Most of my friends and family know that I love getting good deals. I get such a thrill on saving money or getting a great deal. With the hot new show on TLC, Extreme Couponing, I've had people ask me if I can do that. The answer is NO. For several reasons. First, with Dillons exiting the KC area a couple of years ago we no longer have a store that doubles coupons as generously as some of the stores on this show. Hen House says they double but the rules are crazy. Second, I am NOT going dumpster diving to get extra coupons, I don't subscribe to one paper, let alone 20 and I'm not going to go door to door to get my neighbors' papers. Third, I don't have the 30 hours per week that these people claim they spend on couponing. And last, I think the next show these people will be on is Hoarders! Come on, who needs 92 bottles of hot sauce???? One bottle will last the average family a year!
That being said I do have some tricks to saving money on my groceries.
1. AD MATCH!!!! This is my favorite. I grocery shop at Wal-Mart and their every day prices are quite a bit lower than most grocery stores but I still like to capitalize on the loss leaders (these are the really good deals that stores run on the first page of their ad, sometimes they are losing money on the deal but they do it to get people in the store) that other stores advertise. Wal-Mart will match these prices!!! Today I went to Wal-Mart and bought 3 bags of Lay's chips. Their price was $2.50 but Price Chopper was running them for $1.77. No problem, they matched it. I bought 2 containers of Breyer's -- Wal-Mart price $3.48, Price Chopper ad $2.47. So there I saved almost $5 and I didn't have to do anything except show the cashier the ad. The catch is they can't match things they don't sell so if HyVee has their store brand on sale you'll have to go there.
2. STOCK UP -- I'm not talking Hoarders stocking up but if you see one of your staples go on sale, buy a few months worth. I have a semi photographic memory so I know off the top of my head the price of my staple items. If you don't, make a note next time you are shopping and watch the ads. For us, we use a lot of shredded cheese. The regular price at Wal-Mart is $2.25 for an 8 oz bag. Price Chopper and HyVee will run these on sale for $1 or $1.25 per bag every 6 weeks or so. When they do, I buy about 10 bags, which is about a 2 month supply for us. Iron Kids bread is $2.78, when they run it on sale for $1.69 I buy 3 or 4 loaves and freeze them. So get to know the price of your staple items and don't be afraid to do a little stock piling when they are a deal.
3. FARMER'S MARKET -- In the summer you can get in season fruits and veggies super cheap at the Farmer's Market. Plus it is fun. In Kansas City you can make the trek down to the River Market which is huge and great but Overland Park also has a great, smaller market.
4. COUPONS -- I do clip some coupons. If I happen to be at my mom's on Sunday I'll grab her paper and clip the coupons. I don't have a big organizing system, I just put them in an envelope. I don't worry about matching them to an advertised sale. I look for brands and things I already buy and when I have a coupon, I use it. Not much work, saves me a few bucks.
5. GROUPON -- so this is more for eating out rather than buying groceries but I love www.groupon.com. If you are not familiar check it out. You sign up for your town and/or neighborhood and they send you a deal each day. Most recently I got 810 Zone $20 certificate for $10. It is a great way to save money when you eat out.
6. BUY A COW -- another thing to consider is purchasing a cow, half a cow or even a quarter a cow. We purchase a quarter cow for about $2.70 per pound hanging weight. That ends up being about $500. It provides us with enough meat to last about 6 months. It is so much cheaper than grocery store meat and yummier too in my opinion. We can fit all the meat into 1/2 of our inside freezer and 1/2 of our outside freezer (both standard fridge freezers, we don't have a deep freeze.)
So those are the ways I save money on groceries. I manage to feed my family of 4 for about $600 a month including all dining out, which I think it pretty reasonable.