August 27, 2010
Grocery Shopping and the Charity Challenge
About once a month I hit upon a really great deal at the grocery store. It's the kind of deal when you want to call people and tell them all about it.
This week at Hy-Vee grocery stores, they have a great cereal sale going on. Hy-Vee has a store coupon in their ad this week for $10.00 off when you buy 6 boxes of General Mills cereal. In addition, at the check out you will also receive a coupon for $6.00 off your next grocery visit to Hy-Vee. I looked through my coupons and found 3 coupons for $1.00 off two boxes of General Mills Cereal.
A competitor grocery store, Fareway, had General Mills cereal on sale for $2.50 a box. Hy-Vee matches their sales. So the gross price was $15.00 for 6 boxes of cereal less $3.00 manufacturer's coupons, bringing the price down to $12.00. I used the store coupon for $10.00 and the net purchase price of those 6 boxes of cereal was $2.00. At the check out, I received the $6.00 catalina coupon for my next grocery visit to Hy-Vee.
Also at Hy-Vee this week spaghetti sauce was on sale for 68 cents a can. It is a store brand, actually more like a generic, and I have purchased it several times as it tastes like the national brand. It is really good. Just goes to show that some times you have try out a generic just to see. A year ago they had the same sale. I wasn't sure if we would like it so I bought 1 can (26.5 oz) and tried it. We loved it and I went back and purchased 20 cans. This was a stock up sale for me today, so I purchased 10 cans and may go back for more next week. I checked the expiration dates and the date on each can was November 2012.
So the lesson here is try some of the store brands and generics. I was pleasantly surprised with the spaghetti sauce.
I have worked hard over the past months to take advantage of sales to fill my freezer with a wide selection of meats. Fortunately the past two months the grocery stores have had phenomenal sales on meat in our area and I have quite the assortment of meat. I never went over budget on groceries and many weeks I was way under budget. This is due to the fact that I already had a lot of meat in the freezer and I have a stocked pantry. I have been replenishing both as I purchase sales items. When you have built up a stocked pantry and freezer it is easy to maintain it and then spend less on groceries in a week. For example, if I have 10 - 5 lb. bags of flour in the pantry and there is a sale, I will probably purchase 2 or 3 bags of flour. When I was starting out and there was a great sale on flour, I would have purchased 7 or 8 bags of flour. Now it is easy to maintain the supply by purchasing less and rotating.
For the month of September I had thought about only eating out of the pantry and freezer and just purchasing perishables. Instead, I plan on purchasing perishables and then setting aside about $20.00 per week for any possible sales in order to add to whatever I am using up. The goal I have in mind is to spend about $25.00 a week on perishables (this is a generous amount) and then I will also have $20.00 per week towards sales items and maintaining the pantry/freezer. If the sales aren't good, I will throw the $20.00 in a jar and it will be there when there is a good sale.
I am not comfortable in totally depleting my freezer and pantry unless there is a financial emergency. I always have that option though. Instead, I am comfortable with maintaining the contents of the freezer and pantry, on less money, carefully using up all food prior to the expiration dates.
In the end I will be spending less money on groceries, I will be providing a variety of foods to my family, and if there is a financial emergency I have the option of using up food from the pantry and freezer.