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July 14, 2007


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It does seem a bit high, but it has to be significant to even make it worth trying. No loss of quality is an exaggeration. Some are the same, but others are definitely worse, and some much worse than they are cheaper.

I've saved more than that just taking 30 minutes out of my day to PLAN my grocery shopping. There are items I can buy in bulk at Costco and save money and then get the items that I like (the brands) with coupons and buying when there are really good sales.

Buying in bulk at Cosco . . . I know, I know people SAY that you use more when you buy more. Yeah, if you have the HUGE box in your pantry, kids and husband tend to use more because it looks like a lot more is there. But I've taken care of that psychological problem. When I buy in bulk, I put the stuff in "containers" that are the same size as the "usual" stuff. I have tall, thin plastic containers that I put cereal in (labeled). Pantry stuff that I buy in bulk are stored this way with the big boxes in our "DISASTER STASH" in the OUTSIDE PANTRY in our garage. They see the "normal" containers, they take "normal portions."

Other items such as meats and vegetables and breads, I go to the store with the best prices that week. I have about 6 different stores in my neighborhood and somebody has a good deal. But lately I've been going to the farmer's market for vegetables and there I can haggle for the best price (but I check the prices at the supermarket first).

It takes about 30 minutes to make a list of my needs, look at the papers and a figure out who has the best prices this week, take my coupons (another 30 minutes out of my week) and get A LOT of stuff for very little money.

I tend to feed a family of 5 on $300 a month this way.

I've been pretty happy for years with store brands and there are only two name brands to which I am firmly attached. (One is grape jelly - you can guess which brand - and one is mayonnaise.) Other than pasta sauce - the store brands fail badly here - I don't recall having had any disappointments with store brands. There are good name brand pasta sauces which are modestly priced (esp at discount grocers) and I use them when I'm too lazy to make my own sauce.

Storage containers are an excellent investment and I often buy in bulk and cook in bulk. Since containers come in various sizes and can be easily frozen or refrigerated, they can be useful in reducing spoilage and regulating portion size. An adequate supply of food storage containers will pay for itself many times over.

I already do this for many items, but I have to say I have been thinking about trying it for every product I can. I notice very little difference in the taste of generic brands,and sometimes if you really look they are produced by the exact same manufacturer. Weird huh? Anyway, I agree with the previous poster that planning before you shop is also a great way to save money. Someone on another blog (sorry can't remember which) said that they actually swapped lists with a friend or family member so that each bought only what was on the other's list. Since they were not allowed to add to the other's bill they didn't buy impulse items. I don't really have anyone I could do this with, but it sounds like another good idea.

This is why I frequent the local ALDI store in my town. The specialize in only selling their private label brands. The funny thing is, a bunch of the products that are under their private label are manufactured by the same companies the big brand use. They just change the label.

Great tip! Take it one step further by ditching the national grocery outlet for a regional grocer whose mission is savings (like Sav-A-Lot), and you can save even more!!

SMASH - Save Money and Stay Home (with your kids)

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