Sunday, October 18, 2009

Someone Help Us! Grocery Shopping Questions

Okay bloggers, the BerryMorins are asking you for your help. Many of you are blogging about your weekly grocery shopping trips - spending no more than $20, $40, and $50 per week. We want in!

We desperately need to lower our food bill so here's our questions.

Do you shop every week?

Are you only going to one store to accomplish this?

How do you decide which store you'll shop a per week?

Those of you with special diets ~ how do you stay within your tight budgets?

Do you always use coupons? If you do, do you purchase the Sunday newspaper, print from online websites, coupon swap?

Do you purchase paid memberships with Sam's Club, BJ's, etc? If so, how does this work into your budget?

What's a bargain price on ground beef and boneless chicken breasts?

Is it a challenge to include fresh fruit and vegetables in a tight budget?


Daisy said...

Good Morning my blogger friend. Answering your question about I don't normally tell them initially because they deduct the amount off the final bill. I've already done the math before I even get there of what I can order..LOL BTW~Memphis BBQ says they only do dine-in but they have been more than accommodating for us to take out with the minimum only being $35, I pay only $10 out of pock for some ribs, greens, sweet potatoes, corn bread & potato salad. Yummy!!

Daisy said...

This is our routine:
(1)I do shop every weekly but only to replenish staples or pick up specialty items for our menu plan. (2)I try to do the shopping while the kids are in school and I have all the major grocery store at my access within a 4 point corner. (3) I decide by viewing the grocery smarts listing first, make my list and determine then. (4)I assist my sister with her shopping and she has 7 kids and lives with sickle cell anemia. We are wokring on that post..LOL (5)Yes I ALWAYS use coupons. It truly is the best way to save money. And even @ Fresh & Easy I use their store coupons to maximize savings. I've opted to purchase my newspapers from the dollar tree. This way I can change how many I receive on a weekly basis without commitment and there only $1 each. The library is also a great option for FREE coupons(6) I do have those Warehouse memberships and for my family of 4 it's not the best way but for my sister and her is and I'll go into that with more detail in the post, stay tuned. Also smart & Final is sometimes better than the other larger warehouses.(7)A bargain price for me is anything under $.99 lb. I want it to be tasty and not full of fat so it truly depends on the quantity and type I'll be purchasing.
(8) It's not a challenge but I love F&E. For my family size it's perfect to pick up the $.99 produce packs. But when Smith's, Albertsons or Vons has it on special...I grab whatever is in season. I never buy it at Walmart.
I hope this helps as I love to find the best deals...It started out of necessity but has ended up being my goal everyday to save my husbands hard earned money!
Have a blessed Sunday!

Nichole said...

1. We shop every week because we don’t have the storage space for more than a week or two. I have shopped for two weeks worth before but I had a lot of stuff go in the garbage because I over purchased on fruit & produce and we didn’t get it all eaten before it went bad.

2. We have been trying to go to Walmart and HyVee for shoping. Walmart for the frozen & boxed/canned items because it’s usually cheaper and HyVee for produce and meat because Walmart’s meat and produce are not so good. I type up my shopping list and write HyVee’s sale prices along with the item. I hit Walmart first so if it’s cheaper at HyVee I can get there instead.

4. I don’t have a special diet per say but I am on a diet. I stock up when possible on sale items.

5. I try to use coupons as often as I can. I just recently started using them on a regular basis and so far only get them from the Sunday paper and online. I shop on Saturday or Sunday when my HyVee doubles coupons.

6. We used to have a membership to Sam’s but since it’s only my husband and I we didn’t get our money’s worth from the membership so we didn’t renew it this year. By using coupons I can get things cheaper at HyVee anyway.

7. The best price I’ve seen around here is 1.79 per pound on ground beef (usually the fatter kind though). Not certain on the chicken breasts but I think 1.99 per pound is sale price at HyVee.

8. So far it has not been a challenge to include fresh fruit and vegetables. I just buy whatever is on sale. I can usually find a couple kinds of fruit on sale from .89 to 1.29 per pound on sale, .39 for bananas.

This website has been helpful Lots of tips and such for saving money on food and clothing.

Nicole said...

I used to always shop twice a month. Although it takes a lot of time to plan two week's of meals, I have found that it really does save money as opposed to going once a week (I switched to once a week and am back to twice a month.) I waste less food when I go twice a month, because I make sure to plan meals to use all of my produce before it goes bad. And, I can buy a whole chicken and use it for three meals in that two-week period. It also keeps me from impulse shopping four times a month.

I don't use coupons. I find that I buy things I don't need, just to save money. I buy mostly store brand foods which saves me tons.

Occasionally I will shop at our local grocery store if they are having meat sales. Otherwise, I just use chicken, occasional ground beef and cheap cuts of other meats. Honestly, we don't eat a lot of meat.

I make a two-week list, go to Aldi (or any other discount store in your area would work, like Food-4-Less, if you have one of those). I buy everything I can buy there. Then, if necessary, I go to Wal-Mart for the rest. There are a few things I can't get at Aldi, so I have to go there at least once a month.

To be honest, our average grocery bill for a family of 6, even trying really hard, but not doing without our favorites, is $90-$125 a week. I shoot for $75 when I'm really trying, but with our milk consumption it will creep up to the $90 mark.

This last trip to Aldi was out of desperation, so it can be done! But, I honestly don't do that every week. I wish I did, and maybe I'll try harder to do that!

As far as meat prices, I don't like to spend more than $1.58 a pound for anything, but shoot for 99 cents a pound.

We don't have to shop on a special diet, so my only advice on that would be to stick to the basics that you can buy off-brand. We try to eat healthy and low-fat/low-calorie, but that doesn't equal cheap usually. It's a hard balance.

I think I told you previously that I buy all my produce at Aldi. It's good quality and super super cheap compared to other grocery stores.

You might do a search for warehouse grocery stores in your area to see what you can come up with. We have a Warehouse Market and Food-4-Less nearby, but they are in kind of scary parts of Tulsa. Our Aldi where we live is really nice and in a great location.

I hope some of this helps!

Mom24 said...

It's hard, isn't it?

I'm not great at sticking to a or otherwise. That being said, when I am being successful at being frugal, I do coupon. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of coupons out for healthy foods, so I do my best not to buy things just because I have a coupon. I think anything $2 or less is a good price where we live for ground beef and $2.49 or less is a good price for boneless breasts. Fortunately, those things go on sale rather regularly and they are easy to freeze so I do stock up.

I think it's extremely difficult to buy fresh fruit and vegetables on a tight budget. Extremely. Frozen vegetables are a good alternative, though not for everything, obviously. Buying things in season is another good way to save. One more tip I have--I buy oranges and apples by the bag instead of individually. The bagged ones aren't as nice, but they are much, much cheaper.

Good luck. I hope and pray things get better for you soon.

Mrs. U said...

I only shop twice a month when Mr. U gets paid. I may have to go back to the store to get one or two things, but I try my hardest to buy all I need only on those 2 days.

I mainly go to one store to shop. Occasionally I may notice an add at another store with chicken on sale but I stay with 1 store 99% of the time.

I rarely use coupons. I buy store brands which are usually cheaper than the name brand with a coupon!! Shocking!!!

We do belong to Sam's, but I really don't purchase much from there- olive oil, cocoa, baking powder.

A bargain price for chicken (bone in and skin on) is .99 a pound. Boneless, skinless chicken is $1.99 when on sale. Ground beef (we prefer 85/15) is a good deal at $1.99. Not super good deals, huh?

Before I shop, I make a menu up and then make my grocery list from my menu. Next I'll go through my pantry/refrigerator/freezer to make sure I'm not buying something I already have and if so, I cross it off the list.

Have you seen Hillbilly Housewife?? She's got some good inexpensive meny ideas and all the ones we've made have been very tasty!!!

Mrs. U

Mary Ellen ~ Carolina Momma said...

Do you shop every week?


Are you only going to one store to accomplish this?

I shop multiple stores, especially for non-food items like diapers or paper products. If there are no good sales for those items, then I buy at ALDI (discount grocery store).

How do you decide which store you'll shop a per week?

Our food shopping is done at the farmers market, Whole Foods, Earth Fare and/or Trader Joe's. For non-food items, it depends on what we need and what store has it on sale.

Those of you with special diets ~ how do you stay within your tight budgets?

We don't have a special diet in the sense of allergies or gluten-free. But we do focus on organic/organically-grown fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed/finished & pastured meats and eggs. I fit those things into our budget by saving on non-food items (shopping sales, using coupons for non-food items, buying at ALDI)

Do you always use coupons? If you do, do you purchase the Sunday newspaper, print from online websites, coupon swap?

Only use coupons for non-food items - diapers, cat food, toilet paper, paper towels, razors. I get coupons from the Sunday paper. If I need extra, I use a clipping service.

Are you purchase paid memberships with Sam's Club, BJ's, etc? If so, how does this work into your budget?

We are members of Costco. We buy our laundry supplies there. So it's usually just once a month.

What's a bargain price on ground beef and boneless chicken breasts?

We buy our meats from the farmers market. Not really bargin prices LOL!

Is it a challenge to include fresh fruit and vegetables in a tight budget?

I try to save as much as I can on non-food items so I can spend more on fresh fruits and vegetables. I also cook mainly from scratch, avoid buying processed foods and eat several meatless meals a week to help save.

Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free said...

We spend between $250-$300/mo for 5 of us. I shop every 2 weeks, because I have found that I buy less impulse buys this way. I also make a STRICT list, and pay with cash so that I cannot make impulse purchases. This alone (cash with a strict list) saved us roughly $200/mo!! I had no idea I was wasting that much money!

2)Are you only going to one store to accomplish this? Mostly. I rely heavily on Aldi's for our groceries, and I fill in at Wal-Mart..and rarely the local grocery store.

3)How do you decide which store you'll shop a per week? Aldi's by far has the best prices on most things. If the local grocery store is having a good sale, then I will go there--otherwise I rely on Aldi's and WM.

5)Do you always use coupons? If you do, do you purchase the Sunday newspaper, print from online websites, coupon swap? I used to coupon heavily for all of our toiletries and household goods. we live in a very rural area, so our grocery deals are very minimal. When I couponed, I would buy the Sunday paper, as well as print them online (most of the time this is where you will get the higher value ones), and I coupon swapped a handful of times.

6)Are you purchase paid memberships with Sam's Club, BJ's, etc? If so, how does this work into your budget? I don't. I find better deals at Aldis.

7)What's a bargain price on ground beef and boneless chicken breasts? I can find ground beef for .99-$1.30 (most often $1.30), and Boneless chicken for about $1.50.

8)Is it a challenge to include fresh fruit and vegetables in a tight budget? Not so much anymore since I garden a lot. I also buy a lot of clearanced fruit, or catch it at the discount grocery store. Also, buying in bulk from local orchards, or even a buying small quantities from the farmers market is a great way to save. If you are able to catch a great sale--STOCK UP. This goes for anything. Store as much as you have room for, that way you won't have to pay full price. I use my freezer a lot for this very purpose, and I can as much as my pantry will hold.

This was one of the areas we had greatest difficulty with when we began our debt free journey. It is tough, but I firmly beleive that it is THE easiest area to cut in your budget. If nothing else--start paying with cash, and use a very strict list. That was our biggest saver, followed by me making most of our things from scratch. Let me know if I can help in any way, Rona!


Loren said...


you have some great tips here! :)

My suggestion would be for you and your DH to menu plan for 2 weeks and if you make soups ~` freeze half the batch or casseroles do the same thing etc.
We purchase meat from stores when they have the big meat sales and other than that I get a whole chicken and made soups and use that for the broth instead of canned broth or cubes. This to me is cheaper than the breasts in a bag.

I know if you get the store flyer and go by what is on sale and plan your menu that way it helps save as well.

I shop once a week for staples but I don't use coupons. I am like Nicole in that I would purchase something just to save money so I got away from that.

Hope this helps. Let us all know how you decide and how its helped okiedokie :)

Bless you Rona!

Ann@His Grace To Me said...

My answers got a bit long-winded, so I posted them on my blog.

I've gotten some good ideas from your other comments!

Keli said...

I have been trying to comment on your site for a week and it hasn't let me until now!
1.Do you shop every week? yes, although I'm trying to stop. ;) I find I'm buying things we don't need just because it's a "great deal". If I'm not at the store I can't spend any money.

Are you only going to one store to accomplish this? mostly just the local store since it's a 45 minute drive (one way) to anything else

Do you always use coupons? If you do, do you purchase the Sunday newspaper, print from online websites, coupon swap? YES. I do a little of all three. I never was under budget until I started couponing.

Are you purchase paid memberships with Sam's Club, BJ's, etc? If so, how does this work into your budget? The only thing around us is Sam's (and that's an hour and a half.) Not worth it for us.

What's a bargain price on ground beef and boneless chicken breasts?
Ground beef is $1.89 for us. (80/20) Chicken is the same.

Is it a challenge to include fresh fruit and vegetables in a tight budget? yes. I buy them anyway, especailly in the summer. I stock up when the prices hit rock bottom(sometimes using the whole budget that week for fruits and veggies) and can or freeze them. We planted a garden this year which helped ALOT.

Hope this helps!!

Meagan said...

Hi Rona! I'm thinking of doing an entire post on my blog to answer all of these questions. I think it would be helpful for other readers as well! =) I'll let you know when I post it.

CaseyDeuce said...

Hey there, I blogged my answers to your questions here:::

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

I have just been thinking about doing a similar post...funny.

Except not so funny...I don't get anywhere near the meat deals these other people do. I must be doing a stinky job.

I will say that I am probably overly picky about the ground beef and get leaner cuts, so I definitely pay more there and would not be considered a good example. I think when I get the best price on fresh boneless chicken breasts it is $1.99. Often I will buy the large frozen bags of boneless, skinless at Sam's Club.

So yes, we do belong to Sam's Club, and it does pay for our family of six. I will watch what I'm buying though to make sure I get the best prices. Often the larger boxes of yogurt, massive shredded cheese or sliced cheeses, frozen chicken and fruits, etc. are better priced in large quantity for us.

I will sometimes buy the fresh fruit at Sam's and then I will also watch the sales at the grocery store. I really like to try to buy the ones most susceptible to pesticides in organics, but that can bump up the price. Sometimes my store will have sales on those that make them pretty comparable.

I go to the grocery store since I coupon instead of Wal-Mart, that way I get double coupons for my 50 cent and under ones. I use the Sunday paper and online source also. I only use the ones for things I would normally buy though.

I go to the store once a week, and I easily spend and average of $100 for our family of six, especially when you add in the milk we go through.

Here's what I'm doing to try to change things...
I'd like to try Aldi's, but it's not super close for me (I live in a suburb north of Detroit so some things are close in a big city and some things aren't).

I'm going to start a price book to keep track of things that I buy most frequently so I know what the best prices are.

I just purchased a book titled something like 'Family Feast for $75 a Week' that Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer recommended. It also has tips and recipes on creating some of your own dry goods for your pantry (spice mixes as well as baking and cooking mixes).

I'm not only creating the price book for my groceries, but also my household items (personal and household products both). These add up in a family our size.

I know this was a little discombobulated since I didn't answer in order of the questions, but I hope it was a little helpful.


Leah said...

Hi Rona,

I came to your blog to say thank you for leaving a comment on mine and became quite intriqued with your questions and the comments on this post. These are great questions, and like a few others, I think I might have to create a new post to fully answer all of them. Here is what comes right off the top of my head though.

1. Yes, I shop every week, sometimes every day when Im working a really awesome bargain.

2. I shop at several stores, picking up the items that I need, are on sale and I have coupons for. I guess this answers #3 too.

4. We dont have special diets that we need to really work around, but I do search for foods that are high fiber/low salt and sugar.

5. I try my very best to always use coupons, especially when I need something that is not on sale. I get them from the Sunday Paper, off the internet, trading with friends, blinkie machines in stores...where ever I find them :)

6. I do have a Costco membership but very rarely use it, I have found that I can get better prices and deals by purchasing most items at other stores when they are on sale that I can use a coupon with.

7. I also shoot for the 99 cent/lb range, though those deals are harder and harder to find. I have learned that buying whole chicken is much cheaper then buying just the breast, I can often pick up whole chickens for less then .99 cents/lb. Cheap burger in my town is around the $1.50/lb mark.

8. I have not found it to be too difficult to include fresh produce in the food budget. I have a garden in the summer and it provides most of our summer produce, as well as most of our winter green beans and all of our winter squash. I trade my with my neighbors, since many of them have fruit trees and mine are still too young to produce. What ever else we need I can usually find on sale at any of the many stores I shop at.

I understand, from reading your recent blog entries, what you were really looking for when you asked me about stockpiling with a budget. I don't know if the response I gave really helped much, but if you have any more questions please leave another comment or email me and I will do my best to help you find the answers your looking for.


Leah from La Vida Cheapo, Spokane WA

Michele said...

I would start with a $50 budget then work your way down. If you can make from scratch that would be great but as a working mom I know that can be hard. It will take work at first but after the first month it will get easier.

I think that most can be done online. Look at local store sales and print coupons. Match coupons to store sales. Shop with a list and buy only what is on the list. Compare store brand to name brand sales. Also check for "Manager Specials" in the meat department.

Plan meals and leftovers. Plan meals based on sales. If you make a roast plan to use leftovers for lunch the next day.

Use the internet. Search online for ideas. and are two places I can think of right now.

Sonshine said...

found your blog by doing some blog hopping over the weekend! I was intrigued by your grocery shopping questions so I took the time to answer them along with some other thoughts today on my blog. :)

You can read it here!

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