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Easy way to stock a kitchen pantry and save 30-50% on your grocery bill

 
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For folks that want to start a food pantry here is a super easy way to do it -- this will slash your grocery bill and also make your life easier as it does away with long, tedious shopping trips. Other big benefit is that you soon have weeks worth of food stored in the house for emergencies.

1) Choose 1 or 2 of your favorite most convenient grocery stores.

2) Every week read their weekly circular and pick out the "Price Leaders" for that week. These are items that are offered at a deeply discounted price to bring shoppers into the store.

3) Make a short list of the best deals of the week (only foods you normally eat).   Some weeks there won't be any, other weeks 2 or 3, and some weeks there may be several.

4) Take your list and hit the store then buy up a 3-6 month supply. You won't buy that item again until there is another great sale. If they are out of stock get a rain check. With your short list in hand the trip often only takes 10 min as you aren't going up and down every isle.

Store these in a pantry. Within a couple of months you will have a stockpile of most of the things you commonly use and you will find you never "have to" go grocery shopping, you go when there are good deals to be had and and you are in the mood to go.

Foods that are frequently on sale at 30-50% off  (often Buy One Get One Free deals)
Pasta
Pasta Sauce
Tuna, Chili, and other canned meats
Soups
Canned fruit and veggies
Canned Milk
Condiments (mayo, bbq sauce, salad dressing etc...)
Crackers
Meat (freeze large packages on cookie sheets in meal sized  portions then stuff in zip lock bags)
Frozen Veggies
Breakfast Cereals
Bread (can be frozen)
Cake mixes, pudding, baking supplies
Laundry Detergent

All grocery stores post their circulars online. Grocery stores typically start their sales on Wednesday and it ends the following Tuesday.
 
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These are good tips, and remind me of the Tightwad Gazette book I had back in the previous millennium. The author also suggested keeping a little notebook and document prices of the items you normally buy, at each store you visit. Then you can pick the best prices for a given store and that becomes your shopping list, and then compare the circular prices to see if loss leaders are a better deal, including cost per unit pricing.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mark Tudor wrote:These are good tips, and remind me of the Tightwad Gazette book I had back in the previous millennium. The author also suggested keeping a little notebook and document prices of the items you normally buy, at each store you visit. Then you can pick the best prices for a given store and that becomes your shopping list, and then compare the circular prices to see if loss leaders are a better deal, including cost per unit pricing.



When I started shopping this way I sometimes didn't know if a sale item really was a good deal, but after reading the circulars for 2-3 weeks you quickly learned the prices and recognize a good price when you see it. Plus the circulars usually tell you how much it is marked off which helps.

The price leader deals are usually MUCH cheaper than standard Wal-mart type prices and the shopping environment at your favorite grocery store is more pleasant than the mega stores, not to mention faster. Though one thing Wal-mart seems to have better prices on is basics like rice, beans, flour, sugar etc...

Course the other huge benefit is that it provides a rotating emergency food supply.
 
Mark Brunnr
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Yeah I've found that I strike a balance between lowest price and let's call it "collateral damage" where getting the cheapest price has other costs you may want to consider. For example I like buying certain foods like beans, lentils, oats, and rice in bulk, and I bring back the bags I used last time, or reuse other plastic bags. Once home I refill the 1 gallon glass jars and put the bags back in the big cloth bag for the next trip. If a loss leader might save me a few bucks for a purchase that lasts a few months, but I end up with additional trash I can't reuse, then I have to decide if it's worth it in that case.

I've been testing myself as far as minimizing trash, even recycling, as I will eventually be on a property where there is no trash pickup and the recycling center is 20 miles away for me to take a load in there. Since some paper waste can be reused my goal has been minimizing the rest, and I'm down to 1 can of recycling per month, and outside of my dog's waste I haven't had to put out the regular trash can in the last 6 months.

I'm also curious how my shopping habits will change once out in the country, where your shopping trips are a bit more planned if you don't want to be driving so much. I expect I'll have a bit more of a planned shopping list for staples, and I hope to integrate more food that I grow when in season but that's a whole different realm of learning to properly cook!
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mark Tudor wrote:
I'm also curious how my shopping habits will change once out in the country, where your shopping trips are a bit more planned if you don't want to be driving so much. I expect I'll have a bit more of a planned shopping list for staples, and I hope to integrate more food that I grow when in season but that's a whole different realm of learning to properly cook!



You will have to learn how to cook but really isn't hard especially with all the great cooking websites and videos at your fingertips. If you are cooking for one the trick is to use your garden for fresh veggies and your freezer for meats, bread, etc... so things don't spoil before you get around to making it.
 
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Excellent advice, and that's exactly what we do. Each Wednesday the weekly circulars from our two local grocery stores arrive in the mail. We make a list of items that are on sale that we eat, and we buy at least as many as we will use before that sale comes around again. (If you have been doing this for a while, you will get to know the sale "cycles" of certain products.) We never buy coffee unless it is a buy one/get one deal. When tuna goes on sale for $1 a can, we'll buy 20 or 30. Last week, we bought about $200 worth of groceries on sale and paid just over $100. Many people tout the great buys at buying clubs like Costco, Sam's and BJ's, but we have learned over the years you can actually save more at your local supermarkets if you take advantage of these great sales and buy in bulk....and, you don't have the membership fees that you do at these buying clubs.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Jim Guinn wrote:Last week, we bought about $200 worth of groceries on sale and paid just over $100. Many people tout the great buys at buying clubs like Costco, Sam's and BJ's, but we have learned over the years you can actually save more at your local supermarkets if you take advantage of these great sales and buy in bulk....and, you don't have the membership fees that you do at these buying clubs.



I agree. I considered a Sam's Club membership and looked at their website to compare prices, since I have a "baseline" price for all the items I buy I quickly realized most all of their stuff was FULL price in huge packages with just the odd item offered at a discount. Another benefit to circular shopping is that instead of buying budget items in an attempt to save money (i.e. budget brands of detergent, cheaper cuts of meat etc...) you are getting the regular products that you prefer for less money than the budget brands.

For instance I never pay more than $1 a lb for chicken. Every 4-6 weeks chicken breasts go on sale for .98 a lb, and chicken leg quarters (for the dogs) are .48 a lb. Once I realized that the idea of paying $3.50 a lb for chicken seems ridiculous.

Wal-mart does have incredibly good prices on prescription meds though (typically 50-80% off) and that draws folks like me into the store once a month (saves me over $50 a month on my dog's meds) otherwise I would never go at all. The few cents I would save on flour and sugar isn't worth dealing with the "Walmart experience".

Though right now Walmart is battling with Amazon and their free shipping deal on groceries is pretty awesome. I had 120 lbs of rice delivered to my front door with their free 2 day shipping. LOL.Though I do try to buy regular "non-sale" items at my local stores so they turn a profit.
 
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Mark Brunnr wrote:Yeah I've found that I strike a balance between lowest price and let's call it "collateral damage" where getting the cheapest price has other costs you may want to consider. For example I like buying certain foods like beans, lentils, oats, and rice in bulk, and I bring back the bags I used last time, or reuse other plastic bags. Once home I refill the 1 gallon glass jars and put the bags back in the big cloth bag for the next trip. If a loss leader might save me a few bucks for a purchase that lasts a few months, but I end up with additional trash I can't reuse, then I have to decide if it's worth it in that case.

I've been testing myself as far as minimizing trash, even recycling, as I will eventually be on a property where there is no trash pickup and the recycling center is 20 miles away for me to take a load in there. Since some paper waste can be reused my goal has been minimizing the rest, and I'm down to 1 can of recycling per month, and outside of my dog's waste I haven't had to put out the regular trash can in the last 6 months.



Hi Mark, I can completely relate. Grocery shopping is such a dilemma for me as there are so many decisions to be made with each item. I thought you might be interested in the company Azure Standard, based out of California, if you aren't already familiar. I like to order bulk from them and split with my friends and neighbors.

Congratulations on your lack of taking the trash out! My husband and I have been weighing our garbage for the past couple of years (2018= under 13lbs and 2019 = under 3lbs!), I volunteer for the chore as a joke because it's so rare that we empty it. Now we're trying to do better with our recyclables too which had been getting taken out every week or two (our container is a home sized paper shredder bin). One big change/success so far this year is making our own english muffins. We haven't had a goal other than to do "better," but I like your goal post of 1 can a month, so I think I'll try for that.

I plan to have a dog(s) in the future once we get into our own home. I've always planned to have a dedicated worm compost for their waste. I'm not sure if this is a thing, but I think it should be! Maybe that's a suggestion you can work into your set up.

Good luck to you and your future property.
 
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