The best ways to grocery shop & save
|December 30, 2009||Posted by thefrugalvegan under Groceries|
I was reading my Tightwad Gazette Copy the other night. I hadn’t picked it up in a while and every time I do, I find something even though I have read it cover to cover.
Amy was writing about how she grocery shops and it turns out we do the exact same thing. Most people plan menus, then go grocery shopping according to the menu plan. Others plan menus around sales. Others just browse the aisles and buy what they feel like buying and obviously not being very mindful of their budget.
She mentioned that you might plan a menu but perhaps you won’t feel like eating something you planned on. This happens to me a lot. I never plan menus for a few reasons; there are only two of us, and sometimes I think I’ll want something but then the day comes and I don’t feel like eating it. She stocks hers mainly with loss leaders, here is how I stock mine:
LOSS LEADERS: These are items that grocery stores advertise on the front and back pages of their flyers. They are meant to get the consumer into the store. They generally lose money on these items but make money on the other things you pick up. The key is to stock up on these loss leaders and get out of the store ASAP. Go in, buy, get out. If I find things like bread, I buy a lot and freeze the loaves.
SALES AND PRODUCTS ABOUT TO EXPIRE: Sometimes grocery stores want to unload a product they have too much of, usually this isn’t in the flyer and can be sold at one store but if you go to the same store in another location, they might not have it. I’ve seen tofu on sale for half price and I would just grab it all and store it in the freezer. Same with products about to expire such as “mock meat” products. I will buy them and use them that week in a meal or freeze it. The freezer is your friend, use it.
BULK PURCHASES: I was at a wholesale store (not Costco but an independent one that doesn’t charge for a membership) and found a 22lb bag of rice that had a huge rip in it. I was looking at it and the manager came over and gave it to us for half price. So we paid $7 for 22lbs of rice and I split it with my friend. This was over a year ago and I still have some of it left. Buying bulk is great for staple items such as rice, flour, sugar…
GET RAINCHECKS: I found some 28oz tomatoes for 69cents which is the cheapest I have seen them in years! I went to the store and bought the last 11 cans then when I got to the cash asked for a raincheck for another dozen. This way I will stock my pantry with tomatoes for the next year or so at the same price. Remember to get a raincheck for out of stock products you will use. This way you get that price for awhile as rainchecks last several months.
So I don’t actually grocery shop the traditional way anymore, I just browse the flyers, buy things that I will use that are very cheap and stock up. My budget isn’t consistent but I don’t spend very much on groceries because of these methods. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I only replenish fresh fruits and veggies but some people don’t need to do this. I just feel that fresh fruit is an important part of my diet, though if you find inexpensive fruit in cans with juice then that’s another option. I also love sweet potatoes and buy one weekly at the local fruit & veggie store which are half the price than at the grocery store.
You’ll never have to spend lots of money again, your pantry will always be stocked. AFter you’ve practised this for awhile there will be weeks where you won’t shop at all. These methods will save you a lot of money yearly!