Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« Three Steps to See If You're Ready for Early Retirement | Main | Help a Reader: Finding a Roommate »

June 21, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I have found that many times buying the generic is more costly than buying the name brand product using the coupons and stocking up while on sale. I cut our grocery budget ($500 for a family of 4- including paper and cleaning products) by $150 just by shopping smarter. I buy items that are on sale and that I have a coupon for. If it is a great deal, I stock up. Some of those items that aren't used by me that are free or money makers usually make a great donation to your local food pantry and/or charity. Think outside of just food products- cleaning products, hygiene, medicines, etc.

The dried beans tip is a great tip. I don't know why you don't see that.

"while you could get four cups of cooked beans from a package of dried beans for under 60 cents, and you get only one cup for 90 cents to $1.50 for canned beans"

Furthermore, many canned beans are very high in salt. Most people (those of African descent, children, people with heart / blood pressure issues) should get under 1500 mg per day of sodium.

With regards to my salt comment, see this link to the CDC:

Salt is also something to watch in store-brand foods versus name-brand foods. I have found that salt content in cold cereals is often significantly higher in store-brand than in name brand products. Some types of cereal should be avoided altogether for high salt content (Wheat Chex and store brand imitators, for example all seem to have over 300mg per serving of salt!).

Beans?!! Saves money??
Who eats that many beans to make a difference. Leaving aside the salt factor of course.

Seriously. I know some of you out there track every penny, has anyone really tracked this in their own real situation? I am not always convinced by consumer reports, sorry FMF.

I wonder about the time and effort and gasoline and aggravation. Not saying to be careless and I get the list suggestion. I even get the 'watch the scannner'--thogh how often is it wrong?
Now if you enjoy the"shopping experience" and I'm not knocking it, that's different. Because then it's like a hobby, a quest. I get that.

Unless one is really on a tight budget--and I know many people are--I just don't see how 200 300 dollars a yearas worth the effort.

Just my 2 cents. Which I am promptly taking over to my piggy bank right now. ;-)

i personally have my list of items i will buy that are name brand and some items that you just simply have to buy that are brand names.

all in all the quality of food these days is pretty similar whether it is brand name vs. non branded. so do yourself a favor, stop trying to keep up with the Jonses and enjoy some saving a buy some non branded items.

I'm not a dedicated couponer...I clip ones that we might use and use them during one of my biweekly trips. I don't time the market's specials or get really organized.

My biggest grocery tip is to check out the Manager's Specials...I routinely get $11 a pound steaks for $3.50 a pound at Kroger's. We also save a lot by buying our most eaten items in bulk at Sam's Club - bread, round steaks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen green beans, and cereal are the most common items in my cart.

I always make a list, and I usually buy groceries only once a week on Saturday.

Mostly I shop at my local grocery store, but some weeks I go to Target instead because I need something like hardware or and item of kids' clothing or a kids' birthday present for a party in addition to groceries.

I think it's a waste of gas and time to go to around to multiple stores each weekend. Sure you might save $ on groceries, but you'll lose with the cost of gas. Also, who has the time?

Also, saving $.40 on beans every 3 months---it will not make you rich.

And, as a person who has always consumed lots of salt but who has low blood pressure, I think all the blanket salt demonizing that is going on these days is really stupid.

If you don't have a salt/BP issue, you don't need to worry about how much salt you eat. Similarly, if you aren't diabetic or overweight, it doesn't matter how much sugar you put in your coffee.

Always look at the the per/unit pricing on the price stickers or bring a calculator. I have found that bigger isn't always better, sometimes buying two of the small packages is actually cheaper/better deal than buying the one large package.

Buy items that you will use in bulk or stock up, especially when they are on sale. We do this with many things, especially pasta and almonds. We also buy our meat in larger packages and then divide them into smaller packages, wrap in freezer paper, and freeze.

Buy fruits and veggies in season.

Shop at Target/Walmart first. They don't have everything, but what they do have was 20-50% less than the prices of my usual supermarket. For what's left on your list, buy it with a card like AmEx Blue Cash- I get 5% back on all my grocery purchases after I charged it up buying dollar coins from the mint. Also, if there's some supplement or medicine that you go through regularly, look online- Amazon or other online stores can frequently best the competition with free shipping and no sales tax.

I create my list based on what is on sales at the 2 stores I shop at. I then plan my meals for the week based on what is on sale.

What works best for me is to try and buy items that I have a coupon for and are also on sale. I buy as many of these as I can if it is a real good sale. Its great when its a buy one get one free sale and you have 2 coupons for that item. For times like that, I buy as many of that item as I think I will go through until the next sale for that item usually happens. (This takes awhile to get to know the sales cycles.) I rarely buy anything full-price anymore, and it makes me cringe when I do.

I also watch the tape. I often shop at Kroger on Monday mornings, and many of their tags haven't been switched over from the sale the week prior. When it scans more expensive than what the tag said, I get that sweet refund of 5 times the difference or something like that.

I've given up on coupons for groceries. We buy mostly unprocessed foods. There aren't a lot of coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables. Although I did find a coupon for bananas once!

I do check the sales paper to look at the weekly specials in hopes of getting lower cost fruits and veggies.

Just a tip for the skeptic against buying generic products (the industry calls these "Private Label"), these generic products are commonly produced by the brand name companies. Aka don't assume a large loss in quality for the large gap in price.

look for sales/manager specials on soon to expire items. if you are going to use it within the next couple days, you can save up to 80% in my experience.

To those of you who are not salt-sensitive - good for you! For the other 26% of the population (myself included), salt can be a killer. Further, one of the reasons salt is added to processed food is because it makes the food taste good (although it is an acquired taste); when processed food tastes "good", people buy more; when people buy more, they eat more. That's good for profits. Unfortunately; when people eat more, they get fat.

For those of you who haven't (yet) come to appreciate the health benefits of beans, I suggest you read up how much fiber the body really needs every day (~30 grams).

Most Americans get less than 15 grams. What does fiber do for you: aids in weight loss, reduces risk of heart disease, lowers high blood pressure, manages diabetes, prevents cancer, and reduces constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis. For the youngsters out there (under 50), take notice now as you actually need more fiber than the elders.

Dried beans save me about $200/year alone...I eat them daily! That amount didn't mean much when I was working; but now that I am home, I've got the time and inclination to shop the sales and cook.

As one health article said, "If you cook and eat at home, you can use all the salt you want. It is the processed foods that add the sodium out the wazoo. Also, that sodium has no iodine in it, which we need to use it properly."

The Beans thing continues to amuse me; going to buy $10,000 worth and save millions!!

BillV - That's funny. Maybe you can start the next investing craze. Instead of buying contracts on soybeans, buy contracts on garbanzo beans.

Just remember to get out before the bubble bursts on the buying frenzy. Phew!

Most of that, I do... but it's awfully hard to watch the price scanner closely when I have a toddler trying to get my attention. This is part of why I prefer to go grocery shopping by myself - less distractions.

Making a list is something we (ok, usually my wife) do. Not only that but we plan our meals before making the list. That way we only buy what we actually need, as opposed to just randomly walking through the store. One thing we do not do however is clip coupons - that is mostly a time issue since we both work and feel like there are better things to do with our time. I imagine once we have kids and my wife is no longer working (that is the plan anyway) she may start clipping coupons since our grocery bill will without a doubt be going up!

A note about clipping coupons for things you don't need: somebody else can use them!

Some obvious examples are pet or baby products for friends or local organizations. I take baby coupons to my local WIC office, and animal shelters may welcome pet coupons.

There are also organizations which accept coupons, even expired coupons, for various causes. The Overseas Coupon Project( sends expired coupons overseas for use by military families in commissaries (on-base grocery stores).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.