help me decide when a trip to a particular store is worthwhile. Hope this helps!
March 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLexi Rodrigo
Thanks for the reminder Lexi! I forgot t to write that when you combine this method with a keeping pricebook, you'll save even more money! I wrote all about how to create a pricebook here: http://www.solutionsforbusymoms.com/blog/2008/3/6/a-great-solution-for-saving-lots-of-time-money-at-the-grocer.html
March 18, 2009 | Registered CommenterSolutionDIVA
Sounds like a great idea! I wonder if they have these sales mailings in Jerusalem? If anyone knows, please email me at jenny18@zahav.net.il
thanks for this post!!!
OMG!!! I hate shopping at multiple stores. But I guess a mom gotta do what a mom gotta do. I really need to figure out if I want to clip coupons or shop at multiple stores. Maybe do both (hahaha).
April 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFelicia - I Complete Me
I get the circulars off the Internet and it is a lot quicker than going through the newspaper. I also buy many of my staples at Aldi's where milk is $2 and wheat bread is $1. They do not do coupons, but they remained very cheap during the high gas prices and it cut my grocery bill from $700 to $300 for a family of four. I can't buy everything there, but even coupons don't usually save as much as I do on just milk and bread alone. The trick is to run past the first aisle which is mostly fun junk foods and get right to the REAL food. Vegetables, canned soup, fruit, etc. is usually $0.30 cheaper than even Save A Lot.

I know some people swear by coupons, but I find going with a store's generic cereals and other brands is much more cost effective. Plus it pays to check out every aisle....I found 10-2pk toothbrushes for kids for $10 and often the generic cereal is 10 bags for $10. These were in-store sales that were not in the circulars, but well worth buying.

My other trick is to buy meat in bulk at Sam's or a Costco. The chicken breasts are large enough to cut in half and so are the filet's or pork chops. Meat lasts in a deep freeze for up to 3 months, but we usually go through it a little faster than that. So, I not only save on time by only going to 2 stores, but also gas and trips by buying in bulk.
May 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Hi, I found the best money saving option for us--My HUSBAND does the grocery shopping! Men don't like to shop, and they get in an out of the store as quickly as possible. I don't stock up our pantry with stuff on sale that I "might" use soon (but don't!). Also, he is just old enough for the senior discount at 2 stores.

It forces me to make a list. If it isn't on the list, then he doesn't buy it. It forces me to think about what I'd like for dinner ahead of time. I've picked up stuff that I forgot to put on the list, but most of it is what he buys.

Also, he loves to check prices between the two stores (Earthfare and Kroger are near each other) on the way to work. Then he picks up the best buy on the way home.

We check out the circulars in the Sunday paper and try to pick sale stuff up when we are near those stores, also. I would rather get the discounts now, rather than get a coupon for the next trip. By the time we might use that coupon, it's expired...
We have REALLY cut our bills these ways.

The only thing that is tough for me now is kosher meat. We moved from a large Jewish population to Jewish Siberia. Kosher meat's expensive enough, but we have to get kosher shipments. They deliver it to a point about 70 miles away, so I only usually buy what I'd like for Shabbat dinners. Our freezer is getting down to the bottom and I haven't been able to coordinate a non-Shabbat trip to the pickup point (it's at our shul. Yes, we drive that far for shul--I would never have believed that before!~). I'd rather not pay for shipping, but I might.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ L

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