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Old 03-26-2008, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Back in NYS
2,489 posts, read 8,181,910 times
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With the rising cost of groceries, I was wondering if anyone does anything special to save money on their grocery bills, and if so, what do you do? I guess it could also be a question of what do you do to save time for when you don't feel like cooking? <g> For example:

When the ingredients for making a spaghetti sauce go on sale, we buy a ton of it. This weekend we cooked up a batch and froze it in pint jars - we usually have spaghetti or some variant once a week - we made and froze enough to last for 6 months.....cost for the ingredients was about $15, could have been less, but hubby likes a meat sauce and not a marinara sauce

Our store (Shaw's) gives out points at various times of the year for turkeys or hams - we get the biggest one we can for "free" - cook it, make individual portions out of the leftovers and freeze them for future meals. With the turkeys, we make a big patch of soup and freeze them in individual meal size servings. If we buy a whole chicken, same thing - then make soup....great to have on hand if you want something light or need "medicinal food."

A friend has been bubbling about the joys of baking bread (with a machine) rather than buying it. We just ordered a breadmaking machine with a GC, should be here by the weekend, so we'll start making our own bread. We had made it occasionally without a machine, but found that too time consuming. Machine cost us nothing, so figure we'll try that. She buys the ingredients in what I would call bulk, she doesn't think it is <g>, and bakes a bunch of bread and freezes it.

The dollar store in town has dishwasher detergent and "hand-washing" dish detergent for $1 - we can't see any difference in the outcome between what they carry and what the grocery store carries, so we buy it there - it's on the way to the grocery store, so no extra gas is used. We "merge" the two stores, so to speak.

When I make dinner, I usually make enough for two meals, sometimes three and freeze what's left for another "quickie" meal. Example - When I make meatloaf, it's usually enough for 4 or 5 meals - leftovers are packaged separately for individual meals the next time - same with macaroni and cheese, pork roasts, etc., etc.

We have a freezer we bought, oh gosh, 5 or 6 years ago? It's paid for itself many times over.

Anyway, you get the idea - what do you do?
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:08 AM
 
19,922 posts, read 11,052,221 times
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Here are some of the things we're doing ...

[1] We shop once a month so that we can buy in bulk AND save gas.
[2] There is so little difference between name brands and generics that we use mostly generics.
[3] Coupons, coupons, coupons!
[4] Homemade is better. We don't buy boxes of macaroni and cheese. We buy the pasta and the Velvetta and make our own ... and do the same with everything else. No boxed mashed potatoes. We actually mash potatoes. A little more work, but cheaper and probably healthier. Homemade oatmeal cookies beat store bought every day!
[5] The dollar store. Have you ever seen the food aisle in the dollar store? We bought a 32 ounce bottle of barbeque sauce because we were using it as an ingredient in a homemade solution to get rid of a varmint. I accidently used some on meat one day and found that it was one of the best sauces I ever tasted. Now, that's all I use. Try the dollar store. You might be surprised.
[6] Every supermarket has a clearance section with dented cans, and a day old shelf with yesterdays bread. It's all still good and sometimes less than half the price.
[7] Water is healthier than just about any drink you can buy in the stores ... and much cheaper. I've given up just about all soda, reduced my consumption of Crystal Light Iced Tea and have increased my water drinking.
[8] Look for unadvertised specials in the store. There are always a few surprises.
[9] Look at the price per ounce as opposed to the price per box. Sometimes, smaller is cheaper. It's rare, but it happens.

Hope this helps.

Charley
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Back in NYS
2,489 posts, read 8,181,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMTAD View Post
Here are some of the things we're doing ...

[1] We shop once a month so that we can buy in bulk AND save gas.
[2] There is so little difference between name brands and generics that we use mostly generics.
[3] Coupons, coupons, coupons!
[4] Homemade is better. We don't buy boxes of macaroni and cheese. We buy the pasta and the Velvetta and make our own ... and do the same with everything else. No boxed mashed potatoes. We actually mash potatoes. A little more work, but cheaper and probably healthier. Homemade oatmeal cookies beat store bought every day!
[5] The dollar store. Have you ever seen the food aisle in the dollar store? We bought a 32 ounce bottle of barbeque sauce because we were using it as an ingredient in a homemade solution to get rid of a varmint. I accidently used some on meat one day and found that it was one of the best sauces I ever tasted. Now, that's all I use. Try the dollar store. You might be surprised.
[6] Every supermarket has a clearance section with dented cans, and a day old shelf with yesterdays bread. It's all still good and sometimes less than half the price.
[7] Water is healthier than just about any drink you can buy in the stores ... and much cheaper. I've given up just about all soda, reduced my consumption of Crystal Light Iced Tea and have increased my water drinking.
[8] Look for unadvertised specials in the store. There are always a few surprises.
[9] Look at the price per ounce as opposed to the price per box. Sometimes, smaller is cheaper. It's rare, but it happens.

Hope this helps.

Charley
Hi Charley - We do a lot of the same things as well - except for milk, we only do a BIG shopping once, sometimes twice a month, if we're having company.

I buy generics, but if hubby does the shopping, he tends to go for brand names....I'm still working on him for that!

I have to check about the coupons - I tried using some once in Shaw's and they refused them! The clerk didn't know why, just said, "Sorry, we don't do that." I have a feeling she may have been new and maybe didn't know what to do with them, but I have to check with them again about that. I can't imagine why they wouldn't allow them.

We don't buy any of the boxed things....I tried those instant mashed potatoes once, years ago and they were terrible! We rarely eat sweets, but when in the mood for something, we do bake from scratch rather than buy the things. Also, a lot of the boxed and processed stuff has MSG in it - that triggers migraines in both hubby and I - figured it was safer to make our own things!

We've bought quite a few foods at the Dollar Tree - Couldn't tell the difference between what they had and the brand name, either.

We're not big soda drinkers, either. Our vice is coffee, tea, but a lot of water as well. Up here, we've learned that with the dry air, it's easy to get dehydrated, even in the winter, so we drink a lot of water!

We also use a lot of white vinegar for cleaning - works just as well as the "fancy stuff" and it's a lot cheaper.

I love scented candles and found the ones in Dollar Tree are just as scented as the others you find, so I can still have my candles....

Thank you for posting your ideas!
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Monadnock region
3,712 posts, read 11,044,516 times
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Quote:
I was wondering if anyone does anything special to save money on their grocery bills, and if so, what do you do?
um... shop at Market Basket instead of Hannaford's???

seriously, those are great ideas, guys - but I loathe cooking. shopping in bulk can be helpful (assuming you have space to store the stuff), and sometimes just paying attention to which store charges more or less for the same stuff helps. I have found that down here, with the exception of razor blade refills, only food is cheaper at the grocery store; paper products, vitamins & bath products are cheaper at Target (sometimes by a buck or two!). definately comparison shop - at least at places that you normally go to since with gas prices these days it may not pay to drive all over everywhere to save a little bit.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Back in NYS
2,489 posts, read 8,181,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaComeHome View Post
um... shop at Market Basket instead of Hannaford's???

seriously, those are great ideas, guys - but I loathe cooking. shopping in bulk can be helpful (assuming you have space to store the stuff), and sometimes just paying attention to which store charges more or less for the same stuff helps. I have found that down here, with the exception of razor blade refills, only food is cheaper at the grocery store; paper products, vitamins & bath products are cheaper at Target (sometimes by a buck or two!). definately comparison shop - at least at places that you normally go to since with gas prices these days it may not pay to drive all over everywhere to save a little bit.
Hi WannaComeHome - I go in spurts when it comes to cooking - sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't want to be bothered, which is why many times when I'm in a cooking mood, I'll make 4 or 5 things at once (which also helps to save on electric, since the stove is electric and stuff has to be baked <g>).

We only have one grocery store up here - there are places on Main Street where we can also get things, sometimes cheaper, sometimes not. The drug stores up here will sometimes have some good deals on things, too. I'm hoping the Co-op that's coming in will make things more competitive...and it will be closer to the house, too <g>. We don't have a Target here. We do have a Wal-Mart, not a "super Wal-Mart", but I'm not crazy about going to Wal-Mart unless I have to. A Super Wal-Mart just opened in Woodsville. We haven't checked that place out yet.

We have plenty of room in the house. In fact, you just gave me an idea! There's a room off hubby's music room downstairs that currently is basically an "I don't know where to put it, so let's throw it in here" room - We should clear out the clutter down there, put up some shelves and use it for when we find deals on paper products, shampoo, soaps, toothpaste, etc......I can hear hubby now when I suggest this
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:53 AM
 
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I buy lots of organic & specialty stuff, which is costly. To compensate, I buy the generic variety of whatever I can, and make things from scratch, which is usually cheaper than buying less healthy prepackaged alternatives(i get migraines too, and need to watch preservative intake). Also, I always cook more than we eat in one meal, and my husband takes leftovers for lunch the next day. He *never* spends additional money on lunches. This is probably our biggest cost saver. Also, I get creative with leftovers and we also usually have a leftovers-for-dinner night once a week or so in which we clean out the fridge.

I've been shopping at Stop & Shop, and they give out 10$ coupons for every $100 you spend. Their store brand stuff is not bad, either. Grocery shopping is my least favorite activity, so I go there about once a month & always get a coupon.

Where I really mess up is not wanting to drive to Stop & Shop when I should need one or two items between shopping trips, and going to the local Harvest Market$$$.

For this reason I think we need an extra freezer like you have Dare. Then I could stock it full of stuff bought more cheaply, and wouldn't be paying for the convenience of local shopping each time.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:16 AM
 
3,034 posts, read 9,145,422 times
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The dollar store in town has dishwasher detergent and "hand-washing" dish detergent for $1 - we can't see any difference in the outcome between what they carry and what the grocery store carries, so we buy it there - it's on the way to the grocery store, so no extra gas is used. We "merge" the two stores, so to speak.

I won't buy the chinese products from the dollar store. I have heard horror stories about toothpaste that contains lead, etc.

I also shop at Market Basket because they are so much less expensive than Hannafords and the products are the same.

I try to do the coupon thing and shop on Wednesday (double coupon day) but I rarely get coupons for things I normally buy.

I have a large vegetable garden and I can and freeze as much as possible every fall. I am also lucky in that there are local farms with beef, chicken and pork available. I don't need to buy the irradiated and pre-frozen garbage that passes for meat in the supermarket.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:18 AM
 
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"(i get migraines too, and need to watch preservative intake)."

same here Lisa - just try to buy anything without preservatives. It's very difficult. I don't eat anything from a box or a can and I can just forget about frozen dinners, not that they are any good.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:22 AM
 
3,859 posts, read 10,335,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buck naked View Post
The dollar store in town has dishwasher detergent and "hand-washing" dish detergent for $1 - we can't see any difference in the outcome between what they carry and what the grocery store carries, so we buy it there - it's on the way to the grocery store, so no extra gas is used. We "merge" the two stores, so to speak.

I won't buy the chinese products from the dollar store. I have heard horror stories about toothpaste that contains lead, etc.
I also shop at Market Basket because they are so much less expensive than Hannafords and the products are the same.

I try to do the coupon thing and shop on Wednesday (double coupon day) but I rarely get coupons for things I normally buy.

I have a large vegetable garden and I can and freeze as much as possible every fall. I am also lucky in that there are local farms with beef, chicken and pork available. I don't need to buy the irradiated and pre-frozen garbage that passes for meat in the supermarket.

I agree with Buck Naked-please be careful about products that you ingest from the Dollar type stores. Check the labels-please.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Back in NYS
2,489 posts, read 8,181,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buck naked View Post
The dollar store in town has dishwasher detergent and "hand-washing" dish detergent for $1 - we can't see any difference in the outcome between what they carry and what the grocery store carries, so we buy it there - it's on the way to the grocery store, so no extra gas is used. We "merge" the two stores, so to speak.

I won't buy the chinese products from the dollar store. I have heard horror stories about toothpaste that contains lead, etc.
I also shop at Market Basket because they are so much less expensive than Hannafords and the products are the same.

I try to do the coupon thing and shop on Wednesday (double coupon day) but I rarely get coupons for things I normally buy.

I have a large vegetable garden and I can and freeze as much as possible every fall. I am also lucky in that there are local farms with beef, chicken and pork available. I don't need to buy the irradiated and pre-frozen garbage that passes for meat in the supermarket.
Actually the brand we got at the Dollar Tree is made in the USA - Salt Lake City, Utah - unless of course, it's false labeling <g>

I'm hoping to put in a veggie garden this year, although the only thing I seem to be able to grow whenever I've had one is zucchini.....lots and lots of zucchini!

I'll have to see if there are any local farms that sell meats; we haven't seen any, but it may be one of those things where you have to really "dig" to find out.

When the farmer's market starts, we always get produce there, as well, so if the garden doesn't pan out, at least we get fresh local produce <g>.
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