I think I've figured out Grocery (m)

Avatar for leticiaf
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
I think I've figured out Grocery (m)
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 1:26am
Shopping LOL! We are on a tight budget, and used to shopping

at the Commissary. Well, our priveledges finally ran out so

now we have to shop at regular grocery stores. The first trip

was about 200 for one week(yikes!). So, I now receive the

Sunday paper and shop according to coupons and sales. It made

a real difference this shopping trip. What are your Frugal tips

for keeping grocery bills down?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 4:03am
Stock up when things are on sale! This requires some budgeting so that you have the money at the right time. I put aside $5 each week in a kitty and when my favorite foods or cleaning products go on sale I combine coupons with my little cash stash and buy extra.

The real trick is keeping the cost per serving down at every meal. I do it by having beans instead of meat several times a week and making my meat portions smaller - 4 to 6 ounces is plenty for an adult. Also, I often use a small amount of meat to flavor a dish - almost like a condiment. Examples are Spanish rice, chili, & tomato meat sauce over pasta.

Thanks for posing a really good question!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 2:35pm
I avoid shopping at the standard grocery stores as much as possible. Even with sales I can do better elsewhere. I am fortunate in that I have a lot of variety as far as where to shop where I live. I do the lion's share of my grocery buying at discount stores (Aldi, Savealot, local place called Marc's), wholesale clubs (BJ's) restaurant supply places (Gordon Food Service) and farmer's markets and butcher shops.

I don't purchase ready made convenience foods, junk foods, candy, or soda, so most coupons are for items I don't buy, I can't remember the last time I clipped a coupon. I make out menu plans before I make my shopping list, and base my list on my meal plans. I only shop twice a month, this helps me avoid impulse buying as well as saves on gasoline and my time, a commodity so precious to me I can't put a price on it. We eat a large and varied menu , and I make a point of incorporating at least one to two meals a week that are meatless. I also keep a fully stocked pantry and freezer so that I don't need to make trips out to pick up items I may have forgotten and also to give myself the ability to vary our meal plans whenever I don't feel like creating a meal I may have planned for.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:16am
My favorite trick is to shop more than one store on a shopping trip. It's easy if you plan your route, I do my shopping after work on the way home and can stop at any of 5 or 6 groceries stores without vering from my normal route.

I shop the discontinued racks, sale items, store coupons and sometimes even damaged items if there is no danger of leakage or contamination of the food. Be careful with the last one and don't buy anything that has an expired date.

Buy multiples of sale items especially if, like soups, they can be used in many different recipes.

And many precooked but normally expensive items like a barbequed chicken or buffet or salad bars in the supermarkets package and discount these items later in the evening. I can stock up my freezer with chinese food all prepackaged and $1.00 less than normal per lb.price. Then when I get the urge to splurge on a chinese dinner, I don't even have to leave the house or wait for delivery. And these entrees can be stretched with extra rice, lo mein noodles or the oriental dried soup packets.

Just be careful not to pay the price for Mashed Potatoes or Macaroni & Cheese, or sauteed mushrooms or string beans, no matter how pressed for time - just buy the meats, like sesame or General Tso chicken, chicken with peppers & onions, lasagna with meat sauce, barbequed chicken. What you'll spend extra on food will enable you to work an hour overtime, worth much more than saving $.50 on a chicken you have to clean and cook. And your boss will love you.

Keep plenty of frozen veggies on hand to stretch any meal, canned beans can be added to salads straight from the can (rinse if salty) or make a three bean salad or pickle beets when lettuce is outrageously priced in the winter. Cole slaw is another easily fixed item, don't pay $2.00 a lb in the market when raw cabbage is $0.17/lb in March.

Buy and store lots of hard shelled squash like acorn. They last a long time in the refrigerator and can even be used to make a pie for dessert or added in place of oil to a carrot cake or muffins, more nutritious and less fattening too. Zucchini is also great in cakes and muffins.

Make your own quickie pea soup with a couple of cans of green peas tossed into the blender. Less salt and preservatives. Add some cooked bacon or ham, a can of carrots, and a dollop of butter for richness, and with a piece of bread and fruit for dessert, dinner is done.

Guess that's about all I can think of at the moment. Inexpensive cooking doesn't have to be from scratch - the cost of your ingredients is the most important consideration, not the form in which you buy it. And save the steak for a special occasion - it's not good for you anyway.


P.S. I think I'll like the new format eventually.

Avatar for ninipanini
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:36pm
Hi new to this board, and wanted to suggest buddying up with someone else who get the Sunday paper coupons. Even if they clip them too, after the two of you clip yours, swap and you can take whatever they don't use and vice versa. You may or may not end up with double the number. My sister and I have done this, especially when one of our local grocery stores has double coupon weekend. Apparently, cheapskate runs in my family. Ha ha.

Isn't it a good feeling when you can knock $10-40$dollars a month off a grocery bill.

Good Luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 10:43pm
Grocery shopping can be quite an expensive thing. One of the things I do is the day before I go food shopping I pick up the circulars for the week to at least two supermarkets to compare prices and figure out what I will be cooking according to what the specials are that week. I usually buy the buy one get one free products. I also buy a lot of boneless skinless chicken breast when it is on sale and freeze it. From one whole breast you can make 4 cutlets. You can also cut it into smaller pieces and make Chicken parmegian(sp?)subs or put it in steamed yellow rice. Another budget conscience meat is smoked Turkey sausage or Turkey Polish Kelbasa. It comes two large sausages per pack for about $2-2.50 and you can get two meals out of it. Tonight I cooked the sausages into yellow rice with a side of pink beans with potatoes in them. Last week I cooked the sausage into a stew with potatoes and carrots and served it over white rice. My dh loved it. We also save money on food by DH taking left overs for lunch the next day. We don't eat meat everyday. We rather spend the money on fresh fruits and veggies. I find that Super Walmart has good prices on food. They even beat my local supermarket sale prices. Also we drink milk or water with dinner. We give the kids juice at snack time only and maybe OJ at breakfast. One more thing I just started doing this last month check your pantry to see what you already have. I used to always forget whether or not I had bought ketchup for example and always assumed I hadn't and I now have like 4 bottles of ketchup in the pantry. I could of used the moeny to buy something I really did need. Like honey I am out of honey!
Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2002
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 6:22am
I have to agree with that statement...nt
Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2002
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 6:26am
I would agree with budding up with someone, BUT when you live in no mans land That is very hard to do... I save my peenies everywhere I can and I think its best.. I do not use coupons much because for me those items are main labels and cost more UNLESS they are really on sale I do not buy ... I do buy Maxwell House and Lipton and maybe some other brands but the majority of my shopping is Cheap stuff... this is only my opinion Hope you don't mind Have a Great Day...wren
Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2002
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 6:33am
All great ideas... Have you ever made your own yellow rice... well you cook you white rice and add some turmeric which will color your rice for you... I will make rice a roni by using some margarine in a fry pan add some cut up spaghetti and brown the spaghetti now add some water and a chicken boullion cube if that is what you like and add the white rice add some parsley flakes and boil the rice then after you get it to boil lower the heat to simmer add the turmeric and simmer until rice is tender... that is what I do to make yellow rice YOU can use whatever flavor or use brown rice too Some wild rice make is pretty too.. The kids just love Rice... This just an idea to try someday...wren Have a great day...
Avatar for inana18
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 7:48am
Hi Leticia,

You've gotten some wonderful tips here. In addition,if you live near a SuperWalmart, they honor store sales from stores in your area. I even " price match" things that are from stores that are about 30-45 minutes away from here. I would suggest clipping all the coupons of things that you might be interested in and file them in a coupon folder. I bought my folder in the local dollar store. You never know when something is on sale in another store,and you can price match at Walmart and use your coupon as well.

I never buy chicken breasts. I find them alot more expensive than buying a whole chicken and cutting it up and filleting it. When whole chickens are on sale, I stock up, and I cut them up and fillet all of the breasts.I freeze everything for future use. It does take some practice to fillet a breast and cut up a chicken properly, but if you ask any of your local butchers, I know they would be more than happy to help you. My dad was a butcher, and I learned how to do it from him.

I buy ground turkey instead of ground beef. It's very tasty and just as versatile as regular beef hamburgers. See if your store carries a 1 lb. frozen tube of either Wampler or Jenny-O ground turkey. In Walmart the Wampler is only about .77 for one tube!!!

I hope I've been of some help to you.

Smiles, Maxine :-)