Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How I Stopped the Grocery Store From Taking All My Money!, Part 1

For all us Mommy's, grocery shopping is an evil nemesis!

It's one chore that can be almost fun as you are going down the aisles, looking at the pretty packaging, your mind wondering through all the different fun things you can create.  But the fun ends when you arrive at the checkout and have to pay for your groceries.

I have done numerous things to try to cut my grocery bill. Some have worked but I was not able to keep up with the extra work that it required for more than 4 or 5 months.

I even started blogging to keep up with all the grocery and coupon deals that came along!  But I soon lost my passion with the couponing.  I started to become disillusioned with having to plan my meals around what was on sale and what I had a coupon for.

Now don't get me wrong, the money you can save with couponing was great and I'm not bashing couponing.  I just didn't like not having the creativity of trying new and unique recipes or using my families favorites because I didn't have coupons.  That just wasn't for me...

I needed a way to save on the grocery budget but give me the freedom to cook the what I wanted, when I wanted to.

I think now I have found a combination that is working for us (me) and has made a huge dent in our grocery budget.

For the past year I have read countless bloggers and how they have slashed their families grocery budgets. If there is one thing I have learned from this is that nobody has one cookie cutter way that works for everyone.  You just need to find the way that works for you!

I have taken different ideas from different sources and have come up with my own grocery slashing tips that are working for me.  So for the next few posts, I want to share these with you, my bloggy friends, to see if there are any tips you can use...

Sav-a-Lot: I love this store! It is like an Aladi, but there is not one of these in my town. The closest one is an hour drive from my house!

Sav-a-Lot has their own brands throughout the store. I have found only one or two things that I was unhappy with due to high salt but I have been able to find them in no salt alternatives. They also have run some coupons on their store brand foods on their web site from time to time.  The only drawback I have is that there are a few things that I buy that Sav-a-Lot doesn't sell.

A really great deal they have is you can buy 5 different packs of meat for $19.99!  If you get there early in the week or just after they put the meat out, you can get the heavier packs.  Most of the time when I do this, I end up getting 5 packs of meat for much more that $19.99!

If you have not tried Sav-a-Lot, I recommend that you give them a try!

No Name Brands: I am sure most of you who are frugal are already very aware of this point! I use to do the big time couponing but when I started keeping a price book, I realized that even with coupons, store brands were cheaper per unit. I know that some of you will buck me on this one but this is what I have found and it works for me.

A Price Book:  This is something that I picked up from
Amy Dacyczyn in her book The Tightwad Gazette quite a few years ago.  Keeping a price book is a way that you can truly get complete control over your shopping!  Even if you are a big couponer, you should be doing a price book to know if you are really getting the best deals in your area.

I use an app on my phone, but you can use a loose leaf notebook or index cards.  What you are doing is keeping track of the price of items that you buy.  When I'm at a store and want to know if the sale I see is a good one, I check my phone.  

You want to compare apples to apples.  What many of us do is compare the bottom price, but this is how we need up paying too much! 
Follow these examples:

Instant Milk:
Ingles              1 pound, 9.6 oz          $8.68
Sav-a-Lot                25.6 oz               $6.99       

It looks like the better deal would be Ingles because you seem to be getting more.  When you figure out that 1 pound, 9.6 oz is 25.6 oz you realize that the better price is Sav-a-Lot at $0.27/oz compared to $0.34/oz at Ingles.

Sam's Club      50 lbs       $33.39
Sav-a-Lot         4 lbs        $ 2.19

The 50 lbs of sugar comes out to $0.55/lb while the 4 lbs of sugar is $0.67/lb.  This shows that warehouse food is not always your best price.  I realized that driving 45 miles both ways was not justified by the price.

This is how I found out just how good the prices where at Sav-a-Lot.  I found that I could buy their store brands and get better deals than buying on sale and using coupons on name brands at Ingles!

I cannot go shopping without my phone!  I use my price book app and calculator like a mad scientist!  I have had store managers stop me and ask what I was doing (my phone app has a bar code scanner) with my phone.  Comparing the prices is totally invaluable it you want to keep from giving the grocery all your money! 

Check back next week to read part 2.  I'll share more tips that I use to save on my grocery bill!  If you have any tips that you use, fill free to share them.


  1. Wow! I have heard about that store but never tried it. I will be checking that out soon!
    Thanks for the info.

  2. Great tip....also if you are wanting healthier foods along with saving money.....buy generic brands. Most of them have less sodium and NO partially hydrogenated oils in them.....which are bad for us. Just compare the labels to make sure...I have found this on everything I have compared.

  3. It's what I do before I get to the store that has saved me money- making sure I meal plan and check the pantry/fridge first. And stick to my list when shopping.

  4. Does SaveALot take coupons?
    I've been doing very well with coupons since the beginning of the year! It does take time, but it's been totally worth it for us.


  5. New follwer from thttp://livingatthewhiteheadszoo.blogspot.com/he blog hop.


  6. What app are you using? The one I have also has a scanner. Do the stores get upset if you use it? I am going to be making my first batch of laundry detergent here soon. It looks like it will cost under $3 and I should only have to make it 2 times a year! Now that is savings!


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