Need budget ideas for grocery shopping

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by zoo2tycoon, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. zoo2tycoon

    zoo2tycoon DIS Veteran

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    Besides coupons what are good ways to save on groceries and shampoo /laundry, etc.?

    We have a Sam's and Costco membership (Costco is a gift yearly). We are a family of 4 ( 75% of time 3 as DS is away at college).

    I need guidance on how to save on our groceries and daily cost of living expenses. I know it will take time but any small steps to get started would be appreciated.
     
  2. la79al

    la79al DIS Veteran

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    My biggest tip is ask/search around and see if you have a store near you that sells almost expired or damaged items (dented cans/boxes, etc). My second biggest tip is to find out when your regular grocery store puts their stuff on clearance and head to the store then to stock up.
     
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  4. Southernmiss

    Southernmiss I am hazed everyday

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    Shop with a list and a meal plan. Don't go hungry. Go by yourself. Eat what you buy. No cheating with take out etc. Use your leftovers. Label and date them. Cook as much from scratch as posible. Meal prep -cook several meals one day a week for the week. Freeze leftovers you get tired of before they go bad. Repurpose leftovers.

    I read a lot of recipes on line for inspiration and then make the meal with ingredients I have on hand.

    Bring lunch.

    Drink water.
     
  5. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    I like our local Aldi's for most things, including vegetables and fruit. I also use the webiste www.flipp.com to create shopping lists from local grocery ads. I have the Flipp app too so I have my grocery list when I go to the store. It allows me to plan ahead and not go "foraging" for every day's meals.
     
  6. Marionnette

    Marionnette Children see magic because they look for it

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    • Plan your meals according to what's on sale.
    • Get to know the cycles for sales on non-perishables. TP, facial tissues, shampoo all have cycles that occur about every 4-6 weeks.
    • Stick to your list and avoid impulse buys.
    • Bigger isn't always better. A case of 12 cans of soda costs more than a 2L bottle, but that 2L bottle would go flat before we could finish it.
    • Only buy what you will consume before it expires. A big bunch of bananas at 29 cents a pound is not a deal if you end up tossing 2/3 of them.
    • Check your fridge and freezer often to use up things that will expire soon.
    • Don't be averse to using leftovers.
     
  7. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

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    I was going to suggest Aldi's, too. Have you tried shopping at a new one? People tend to either love it or hate it, and I've heard, and seen, that some of the older stores can be a little cramped and glum, but the newer ones are nice. If you don't mind buying things that aren't name brand, you will definitely save some money there.
     
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  8. verleniahall

    verleniahall DIS Veteran

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    Check it the thread ‘Eat at home’ on here - we are up to thread 3 - to snack of ideas
     
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  9. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    The first thing is to be realistic - it takes some time to whittle down a food budget. Target one or two refinements at a time, get those to be second nature, then pick a couple more to tackle.

    But generally:
    - As others have said, make a meal plan before you shop
    - Figure out the stores that are cheapest in your area (it's amazing how much difference there can be) Check out markets that might not be quite as bright, shiny and fancy.
    - Eliminate food waste as much as you can. Don't buy it if you aren't sure it will be eaten before it goes bad. This includes not overfilling your freezer with a bunch of meats that will in the end just get tossed due to freezer burn from being there too long. But also - if you will actually eat something that is slightly more expensive than another version of the same item that is cheaper - the one that you will actually eat is the better deal!
    - I've found shopping only once every 2 weeks helped me really lower our budget, but I know that's not for everyone. (If you store fruits and veggies properly, many will last most of that time, and frozen fills in the gaps. Google to find the proper way to store each fruit or veggie)
    - Avoid prepared foods as much as you can. Cook as much as you can/are willing to from scratch/nearly scratch.
    - Develop a few "go to" meats for your family, that you use a lot in different recipes. Ours are boneless chicken breasts, ground beef, pork chops and flank steak. Pay attention for good sales on those, and stock up enough to last you a few weeks or a month when there is one. (Many stores tend to repeat their better meat sales typically on a 4-6 week basis so usually there is no need to go crazy.)
    - Try store brands. Some items you'll like, some you won't. But the ones you do can really save you money.
    - Get to know your prices. Just because a store says an item is on sale, doesn't make it a great buy. Really stock up only when it really is a great buy. Otherwise, just buy enough for a few weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  10. kymom99

    kymom99 DIS Veteran

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    Your last point is a good one. I often see shredded cheese on the buy 5 save $5 at Kroger and assume it's a good buy. But when I bend over :p and examine unit prices, the regular priced larger bag is a better deal.
     
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  11. disneymagicgirl

    disneymagicgirl Been there, Done that, Going back!

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    My biggest savings come from making a meal plan and basing a list around that. Then order your list online for pickup at Walmart or sams or a combo of the 2. I also fill in with Aldi runs for staples and Publix for treats that are on BOGOF specials. The biggest thing for me is placing the online order and staying out of the store. :p
     
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  12. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    Another thing you might want to consider is actually dropping the Sams/Costco memberships - I've found walking into those places causes my wallet to start bleeding money LOL Most things that you actually need you can find the same or even better prices on at other stores if you pay attention. And a bunch of the stuff in those stores are things that you don't really need - they just make you think you do!

    A controversial idea, I know. But think about it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  13. Brandilla

    Brandilla Earning My Ears

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    Do you have a Kroger to shop at? One thing that has helped me a little recently is to use Kroger clicklist. It does cost $5 but I like that I can sit in the comfort of my own home to shop with no distractions. No kids fighting/begging for things. It cuts down tremendously on impulse buys for us. And you can see your total as you add items to your cart so if it's getting too high you can look at your cart and remove things vs standing at the checkout panicking because you don't know how you spent so much.

    This could be a good tool until shopping on a budget comes more naturally.
     
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  14. Lvsdisney

    Lvsdisney DIS Veteran

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    I also like to follow grocery savings blogs. My 2 favorites are Living Rich with Coupons and Totally Target. They match coupons for you, and LRWC will let you know when something is ACTUALLY a good price and worth stocking up on. I know there are others. Google is your friend with that.

    I agree with PPs, meal plan based on what is on sale, don't buy more than you'll eat, and cut down on prepared foods. All good advice. good luck!
     
  15. mommajo143

    mommajo143 DIS Veteran

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    The only thing I do that isn’t already listed here is grocery pickup. It’s free where I live - you shop online then they load in my car at a day / time I select. Saves me time and I literally cut our bill by 20%... I meal plan using the stuff we have in the pantry and then only buy items that we must have for a recipe or as we run out (replacements). DH and kids all have the grocery app & stay logged in to my acct; they scan items into our cart as the use them up. On the grocery day I can see the total cost and adjust my cart (remove / replace items with cheaper alternatives or adjust meal plans if needed). No surprises & eliminates excesses building up in the pantry ...
     
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  16. mommajo143

    mommajo143 DIS Veteran

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    I also buy snack items in larger (cheaper per unit) bags and then portion them out into reusable containers every Sunday. Kids have 2 snacks / day and know when they are gone, they are gone until the next week when I make more. Saves money by curbing their junk food habits & makes portion control affordable (compared to prepackaged individual sized items). I use my seal a meal to reseal larger packs to prevent waste (large bags chips, large bags animal crackers, etc)
     
  17. kaddjr

    kaddjr <font color=peach>Now I'm going to have to stalk t

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    I save the cost of my membership to Costco each year by buying just two bags of the Kirkland brand grain free dog food. It is the same price at the store I used to buy it at- for HALF the amount. A few weeks ago, I needed Cascade. I bought the smallest bottle (45 oz) for $4.49 at Kroger. It is $8.99 at Costco for the 125 oz bottle. Oh wait! It is on rebate this month for $6.99 for the same bottle! I bought the limit of 2. Other things I save on are cheese (shredded, sliced, and string), ground chuck, rotisserie chicken, toilet paper, laundry supplies, foil, parchment paper, batteries, lotion, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, vitamins, & allergy meds.

    The key to saving ANYWHERE is knowing prices (sale and regular). The clubs are just like anywhere else, sometimes their prices are better, sometimes not. And you are buying in bulk. I may spend what seems like a lot on any given trip there, but spread that out over time, I am saving much more. I can also go into WM, Meijer, or Target (or any store for that matter) and find things that I really don't need (and have done so- guilty!), so I make a list before I go and stick to it. I live at least 20 minutes in any direction of any major shopping, so I have to drive. I factor that in too. Heck we can't even get pizza delivery here!

    OP there are some great suggestions here. What works for me may not work for you. Do what works for lyou. With a little effort, you can whittle away at that grocery bill!
     
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  18. Louie7080

    Louie7080 Mouseketeer

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    I try to buy discounted gift cards for the grocery stores I shop at.
     
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  19. mousehockey37

    mousehockey37 DIS Veteran

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    Keep the coupons going. Also, look for apps as well. Ibotta is a rebate app that rewards in cash... Most stores are on Ibotta, but not necessarily smaller stores. Fetch Rewards lets you scan receipts from anywhere and you get points, which can be turned into gift cards, etc. All of these can be stacked on top of each other.

    Sam's, Costco, BJ's is a good way to go bulk. You just have to start slow as it does get rather expensive rather quick if you aren't careful.

    Another trick is to not go shopping for the week all at once. Take smaller, more frequent trips for the things you need. Unless you're on a menu at home for what you're making (another idea), you might be buying things that you won't actually make or use for some time. We all have those nights where we say we're doing X but life is just life and you grab a frozen pizza or order out cause yeah, it's just easier.
     
  20. SandyinMonterey

    SandyinMonterey DIS Veteran

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    Know your prices in the store(s). When I lived in California, my local grocery stores (Nob Hill & Safeway) were expensive. Safeway usually more costly. I did a lot of my shopping @ Walmart first then Target. Now I live in GA. We have Kroger & Publix. Kroger is less expensive. Since moving here, I actually find Kroger at a better price point (most times) than Walmart & Target. Kroger also has an APP with digital coupons. I accumulate points which goes towards gas. I was a big fans of coupons in the Sunday paper but it’s not that great anymore. I do like to shop Costco for chicken & beef, & toilet paper. I’m careful @ Costco because it adds up quickly & it’s easy to go overboard. At the grocery stores, I buy mostly what’s on sale. I rarely buy something that is not. Buying the store brands saves money too. I’ve been trying more & more store brand & I don’t see a difference between that & name brand.
     
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  21. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    I didn't say no one should shop at Costco, but I think people should just be more critical and really look at prices elsewhere before deciding Costco is the deal they think it is and shelling out that membership fee:

    Cheese, ground beef - even if Costco were cheaper, much of it would go bad in our house before we finished it (even with freezing), wasting money

    Toilet paper/laundry supplies - I've gotten better deals from Boxed via AmEx deals the last 2 years than Costco

    I've gotten some great deals on Science Diet cat food from Chewy also via AmEx deals the last 2 years. With 1 cat, the 25lb bags CostCo has would last forever and go stale (and the cat would refuse to eat it) before we finished it. I can stock up on smaller bags via Chewy that stay sealed and fresh until we need them.

    Parchment paper - DollarTree's is a fine quality and is only a little over $1 more for the same amount as the Costco package. That $1 savings is not worth the membership fee.

    Batteries - Costco prices are actually not very good. I stock up at HomeDepot on Black Friday at about half the price compared to Costco.

    Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, allergy meds & I think vitamins - I don't need an active Costco membership to buy these from them. I've been getting them online from Costco for years without a membership. Don't know if that is because of something in my state (CA) or because it is considered part of Pharmacy, but it works. I just bought allergy meds and ibuprofen that way. I even get any discounts they have going (I love the allergy med sale every spring!)

    And of course there is the problem with things you don't really need at Costco just magically jumping into your cart. I have seen people more come back from shopping trips there with stuff that wasn't even on their radar to buy, but saw it "at such a great deal" that they bought it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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