Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to bring the Super! to the Market

Mr. C, my wonderful husband, has insisted that I post about some of the ways I feed us fabulous, gourmet meals for less.

1. This week, our local grocery stores have great sales on frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. One of our stores even has an advertised deal of $0.47/lb with a $25 purchase. So I now have 2 small turkeys in my freezer. If you buy turkeys that are around 11-12 lbs, they are really not that much larger than roasting chickens, and yet, the savings is significant. Whole roasting chickens rarely go on sale for less than $0.99/lb in our area, so this is like getting a roaster for half off. And just like chickens, turkey can be made in so many ways. They're really not just for the holidays and can help you stretch your grocery dollars. 

2. Every grocery store has a clearance section for produce, dry goods and some even have them for dairy / frozen items. Check this section first, as there are often good deals that can fit into your meal planning, or can help you purchase top quality, exotic produce at far reduced prices because they haven't sold. I was recently able to buy a package of a half dozen fresh figs that normally sold for $4.69, but I only paid $1.59! I've also been able to get similar deals on shredded cheese, Omega3 designer eggs and frozen veggies.

3. Learn which day your grocery store marks down its meats. Our local grocery stores each do their mark downs on different days. On the mark down days, the stores put $ off coupons on the meat packages that haven't sold, and are approaching their "sell by date". These packages of meat and poultry often have 3 or 4 days before they are to be discarded by the store, but you can often buy these and then either cook them or freeze them within this time frame and capture great savings. Recently, I purchased a package of stew meat which was originally marked $3.49/lb, but after the discount coupon it was only $2.20/lb. You really can't beat it and I've been able to score great deals on gourmet cuts like veal chops, lamb chops and even ground lamb. The stores would rather sell items at deep discounts than to take losses on them, so definitely take advantage.

4. Coupons can be "stacked" at many grocery stores. This means using one store coupon and one manufacturer's coupon to buy the same item. Some stores allow this and some do not, so you need to check, but you can save a lot that way or even score free products.

5. Know which stores have the best prices and which stores have the best coupon policies. Our local Walmart SuperCenter has the best prices for many items, however, they do not double coupons. One of our local supermarkets has higher prices, but they double coupons. Depending on the item and the coupon policy, it is often more cost effective for me to buy at one store than the other, so I split my grocery list up by store to maximize my savings. Coupling this with keeping track of sales at the stores through their fliers and I am really able to stretch our dollars.

These are just 5 of the ways that I have been reducing our grocery budget and trying to keep us eating a great, varied diet. My husband often jokes that he'd rather eat in, since he knows he's going to eat a great meal and he's often been the envy of the lunch table at work.

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