If you do this right, it’s not about running from store to store to store. It’s about organizing your list so that don’t have to run from store to store, but you still get the best buys. That said, a friend of mine who lives in a town with a Super Walmart that promises to beat the lowest published sales prices makes her list, takes the sales flier to Walmart, and then she has them honor their promise to meet or beat the advertised price.
Some people don’t bother with sales fliers because they think it takes too much time, and time is money.
But time isn’t always money- if you wouldn’t be using the time spent on money saving project B to make money in some other venue, for instance, or if you need quick cash NOW and not six weeks from now, then the time is money equation isn’t really valid. Keep in mind that money saved is actually worth more than money you bring in- when you save a hundred dollars, you save an entire hundred buckolas (presuming we are talking about saving dollars you really were going to have to spend, not just buying a two hundred dollar item you didn’t need and hadn’t planned to buy for a hundred dollars just because it’s on sale). When you earn a hundred dollars, you are supposed to report that on your taxes and social security gets taken out, etc, etc, so what is in your hand is actually *more* than a hundred dollars.
And, if you don’t have money, the ‘time is money’ equation is essentially meaningless, unless you have a really good (and legal) way to quickly turn your time into free money.
When the sales fliers come out, I go through them and make a list of all the best deals, in order by store- if I need a coupon for that price, I write a ‘c’ after the time and circle it. Then I make the rest of my grocery list.
Then when it is time to go shopping, I start with the one grocery store in town that is generally the cheapest. I buy my regular items, plus I check the sale items from other stores- and if it is cheaper at my main grocery store I go ahead and get it there, crossing off the item on the list.
I then go to the next store on my list- either the next cheapest one, or the one that has the most items I really feel I need to get and I do the same thing- shop, comparing their prices to the sales prices on my list. I cross off everything I buy, especially the items that were listed for store C, but which I have purchased cheaper at store B.
By the time I have done the first store, I usually find that one of the stores on my list can be eliminated entirely.
This works well for me partly because three of the four stores I have sales fliers for are within a five minute drive of each other- and those three are all on the way to or from the library, where one of my daughters volunteers. One of them shares a parking lot with Walgreens, so I can do my weekly deals there, as well (also comparing prices at the first store) So even I end up going to all of those three stores, my gas expenditures are negligible.
And it usually saves me time, as generally I find I can eliminate the fourth store (which is fifteen minutes away) altogether, and sometimes the third store as well.
Your strategy may be different, and it may need to be based on where and what your stores are, how far you have to drive, and how much time you have.
I buy some things through a co-op because we go through a lot in a month, although since two girls have moved out and two are packing a few of their own meals each week, we now take more than a month to go through fifty pounds of oats.
These are the kinds of things I buy:
Plain rolled oats, thick or regular are available at my co-op for much less than a carton of oats at the grocer’s.
Wheat Berries, red or white
spices and herbs
Flexible Recipes to Use:
White Sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons fat (butter, margarine, fat saved from cooking) over low heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour until a paste is formed. Gradually stir in 2 cups of milk or liquid from cooking meat, adding about 1/3 a cup at a time and stirring until thickened. Add seasonings to taste.
Have this over potatoes, over toast, over pork burgers, in a pot pie, or add cheese, stir until melted and then combine with cooked pasta, or serve the cheesy sauce over potatoes.
Roast Vegetables with or without pork burgers: Cube chunks of carrots, potatoes, and onions. Toss with oil and herbs, put on shallow pan under broiler to roast. Meanwhile, cut up fresh green beans (about two inches long, I think), and if you have zucchini, peppers or eggplant from your garden, dice them, too. Oil and season, and when the root vegetables have been in the broiler for about 7 or 8 minutes (it depends on the heat of your oven and even sizes of your veggies, so you need to check. They should be nearly done, but still just a wee bit ‘stiff’ in the center, resistant to a fork all the way through), flip them, add the beans and softer vegetables and broil 3-5 minutes more.
Cook up a couple of the pork burgers, cut into bite sized pieces and toss with roasted vegetables. Serve immediately.
Planned Leftovers: make enough to have some extra. Dice them smaller still, mix with a white sauce, make a pie crust (yes, from scratch) and put the mixture in the crust, top with another crust, bake until heated through the crust is golden for a pot pie.
Here are some links to some recipes which make good use of whatever leftovers you have:
Noodle Fritters, which can be made with leftover cooked spaghetti or uncooked ramen.
various potato recipes;
cottage cheese pancakes (good for a substitute for the regular bread for sandwiches, too);
and quiche, which is incredibly adaptable and you can use what you have on hand. And the truth is, what you have on hand is the most frugal ingredient you can use.
Visit the other Four Moms and see what they have to say!
Connie at Smockity Frocks, married 25 years, mom to 8. We were blog buddies for a year or two before we realized that we had very dear mutual friends in real life. How cool is that?!
Kim at Life in a Shoe, homeschool grad, mama to a family of 13
Raising Olives, married 15 years, mama to 11, homeschooling graduate herself-
Me, DeputyHeadmistress and former Zookeeper (I gave up keeping a zoo when coyotes and coons killed our chickens) of this blog, The Common Room and our cooking blog, The Common Kitchen; married 30 years, mom to seven plus unofficial foster mom to two little boys, Mama-in-Law to two, and Grandmama to four blessings under 3, with number 5 on the way, and yes we are very proud.=)
We four moms also wrote a book together, and you can buy the Four Moms parenting book, which you can get as a Kindle or as an e-book document:
See my other Kindle books, too:
101 Answers to the Summertime, “Mom, I’m Bored” Blues; help your kids use their free time creatively and productively. Give them ideas that will help them use their time and energy to create, to learn, to grow- to contribute. This is not your average ‘keep the kids out of your hair’ book.
Required Poems for Reading and Memorizing (annotated); Charming collection of older poems that you and the kids just might love.
Ten Low-Carb Snacks and Quick Meals Okay, actually, there’s a little more than ten, and they aren’t merely low-carb, they are also sugar-free, grain-free, gluten free. NOT dairy-free.