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The second thing you need to do is to sort through your junk mail for your weekly grocery store advertisement, in my case, from Vons. You need to scan the items and pick out the one's that you really need and are on sale. The best sales at a place like Vons can't be touched by the other two stores which generally speaking don't discount things much because their prices are already low.
Once you have a handle on this and you have the easy store coupons that they give you as a layup, you make Vons your first stop. It's important to know the layout of the store so you don't get frustrated chasing a single item down ten isles. Know your turf. You should have your waltz across the store choreographed in your mind before you enter the door. Your mission is to load up on as many of the "loss leader items" as possible. On average you should be saving 50% plus off the normal prices. We are talking the fruit of the week for 75 cents a pound or less, the best Ribeye or T-bone steaks for under $4 a pound and some snacks for the kids at under a $1.
You need to know prices, because when there is a great deal on something that has a long shelf life, you need to stock up, big time. These days, Safeway stores as well as others have gotten very aggressive with their loss leaders, almost to the point where they have zero or even negative margins. Take advantage of the recession because in a few years when their "low prices" aren't so low anymore, you will be kicking yourself. I recently snagged 24 boxes of cereal for $1.50 each without a single coupon. You can consistently shave as much as 70% of the retail price for Soda by loading up the truck when they have super specials.
The second trip is to your specialty store - to shop for certain selected items. In my case, I hit Trader Joe's for milk, eggs, cream cheese, bread, chocolate, and a host of stuff that I can't get other places. Pasta is also incredibly cheap at Trader Joe's, always $0.99 a pound. I like living a little too and they have capers, olives, and lox at cheap prices. The specialty store is a 15 minute shopping experience for me and I actually like going there because it has a certain ambiance and is on the way home from work.