Money talk Mondays: How to save money at the grocery store

Q: Do you have any suggestions for saving money at the grocery store?

A: Sure! Locally, we have (at least) 2 ‘day old’ bread stores? Mrs. Bairds is at 34th and Western, and Sara Lee’s is out River Road way. You can still get a good loaf of bread for about $1.29; store brand bread is around .89, Thomas’s English Muffins for $1.89, hot dog and hamburger buns .89. It’s a good deal if you’re in the area! They carry some chips, cookies and spices also. Bread freezes, so you can make one trip and freeze some!

Last semester my students turned me on to Panhandle Salvage – Food For Less grocery store at Western and Hillside. Most of their grocery prices are comparable to Walmart, but their specials are fabulous, along with the prices for milk and produce. This is a hit or miss store, so you never know what they are going to have. Today I paid $1.25 for a quart of milk, .29 lb for bananas, cucumbers .10 each, and .99 for those huge bottles of Surefine ketchup for the AC pantry. Usually, and today they were out, Romaine lettuce .49, and green peppers are 3/$1.00 or 6/$1.00. Red and yellow peppers I’ve never seen more than .79 each, and I have seen 6/$1.00. I’ve also paid .10 lb for baking potatoes and .29 lb for sweet potatoes. They also carry some organic milk products and I’ve saved $1.00 a quart on soy milk. If they have the produce and milk in, it’s a steal! They had their bread on sale, shurfine wheat 2/ $1.00 today.

Word is they get their produce on Tuesday and Thursday’s, but they were pretty empty this morning. They open at 9am.

Check the dollar store for your spices. I’ve paid .50 for what Walmart carries for $2.29. And as previously mentioned in an article, the dollar store is the place to buy your birthday or holiday cards!

Check for coupons in the Sunday paper or online. But be careful – only use the coupons for items that you normally would buy anyway. Many generic products are still cheaper than the brand name with a coupon so shop smart.

Watch the prices on larger items. We think that buying bigger, like one large can of beans vs. 2 small ones, is going to be cheaper, but not always. So check your prices and ounces on the 2 small cans vs. the larger cans cost and ounces. I’ve found this to be true on beans, toilet paper, and boxed potatoes recently. So check before you buy!

Walmart will match prices, so take the other ad with you and save the gas! (I’ve heard United does also, but I’ve never tried it.)

Last tip: Make a weekly menu for dinner. Then make a list of what you need and do your shopping. This helps you only buy what you really need, no guessing. This is a time saver too – it takes the ‘staring into the refridge, what’s for dinner?’ out of the equation.

Happy Savings!!

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