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Share Your Grocery Expense Tips
Old 08-03-2019, 04:24 PM   #1
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Share Your Grocery Expense Tips

If you have lowered your grocery bill lately, please share your tips.

The 80/20 for us has been simply being more aware of prices and changing where we shop, stockpiling items on sale and buying a chest freezer. If we had an Aldi's near us I would shop there but we don't have any one stop shopping place like that so I have a rotation of discount and ethnic markets I go to instead. I also like cookbooks on cooking without recipes so I can make interesting dishes with what is on sale for the week plus my stockpiles. I found an ethnic market near us that always has some great deals, like $1 for three heads of organic lettuce or $1 for a pound of blueberries. We used to spend way more than the Consumer Expenditure Survey on groceries and now we spend less for healthier food than we had been eating.

Food Matters by Mark Bittman has been a good resource for us on how to cook healthier and without exact recipes. I also use Tassajara Cooking by Edward Espe Brown (vegetarian cooking).

This site has a general directions and a helpful download on how to make all sorts of interesting stir fries in one infographic - https://www.cooksmarts.com/articles/...o-stir-frying/
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:42 PM   #2
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The two groceries I shop at always have two fridges up front with stuff they have heavily discounted to move quickly - minimum discount 30%, all the way up to 70%, even a bit more at times. In the produce section they always have the fridge rack at the back with the discounted stuff - also discounted a minimum of 30% up to 70% or more. It's all good stuff - just possibly at the sell by date or the produce is ripe or slightly over ripe. Similar in the meat section. I always hit these sections before anything else. The produce we eat immediately, after cutting away any bruised or over ripe areas. In the back of the supermarket there are also shelves with non-perishables/cans - some may have a small dent in them, big deal - I'll take it for 75% off. Maybe the box was damaged or the box top ripped - who cares? The food is still in the sealed bag inside. In the bakery section, again, bread/donuts/etc. that are at the sell by date.

I also visit Walmart once or twice a month at night and browse through their grocery section. Always stuff similarly marked down as the supermarket, sometimes even more. As I mentioned on the Walmart thread, last Friday night, my big score was cans of Spaghetti-O's for 8 cents each...no damage, perfectly good, a year before expiration date. Who knows, maybe the labels had a piece missing?

Also, best tip - always have a box of sandwich size zip lock baggies in your kitchen draw and save all leftovers. They easily make good side dishes or additional meals. Never throw anything away until it goes bad. Veggies and meats easily find their way in to stews, casseroles, burritos, soups, and salads.

Bottom line, my recipes for the week go by what's deeply discounted. We eat just fine and on a light budget.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:48 PM   #3
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When we go grocery shopping, we start at Aldi. If we can't get something at Aldi, we go to one of the regular grocery stores afterward. Very rarely, we may need to go to Whole Foods for something. We just went to the expanded Indian grocery and, given the wide selection and great prices, may make that part of our rounds too.

Other tips to cut down on grocery spending:

1. Plan your meals in advance. Inventory what ingredients you already have (so you don't buy duplicate things) and make a list of exactly what you need. When you shop, only buy what's on the list. Avoid impulse purchases.

2. If you are only two people, learn to halve recipes, most of which are designed for 4 (large) servings. If you make too much and can't eat it all, you're wasting money.

3. At the same time, commit to using up your leftovers. When I was working, for lunch almost every day I packed leftovers from dinner the night before.

4. Coordinate your meals so that you can fully use the ingredients and cut down on waste. For example, if your recipe calls for only half an avocado, plan a second meal the next day to use the other half before it goes bad.

5. Consider buying larger packages of meat when it's on sale and repackaging once you get home. For example, we will buy a package of 8 chicken breasts on sale. Then we individually package each breast at home and put it in the freezer (a full meal for the two of us uses only one chicken breast).

6. Brands mean nothing. The generic/store brand was probably processed in the exact same facility as the brand name; it just has a different label. You are paying more for the same thing.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:59 PM   #4
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We cut the amount of meat we eat by 50% . We did it more for health but it also saves money . I also am an Aldi's shopper .
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:05 PM   #5
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ALDI - I second ( and third ) the Motion !



It is a "no brainer" and you will save approx. 35-40% on your total bill as opposed to whatever local chain you are shopping at now. ( Kroger,Winn-Dixie, etc. )

If you like Trader Joe's...You will like ALDI products as well. Trader Joe's was started as a spin off by one of the Albrecht Brothers who jointly own ALDI


Find your store: https://www.aldi.us/stores/?pk_campa...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:08 PM   #6
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Ours is fairly cheap for a family of four.

Costco trip once every month or so for about $200

Then, we sub Target, WM, and local grocer (who gives us gas coupons adding to our savings). We also get a yearly unlimited 10% coupon from local grocer twice (for getting Flu shot and DW shot).


Sooo,

Then, we sort of snag things we see at either of the stores we shop and get staples at the ones we know are always cheaper.

$5200 in groceries, $2400 at CostCo (which includes some personal needs)

So not including restaurants about ~7,500 a year on food.

Tips are shop around the edges, buy what's in season for fruits veggies and buy the biggest freshest ones you can. Befriend the butcher so he can point you to the good cuts. We buy in bulk and freeze when it makes sense.

I save $5.00 every month on gas rewards which comes out to about $60 a year...or a free tank or two. I'll take it. Add on the Gas 5% cash back and I never pay retail for petrol/diesel!
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:13 PM   #7
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Get Amex Blue cash preferred. It does have a $95 annual fee but you get 6% back for purchases up to $6K annually in most grocery stores. 1% is for grocery purchases above $6K. They also have a no annual fee variant that returns 3% on up to $6K in annual grocery purchases. These don't work for grocery purchases in wholesale clubs and superstores.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by EarlyBirdly View Post
ALDI - I second ( and third ) the Motion !



It is a "no brainer" and you will save approx. 35-40% on your total bill as opposed to whatever local chain you are shopping at now. ( Kroger,Winn-Dixie, etc. )

If you like Trader Joe's...You will like ALDI products as well. Trader Joe's was started as a spin off by one of the Albrecht Brothers who jointly own ALDI


Find your store: https://www.aldi.us/stores/?pk_campa...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
+1 on ALDI's

whenever I walk out of ALDI's and look at my bill I feel I am back in 90's
as in "Wow" I remember when $20 bought me all that !!
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:34 PM   #9
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Our local market is Vons, and I have the app on my smartphone. They have a number of different promotions, one is 5 dollar friday. Another is the fabulous 5. If you buy any assortment of things, you save a dollar on each one, but you have to buy at least 5.
There are times where I save as much as my grocery bill as I have spent
We have a small 6 cu foot freezer, and a shed that acts as our pantry, so we can stock up on sales. Sometimes it is funny when DW sends me out to the shed with a list and a grocery bag for what she needs for dinner
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:50 PM   #10
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DW is a discount shopper. Depending on what is on sale: Aldi's, Fresh Thyme and or local Schnuck's or Dierberg's.

Aldi's for most produce and staples. Their regular price for Aldi brands are often half the normal, and just as good

Fresh Thyme opened near us recently. Check the ads for meat, chicken, bacon, etc. Often have store made sausage (chicken or pork) for $1.99/lb. I was leery at first, but we REALLY like it (I would pay full price of $3.99/lb, but DW would have none of that).

I go to Walmart for things like cottage cheese (local name brand 60% of the price in any other store) and cantalope (always less than $2 ea).
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:52 PM   #11
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I raise a big vegetable garden, that provides a significant portion of my veggies for about 6-7 months of the year (and saves $$ also). For the food that I do buy, I don't skimp on quality, so I don't mind paying a fair price for things like grass-fed beef and lamb, farm eggs, and fresh veggies (usually from farmers markets) that I don't grow in my garden. The biggest thing most people can do to save on food bills is to cut food waste. If DW and I cook extra food on any given night, we save (or freeze) the leftovers for a future meal. I buy or harvest only the fresh veggies we will need to eat over the next few days, so we rarely have to toss out spoiled produce. I always make sure I know what foods are in our freezer, so that I can make plans to use them before they are there too long. Most people waste a whole LOT of food........if you can develop a system to reduce your food waste, you will do more to save yourself $$ on groceries than looking for bargain foods at the store, IMO.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:38 PM   #12
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DW and I each got a deer last year, butchered it ourselves. About 100 lbs. of the best organic meat in the world. We watch sales and cook in bulk, freezing leftovers. We couldn't feed a small dog on what gets thrown out.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:10 PM   #13
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DW and I are fairly strict low-carb, so just fresh vegetables and meat. We use Walmart Neighborhood Market for most produce. It's very fresh, very cheap, and very close to our house, which saves gas. I probably go every 3-4 days for basics. We use Sprouts for produce we can't get at Walmart, like baby bok choy or radicchio. And we sometimes use the local Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, although that's not cheap.

For meat and seafood, we use a combination of Sprouts, Kroger, and Costco. We only buy bulk packages on sale. Once home, we season the meat and repackage into meal-size sous vide vacuum bags. We have a stand-alone upright freezer that's half full of meat and seafood in meal-size bags for the two of us.

For general groceries and cleaning/household supplies (that you would typically buy at a grocery store), we've switched to Amazon where we not only get 5% cash-back using the Amazon/Chase CC but we also get most everything using Subscribe and Save for another 15-20%. I use a rotating list of items so I always have the required 5 items on S&S every month (for the larger discount) but never the same items... except dog food which we get almost every month with 20% off on S&S.

We also use a grandfathered version of AMEX Blue Cash for 5% off at grocery stores. It has no annual fee and no spending caps like the newer version. But only 5% instead of 6%.

We also have a small vegetable garden. In the spring, we have more lettuce than we can eat, plus broccoli, bok choy, onions, and kale. Right now, we have a seemingly endless supply of peppers and tomatoes.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:34 PM   #14
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-Make a grocery list throughout the week and stick to it when you do end up going to the store.
-Try out the call ahead/clicklist option.
-Eat before going to the grocery store, you will be less tempted to splurge.
-Make big meals, and enjoy the leftovers for a few days.
-Have a "cooking day" to fix multiple meals to freeze.
-Walmart is one of the cheapest places to shop.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:55 PM   #15
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I shop at Hy-Vee in south-central Minnesota.
They offer a senior discount of 5.00% on Mondays & Tuesdays. (55+) & I use an American Express card which saves me another 3.00%
I also watch their weekly ad.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by EarlyBirdly View Post
ALDI - I second ( and third ) the Motion!
It is a "no brainer" and you will save approx. 35-40% on your total bill as opposed to whatever local chain you are shopping at now.
Apparently, my closest Aldi's is 655 miles away. That explains why I've never heard of them.

We always make a grocery list and "generally" stick to it, but we tend to buy a lot of expensive items (colossal scallops, salmon, frozen dinners, wine, bottled tea/juice/soda, etc.). We also shop mostly at Safeway as it's our closest grocery store (still about 10 miles away). The next closest store is probably Walmart or Fred Meyer (Kroger), another 3-5 miles out.

I've been trying to cut back on meats, buy things we use in larger quantities when on sale, etc., but I haven't seen much difference in our bill. We still average about $800 per month for a family of three.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Stormy Kromer View Post
DW and I each got a deer last year, butchered it ourselves. About 100 lbs. of the best organic meat in the world. We watch sales and cook in bulk, freezing leftovers. We couldn't feed a small dog on what gets thrown out.

+1, DW and I also hunt deer, and usually end up with at least one deer each Fall, if not two. Last year, it was two for us also, so we've been enjoying the delicious venison since then.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:37 AM   #18
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We don't try to minimize our grocery bill (ie. we don't coupon), but we do try to keep costs down. The 2 main ways we do this: 1) shop at local warehouse grocery store where prices are low to start with and 2) buy generics or house brands when possible.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:46 AM   #19
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"Often have store made sausage (chicken or pork) for $1.99/lb. I was leery at first, but we REALLY like it (I would pay full price of $3.99/lb, but DW would have none of that)."

I like the way your Spouse thinks.

Unit Cost....Is the most important purchasing decision. Many people just "buy what they need".


Example: "Hmm...let's have chicken for dinner. We need 4 chicken breasts. Oh, look...here's a package with 4 chicken breasts. Perfect!".

It doesn't matter that they are paying $4.99/lb - they are oblivious. So, that 2 lbs of chicken just cost them $9.98 as opposed to $3.98 @ $1.99/lb.

Drives me crazy to see the waste when shopping with friends and relatives. Drives them crazy listening to my rants about Unit Cost/Pricing.

Many won't even think of stepping into a grocery store with me anymore....
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:58 AM   #20
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DW and I each got a deer last year, butchered it ourselves. About 100 lbs. of the best organic meat in the world. We watch sales and cook in bulk, freezing leftovers. We couldn't feed a small dog on what gets thrown out.
Ditto on the venison. Also +1 on Rea's garden post. DW grows a ton of stuff. In NC, we can garden almost year round. We also re-purpose the heck out of leftovers. The rest goes to compost - and back into the garden.

But we don't seek to scrimp or bargain hunt for groceries. We're more focused on healthy choices (not saying that those are mutually exclusive, just not our thing). We eat ground bison for red meat regularly (at $10/pound). We shop farmers markets and look for local items in the grocery store (ie, local peaches instead of those shipped across the country from CA - -sorry CA).

We're frugal in many areas, but food and travel (by our standards) are areas where we bend the rules a bit. Our modest contribution to "Blow that Dough."
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