Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grocery Shopping

I browsed the mall at lunch yesterday and found the cutest little dress for $5 on clearance. $5 here, there and everywhere can be my downfall, so I resisted. Thus, no cute little dress for Julia.

Our fridge is starting to look like Old Mother Hubbard’s closet. Bare, bare, bare. Whenever I open the fridge, it seems like all I see is Smart Balance fake margarine crap. The in-laws bought that and left it here. Other than that and milk, it seems like the fridge is a wasteland of old condiments.

How do y’all save money at grocery shopping? Way back when (5 years ago maybe), I was the queen of the coupon clippers. We got the newspaper every Sunday, and I religiously cut out a zillion coupons. Nowadays I don’t seem to be much of a coupon clipper. We don’t get the paper anymore although sometimes we get a smaller paper for free on our driveway. If there are coupons in there, I always look through them but rarely cut them out.

One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve semi-started the no gluten, no dairy, no peanut, et. al. diet is that most coupon items are for processed food. You know, coupons for Spaghetti-o’s, General Mills cereal, kids’ snack food, etc. The exact stuff I’m not supposed to eat. The stuff I AM supposed to eat (produce, meat) usually doesn’t have coupons available. Those items do go on sale, particularly seasonal produce, but there usually aren’t coupons tied to them.

Nowadays I really just shop the store sales. We get 3 different grocery stores’ advertisements every Tuesday, and I go through them writing out my list at each store. If there’s only 1 or 2 things on sale at a particular store, I usually don’t go that store. There has to be several things to make the trip worth it. Basics that aren’t on sale anywhere that week I buy at Winco, which is a grocery store that’s typically the cheapest in the area except for sales. Fred Meyer, a store only in the Northwest, has ads that run Sunday – Saturday, and I look at their ad online every Sunday morning. If they have sales, I go that morning in order to make sure I can get their in-store ad with coupons before they run out. And I go to Costco too if there are store coupons. So basically I shop at a combination of 6 stores for groceries. I like to keep my options open!

One thing that’s a big bummer: Stores up here don’t double or triple coupons. BLAH! So there’s not as much incentive to use coupons.

If it’s not on sale that week anywhere or not a good price at Winco, we don’t buy it. But…I try to stock up on staples when there’s a good deal. You can usually find boneless skinless chicken for $2 or less a pound somewhere. The same goes for a gallon of milk. We’re not into special meats, so we rarely have steak or anything like that. Lots of chicken, ground turkey, turkey burgers. We’re poultry people. We also eat a good amount of fish when it’s a good price. Sometimes there’s a good sale on canned beans or frozen veggies, and I scoop up as much as I can.

I feel like I should be doing more cost-cutting in this area. Recently I subscribed to a blog that points you to online coupons and how they can be combined with sales, but many of the stores talked about aren’t around here, and the coupons – you’ve guessed it – are for processed food.

I went to Winco today and spent $32.43. Produce, beans, Julia food (applesauce, mixed fruit, icky processed meat, toaster strudel, etc.), bread for S, eggs for S, paper towels, frozen veggies, big ol' can of V-8, and some other stuff I can't remember.

The place was flooded with people that had 2 or more carts full of food. It was only when I got to the checkout it dawned on me. Today is the 3rd. Welfare checks go out on the 3rd. DOH! It's good that people on welfare go to Winco to get more bang for their buck. But dang it's awful to shop there on the 3rd of the month.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Beth, we love Winco too. It's a little more of a drive for us from Tacoma, but so worth it! We usually go once every month or so and really stock up. We just went on Saturday and went early enough to miss the big crowds of families. It seems the -what's the most PC word to use???- ethnic families like to shop with 3 generations and every kid in tow. Makes for a horrible time getting through the aisles and finding what you need. We also AVOID the first week or so, for the food stamp reason. It seems to stretch our dollar so much more by shopping there.