Shop Smart - Grocery Shopping Tips

By RAYT721 Latest Reply 2010-08-08 18:41:13 -0500
Started 2010-08-07 10:54:26 -0500

Well, I have two socks that match this time and I am about ready to head out with the wife to do our weekly grocery shopping. With coupons in hands, Mother Hubbard and I are off on our weekly grocery shopping trip.

An article in the Winter 2010 issue of "Diabetic Living" titled "Big Buys" talks about shopping for tasty and nutritious foods and urges readers to try the private label foods when shopping. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association in NYC, "shoppers rate the taste of store-brand foods just as good or better than national brands."

NOTE: (I beg to differ on BBQ and spaghetti sauces… I have had two instances of rinsing the sauces off the food because I thought they were so bad. In those cases I am brand loyal to Open Pit BBQ Sauce and to Hunts Spaghetti Sauce.)

The article, written by Marsha McCulloch, RD, LD, examines the savings from places like Target, Walmart Superstores, Costco, and others. The magazine also features recipes using the store private label products. In the case of all natural Dijon Mustard, there is a difference of twenty six cents per ounce between the Walmart Supercenter brand and a comparable name brand. Target's Market Pantry sugar substitute is .48 cents per ounce less than a comparable brand. That's 36%. Products like instant brown rice and whole wheat elbow pasta save consumers an impressive 50% by choosing store brands.

There are times when even having a coupon for a name brand item won't tip the scales in the name brand's favor unless the product is on a store's loss leader program and the coupon that can be doubled or tripled. That's when common sense has to take over. Bring a calculator with you when you shop to check unit prices and avoid getting to the checkout with your jaw on the grocery belt when the cashier hits the "total" button.

Some products are also less expensive in bulk. Products like oats, rice, flour and that kind of thing can be bought in larger quantities and stored properly will have a long life on the shelf or freezer.

For the sake of this being a discussion, why not share your tips on frugal grocery shopping in this thread?

9 replies

GabbyPA 2010-08-08 18:39:45 -0500 Report

I do a combination of things. I shop the warehouse for meats and canned goods and most of my produce (though it lasts about two weeks) I still buy fresh during the month and try to produce shop out of my garden or from a local market. They are much cheaper and I get good produce there.

Since being diagnosed, I find I am less a coupon queen. I used to use more coupons, but now that I don't buy so much processed stuff, the coupons are not in my hands. That is the only problem. I wish they would have coupons for eggs and meat and veggies instead of candy, snacks and all the boxed junk that has nasty ingredients in it. I used to use an average of $50-100 of coupons in a month, now I am lucky if I get $35. But I do keep them for toiletries, supplements, and those special foods we just can't live without.

I feed 4 adults and 2 dogs with about $500 a month. It gets pretty skimpy by the end of the month, but none of us are starving. We could all use some starving, but none so far. LOL

vgarrison 2010-08-08 11:27:03 -0500 Report

There are 3 in my family and we spend about 350 a month on food. We used to eat out about 3 or 4 times a week and realised that we were spending over 1000 a month between eating out and groceries (I have a coffee addiction and was spending 5 - 10 dollars a day). We have brought that total down to 350. My hubby and I sit down once a week with the ads and figure out a menu for the week, then do the shopping.

I am very lucky, the store I go to has a playland for kids, so I don't have to spend the time saying no you can't have that…or hurry up…or pay attention…or give me your hand there are too many people here…I can get in and get out…and hopefully not toooo many extras make it into the cart. It got so bad that if it wasn't on the list I wouldn't put it in the cart, so my hubby would send me to grab something…grab the list and add the food he wanted to it, just so I would get it!!!


Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2010-08-07 19:23:16 -0500 Report

My hubby and I spend about $10 a day for food. It varies sometimes up to $12. We did better in the past but life has been in transition this year. Sometimes w haven't been able to get to the bargain spots as much as we'd like.

RAYT721 2010-08-07 13:33:36 -0500 Report

So we went to the store this morning with an estimated $40 value shopping list only to come home with $109 worth of groceries. We bought around four pounds of our favorite fish (Basa) which was $3.99 a pound. Diet pop also made it to the shopping cart which explains $10 (4/$10). How could I resist buying a Chi Chis Restaurant Corn Muffin Mix for $1.79 (23 g carbs per serving)? Let's just say that a few "extras" got put into our cart but we have several weeks of groceries and snacks that will save us on future trips.

What kind of average grocery shopping budget to you try to adhere to? How many in your family?

monkeymama 2010-08-07 13:45:32 -0500 Report

I have a $500.00 budget for 5 people in my house. I just my grocery shopping for the week yesterday and the grocery store had to pay me money back. I was so tickled by this too! Still having to get a grip on the couponing thing but I am getting there. I even got a free 4pk of instant mac for hubby for work with a 2.50 purchase of a 5pk mac & cheese (we HATE off brand mac's…it is nasty). I even found a AWESOME deal on fresh cherry tomatoes…99 cents compared to $2.99. I was on the role. I got about 2 weeks of groceries or so for half the cost. My kids are always picking up coupons in the stores for me. WOW!!!

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