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It seems one of the more popular ways of saving money at the grocery store is clipping coupons. Now I think that's great if it works for you, but I've tried the coupon clipping and it wasn't all that effective for me - primarily because most of the coupons I see are for products I don't use or wouldn't go out of my way to buy, and the clipping/tracking coupons takes a little more time and attention that my ADHD brain can handle. Is anyone else coupon-challenged like I am? How do you slash your grocery bill without using coupons?

One way I try to do this is by shopping the loss leaders at multiple grocery stores. Of course, these items are offered at such low prices to lure us into the store where the grocers anticipate we'll inevitably spend more. But if you can limit your spending to the sale items only, there are some great deals to be had! Do you do this too? Are you able to resist the temptation to spend more while you're there? What other ways do you find to spend less on groceries?
 

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Don't have that many stores to choose from, but when I make the time, I do shop only the loss leaders - it really works!!

Menu planning is another sure way to save money - am not doing too well in this area!!

Lately DH and I have been doing much better in using leftovers - a real money saver!!

During the past year DH really caught on to not buying lunches out all the time - am so proud of him!! He does occassionally, but no way near as much as before.

Also taking drinks with us when travelling by car really helps.

One more thing - buying fruits and veggies in season and then freezing, dehydrating or canning them!!
 

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I do a few coupons......if they are for things that I buy 'normally' but it doesn't work too well for me either. And the dates on them have gotten so short that I sometimes can't use them before they expire. Unless I am about out of something, that I normally buy, I won't just buy it because I have a coupon.

None of my stores double coupons either. (I did like that in Calif.)

I make a 'route' for driving the shortest distance according to what store has things I need on sale.......or a great buy for something that will store well in the stockpile. Make --usually--one trip a week and multiple stops. I get my ads on Tuesday and go through them that night. Circle the stuff right on the ad page of what I want.......then go later.

I ALWAYS take the ad.....this has saved me MULTIPLE TIMES when I didn't find the right ounces on sale for what was in the ad.......showed them the ad and ask them what they were willing to substitute.

I also try to stock up 'in season' for things.......I bought lots of baking stuff around Xmas and that will carry me through the summer until next fall. My area seems to have the best sales on these during holiday season.....not during the summer.

I will start watching for canning supplies now. I noticed two stores had some lids on sale last week so hopefully the jars will follow.
 

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shop the meat clearance and meal plan around it. Buying multiples and freezing if possible.

Return your bottles. Put the cash right back into your bill.
Look discontinued items in the back. Some are there because manuf. changed packaging.

Change your thinking. Pop and beef can become a treat. Limit buying anything convieneced packaged and divide it yourself at home. Cute sizes cost cute $$$.
 

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I'm with you on the coupons -- I just never see them and I don't think the stores here would take the internet/printable ones. Plus, I rarely buy items for which there are coupons. I buy so much generic, etc.

I think you've gotten some great advice. The only thing I'd say is if you happen to currently buy things like, say, Hamburger Helper, rice mixes or cake mixes, you could save by making up your own. In other words, think in terms of buying ingredients instead. This is usually less expensive.
 

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Cut down on meat consumption.

Buy things that last longer -- we eat far less potatoes now in favor of brown rice and whole wheat pasta. This keeps our potatoes from going bad.

Discover the joy of frozen produce. We buy frozen berries, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, green beans and corn. Nutritionally it's about on par with fresh, it never goes bad before we use it all, and it tastes almost as good. This is really good for those of us whose spouses don't like veggies *glares at hubby*.

Make it yourself. Instead of pizza pockets, I make calzones. Instead of bread, I bake it myself. Instead of pizza, we do it ourselves. We never buy packaged popcorn, pudding, cereals, granola, rice mixes, etc. We do buy canned soups. That's my next project.

Portion out your fresh produce once you get it home. I chop up my celery, peppers and portion out my baby carrots right away, so I will be more inclined to eat them -- which reminds me, I have a cucumber to slice up too.
 

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I can't seem to make coupons work for me, either. I do like to do my major stocking up at Aldis, always amazed at how much I can get for my money there! I also try to use store brands when able if at the other grocery stores in the area.
 

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I think the biggest thing is to either grow it yourself and then preserve it for out of season use or at least buy straight from the farmers.

You can get a bushel of tomatoes direct for usually less than $10 and then can then for use year round for pennies a jar. In my area corn was always 12 to 13 ears for a buck. Spend a saturday and have a good homemade side for a year, freeze it and have enough for a few years.

I like above, shop for meat when it is on sale or clearance. I also try to make sure I don't overstock. Spending full price is bad, but spending sale price and then throwing it away is worse.
 

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~Shop alone!
~Shop with a list you made from printed or online fliers.
~Stock up on basic loss-leaders like fruits and veggies, butter, cheese, pasta and pantry items. Learn how to prep and freeze or dehydrate the surplus(it's easy!).
~Shop at multiple stores and get the best deals at each.
~Make a menu after you shop, not before! You'll be making meals from what you acquired cheaply instead of trying to acquire cheaply what you "want" to make. The adjustment will save you lots of money!
~Stop buying snacks and flavored beverages cold turkey. Learn to love water and make your own snack foods at home.
~Stop being so picky. Do you really need pineapple, apples, avocados, celery, tomatoes, leeks, fresh broccoli, and portobello mushrooms this week? Can you get the same number of servings of fruits and veggies for less by having less variety?
~Have a price in mind for items before you shop. Even I impulse buy sometimes but I know my "good deal" price for almost everything I'd ever buy. For example, white mushrooms may be an un-advertised special and since I know not to pay more than $2lb for them I can impulse buy without guilt. I have similar limits on meat, ice cream, cheese, cereals, fruits and veggies, etc.
 

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Comparison shop.

Be willing to buy generic/ store brand

Shop what's in season.

Know when something isn't a good deal. For example, a local store has ground beef for $2.99/lb. They sometimes sell hamburger patties for $1 each. This sounds good until you realize that makes the ground beef $3.99/ lb. At this point, baby back ribs, often considered a luxury item, become a bargain at 2.69/lb.

Only buy what you need, having a list helps.

Only cook what you need, especially if you don't like leftovers.
 

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We eat very little processed foods so not many coupons to use food wise. I buy the loss leaders weekly. Sams cheaper for milk, eggs , raw spinach, cat litter etc and on my home from work so I stock up there.

We eat a good bit of meat so we stock up the freezers when there is a sale. We have also split a beef with family.

Dh grows lots of veggies and we freeze them for later.

We cook from scratch.

We use up our leftovers

Considering we don't use grains, pasta etc much I think we do pretty good on our grocery budget
 

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~
~Make a menu after you shop, not before! You'll be making meals from what you acquired cheaply instead of trying to acquire cheaply what you "want" to make. The adjustment will save you lots of money!.
Interesting thought. I tell ppl to plan their menu based on what's on sale....

Not sure I agree with you, but it's food for thought.

My number one tip is to stock up when the item is on sale. You should never have to pay full price for canned tomatoes, for example, if you bought more than you needed the week they were on sale, to get you though to the next time they are on sale.
 

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Interesting thought. I tell ppl to plan their menu based on what's on sale....

Not sure I agree with you, but it's food for thought.
~It's the same thing really. I don't plan meals around the sales because I have stuff at home I stocked up on in previous week's sales. I plan around what I have in my pantry and freezer. I may buy 3 lbs of chicken and 2 heads of cabbage this week with no plans to use them right away. They may get worked into my menu 3 weeks from now when I acquire carrots and egg roll wrappers cheaply. Then I put egg rolls on the menu.
The problem with planning meals for the coming week based on the week's sales is that you are dependant on whatever is on sale week to week. You'll have a great week one week and then an expensive one the next.
By always buying ingredients you know your family likes at very low prices even without a set time for use, you avoid being dependant on the whims of the supermarkets.
So I shop for my pantry in general, not with meals in mind.~
 

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Yeah, it seems a lot of the coupons are for processed stuff. I only use and few and that is mostly the in store coupons.

I shop at Aldi for the majority and fill in the rest.
 

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I signed up online to view the weekly sale sheet for Kroger and I use my Plus card to get store and gas discounts AND now they mail me coupons from time to time.

The coupons are based on items I have previously purchased and/or for store brand items. So I can actually use most of the coupons they send me!

Last year I discovered salvage stores. Most are on the other side of town, but one is close to MIL's house. So I stop by when I am already in the area. When I find a good deal, I stock up!

I have a great stockpile now and when money gets tight, I can just STOP going to grocery store and prepare meals from the pantry, fridge, and freezer stockpile.
 

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~Shop alone!
~Shop with a list you made from printed or online fliers.
~Stock up on basic loss-leaders like fruits and veggies, butter, cheese, pasta and pantry items. Learn how to prep and freeze or dehydrate the surplus(it's easy!).
~Shop at multiple stores and get the best deals at each.
~Make a menu after you shop, not before! You'll be making meals from what you acquired cheaply instead of trying to acquire cheaply what you "want" to make. The adjustment will save you lots of money!
~Stop buying snacks and flavored beverages cold turkey. Learn to love water and make your own snack foods at home.
~Stop being so picky. Do you really need pineapple, apples, avocados, celery, tomatoes, leeks, fresh broccoli, and portobello mushrooms this week? Can you get the same number of servings of fruits and veggies for less by having less variety?
~Have a price in mind for items before you shop. Even I impulse buy sometimes but I know my "good deal" price for almost everything I'd ever buy. For example, white mushrooms may be an un-advertised special and since I know not to pay more than $2lb for them I can impulse buy without guilt. I have similar limits on meat, ice cream, cheese, cereals, fruits and veggies, etc.
I love you list so much I thought I would quote you just so it appeared again. I agree with do menus with what is on hand not on sale. The way I do it is I make a menu based on what is in my freezer and pantry first. If I have one or two meals left blank THEN I go see what is on sale. It works great for me. This week I was able to only add eggs and lettuce to my shopping list. WHAT A GREAT WEEK! I also plan on making my DH pick those items up for me so I am not tempted to buy more.
 

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I didn't get to read all the posts, so I hope these aren't repeats.
Anyway, I'm a BIG coupon user, but of course you won't find much, if any coupons for fresh meat. What I've learned to do is wait for sales on different types of beef roasts...chuck, round, rump, etc. Most times it's $2.29-$2.99lb. I then ask the meat-cutter to custom cut for me. I get it ground, stir fry cut, stew or kabob chunks, thin sliced for cheese steaks and bracciole, or thicker steak cuts. Any of these cuts usually cost a small fortune. Like beef stir fry....usually $4.99lb. So needless to say, this can be really cost effective. I ususlly shop Publix, but I've done this in other supermkts too. And since I'll usually get 15 - 20lbs, I call the meat dept. ahead of time, and it's ready for pick up when I get there. Saves a little time too :)

Also, stop buying coldcuts from the deli. Insteal of spending $7 for a lb. of turkey breast, buy whole turkey breasts when they're on sale for $.99 - $1.29lb. and keep a few in the freezer. Slice them up for sandwiches, then bundle small pkges of it, and freeze again. The same goes for roast beef chicken breasts, and ham. Sandwiches are BIG around here with my brown baggers, so I save a fortune!

Another family fave around here is sausage patties on biscuits. I haven't mastered HM biscuits, so I buy Pillsbury on sale. But I make my own sausage patties from the tube roll of sausage meat. I also have a recipe to make from ground pork, but never tried it. Nonetheless, another money saver.

Also, try making HM Hot Pockets, pizza rolls, egg rolls, and so on. There's tons of ways to save money by DIY copycat recipes of most of the kid's frozen faves.

HTHs!

Theresa :)
 

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I'm another one who plans menus from home food storage, not necessarily from what I purchased that week. Food purchases are based on lowest possible price - PERIOD. Menus are based on food that needs to be rotated out of storage, as well as balanced diet based on the old Basic-Four. Watching serving sizes is also a way to save. Over-eating anything is wasted money.

Save by going to the source and choosing the least processed when possible...

-Purchase wheat, instead of buying flour. Wheat has a storage life of 35-years or more, while flour keeps 6-12-months. The currant price from the mill outside of town is $20/50#, but I expect it to go down since there is a glut of wheat on the international market, which will drive prices down. Because I have hundreds of pounds in storage, I can wait for the price to go down. I make cereal, cracked wheat, bulgur, flour, cooked wheat berries, wheat flakes, farina, gluten ("fake meat"), wheat grass, sprouts, etc., all from wheat, and at a fraction of the price.

-I pick free apples each fall and dehydrate them. Nearly anything you make with fresh apples, you can make with dehydrated apples, at a fraction of the cost.

-When I no longer have fresh lettuce to use, or when lettuce is high-priced, I substitute bean/seed/grain sprouts, which are cheap and easy to make at home. They also have more nutrition than lettuce.

-I've eliminated a number of canned tomato goods from storage by using tomato powder (Tomato Powder) - a great savings of money as well as space in storage. Add to that, frozen and dehydrated tomatoes from the garden, and I no longer need to purchase tomato sauce, tomato paste, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc. I can even make ketchup and bbq sauce from tomato powder. Tomato powder has an indefinite shelf-life.

-Use powdered whole eggs when the price is lower than fresh shell eggs. This year I've discovered I can often use 1/2 an egg in many recipes (1 T. powdered whole eggs plus 1 T. water) and get the same results as using a whole egg, for additional savings.
Powdered whole eggs: Honeyville Powdered Dried Whole Eggs in the CAN

-We use a whey-based milk substitute (Morning Moo's) instead of store-bought milk. When I purchase 50# ($89.00), I usually split it with a friend for the cost of $1.30 a gallon of reconstituted "milk".

-The best way to slash your food budget without coupons is a SET a food budget to begin with, and stick to it. Our food budget is $150/month for two adults.
 

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I will only use coupons on new-to-me products if they make the product dirt cheap or free. Even if it's something I wouldn't normally even think of buying, like a new type of washing detergent, or a bar of chocolate with ginger/kiwi filling. I will still get it, and either give it away or keep it as a special treat for a birthday or day out.

For the rest of the shopping, I prefer to shop from my pantry, because that way I have more options. I hate it when I have to shop for a specific menu or recipe, because the shop may not have all items cheaply, or may be sold out, and then I have to rethink my menu IN THE STORE, which causes stress and unhealthy and expensive meals.
 

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Another thing I realized last night is eating the proper portion size. We had pork chops last night. I really would have preferred another pork chop after the first one instead of more veggies. I'm thinking over a years time the extra portions would make a big difference in the wallet and the jeans!
 
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