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Grocery Success


I’ve managed to shave about $25 a week so far off of the weekly total. I’m happy to report we did last week with just one gallon of milk…that’s right….ONE. Granted we only had the 3 younger kids but they were home all week for Spring Break! So, yes…this is a major! I made a big pot of pinto beans and we did all sorts of cost cutting meals with beans (chalupas, soup, quesadillas…)

I just returned from this week’s grocery store trip and found some HUGE deals! I’ve determined that the best time to shop our local grocery store is Saturday night. Around 8 pm they shut down the butcher department and often you can find the fresh meats from there packaged and marked down in the regular meat section. If I am lucky, I might find a package or 2 at a good price. Well, tonight I hit the butcher closing time AND a “reduced for quick sale” jackpot and got lean ground sirloin (93/7) for 99 cents a pound!!!! I bought 13 lbs and will cook some tomorrow, then freeze for later use. There were also some great deals on chicken tenders and ground turkey that can be used for all sorts of options! Tonight’s grocery bill was $74 so that’s coming down slow but sure. We only have one major, family owned grocer in San Antonio (HEB? perhaps some of you have heard of it…) and while they are certainly a monster in the market that not even Walmart can begin to touch…and that has its drawbacks for sure, they do have these great meal deals offered on a weekly basis. They usually require the purchase of the main dish and then you get a TON of sides for free. Last week it was a package of beef or chicken fajitas for about $8-$10 and then you get the tortillas, lettuce in a bag, shredded cheese, refried or whole pinto beans in a can, sour cream for free. Tonight was a bag of fish fillets ($4.32) and I got a can of corn, a good size box of Uncle Ben’s brown rice and a large, family size box of mac and cheese for free. I stretch these items out to at least two, usually 3 meals.

Anyway, just wanted to share my grocery store success! Thank you for helping me “stop and think” in the grocery store. Honestly, when I found all of that meat on such great sale…my immediate thought was to take a picture of the price tag to share with all of you! I DO want to make you proud! LOL!  In the past I would not have thought about the best time to go to the store as I just went when I absolutely had to and without a great plan. I also wouldn’t have taken the time to figure out the timing to increase my odds of getting these great deals. That’s changed thinking and that’s a very good thing!

Oh!  And that $74 included my $11 John Frieda hair color.  I’m going for the foam on the first try since I had a nightmare last night that I got streaks of hair color down my face that I could not get off.  It was pretty funny as I sat in a work meeting trying to play off the black streaks all OVER my face.   So I guess that means the grocery bill was actually only $63!!!


  • Reply adam |

    yes, we are familiar with the Howard E Butt grocery here in ATX, central market is our indulgence! Do you have sprouts in SA? We save so much money at sprouts on produce (although we have to buy other stuff at HEB or WM).

    i love all the pinto beans tex mex meals! the non-texan readers will probably wonder why you are eating mexican food all the time. that’s how we roll. now, off to find a breakfast taco…

    • Reply Claire |

      Adam! We LOVE Central Market! Before we married I lived walking distance from our CM and yea that was a very dangerous thing. I wonder if my tex-mex selections will be met with both confusion and criticism from those who don’t fully embrace all that Texas living means! 🙂 Ah breakfast tacos…that is what I gave up for Lent! 4 weeks to go!

  • Reply Claire |

    Oh! Got so distracted with the breakfast taco thought that I forgot to ask more about Sprouts. We do have them here and I visited one for the first time about a month ago. I really liked the set up and while I do love some things about HEB, I am also a believer in healthy competition being good for the consumer! I heard that Sprouts does weekly advertisement deals that are great. I’m going to their website now…thanks for the reminder!

    • Reply adam |

      yes, sprouts is great for produce. On Wednesday, both the previous week’s and current week’s circulars are in effect, so it’s double the savings. Especially if you shop in season. just great. Randall’s may be a bit lower, but sprouts is fresher, higher quality, and lasts longer. also some good deals on bulk food like whey protein, flours, or flax meal.

      Just be careful not to get sucked in to buying your meats and packaged foods there. Schedule a 2nd stop at HEB or Walmart.

  • Reply Jonathan |

    That’s a great saving. If you multiplied that saving over a 52 week period it’s amazing how much you could add to your saving account! I love hearing money saving stories, it’s always great to find out how people are saving money and making a dent in greedy companies profits! It’s my first post here but I’m really enjoying reading your blog from over the pond in the UK. Big Thanks

  • Reply Bill Swan |

    I never understood the “one food store” market until recently when Tops bought out P&C and Big M. Now we have only Tops and Aldis.

    As for the meats, here it’s early weekdays when they’re trying to clean out before stuff goes past expiration dates. Lots of deals and half off items then.

  • Reply Marianne |

    Those close to expiry meat deals are my favourite! As a rule we try to only buy meat that is $2/lb or under and this is certainly a way to do it. I’ve been finding this year though that we might have to change our rule to $3/lb. and under as I have only found ground beef for under $2/lb once this year and will be stocking up like crazy. It sucks that the prices seem t be going up so much. We eat a lot of pork since it is so cheap.

  • Reply Tackling Our Debt |

    Way to go for finding great deals! I never use to look for meat deals either. Now I get all giddy when I see 30% off stickers on ground beef or pork ribs. Our freezer is the fullest it’s been and all we needed to buy this week was a jug of milk.

    I am looking forward to hearing about your hair colouring. I’m sure it will look awesome!

  • Reply kim |

    Yay for meat sales! Meat goes on sale Sunday morning here; we figure it’s the unsold stock the store thought they’d sell for weekend bbqs. You know how there are weekly circulars? Well say it’s Thurs-Wed; Wed night the items that have short expiration dates on weekly special (meat, dairy, produce) will be often be marked down further to get it out before the next week’s sale. Our store also has an “ugly produce” cart which has marked down produce – it’s not rotten or bruised, just picked over. I’ve never seen it in any other grocery, though the bakery does the same thing (day old goods).

    I’m so excited that you’re excited to have a plan! This cost cutting stuff is all very doable, it just takes a tiny bit of planning. Definitely not a huge amount, esp. if you’re used to cooking, and you sound like you are.

  • Reply Shannon |

    Like you don’t have enough other things to do, but when you get some time, you should look up some couponing sites. Most grocery stores run sales Wed thru the following Tuesday. If you ever decide to do coupon matching, you can get some killer deals. Maybe something to put a pin in and try to take on this summer, once you get the hang of things. Continued good luck!

  • Reply JMK |

    Excellent progress – at $25/wk you’re already ahead $1300/yr on debt reduction. I’ll bet that feels great!

    I had a different sort of grocery success this week. When our weekly flyers arrived I asked my teenaged son to look through the one for the store I planned to hit Saturday morning and pick out items to make a dinner which didn’t cost more that $10 for the four of us. Yes it can be done for half that with only a little effort, but I didn’t want to set him up for failure.

    He’s become very health conscious lately and commented that there were several items he might consider if he were in the store and could read the nutritional label, but wasn’t going to include them without all the facts simply because they were on sale. Wow.

    His final selection was: kababs with chicken, pineapple, onion and red pepper, served with rice. Estimated cost $6.25. Again, wow. I complimented him on his well balanced meal of protein, grain, veg and fruit. Then as he left the room he added, “did you notice the salsa is on sale”? “We have everything else we need for tacos, so that might be good for another night”. I’m so proud.

  • Reply Connie |

    Have you considered shopping just the perimeter as much as possible? It’s generally a lot cheaper, and a LOT healthier to buy as few processed foods as possible (ie – Uncle Ben’s vs “raw” rice, etc). Once you get used to real food, you’ll find that the processed stuff doesn’t even taste good. Good rules are: if you can’t pronounce what’s in it, you shouldn’t eat it; don’t eat stuff with more than 5 ingredients; shop the perimeter; if your great grandma wouldn’t know what it is, don’t eat it. “Food for thought” 🙂

  • Reply Deb |

    Great job so far!
    You should track your actual FOOD costs separate from any miscellaneous things you buy at the grocery store (like hair color or paper plates, etc.) This will give you a true cost of groceries and perhaps you’ll be able to find other places to buy the misc. that will cost less – like the hair color w/ a coupon at Wal-Mart or something.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Emma |

    What a great tip about shopping once different departments close to get some great closing time deals. I will have to try that the next time I go grocery shopping!

So, what do you think ?