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.

Now on to the Charity Challenge.  It's the end of the month.  If you participated in this challenge, be sure to tally up your grocery receipts and give, if you are able, 10% to a charity.  My money will go to the local food pantry.  Yesterday I was with a group of ladies from our church and two of them had volunteered at the food pantry this week.  They need more help, so I will be volunteering at the food pantry as needed.  It may be quite an eye opener.

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. 

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I am so jealous of the prices you can get your Groceries for. Over here in Australia we have very very limited coupons and they are never for much needed items, such as Groceries. At the moment I only take advantage of getting 4 cents per litre off of my petrol, if I spend over $30.00 in Woolworths. And as I find them to be an expensive Supermarket which I use only for there loss items, I don,t take advantage very often.