Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cutting Your Grocery Bill - The Series - Episode 3

For today's tip, I have some recent examples! :-) Here is the tip as I gave it to the Post:

Look outside the grocery store for cheap prices on food - your local farmer's market is likely to have "drops" or "canners" that are very inexpensive (and still perfectly edible!!), your neighborhood convenience store might have the cheapest milk, and a bakery thrift store you pass every day offers fresh breads at half or less of the supermarket price.

I definitely utilize stores other than my grocery store on a regular basis. I have to admit, the farmers markets near me are extremely expensive, so I do not frequent them. However, the downtown area (which isn't too far) has a huge City Market on the weekends with vendors that offer great deals. In addition, I found an orchard just outside of town that has very reasonable prices on pick-your-own produce. We plan to get a bushel of peaches (48-50 lbs.) that I will can to last us quite awhile, for $35. And on top of the good price, it will be a fun family activity. The kids are very excited about it! If I lived closer to the farm, I could have gotten an even better deal - they had a bit of hail damage, and I was offered a bushel of already-picked slightly damaged peaches for only $25! I sure wish I could have done that, but it would have been so out of the way that I'd have spent $12 in gas to make the trip. I will be in that area in a couple of weeks so it won't cost me any extra in gas then.

Tonight we went to Big Lots, which is an over-runs kind of store. They do have a food section, and often there are very good deals to be had there. Tonight they offered a 20% discount for their email subscribers. I love those sales! We got snacks for the kids, Special K bars, pretzels, and several other food items for less than I can find them at the grocery store on sale.

There is also another store not too far from me where I get some food items. It's technically a thrift store, but they have an entire section of groceries. Some of them are out-dated, but if you look carefully, you will find current products. I've gotten boxes of name brand cereal in dented boxes for $1, Pop Tarts where only the outer packaging was damaged for $1, potato chips for .33 a bag, bottled minced garlic for $1, pudding mixes for .25, and the kids' favorite, Little Debbie Snacks for .50 and .75 a box. There are many other deals, but those are the first ones that come to mind. It takes some looking most days, since I won't buy out-dated products, but I do get some great deals here!

As far as bakery thrift stores, I definitely love those! At the one closest to my house, I get Sara Lee White Wheat bread for .75 a loaf, and it's almost as fresh as the $2 plus loaves at the grocer! They offer a free item from a specific shelf if you spend $5, and often have great sales. The store I used to visit, which was a Dolly Madison that was close to my old house, always had current coupons in a mail publication and every week had something on sale VERY cheap. I love bakery thrift stores, and if you haven't been to one, you must go!

Look around you when you're out running your errands. You never know what you might find. Check out stores to see what they have - I never would have guessed that the thrift store I mentioned above had groceries, but I'm so glad I checked it out. You might pass someplace every day that will help you on your quest to cut your grocery bill. A few minutes might save you a lot of money.

Do you have unusual places you go to save money? Please share!


Annie Jones said...

I buy my spices at "health food" stores such as Whole Foods and Nature's Pantry. While most of their groceries are more expensive than the typical grocery store, their spices are sold in bulk and are a lot less expensive.

Not far from my parents' house are a couple of Amish-owned grocery stores. They have great prices on bulk foods, spices, canned goods and even some perishables. It is not worth a trip specifically to shop there, but when I know I will be there, I make a point of going. I take a small cooler with me in case I end up buying refrigerated or frozen items.

Janelle said...

Oh yeah! I forgot all about spices! I get mine in bulk at Planters downtown. I pay much less than at the store! They have legumes and stuff, too, but I generally only get barley in that area. They have great prices on spices, though! Planters is a Seed and gardening supply store - you might not think of it for spices, so again, you never know!

Jess said...

I believe you are from the KC area right? My hubby and I just moved here and were just talking about an orchard where we could pick for ourselves. Would you mind revealing where that is? Thanks so much!

Annie Jones said...

Another store, near the city market and Planters, is that large Asian grocery store. I was in there Monday and bought Lipton loose leaf tea (my preferred kind of tea) for $1.99 for an 8 oz. box. Where I live I can only find the loose tea at Wal-Mart and it's almost $4.00 for the same size box!

Again, not worth a specific trip, but definitely worth stopping when I'm in the area.

Anonymous said...

The Beerry Patch is great for picking blackberries and blueberries. Kid's activities and a cute store with fresh baked goods too!