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Cheap Groceries: Save Big Without Coupons - Step 2 Print E-mail
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Cheap Groceries: Save Big Without Coupons
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Grocery Stores

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.

Trader Joe's

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.

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KSK |2010-06-11 04:38:38
For nuts I was surprised to find that WalMart beat TJs. None of these stores cant complete on economies of scale with WM, for good and bad, and some of their produce isn't that bad, either.
gefingerpoken |2010-05-16 21:51:12
I agree with TJ's for milk, eggs, etc. When the dairy is their own brand, it's definitely cheaper than the supermarket. Also a great deal? The nuts. I would not dream of buying almonds and cashews at the supermarket, because at TJ's you get more of them for a lot less money.
thirdculturekid |2009-10-19 21:40:36
Thanks for an excellent article! I only discovered Trader Joe's recently (had heard of it but had never gone in), and you're right, the prices are phenomenal on some things!
cheaparse  - Food for "free" |2009-10-19 21:24:01
Ultimate cheap-arse grocery tip? Feed the kids with samples at Costco...haha.
Omiewon  - The Kids, how do you think I got through grad scho |2009-10-19 21:46:03
Once you have kids, its impossible to go in that zoo, but when we were in grad school sans kids, I remember getting quite a bit of that free food. Trader Joe's has free food but I think it would look a little odd hitting up the same spot 6 or 7 times in a shopping trip. I have made 2 on occasion when what they had was really good.
When I have gone to Whole "Paycheck" Foods, they have quite a selection of free goodies but my wallet screams for mercy if I enter that place.
lakeview  - stores like costco can provide more value too |2009-10-19 13:55:57
Alos, the nice thing about big box stores like Costco, is that the quality has to be tops since you have to buy in bulk. Thanks.
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