Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Grocery, Kitchen & More III: Price Matching

Pre-requisites: Grocery list & Meal Plan

Hi Guys (That's Californian for 'Howdy Ya'll) welcome back to my thoughts on grocery shopping.

Where do I shop

I shop at Wal-Mart because it is the cheapest grocery store in town. I have actually taken my list from store to store to compare prices. What I found was...when an item at say HEB was cheaper the unit was smaller. So it was a 10# bag for 3.00 (.30 per pound) at Wal-Mart and a 7# bag at HEB (.35 per pound). I do go to Krogers and Albertson to take advantage of their coupon deals and special in store only deals on a semi-regular basis. I also price match and I am not willing to drive from store to store to get the best deal...I'd lose money in gas & time!

Now to shop at Wal-Mart I encourage you to get there before 2 p.m. and then it's just like any other store. In fact, the earlier the better. Grocery shopping on Saturday after 9:30 am is ....well let's say to be avoided if possible.

Chosing your grocery store is very important. The most expensive grocery store in town tends to be Albertsons, Kroger, HEB and the cheapest is Wal-Mart. If at all possible you want to try to save money by staying away from more expensive stores. The benefits of Kroger's and Albertson's is that they double and triple coupons. However, if you are not careful you can still pay more money for that item at these stores (than you would at Wal-Mart) even with the double and triple coupons due to their high prices.

What is Price Matching....

Price Matching is taking the Wednesday ads from all of the stores (Wal-Green, Target, Kroger, Albertsons, Apple Tree & HEB) to Wal-Mart and paying the sale price from the ad. You simply make note of the sale items you plan to take advantage of on a piece of paper or cirle them in the ad. Then when you get to Wal-Mart you get that exact item so if Rotel is on sale at Kroger you get Rotel at Wal-Mart for Kroger's sale price. I personally, write the price on my list so I am not trying to shuffle papers and kids. Then I write the items that are price matched at the top of my grocery list so when I get to the check out I can easily identify them. Also, I am able to tell the checker quickly what I am price matching, how much it is and from what store. I tend to put my price matches at the end of my groceries so I can keep up with them. But do what works for you!

This works for all the stores.... For example last week I got 4# of oranges for $1 (savings of up to 3.38), pineapple for $1, 5# sack of potatoes for $1(savings of about 1.49). These savings were just from me saying to the Checker I am price matching and telling her the sale price at the other store. Make sure you take your ads with you especially if you are matching Walgreens or Target because they may not have a copy at the register.

There are some things you shouldn't buy unless they are on sale:
* toothpaste (in the last few weeks went on sale for .99 I had a .25 off coupon so I paid .74 for Crest)
* deodorant (okay, please if you are out you can buy some especially if you are going to sit next to me! :)),
Blue Bell Ice Cream

...if I know there are more items and I'll add them to the list!

Now your biggest savings while price matching will be in the meat department. I had to learn my meat prices because I saw I could save BIG, ENORMOUS, GIGANTIC Bucks here! Here are common examples:

Pork Chops sale.99# regular price is 2.36 (Family pack is about 5.5#) savings $6.85
Pork Roast sale .99# regular price 1.62 savings $3.15 for every 5#'s
Cat fish nuggets sale .99# regular price $2.68# savings 8.45 for every 5#
Beef Pot Roasts $1.99# regular price is about $4 savings of 8.04 on 4#'s
Briskets get down to .69#
Chicken goes as low as .19#
Pork Ribs .99#
Country Ribs .99#
Link Sausage .99 a pack (Blue Ribbon)
......do you see a trend

I'm sure there are more meats that go on sale on a regular basis you just have to keep an eye on what your family eats. Now when meat goes on sale it's time to be like the ant! I have been know to buy up to 20# of meat at a time.

Proverbs 30:25 "Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;"

I try to avoid buying meat that is not on sale like the plague! That way I have more meat, a variety of meat, better meat and more money on weeks when I am not buying meat. I try to keep $15-50 in an envelope for the 'Holy smokes, someone has lost their mind' meat sales. (Apple Tree has by far the best meat sales!)

By comparison shopping just on your meat you can easily save your family about a thousand dollars each year (That's $83.33 per month) and you'll eat better meat and more varieties. If you buy 4 Blue Bell's when they go on sale that is a saving so f 2.03 on each gallon and a savings of $8.12. I buy 1-3 when they go on sale because we are some ice cream freaks!

Sometimes you are just saving .10 or .05 on items and it may seem silly or petty to get the better price. For me I just keep in mind it's not my money. Second if you save .05 to .50 on 520 (that's just 10 items per week) you've now saved $52-260 over the year. But I usually save much more than that on items. Last week for example I saved $13.70 on just 4 items and I regularly save an average of $15-20 per trip (excluding meat...)that's $780-$1,020 each year.

Kyle, if I buy that much meat at one time all we will eat is meat...No dear one your goal is to learn to keep your freezer stocked with cheap meat. You can start out slowly with 10 to 15#'s of pork chops and then when you plan pork chops in future meals you have the money you would have spent on pork chops that week to purchase other things. Now, when you first start you may have to have an extra pork chop meal to compensate for not purchasing regularly priced chicken. As you get into the grove you'll find you have more money to spend on other things. Also, keep in mind it is rare for 3 or four meats go on sale at the same time, usually it's just one or two.

Also as you move into advanced grocery shopping as items you use a lot go on sale you need to start buying them at the best price. (WARNING: Only do this with staple items like for me Rotel, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom etc.... and you have to check your cupboard before grocery shopping to make sure you are not double buying.)

Your goal is to get the best price you can on everything you buy. Sometimes this calls for patience and perseverance, sometimes it calls for freezer space (check American classifieds), it definitely calls for organization and price lists. Now, I only keep a price list of meats, but normally I can recall from what is left from my memory that I pay .50 for Rotel or whatever other regularly purchased item it is.

Think of your self as the purchasing department for a small business...McVay Enterprise (our motto is 'We make girls') and our job is to cut the budget. So how much do I save: $1,779(148 per month)-$2,016 ($168 per month). This is nearly a 23% savings for me!

What could God do with this money?

Next time...saving time & money in the kitchen .... Plus, how do the McVay's eat...

PS- Wal-Mart does not honor buy 1 get one free or any add that says you get a % off. You can match store brand to store brand though!


Kathryn, Michael and Alex said...

Such good tips, especially on the meat.

Thanks Kyle!!!

Rachel said...

Those are good tips, Kyle.

I have never seen chicken for .19#, where in the world was that one?!

Rachel said...

P.S.-I'm really enjoying this series! Keep it up!

Three Little Monkeys said...

Thanks, Kyle. I've never really done my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. I knew they priced matched, but Wal-Mart is usually a "Do Not Enter" zone because of how crazy busy it always is.

Since having the twins, I have started couponing/refunding, and have saved a lot of money on personal care items and the like (CVS and Walgreens are the best places to save the most money on these items), but I have not managed to really save money on my grocery bill. I will have to sit down and study the grocery ads this week and see how much better I can do and shop at Wal-Mart.

P.S. I love CVS! I bought $26 worth of stuff yesterday and only paid $1.99 out of pocket, and that was buying batteries and diapers!!

Unknown said...

Kyle - I have a question. What do you think is reasonable to keep in your pantry as "backup supplies"? (food wise)


texasmcvays said...

Okay, I think its reasonable to stock up on an item you KNOW you will use. For me if Rotel went on sale for .10 I would probably buy $5-10 worth. I have a pretty big pantry and would happily store it for the $40 in savings. I also generally keep an emergency meal or two on hand. I usually have an extra can or two of my staple ingredients in the pantry. Now, the amount you keep on hand will also vary according to the size of your family, a larger family (more than 5 may want to keep more).The next thing to consider is how large your pantry/ storage space is because if you do not have much space you should limit your purchases. As a side note, I also buy bulk items from a food co-op (usually non-organic stuff) so it is not uncommon for me to have 20# of rice or 40# of whole wheat pastry flour. Those are staples for us.... I'm not sure I answered your question, but I hope I did.

Jennifer Bacak said...

This is great Kyle! I really would love to cut my grocery budget with price matching!

Hope Road said...

I Really enjoyed talking with you today :) -Amy

Unknown said...

Guess what?! I price matched at Walmart this week!!! I was so excited that I managed to do this. Not much, but for what I needed, and it was so exciting. I never knew they pricematched - this is fantastic news for me! Thanks for sharing all this great info. (and yes your comments on the back-up pantry help.)

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