Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grocery Challenge: Specials & Coupons

For those of you that did not read my last post, I am hosting a Grocery Challenge. The challenge is a $50 shopping trip with enough food to last you for the week. I am a family of 5 so this does feel like a challenge.

Now, I realize that if I lived off of overly processed and boxed meals, this is a very attainable goal, but that is NOT what I am aiming for. I believe strongly in actually nourishing your body versus empty calories. I do have my days, don't get me wrong.

OK, here are my 1ST steps prior to running wild in the supermarkets.

Step 1: Take careful inventory of the groceries that you already have and/or are about to expire.

I have plenty of carrots from my garden, eggs, and oatmeal. Already I know that I will have what I need for some basic breakfast meals e.g. omelets, muffins, boiled eggs, pancakes/waffles, oatmeal, and frittatas. The carrots will provide me with soups and side dishes.

Use up what is about to expire so there is NO WASTE! We waste too much food in the USA. Take a little bit of time to check the labels or freshness of your food and see how you can put it to use immediately, before it ends up in the trash.

Step 2: Check your supermarket specials.

Mine are mailed to me every Tuesday. I have 4 supermarkets in close diameter that I am able to compare for the best deals. I realize that is not the case for all of you and it might require some research. Walk to the store and ask them for their fliers or check out their website.

I have plenty of friends that complain about, " I just don't have the time to go through those."

Well, I have a pretty jam packed schedule too and manage to do just fine. If you only knew how much money it saved you in the long run, you would feel downright dumb if you did not take an extra 20 minutes out of the week to do this. Grab a magic marker and circle ONLY the specials that INTEREST YOU! You do not have to purchase everything that's on sale or use every coupon you come across.

The first items I always look at are the vegetables and then the proteins. I know that if I can manage to get a decent amount of each, I will have a well balanced meal for my family.

I've been using coupons and the papers for years, I just never budgeted an amount of $50 before.

Step 3: Get to know your deals.

Well, what is a good deal on potatoes, you might ask? This type of knowledge will come with shopping your different local markets for a few months. Either way you will recognize any deal when it is astronomically cheaper than what you have been made to believe is the "norm".

Here are some items that I know are a deal:

99 cents or less per lb on protein (usually chicken or pork)
99 cents for a 10lb. bag of potatoes (check it out its in the paper listed above)
$1.25 or less on a box of cereal
50 cents per avocado
$1.00 or less on a box of Barilla Pasta (you can get cheaper pasta, but Barilla to me is the most reliable that does not fall apart)
Under $1.99 for a Gallon of Milk
50 cents for herbs, scallions, or bell peppers

Every state is different, but I guarantee that if you keep you eyes and mind open, you will find amazing deals.

Step 4: Learn the lingo.

Notice below, it says 5 for $5. Guess what? That means $1 each. You DO NOT have to purchase 5 for $5. I know that seems like a "Duh" thing but most of us believe that we absolutely need to buy the maximum amount to get the deal. Read the labels. It will let you know if that is the case, but for the most part you can buy one item only, and still get the deal!

It's all in the marketing Baby! These guys are smart!

Step 5: Make a list.

Once you are done circling what you want to shop for, make a list of all the markets and their items. This is what you will use to shop. One concise list, not 4 different papers to flip through.

Price out each item on your list, total it up (including taxes) and stay within your budget. If you are even $1 dollar off, go back and see what you can live without this week.

Step 6: Coupons, coupons, coupons.

Clip those babies up. It's free money people!!!! Money you can use to save or fix your car with.

My sister in law always told me that she spends more shopping when using coupons. Why? Again, you do not have to use a coupon because it is a coupon. Only clip coupons on items you already purchase on a regular basis or would definitely use.

I do not clip coupons for junk food or soda if I do not consume them at all. I will clip coupons on butter, eggs, protein, juice, cereal, etc. You get the point. STAY FOCUSED!

I clip my coupons and file them by month. I can keep track of when they expire and make sure I get to use them in time. Once I make my list, I go through them and match them up with my intended purchases.

For example, below, Progresso Soups are on Sale for $1.00 Each. My coupon is good for 50 cents on 2! When that coupon is doubled, I get one can for FREE! Yes, FREE!

Step 7: Check the coupon fine print.

What do I mean by that? Supermarkets will Double even Triple your coupons on certain weeks. Your 33 cent coupon, just became 99 cents off. Your 50 cent coupon, $1 off. Take advantage of maximizing your their value. However, coupons $1.00 or more remain for that value.

Now you have your list, your coupons, and you are right on the $50 mark! Now what?

Come back to see how once you have those groceries on hand, how to plan your meals. I will have a meal by meal plan for you daily next week, starting Monday. I will definitely get creative, because I have a lot of hungry people in my house.

Will I be able to pull it off or will we crack and drive thru Burger King?

For those of you who Participate and Post Comments, one of you will receive a SURPRISE GIVEAWAY at the end of next week. It's useful and handy and ties into what we are doing. Hmmmmmm......what is it? Find out. Come back.


Danatina said...

Oh, Corina, I so wish you were here with me! we could go shopping together :) I am struggling with coupons and all that as well!

Lily of the Valley said...

You're definitely right about making the time to go through the ads. I do that for one of the grocery stores but need to do that for a few others. Do you know how to figure out what (fresh) vegetables and fruits are in season?

Blogger said...

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