Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chapter 2. Shopping Wisely


I'll  repeat my self....Never pay full price if you can help it.  

Fresh fruits and veggies are at their peek when they are in season.  They are also at their best price.  Its a win, win situation.  

Buy Meat when it is on sale cheap.  If  good hamburger is not  cheap, see if a top round or chuck cut is cheaper and grind it yourself.  If you don't have a mixer with an attachment, or can't use someone else's, use a  grinder  our grandmothers used.  They are really cheap at estate sales and antique stores.  Or, use the food processor.  Sometimes I get 7-9 percent hamburger for B1G1 at SAFEWAYS and that makes it 2.75.  Prices are rising.  The  t thing you can do is make meatballs or meatloaf with a combo of ground beef and pork or turkey.  Ground chicken is hard to work with.  

When the Grocery ads come out , take a piece of computer paper or a clean side of paper out of the recycle bin and draw lines on it to quarter it. 

Now, top each quarter with a store name.  Take the ad, and write down :
  1. Anything that is on your stock list that is cheap
  2. Anything on the protein list that is cheap and
  3. Any produce and dairy items that are a good price.  Milk is always on sale somewhere.  Sour cream , cottage cheese and butter is cheapest most often at Costco.  
Now, cross off. Anything that is cheaper somewhere else, and anything that you already have enough
stock of.  Post the cheapest  price on stock items to your data.  

Pick the TWO stores that have the best buys on the things you need.  You  are picking two stores because you get the advantage of finding the best looking produce and not any one store has the best buys on everything.

 Plan your route to maximize your gas budget.   Or, shop in two different times to coordinate with other errands to make best use of your gas. Is the SAFEWAYS close to the gym or the kids school or your work?

Check a coupon connection site in your area to see if there are any coupons that will help you.  
Many are printable on the computer.  If you don't have a printer, a neighbor or family member might be able to help you.  Don't spend a lot of time on this,  you should be able to do this on the time it takes to perk the coffee in the morning.  Don't believe all you see on extreme couponimg.  Most of what they do is illegal in many states.  In Washington the major chain stores will not allow you to  buy a .99 cent item with a 1.00 off coupon.  You can't get overage.  And in Washington you can't double coupons.  You can get some doubles with a coupon sometimes at ALBERTSONS.  But, you can't do more than one per item.  In other words, see if you can quickly find a couple that will help you. The  dollar store will take up to 4 coupons on an item and that is your best bet for free food or almost free food.  

Bring your ads, your coupons, your list, and any just 4 U list you might have.

Use your list, get in and get out.  The more time you spend in a store, the more money you will spend.

Put  blinders on to the ready made or convenience foods.  Pre made foods and mixes are for the most
part expensive.  The first letter in most of the convenience foods is $. Just buy the things on your list. 
Mindful of your bottom line.  Some weeks you will spend less, and some weeks you will spend more.  You won't build your stock in one week.  It takes time.  
Only buy cold cereal when you can get it nearly free, and never the sugary stuff.  Growing up we got cornflakes or wheat puffs in a bag during the summer.  It was oatmeal in the winter,  Occasionally cream of wheat.  Oatmeal is a very versatile food.  It is cheapest usually at Winco.  Don't buy individual packages.--of anything.  It's really easy to make it in the microwave. I c water, 1/2 cup oatmeal. , 1-1/2 minutes on high.  Use a larger bowl.  

A few exceptions...cake mix when really cheap, instant  mashed potatoes at times , tortillas, refried beans.  I got cake mix 1 for free and one for .14.  Flour is 7.5 cents a cup.  At that rate,  cake mix is cheaper.  I usually keep one on hand for emergencies. 

Hamburger meal  boxes are about the most expensive thing in the regular grocery store.  See an older post.  Dissecting cheeseburger macaroni.  

Don't overlook the bakery outlet, alternative overstock stores, the dollar store, drug stores, and warehouse stores including Winco.  Sometimes they have the best buys on some things.  Do overlook the yuppie stores or what some people call the whole paycheck stores.  Sorry, this low a budget doesn't work well with these stores.  .  They are sometimes cheaper if you are an alternative eater.  

That's all I can think of now.

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Better, cheaper, faster

Next.  Cooking from scratch....better, cheaper, faster.  

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