You have already--
- Identified sources of protein that you will use in your meal plans. These should be less than two dollars a pound of you are trying for a four dollar a day budget. (Snap guidelines )
- Identified the items you buy on a regular basis to prepare meals from those protein sources.
- Now, gather your ads, Our Winco doesn't have an ad, so you just have to visit the store. Every Winco has different prices because they work off of a list to provide prices lower than the competitors. It's important to note, that no one store can have the best prices on everything,
- Take a short inventory of your fridge,pantry and freezer. This will tell you what you are missing.
- Now, start circling everything that you need that is a good price. Check for coupons to remember what you clipped. $$. I usually do that for people on the Seattle area. There are some sites that work in other areas. Try favado.
- Soon, you might start seeing better prices at one store over another in an item.
- Circle, star, or tag any item you intend to buy, I put a check mark on anything I might have a coupon for, The best use of coupons is when you find a good buy and can stack a coupon with it. You can't stack an electronic coupon with a paper one. Most all stores take them.
- I have a meal plan form I made in excell. It has seven blocks in one side of the landscape sheet and two columns on the other, In one column I have listed the things we buy on a regular basis that are perishable to fill in meals, The second column is blank so I can either mark how many we have or note that we need it. This makes doing an inventory a couple of minutes.
- Now, decide who has the RBP on what you need. Here, it is usually Fred Meyers and Winco, Occasionally, we find a good sale with coupons at Safeways or QFC. Costco is always go to to for bulk Purchases. I continue to check prices, but unless something is in a huge sale, you can't beat the few things I get from Costco, Not everything is a bargain at Costco. Look for a rotation meat. My standby if I can't find pork loin cheap is to look at Costco business. It's in the next town, so I don't go unless I'm out of a few things that they have that regular Costco doesn't carry. Costco has grains that were not part of our vocabulary in the fifties, and seaweed. But, they don't carry corn starch, or large canisters of broth granules or some spices. I bought a larger than large sack of salt and soda. I will never have to buy them again! Lol. They were cheap. They can be used for cleaning as well as food.
- Having a target figure ( nothing to do with the store with the red balls ) for your basics list is Germaine in knowing if something is a stick up price. Try to never lay full price for your basic needs list. Canned veggies should be less than fifty cents, Ditto diced tomatoes, beans of you buy canned. I want 149-1.69 a pound for pork loins, I want .88-1.00 a pound for Foster Farms chicken, (Locally grown ) hamburger 3.28 or less for 7 percent fat. I want pasta sauce in glass for close to a dollar. In cans for under a dollar, pasta ( Barilla) should be under a dollar...preferably .50-.75 cents. It is always a dollar at the DT. ( dollar tree) as is canned pasta sauce and they take coupons- up to four a day, and some won't take two coupoms for two of the same thing. That's not the written coupon policy, but best not to argue. They have the last word. I want frozen v goes for under a dollar a POUND. Many vegetables are in 12 ounce pkg. Cheese should be less than 2.35 a pound. Different states have different prices.
- If you live where there isn't a variety of stores, you probably have higher prices,because there is no competition. Consider scoping out the next big town and finding the best priced stores. You can sometimes get the store to send you the ad, or find it on line. Or get a family member or friend to take a snapshot of other and Facebook it to you. Find the best sake week and go once a month, if it isn't near other errands you,need to do, consider carpooling with a friend or neighbor. Split the gas bill, or take turns. We used to drive ten mikes to Winco once a month before we got one in our town. I hear Aldi is expanding to almost double stores. Think outside the box.
- The best prices you can get with coupons is when you can find something on a mark down table and have a coupon. ( I got two cans of s and w beans for .08 total. ) or you have a buy XX things, save XX dollar sale . Our Kroger has those often, You have to make your choices carefully, a lot of junk food here sometimes, but with careful planning, you can match coupons and make out. I saved 78 percent one time.
- You can a,so make out with a basket coupon , That's where they give you XX number of dollars off a XX dollar basket of food. Do the math, Find the percentage of discount, A five dollar off of fifty dollar basket is only ten percent, If the prices are already high, it doesn't pay. This is another time when buying what's on sale with a coupon and adding the basket coupon can make you really clean up. IF. You stick to buying the maximum of the blanket or basket coupon. Any amount over will lower your percentage off.
Why bother, my time is worth more than that! Is the most heard excuse about coupons and target shopping. Let's break that down. The average family our size spends 7800 a year on food. We are at a pace to spend 2700 dollars his year and maintain a small emergency stock. That's five THOUSAND dollars. That's one nice trip to Disneyland or Hawaii. Or covers the cable and the heat bill. Or makes a car payment.