Food for thought (for pennies less)

Have you seen those couponing shows on the TV where they buy $1800 worth of groceries but end up paying only $5.47? I watched one recently and was absolutely blown away! But, realistically, I’m not turning my basement into a storeroom, or giving up my day job in order to do the organization required to assemble all the needed coupons for that kind of savings. But I do count my pennies at the grocery store in less dramatic,  but still effective, ways.

Every Saturday morning, I get my coffee and the bag of flyers that is delivered to my doorstep on Thursday night, see what’s on sale, and in which store.

I pay more attention to sale items for the stores that I regularly visit. It has to be a really good deal for me to bother driving all over to different stores. Gas and time for ‘running around shopping’ needs be assessed.

One good example is when we go to a Chinese grocers to buy pure pomegranate juice for $2.50 a litre instead of $10. When we make that trip, we buy a case of 12, and also pick up a few other things that are on sale. That makes the trip well worth it.

The coupons I use are offered at the entrance to the grocery store I frequent. (This stop is also a good time to put on the eye glasses needed for shopping.) Depending on what deals are offered, I might alter my shopping list. This particular nation-wide store chain (Loblaws) takes coupons from its gas bar. The gas is generally two cents less than everywhere else, plus it gives back two cents on every litre pumped that can be applied towards your groceries. Effectually, that makes your gas four cents cheaper than everywhere else.

With my store coupons in hand and a very flexible shopping list – basically ‘something to eat’ – I keep my eyes open for those pink stickers that signify markdowns. I used to be afraid to buy the reduced meat until a farmer/butcher friend told me that the aged cuts were the tastiest. So now when we visit the store I purposely look for the 30% off stickers on meat. If we are not eating it that night, it goes directly into the freezer. Friday night is our steak night and my husband always picks out a tasty 30% off rib eye for us on Friday morning.

Produce, usually located on a separate rack in the produce department, can be bought at 50% off. Use the produce quickly, or save it for making soup. And while you are saving money don’t forget that baked goods are often discounted by 50% as well. (If only they were 50% calorie reduced too.) This is our Friday morning treat at my work. I pick up danishes or muffins, depending what is available, for half price. Not one person has ever said they weren’t fresh enough for them.

When discussing saving money grocery shopping, Costco must be mentioned. It is famous for offering good deals and great quantities of food. You do have to pay for a membership, but the people who go there swear by it. I am not a Costco member because I know I would get sucked in, and easily spend $300 trying to save money, and I no longer need to buy in bulk. But if you have a very good friend who is a member – like I do – ask them to buy some items for you the next time they go. Don’t give them a long list though or they won’t be your good friend for long.

See if any of these tips help reduce your grocery bill. It has mine.

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