Shop at more than one store. No one store has the best prices on everything. Every store has at least one or two, and many have more things that their buyers have a good relationship with suppliers and get a lower price and pass it on. Typically, you can get a cheaper price on canned goods at Winco and often the meat and cheese are less too. An average store ad will have 5-8 things that are a really good buy, the rest is a suggestion of what to buy and probably are not a good buy. Some are just junk food to tempt you into buying. Plan your trip. F your stores aren’t grouped together in a short distance from home, plan to group other errands and piggyback. Winco is next to what my mother used to call pill hill. ( the doctors and the hospital) . Kenmore has a dollar tree and a grocery outlet side by side. ALBERTSONS and Costco are on the way,
The price of a Costco membership is laid for by the gas price savings and then some.
Know the retailers dirty little secrets and acid the pitfalls. Avoid the junk food and drink bombardment . Truly, that garbage is not good for your pocketbook or your waistline. ( health)
70 percent of the average cart is impulse buys. Stick to your basic food purchases
Go to the store with a PLAN, not a list. Your short list should be the things that are the lowest price that are on your stock list. Dairy goes on sale at least once a month and most of it has a month out pull date, Buying a months worth saves time and money. Sour cream is cheapest at Costco if you use that much in a month, If you don’t and it goes bad before you can use it, then it is best to buy a smaller quantity.
Keep a stock of basic ingredients. Eggs, sour cream. Cottage cheese, parm, yellow cheese, potatoes, celery, carrots. Etc. pick the things you use on a regular basis to make meals or bake. Buy in a months supply of it makes sense ( shelf or refrigerator stable that won’t go bad before they get eaten. Buying a bulk amount means you aren’t buying the same thing week after week, the shopping is simpler and you are laying kess for your food because you are taking advantage of a lower price for bulk or buying it when it on a true sale. Baby carrots are at least a dollar a pound, For 2.48 you can buy five pounds. Carrot sticks and celery sticks for snacking, Glazed carrots for a vegetable side, carrots and celery on chicken soup. Chicken pot pie, stir fry. If you aren’t using enough. Process them and freeze them. The object is buy once, eat many times. It makes life easier and you always have food on the house, Food insecurity actually lowers your life span
That being said, shop. Then meal plan. I know, not what we were always told. If you meal plan first, you are locked in to a “plan”. If you have Broccoli on your list and it is 2.00 a pound, you are going to likely pay two dollars a pound, If you are open and buy whatever fruits and vegetables that look good and are a reasonable price, you will eat better for less. Take advantage of what you find. My daughter went to the fresh food stand and found a entire box of bananas for 3.00. I really though they were going to be on the edge. They were not. I made three dozen banana muffins, She and her daughter. Still have a lot of bananas to eat or freeze for banana bread later. Flexibility pays. Market based shopping takes advantage of the best in season food at the lowest cost. More food, less money
When something you use on a regular basis is on a really good sale, buy as much as you can use logically before the expiration date, as much as you are allowed to buy, or as much as you can afford, whichever comes first. A few weeks back, Winco had a coupon for name brand chili for just at .50. You could buy 4. Now, we aren’t going to eat four cans of chili this week, but I know we can eat it before it goes bad and it is a good lunch, or addition to nachos etc.
twice a year, baking supplies go on really good sales. Usually around Easter and Thanksgiving. Stock in bulk, with enough to last you intil it goes on sale again. Always bear in mind shelf dates. I always buy rice and flour at Costco. It isn’t going to go bad before we use it and I don’t have to worry s about running out any time soon. When the counter canister empties the bulk bucket, it is time to buy more. We do the same thing with oatmeal..
Keep a backup of condiments in a pantry, Things like mayonnaise, ketchup, bbq sauce etc. these things go on sale about picnic time. When you take the item out of the last try to replace the refrigerator one, look for a sale.