This is a skip week for us grocery shopping. We have everything we need, except for a few paper products, so we skipped going to Publix today.
As I've mentioned before, I am a food stockpiler. Or hoarder, depending on how nice you want to be about it. Ever since we first got married, I've been tracking sales and clipping coupons. I have a frugal nature and I enjoy getting bargains.
The two sites I rely on for tracking deals are The Grocery Game and Coupon Mom. The Grocery Game is a subscription site. You pay ten dollars for eight weeks of one store. You can also subscribe to additional stores in your area and comparison shop. Each week, they publish a suggested shopping list based on forecast trends. You see, most grocery prices are on a three month cycle. If you only buy that item when it's cheapest, and buy a three month supply, you stand to save money. The Grocery Game is very user friendly. It breaks deals down into color coded categories. Green is free. Blue is for stockpiling. Black is on sale, but not the best deal.
More recently, I signed up for Coupon Mom. Coupon Mom is actually a locally run business. She lives in Alpharetta, I believe. So yay, Northside! Coupon Mom is a free service. She makes her money off banner ads on the site. They also allow you to compare different stores to see who has the best deals. They will list EVERY sale, no matter how minor. So it can be a little unwieldy to wade through.
My habit is to get up on Sundays and check these sites. I'll write down the sales I want on the back of an old envelope. Then I'll check my menu plan and see if I need additional ingredients. Then I'll check to see what I'm out of that I can't live without (toilet paper). I'll put the matching coupons in the envelope, then put it in my purse, so I'm ready to go.
The switch up lately has been fruits and veggies. We've been hitting the farmers markets on Saturdays now and getting fresh fruit and veggies there. In fact, I have even neglected to stockpile canned and frozen veggies like I normally do, because we simply haven't been eating them all summer. Since we've only got about six more weeks of farmers markets though, I need to start doing that again. But the only fresh produce we've bought at Publix in months is bananas. We're just getting a better quality, and better prices at the farmers markets. It's not worth it to buy them at the grocery store until they close for the year.
The draw back to using so many coupons, is that you end up buying tons of processed foods. The testimonials on these sites are always things like "I bought $700 worth of groceries for twelve cents this week!" I have never, ever had a receipt that good. Don't get me wrong, I have saved tons of money, but I think in order to get those very high savings, you have to be buying tons and tons of processed junk. And I'm working on cutting that out as much as I can. So I save less now, but I'm eating better. And i make up for it by making things like bread and soup stock from scratch when I can. A bag of flour costs about the same as a good loaf of bread, after all.
Anyways, the big, big payoff to stockpiling groceries being able to say "You know, we don't need to go this week" and just not spend that money. that's when I really feel like this pays off. We bought our produce yesterday at the Riverside Farmers Market around the corner. I had to go to Target today anyways, to take advantage of their big sale on school supplies (I bought 93 yellow pocket folders with brads for less than seven dollars! Whee! Um, I hope no one else needed them...) , so we bought our toilet paper and dish soap there and got pretty good prices on it. It just feels really good to not need to go grocery shopping.
If you decide to sign up for the Grocery Game, please put me down as the referal. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!