Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Grocery Saver's Challenge

So today is 'grocery shopping day.'  And not a moment too soon either, as the cupboards are bare.  I've clipped coupons before, and even attempted to organize them, and tried to take them to the store. Inevitably, however, the kids would end up getting me so aggravated during our shopping trips that I would forget to use the coupons, and often wound up buying just enough food for a few days, (sometimes just that particular day if they were in really rare form) and leaving frustrated, and foodless.

I wanted a better solution and today I found it! 

I decided to visit the websites of the grocery stores I shop at.  One of the first problems I had with sales and coupons was that one store might have a 'Buy 1 Get One Free" offer on an itme, but at another store, it was still cheaper to buy two of them separately.  I tried using a spreadhseet, but that didn't work out very well.  It was just way too much data entry work.  And it still didn't solve my problem of 'shopping with the kids in tow.'

I had visited a few stores websites in the past, but never really 'utilized' them for maximum efficiency today.  Even though I'm not a 'single' mom anymore, I'm still a Mom, and saving time and money is still necessary.  Especially in this economy and where I still don't have a JOB.

The first thing I did was to register for each one of their websites.  When you register, you get their flyers and specials sent directly to your email!  There' really no way to put these in order of 'most savings,' simply because they all run specials on their prices from week to week.  So instead, I'll just list them, with some information about the 'perks', (and drawbacks) of their sites.

  • Publix-  Publix is known for having the freshest food.  They are probably the most expensive of my local grocery stores, but they do run some good specials and they also carry "Boar's Head Deli Meats" which no other grocery store around does.  The site is very clean and easy to navigate.  You can view by 'Buy 1 Get 1 specials" or by food categories like 'frozen foods,' produce, etc.  It's easy peasy to 'add to list,' which you can then print out.  Only drawback, some of the items like 'Buy 1 Get 1's' don't list the prices.  So after you print, you'll have to go back and write that in on your paper list.
  • Winn Dixie-  I love Winn Dixie and I think that they are hands down THE BEST grocery store around for 'meat.'  Their cuts and prices are far better than any other grocery store around, except possibly Sam's Club- but that depends on the sales of the week, and if it's close enough in price, with Winn Dixie I won't have to break up a huge purchase of meat into separate packages once I get home.
  • Sweet Bay-  I like Sweet Bay a lot too.  I can walk to my Sweet Bay, and I have done that with my oldest one day while Dad and the little guy took a nap.  Sweet Bay often has awesome Buy 1 Get sales too. 
  • Wal Mart- Wal Mart's site is not what I would call 'easy to navigate,'  at least not compared to the other grocery stores.  But when I have a coupon, it's a fast easy way resource for figuring out which store is best to use it at.
  • Aldi- We just got Aldi in this area.  I did shop at Aldi fairly regularly for a short time that I was in another part of Florida, and it's small, which makes it very convenient for getting in and out for quick stuff.  The downside is that they don't have a very big selection of stuff, but, I've found that their produce prices often can't be beat anywhere, so I like to check their prices on fresh fruits and vegetables when I remember, which now thanks to my little 'website shopping system,' should be a piece of cake.  One other downside, you can't make and print a shopping list on their site, but again, there is so little I want from there that I was able to handwrite a list of only 5 wanted items on a post it note.
  • Save-A-Lot-  I have to admit, Save-A-Lot has very, very little that I want or would consider eating.  I would rather forage and hunt for food than eat some of their meats, but for canned and boxed goods, and produce, they are exceptional.
  • Sam's Club-  As difficult to navigate as Wal-Mart's site. I've often found myself at Sam's Club starting at a bulk item like canned tuna or canned chicken, racking my brain trying to recall what store flyer I saw that had a sale on the same item, and if it was cheaper than Sam's bulk price.  (Sam's bulk prices are not always cheaper than a retail outlet having a sale.)  But, we do get some really good stuff from Sam's.  We often get great deals on their breads, and they have a pork loin that's around $1.17 per pound.  We get two huge ones for about $20.00 and it makes 4 meals, though it does require us to come home, slice it up and package it separately.
After I signed up for all the sites, and made all my lists, the next thing I did was to visit all of their Facebook pages.  Some of them offer even more good deals to their Facebook fans, so I visite, liked and commented on all their pages. 

WalMart on Facebook

Sweet Bay on Facebook

Publix on Facebook

Save-A Lot on Facebook

Winn Dixie on Facebook

Neither Sam's Club nor Aldi had links to their Facebook pages on their websites, (they really should do something about that) but I searched them...

Sam's Club you'll have to search by city to get your city's FB page, this one is my Sam's Club

Aldi- same goes, search "Aldi + [your city]"... mine is blech... click here to see

Now, for my absolute favorite thing... the store that lets you place your order and have it packed, bagged and ready for you when you arrive to pick it up!

Wal Mart - Click N Pull

If the other stores offer this, I haven't found that information on their sites  yet, but I will be looking into it.

Now that I have all my lists printed out, I need to compare all the prices, see who's got the best prices, and then cross those items off all the lists but the one with the best price.  If the store has an 'order' capability, I will place the order online and show up to just pick it up so that I only have to drag the kids through the stores that don't offer the 'order and pick up' option.

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