I finally went to the grocery store this afternoon. I’ve been putting it off all week. Here recently my get up and go has got up and left, seems like. I know it’s just my life long enemy laziness testing her muscles. And I’m sure not putting up much of a fight. How much easier it is to be ‘down and out’ than to ‘count it all joy’ even with very little reason to be discouraged and so many reasons to be joyful!
Anyway, out of necessity, I forced myself out today (out of milk, out of bread ((make some? I’m too lazy…)), out of fruit, out of vegetables)–but I forgot my coupon box. Bummer. I’ve had several rather deflating trips to the grocery store recently (where I spent more than I meant to on stuff that we don’t really need…saving money at the grocery store is really fun for me, and it completely knocks the wind out of my sails when I don’t feel like I did as well as I could have). Without my coupon box, today wasn’t boding much better.
But by God’s blessing, it actually turned out to be a really good trip. Part of that was all the good sales going on on stuff that we really use (like cheese). That’s not something I can control…I just enjoy it when it happens. But I also made out really well on instore coupons and markdowns.
For instance: Welch’s Grape Juice was on sale for 2.49/64 oz bottle. We love Welch’s White Grape Juice, but I rarely buy it because I can get Ocean Spray Cran-varieties on sale for $2/64 oz fairly frequently–and Welch’s is usually 3.99. I was already planning to pick up 1-2 bottles of grape juice since we like it so much and it was so much closer to my target price than usual. Well, what did I discover but a few bottles with coupons around the neck for $1 off 2 bottles!! I’ve had this happen before with other bottled drinks, too, (including juice, soda, and lemonade) so keep your eyes open! The coupons are rarely on every bottle, and they’re often only on the ones near the back of the shelf (because people have already taken the coupons that are easy to see). All in all, I left the grocery store with 4 bottles of white grape juice and 2 bottles of white grape/peach juice for only $2/each. That’s a 50% savings that works well for us since we drink juice every morning.
Markdowns are another great trick–that are trickier than they sound, because you can find them anywhere in the entire store. Scout around for ‘normal places’, or better yet, ask someone. I always check the bagged salad section (today I found a package of broccoli slaw for less than half price ((1.49 down from 3.49)) and a package of cabbage slaw for really cheap ((.79 down from ?)). They both expire within two days, but they look like they will be fine for at least another week. Especially if they are marinating (is that spelled right? my spell checker is suggesting ‘urinating’ and I KNOW that’s not what I’m trying to say…!) in a vinegar based slaw dressing in my fridge). I also always check the dairy cooler. Whenever I find discounted milk, I buy it to make yogurt. (I buy it full price to make yogurt, too, just not as much.) I haven’t come across any lately, but once I got half-gallons marked down to .50/ea. That was a record. Meat markdowns are tricky. In my store, there’s a section of the shelf for ‘all’ the markdowns…and I don’t usually see anything that I’m crazy about there. I think it’s because everyone else looks there, too, and snatches up the real bargains. BUT there’s also usually a few things scattered in with all the other ‘regular’ meat that are marked down because they need to sell THAT DAY. I’ve gotten whole chickens really cheap that way before, and I just stick them in the crockpot with a little olive oil, seasoned salt, and some herbal seasonings. Today, I was ‘splurging’ on full price hamburger when I happened to notice way off in the corner 1lb packages of ground chicken marked down to $1.29 (from over $3/lb)! I almost missed them…in fact, I spent about 2 minutes debating between choices of beef burger and had one in my cart and was turning to leave when I saw them. The catch? Their sell-by date is today. But that’s okay: I could freeze them tonight and use them down the road or (what I’m going to do) cook them all (I bought 4) tonight (I was ‘splurging’ on hamburger because I ‘splurged’ on frozen 3 cheese ravioli noodles for dinner…it just sounded so good) and freeze a few packages of cooked hamburger. That will make for some REALLY quick dinners down the road.
The really good sales I was talking about earlier included cheese for .99/8oz. I bought 9 packages of shredded and 2 blocks. It doesn’t expire until December, I have room in the back of my fridge, and I saved $3/package!!
I also bought milk (full price), peaches (on sale for .99/lb), blueberries (3.33/lb), a cucumber (on sale for .69), two packages of cream cheese (on sale for .99/ea), and a loaf of Nature’s Pride Oat Nut bread (on sale for $2).
All in all, I spent 49.38 (including tax) and saved over $65!!! That’s one of my best trips yet. God was very gracious…here I thought it all depended on my coupon box and my innate sense of frugal savvy…but He reminded me that the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ trips are both His blessings, and He provides bountifully for us regardless!
(Oh, and just for your information–there’s usually a dry goods markdown section, a freezer mark down section, and sometimes even ‘fresh’ produce markdowns scattered in among the other produce–often the less common organic produce ((like mushrooms)).)