Budget Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

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Lori K

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Nov 13, 2018
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Illinois
Just heard from the second of my favorite Michigan farmstands, letting their customers know that their peach crop was devastated by the January sub-zero deep freeze and there will be no peach crop this year. The trees leafed out, as usual, but had no buds or flowers where the fruit originates. I was hoping that the freeze didn't affect all of the peach growers this year, but it looks like they all got hit. Like the first to announce, this farm is also diversified and will survive with their other produce. But I feel so sad for them about this major loss. In any case, peaches will be unavailable to me this year. Will have to look at what fruit I can substitute this summer.
 

Lori K

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Nov 13, 2018
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I haven’t heard anything about peaches here in Ohio. The one orchard back home sends frequent emails and hasn’t mentioned it. Next time I’m out there I’ll have to ask.
We had a really really cold spell in mid-January, after a nice warm stretch. Temps fell and we had freezing rain, then temps hovered from right around 0 for a high and -20 for a low plus winds adding to the chill. The cold spell lasted for nearly a week. The first farm report I received said what branches were below the snow line seemed better, but anything exposed above snow would not be producing. The report from the 2nd farm said there were no flower buds at all on any of their trees, so no peaches this year.
 
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AnnieClaus

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Nov 6, 2007
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Went to Fry's last night and they had:
Foster Farms boneless, skinless chicken breasts buy 1 pack, get 1 free.

Some of the packs were $17.00 but I moved packs around and found some that
were $10.00-$12.00.

I make a lot of summer salads using grilled chicken breast so this is a perfect stock up.

Finally scored a deal.
 

AnnieClaus

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Nov 6, 2007
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Remember how I was so outraged about the cost of 4 avocados at Fry's?

A friend posted a pic of the bin with the price (something I somehow missed last week)
to showcase the crazy cost.
 
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Lori K

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The art of stacking ... a savings strategy, if you're careful.

I always go through my regular store's (Meijer) online coupons and "clip" anything that I think I may even remotely use. I pretty much clip everything except baby products and items specific to men. Before looking through their weekly ad online and starting a list of what prices look good, I'll skim through my clipped coupons as a refresher and add any new coupons that may have come in. If there's something on sale that has a good digital coupon, I'll make a note of any restrictions, and also if there are any "must buy" a minimum size or quantity. My regular store is having a "buy 5" pre-Memorial Day sale this week and there's a wide variety of items to select from on the "buy 5" and get a special sale price on each item. And many of those items have had a coupon offer over the last 2 weeks. For example, Sweet Baby Ray's (all varieties) is on sale for $0.99 this week on the "buy 5" offer, so is Helmans Mayo ($3.99), Kraft salad dressings ($2.99), and my favorite taco sauce.

  • Sweet Baby Ray's reg. $2.59, on sale this week $1.99, buy 5 and get additional $1.00 off = $0.99 bottle. Although I have 1/2 bottle left in the refrig, this gives me a back-up for summer BBQ season.
  • Helmans reg. $6.49, on sale for $5.49, buy 5 and get additional $2.00 off = $3.49 + $1 digital coupon = $2.49
  • Kraft salad dressing reg $3.15, on sale for $2.99, buy 5 get additonal $1.00 off = $1.99 + $0.50 digital coupon = $1.49. Like Sweet Baby Ray's, I have a partial bottle in the refrig. But, I make a lot of Italian pasta salad for summer parties, and I now have a back-up bottle at an excellent price.
  • Klondike bars, reg. $4.59 on sale for $3.49, plus $1 off on the "buy 5" sale, plus I had a digital coupon for $2.00 off when you buy 2 = $1.49 each, and 2 packages forthe price of 1. While I don't often eat ice cream, these are a favorite sweet treat that will last forever if I bury them in the back of the freezer.
Once I have my "buy 5" items selected, I'll double check to insure that I have items to fill the right quantities. For this store, you get the discount in multiples of 5, so if I only had 14 items, I'd be paying regular price on 4 of them. If things don't add up, I'll add another sale item to make 15, in order to get the best price. And sometimes, there are different categories on sale, i.e. Buy 5 get $5 off, or Buy 5 and get $1 off each, or 7 for $7, so you have to make sure your numbers fit all of those categories. I keep the items in the child's seat part of my cart until I have the right number of items, and then move them to the regular part of the cart. Yes, a lot more work, but every dollar counts these days.

This store also had ground beef on sale for the lowest I've seen in awhile (in family packs @ $2.99#), and a good price on chicken breasts and breakfast sausage. Got the smallest family pack of ground beef I could find (just shy of 3#) and portioned it into 1/2# packages, which works best for my amount of cooking. I also grabbed a 3-pack of chicken breasts, portioned into single serving packages, and an 8-pack of breakfast sasuage patties, packaged as singles. All were vacuum sealed and went into the freezer.

Saved over $15 on my groceries this morning, just by watching the discounts for purchaing in quantity and to shore up my pantry, and by stacking a log of those sale prices with coupons. On the way home, I realized that I forgot to buy lemons for iced tea, and stopped at my local smaller grocery (better quality produce, anyway). They were having an unadvertised sale on strawberries for $0.99/quart, so got 2 lemons @ $0.69 each and fresh strawberries for an excellent price.

I think I'm probably set for a couple of weeks.