Grocery Geek Presents: Shopping the Sales

This may be old news for some: Shopping from the sales can be a great way to save money.

However, those grocery stores are pretty savvy. They want to get us in the door for their “loss leaders” and hope we’ll pick up everything else that we need (at a higher price) while we’re in there. In the past I usually looked at the sales ads and then “price matched” at Walmart. This kept our grocery bill steady around $200/wk for a family of 7.

I thought I was doing the best I could, and the weeks that went over that amount caused a tinge of despair. But, since I’ve started clipping coupons and tracking the sales more closely, I’ve been able to bring this down quite a bit.

So, what’s the trick? When I go to a “real” grocery store, I only buy what’s a really good sale price. For instance, this week at Hy-Vee, the following items are on sale:

bratwurst $1.69/#
Lipton tea $1.50
Hellman’s mayo $2.50
18 ct. eggs $1.68
Dole salad blends $1.66
zucchini and summer squash $.99/#
cream cheese $.99

My method would be to buy only those items at Hy-Vee, unless I saw some other unadvertised special while I was there. I would combine those items with coupons, as I could; basically for the tea, mayo and salad blends. Since I would be going only for 6 items, the trip wouldn’t take long. And I’d probably do the same at the other two stores in the area.

This method does leave me with a rather eclectic mix of food. But, since I’ve been stocking up on sale items like this, I’ve developed a large pantry to draw from. If there’s something that we absolutely have to have, I will buy that at the store that generally has the lowest prices, like Walmart or Aldi. Yes, I’m making a few more stops than the old days, but I’m saving a lot of money. Since these stores are all on a five mile circuit from my house, it’s working out well.

Food snob that I am, I’ve had to learn to be more ingenuitive and definitely less picky about what we’re going to eat for the week. But, the above items could easily be made into a BBQ dinner of brats, iced tea, potato salad, grilled squash, and salad. I would only need to supplement with seasonings, buns, potatoes, and sugar.

As I’ve said before, I’ve learned a lot in the last few months, particularly from Money Saving Mom. She has put together a great resource to help beginners learn the ins and outs of Supermarket Savings. Click here to view details about her e-course, Supermarket Savings 101.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when Grocery Geek Presents the Fifty Cents or Free Rule.

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  1. I’m just getting started on the grocery geek type of shopping…I’m a new mom, and we started TMMO a month ago…slowly but surely we will change our ways. I really enjoy your site and look forward to learning more from you.

  2. FishMama says:

    Thanks Tara. Welcome! I’m still learning, but happy to share my mistakes. I’m the ultimate big sister – so bossy!

  3. Zimms Zoo says:

    unfortunately for us the only stores we have to choose from, in our area, (within at least 15 miles which is really to far) is wal-mart, aldi, and crest (which is a local chain only.

    aldi is used for all produce generally, wal-mart for things that i see that are a good price with coupons and crest for everything else. often times crest will have great loss leaders once you get there. they do NOT advertise at all. So when I go shopping I always try to go by just to see if they have anything my way.
    our household needs budget is $600 a month, which includes shampoos and those kinds of things. there are 7, soon to be 8 of us. the big kids all need the adult things (like deodorant) too which ups the price some.
    I will be watching to see if you have any suggestions for us who don’t have very many choices.

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