Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This is Why! part 4

Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found here.

In the last entry we talked about how to use leftovers to help stock our pantries. This week we’re going shopping.  Of course, we stock our pantries by shopping but are we just filling our grocery cart or are we SHOPPING to fill our pantries? 

Here are some ways I shop to fill my pantry ...

16.       I pray about my pantry.  I pray before I shop, while I shop and for pantry stocking wisdom.  Yes, I really do this! 

17.       I make a grocery list and menu before I go shopping.   When I plan my menu before I go shopping my grocery list is a lot smaller.  When I shop from my pantry before I go shopping my grocery list is a lot smaller. You know what this means?  Menu planning and shopping from my pantry leaves more money in my food budget to use on the great deals that I find as I shop! 

18.       I scrutinize grocery store flyers.  I take a marker and circle the items that I’m interested in then I transfer the circled items to my grocery list.  Before I head to the store I check to see if there are any coupons available. 

19.       I use a price book/price sheet.  In order to get the best deals I have to know what a good price is.  My price book/sheet gives me that information.   

20.      I use coupons IF and ONLY IF it’s for something we use or IF it’s for something new we want to try.  If we won’t use it, I don’t need it in my house!   

  21.     I take advantage of clearance food sales.  

22.       I use the 1 + 1 rule whenever possible.  When I purchase a food item, if possible, I buy an extra one and add it to my pantry. 

23.       I check unit prices.  Sometimes a lower price seems like something really great until you compare unit prices.  Yikes, I want to keep my pantry well-stocked but at the most economical prices, don’t you? 

24.       I ‘know’ the stores I shop at … meaning I know when they usually mark their meat down, where their clearance food is located, what their coupon policy is, whether or not they have a rain check policy and if so what it is and when their sales start and when they end each week.  I make it my business to know everything about their marketing that I can.  See this post on Shopping at Sam’s Club as an example of ‘knowing’ the stores you shop at. 

25.       I shop seasonal sales.  Turkey in November; ground beef and chicken in the summer especially around Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day; ham at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas; cranberries, canned soups, canned vegetables, celery, spices and baking supplies in November and December. 

26.       I buy marked down candy after the holidays.  I bring it home and vacuum seal it in quart or pint jars for later use.  Some examples are:  red hot cinnamons after Valentine’s Day, chocolate after Valentine’s Day/Easter/Halloween/Christmas and candy canes after Christmas. 

27.       I watch for items to go on sale that my family uses on a regular basis.  When I find a sale, I buy as much as my budget will allow using coupons if I have them. 

28.      I buy in bulk.  Some examples are toilet paper, paper towels, all kinds of dried beans, a variety of teas and cooking oils. 

29.       I add items to my grocery list as soon as I open the last one of any item.  This gives me time to restock the item before I need it. 

  30.    I take advantage of Amazon’s subscribe and save program.  

31.       We have grocery stores, etc that we stop in and check for great deals at when we’re out and about running errands … if time permits and we have any money. 

 32.      I shop at farmers markets and road side stands. 

33.       I shop at Mennonite/Amish non-electric stores.  Twice a year I get to shop at a non-electric Mennonite country store.  I absolutely love it.  This is when I restock my spices as well as other things that are considerably cheaper than main stream grocery stores. 

34.       I shop at Asian markets.  I get to do this about once every couple of months. 

35.       I shop at warehouse type stores.  The bulk of our grocery shopping is done at Sam’s Club.   

 36.      I shop at dollar stores.   

37.       I shop at discount grocery stores such as Aldi’s and Save-a-lot. 

Okay, I’ve shared with you how I shop to keep my pantry filled, how about you?  What tips do you have that will help us all stretch our food budget and fill our pantries at the same time?

Your comments are what will make this series more helpful so please share your wisdom.

To see how I incorporate all these ways in my daily life, join me at A Working Pantry.

A Working Pantry
My Other Blog ... She Hath Done What She Could

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Money When Shopping at Sam's Club

My husband and I know quite a bit about shopping at Sam’s Club because that’s where the bulk of our grocery shopping is done.   We are in the store a couple of times each week, my husband’s job often carries us to that area so we stop in whenever possible, as a result we’ve had the opportunity to learn the store.  We know how their sales run, where their clearance items are and several other tips that I’m going to share. 

They have one section, usually located at the back of the store, where they place their damaged items, returns and items that there are only a few of left.  We have found some really good deals in this section and check it every time we go.  Things move quickly in and out of this area.

The electronics department has a clearance section too.  We have found some really good deals there as well.

Did you know that if you purchase an item and if that item has a price reduction within 7 days of the date you purchased it, if you request it you can get a refund for the difference?  We’ve done it more than once.

Their sales usually run 4 -6 weeks at a time and have a limit on the number of each item you can purchase.  The sales are good sales.  There is usually a break of a few weeks between each sale period. 

You can earn reward points by shopping at Sam’s Club.  (You must have the plus membership in order to earn points.)  Last year we earned enough points to pay for our membership renewal this year. 

Bargain hunting is something we love to do in Sam’s Club.  When they’re trying to get rid of an item, they start cutting the price in increments until the item is all gone.  Take a look at some of the things we’ve gotten and how much we paid for them.  By the way, there are no limits on the amounts you can purchase when they are clearancing out an item.

We paid $.51 for each bulk box (each bulk box contains 3 regular size boxes) of  Chex cereal ... $3.91 for the Carefree liners ... $.51 for each bulk box of Stove Top Stuffing (each bulk box contains 6 pouches) $.91 per each 3 pack of Libby's Pure Pumpkin Puree (29 oz size cans) and $.51 for each Hershey Kisses' Peanut Butter Cookie Kit.  Those are some pretty good deals aren't they!
Are you wondering if these same tips apply to all Sam’s Club locations?  We do quite a bit of traveling and have visited quite a few locations and found that these tips generally apply to all locations.

Do you see why we love shopping at Sam’s Club!

Update: 3/15/2015  ... I've been asked what time of day we usually go shopping at Sam's Club and if there is a better day than others to get the deals.

We usually try to go to Sam's Club around 8:00 a.m. when we go.  We don't have a specific day that we go though it does seem that later in the week is better, but then again we've gotten some good deals early in the week too!

Update:  4/19/2018 ... Our local Sam's Club closed recently so now we have to drive a bit further to be able to shop at a Sam's Club.  We don't go near as often but, you can bet when we do go we are using everyone of these tips to get the most out of our shopping trips!

Want to see how I’m doing on my April’s t0-do/goals list … go HERE.
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Are you following along with my ‘This is Why!’ series.  The comments from the last entry, part 3, are fantastic!  If you haven’t read them, do yourself a favor and go do it right now!

A Working Pantry
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27
My other blog:  She Hath Done What She Could 

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