Share Your Favorite Grocery Saving Tips for a Chance to Win a $50 Safeway Gift Card

by Katy on November 11, 2009 · 95 comments

fifty dollar bill

I am a big fan of saving money pretty much whenever possible. At the movie theater, (second run only) for my family’s wardrobe, (Goodwill) and especially at the grocery store. I shop primarily at Safeway, as I can almost always stock up on staples when they’re on sale, and my Safeway has easy parking and bizarrely friendly staff.

Which is why, when contacted by the P.R. for corporate Safeway about whether I’d be interested in receiving two $50 gift cards to send out to readers in conjunction with their Everyday Low Prices program I was happy to agree. They also sent a gift card for me “to shop at your local Safeway to experience the thousands of new everyday low prices for yourself.”

Here’s their description of the Everyday Low Prices program:

Safeway is proud to announce that they are expanding their long-term commitment to great quality and value by offering customers thousands of new everyday low prices on items across the stores to help customers save money and time every day. The new pricing program just launched throughout all 117 Safeway stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington, giving your readers a new more affordable shopping experience where they can find everything they need at the right prices to fit their budgets.

Want to win a $5o Safeway gift card for yourself? Just write your favorite grocery money saver tip in the comments section below to enter to win one of two $50 gift cards. Don’t forget, Safeway has a huge assortment of gift cards available for purchase, so your prize could be used for holiday gift shopping like Barnes and Noble or iTunes! (I looked, and sadly — they didn’t have Goodwill.)

And for those who don’t have a Safeway in their area, the gifts cards also good for Vons, Carrs, Genuardi’s, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Pak n’ Save.

The winner will be chosen by a random number generator at midnight, November 14th Pacific time zone. Only one entry per person please, all are allowed to enter.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Bad Hippie November 11, 2009 at 3:21 am

Hi, Katy! We don’t have those stores in my area (so I’m okay with not being in the drawing), but I just wanted to ask – have you done a post on shopping/cooking with food allergies? We have THREE (count ’em) separate allergies and/or intolerances in my family, and that’s what drives my food bill up. It’s hard for me to shop for “cheap” knock off stuff – I can’t have corn (or HFCS/corn syrup), so I do make most of our meals from scratch. It’s just buying the base ingredients that sometimes gets tricky!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl November 11, 2009 at 3:25 am

Oooh, I have a Safeway right down the road from me.

It’s hard to pick only ONE tip, so I’ll just share one that’s near and dear to my heart. To save money on groceries, it’s really important to use the food you buy instead of letting it go to waste.

So, plan better, keep an eye on your fridge, and don’t buy more than you can realistically use.


Deanna G. November 11, 2009 at 4:34 am

I don’t have too many tips but one I find helpful is: Don’t go down all the aisles, only go down the ones that have the stuff that’s on your list, you’ll avoid buying stuff you don’t need 🙂


WilliamB November 11, 2009 at 5:06 am

Since Kristen stole my idea, can I steal one of hers? Well, maybe not. ;-}

My tip: learn to cook some basics. Many of the foods we pay a lot for can be made very cheaply at home. Vinaigrette salad dressing, for example. Cookies. Jerky.

Um, yes, about that jerky. I made jerky from happy meat (from cows that lived and ate outside, no grain supplements, no feed lots, etc.) Happy meat costs a fortune. But home-made jerky made from happy meat is *still* less expensive than cheap storebought jerky from CAFO meat.

How will winners be notified?


Kris-ND November 11, 2009 at 5:16 am

I don’t think this counts, as it isn’t technically a grocery *store* tip, but we buy all our beef locally.

If you buy a quarter or a half a side of beef from the local butcher, who has a contract with all the local ranchers, it all ends up being 1.89(1.80 plus .40 processing per pound)a pound. My box will have hamburger, steaks, roasts, cube steaks, flank steaks, stew beef, etc. The steak is the same price per pound as the hamburger meat, as the roast, etc.

I happen to live in a ranching area, so our beef comes from our neighbor(grass fed, hormone free), BUT, I found that in most places, even in non ranching communities, if you can afford the upfront cost of a larger order of beef, it ends up being cheaper per lb, and of course tastes better.


Lorene November 11, 2009 at 5:35 am

I spend less at the grocery store if I bring either my husband or my oldest son with me. My husband because he questions the cost of every. single. item. I select. That’s such a pain in the patookie that I just pick up the basis and hope I can make it back another day. My oldest son because although he is ever so helpful he insists on pushing the cart and then leaves the cart at random spots in the aisle when coming to ask me “Can we get that?” “Can we get that?” “Can we get that?” He wore me out on Sunday! Actually. It just occurred to me that if I went to the store with BOTH my husband and my son their respective inclinations would cancel each other out…


Linda November 11, 2009 at 6:18 am

Sadly, we do not have a Safeway in Massachusetts near me. I think they are only on the West Coast. We have some other super low cost supermarkets like Aldi’s (new to the area) and PriceRite.

My best tip is to keep a well stocked pantry. I only shop to stock my pantry and cook from that pantry. When items are on sale, I stock up. If I don’t have a lot of money one week, I can skip my shopping trip and cook from what’s in my pantry and freezer. It works for me!


Krista@CommitmentisLiberating November 11, 2009 at 6:44 am

My best tip is to avoid the aisles that don’t have anything you need. It is so easy to go down each aisle mindlessly, but I never go down the chips/soda aisle because we don’t buy those. Out of sight – out of mind!


Jinger November 11, 2009 at 6:44 am

Cook from scratch and buy no processed packaged foods. I made a delicious. easy chocolate cake from scratch for my 21 year old’s birthday and she told me she didn’t know you could make a cake without a mix!

When I shop, I skip many aisles and just purchase the basics for healthy homemade meals.

Thanks, Katy for this offer….I’m hoping to win!


shymom November 11, 2009 at 6:50 am

Know your prices. I tend to buy the same type of items over and over so, I have a good idea as to what is a good standard sale price. When the price dips below that set point I will really stock up.


Cyndi November 11, 2009 at 6:57 am

Shop the outside of the store.


Aurora November 11, 2009 at 7:36 am

Oh, I have a Genardi’s here in PA! Here’s my tip:
Sounds so simple, but make sure to stock your pantry when you can combine coupons and sales! Sometimes its tempting when I have a coupon for a particular item to just go ahead and use it right away, but I know that if I can hold out for a week or two, chances are that item will also go on sale and I’ll get the benefit of both savings! The key for this tip is to stockpile so that you don’t have to purchase things when they aren’t on sale.


blackgirlinmaine November 11, 2009 at 7:51 am

Sounds silly but eating before I go grocery shopping always saves me money. Otherwise I make impulse buys and get off track with my budget.


Erika November 11, 2009 at 9:37 am

we DO have a safeway… 🙂 so please enter me in the drawing.

my biggest money saver is using a list. i used to meander through the aisles and make dinner decisions as i shopped… but for the last year i’ve been using a carefully thought-out list and our grocery bill is less than 1/2 of what it used to be. it’s also more veggie/fruit oriented because those meals take more planning (unlike processed food) which also makes it cheaper.


Karen November 11, 2009 at 9:58 am

One of my favorite ways to save $ at the grocery store is by discovering generic or store-brand items that are the same or sometimes better than name brands, for quite a bit less. Don’t be afraid to try them out. I also recently discovered the bulk section! Thanks for a great blog and the chance to win! I live in Portland and love the local tips.


Judy November 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

We don’t have Safeway in NM, but what I’ve found is buying spices, oatmeal, nuts, and some other items from bulk at the health food type stores is much cheaper than shopping at the grocery store. Buying fruits and veggies in season, and shopping from a list made from the weekly ads and stocking up.


Mandee Jo November 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

Make a meal plan and shopping list so you won’t be tempted to buy food you will waste or expensive snacks


Keri November 11, 2009 at 10:49 am

I am a long-time lurker of your board and love it! You really help me think about things differently, thank you!

My grocery tip is – Don’t be afraid to try store brands! I have found that many store brands are just as good as the brand names and you aren’t being charged extra for the fancy packaging and advertising. Some aren’t as good, but it’s worth the effort to try to find things that work for you and your family.


thenonconsumeradvocate November 11, 2009 at 10:53 am

I will e-mail the winner to let them know the good news.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Katie November 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

In the opposite of Lorene,

Leave the SO at home. Otherwise we end up buying tons of junk food and lots of sugary drinks. He must shop thirsty because he always insists upon buying at least $20 worth of drinks when I can make homemade ice tea for pennies (and he loves it). On the other hand, maybe this is his way of getting out of participating in the grocery shopping chore…………


Angela November 11, 2009 at 11:10 am

Hard to pick just one- I guess simple price comparisons while you’re shopping. It’s amazing how much prices can vary. for example, a generic box of saltines costs 99 cents, which can be $3 or $4 if you buy Krispy brand. And they try to confuse you with sizes, so check the per unit price.


K Ditzler November 11, 2009 at 11:15 am

My tip to save money on groceries?

Don’t buy snacks. And! Don’t eat meat. (I find meat to be really expensive. But sometimes we splurge!)


fairydust November 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

Buy the loss leader items from the Sunday circulars and whenever possible, use coupons on those items – double whammy for saving 🙂


Gigi November 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm

My favorite Safeway tip is to go online to and check out their coupons section. There’s both virtual ones that you can load onto your rewards card and Safeway-only printable ones that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. I’ve saved a ton of money doing that.


Cinny November 11, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Please don’t enter me into the contest – No Safeways in Madison, WI-
My tip(s) is to know the store you are shopping. I basically shop at one store for most of my groceries and buy many of the same items over and over. I know when things are on sale dirt cheap and stock up. I also make up my meal plans based on many of the items that are on sale in their ad that comes out on Thursday. It’s a double bonus if I can combine a coupon with the sale. I only clip coupons for things that we normally use. Like a lot of other comments, I try to stay away from the processed foods and cook many things from scratch.


GLM November 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I go the the store website and plan my meals off of that, before I even go to the store. If it isn’t on sale, it generally doesn’t get bought. That way, when I’m in the store, I already have a plan and can get in and out quickly, too!


Rachel November 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Thanks so much for this opportunity! My tip is to plan what you’re making for meals based on the “loss leaders” (generally the items on the front cover of the weekly ad). Also, buy extra meat when the prices are stellar, but freeze it right away, rather than putting it in your fridge thinking you’ll “do it later”. Thown out food, no matter how good the price, is not a good deal. Thanks again!


Michael November 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Always make a list before you go – and stick to it! I use an app in my iPod with a premade list that makes it really simple and keeps me from forgetting things!


Kate November 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I use the pantry principle for the most part. I stock up on items when they are bargains, then figure out what to cook/eat based on what I have on hand.


Stephanie November 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I tend to spend a lot on groceries, but I consider the food I eat my “health insurance” and it gives me the energy to get through working full-time and taking classes. That being said, I do add up my purchases as I go- good for math skills and good for realizing when you’re spending too much! Thanks for the amazing blog!


BarbS November 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I know you asked for one tip. I hope it’s ok to share two:

Make a meal plan and list in advance. I never thought this would work for me, and some weeks it doesn’t, but it definitely saves me significant cash (and stress). My thanks to Kristen @ the frugal girl for convincing me to try it.

And, simple though it sounds, always have a snack before I go to the store. Always. It makes a big difference.


Louise November 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

My tip is to look high, look low, avoid middle height items. The “right at eye level” primo real estate is purchased by big brands like Nabisco and Pepsi to make their products much easier to find and buy. The cheaper items are often on the bottom or top shelves. Stoop to save!


Beth November 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Safeway is my standby–there’s one nearby in Menlo Park (most others nearby are specialty stores and are more expensive).

My tip would be to compare unit pricing on all packages, even if they’re on sale. Last time I bought laundry detergent, the smaller sizes were actually a better price per unit than the larger ones, and they’re more convenient to carry to the laundromat.


Melissa November 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm

My tips are: always bring a little calculator with you, so you can compare unit prices, especially when the store uses different units for two different brands of the same product (ounces vs. grams, for instance). And, even though I make a list and bring the pertinent coupons with my list, I always go ahead and throw my little coupon holder in my purse, just in case I run across a great deal on something that I have a coupon for, but didn’t intend to buy on this trip. What a bummer it would be to have to return to the store for one item.


KScott-CA November 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Shop on a full stomach.


ksmedgirl November 11, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Learn when things are marked down and hit the store then. For example, the best time to look for meats marked down at my local store (Dillon’s) is early in the morning. Baked goods are marked down and put out at a specific time. Coupons can still be used if an item is marked down, for a double score!


laura November 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm

I have lots of money saving tips for the grocery store, but my favorite is to take a calculator. As soon as the total hits $100 (I shop once a week), I’m done. If there is anything else I need, something has to come out of the cart. I usually find a few things I don’t really need that can go so I can buy the things I do need.


Emily November 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Plan your meals for the week, make a list, and stick to the list. Don’t buy anything that’s not on the list, even if you think you might need it (but aren’t sure). Make sure your list covers the entire week so you avoid going to the market for one or two items (and ending buying 20) mid-week.

Now, if only I could follow this rule I would be doing great!

Also, don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, and try to go without the kids.


Karen November 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

My tip is a variation on a common theme – shop from a list. But I took it a step further and I used my computer and made a checklist of all the things I normally buy – organized it by the layout of my store and hang it on the fridge.

When enough things are circled that I need, I go and stick to my list. That eliminates shopping too often and wasting food or getting off track and buying impulse things.


Tina November 11, 2009 at 6:54 pm

1. Meal plan before going
2. Shiop with a list
3. Work out the deals I want to do on paper at home so I know exactly what to buy.
4. Remember to take my coupons 😉


Jean M November 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Favorite tips:

1. Look in the discounted meat section. I’ve found everything from hamburger to pork chops to nice cuts of steak to entire roasts. Goes right in the freezer, and then I can have an assortment of things to choose from when I haven’t a clue what’s for dinner.

2. Look in the day-old rack. I find bagels, dinner bread, ciabattas, and sometimes pastries that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy but are a nice treat for the kids.


J. November 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Check what you have on hand already before you go to the grocery store, then make a list, then–most importantly–stick to the list at the store!


Deb November 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Learn to cook from scratch & keep your staples well stocked (rotate your inventory, and keep a magnetic board on your fridge for making a grocery list as your supplies deplete).

Precooked, prepackaged, processed foods are expensive and generally less healthy. Cook from scratch, and make delicious soups & stews, then freeze them in mason jars. That supply will come in handy on days you just don’t feel like cooking – you’ll save a lot of money by avoiding fast food or take out on those days!


Lucia November 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm

My main goal when grocery shopping is to buy what is on sale that I need. I keep my pantry stocked that way, and can always throw together a meal at a low price. If it won’t go bad, it is stocked up!


Mamadrums November 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm

My number one grocery saving tip is to buy store brands. Safeway even has their own line of organic items. And I leave the impulsive shoppers at home.


Paul Freeman November 11, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Mine is pretty simple. Don’t cook from packaged/boxed food. Instead cook from your own recipes. This way you add what ingredients and seasonings you want or need and avoid those that will cause you to become overweight or other health related problems.
When it comes to buying, it’s better to buy in bulk and using the freshest products rather than canned or frozen items.


Ellen November 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

I miss Safeway. Our neighborhood is more Vons-based.

People have posted some great ideas, but my number one money saver is NEVER shop with hungry children. If I’m hungry when I shop, there is hope that I can override my instinct to throw things in the cart. This just doesn’t work with hungry, cranky children.

Another tip: Vons (and Safeway, I presume) has a place on their website where you can load electronic coupons directly onto your club card, eliminating the possibility of forgetting them. If you don’t have issues with shopping privacy, this can be a real money-saver.


TracyB. November 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm

My Safeway is only about 4 miles from me. My tip is only go to the store once a week at the most. The more times you go the more items you just think you have to have. It is easy to do that when you are so close to the store.

I really enjoy your blog.


Helen November 11, 2009 at 7:30 pm

When you purchase produce make sure you buy the sale items. Then when you get it home make sure it’s stored properly for the best value. If fruit is not quite ripe, you can put it in a paper bag for a day or two to ripen it. If it is ripe, plan to use it in your menu in the next day or two, and you can freeze any extras or share it with your loved ones or a needy family.


Wendy November 11, 2009 at 7:33 pm

My best tip to save money at the grocery store by staying healthy. That is, we read ingredients. Anything with artificial ingredients doesn’t make it to the cart. As expected this eliminates processed foods and drinks that are not nutritionally sound choices. When my sons ask for an item all I have to do is say read the ingredients which effectively ends the debate before it starts. Also, use only food prodcuts for cleaning such as lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar, & olive oil. My other saving grace comes from my own backyard. We raise our own chickens and our hens provide us with eggs. This spring, we aim to grow 100 percent of our own vegetables.


Sara November 11, 2009 at 7:41 pm

To get the great savings you can find matching sales and coupons WITHOUT all the work of matching and clipping – get your coupons from an online clipping service (very cheap and you can get multiples of coupons for things you buy a lot) and use message board like a full cup or hot coupon world – they do the matching for you and it’s FREE!


Jupe Blue November 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Someone else was faster with my favorite tip which is to buy spices, baking soda, baking powder, oatmeal from the bulk food bins.

My other favorite tip is to feed my kids oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve convinced them that this is the best, most fun meal there is in the morning. They get to dress it up with fresh fruit and maple syrup. Oatmeal rocks as a cheap, filling, good for you breakfast.


Karyn V November 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I look for ‘clearance’ meat then plan my meals around that! I also scour the ads & use my coupons when the items go on sale (usually about 2 weeks after the coupons hit the paper). Having a well stocked pantry and basic vegetables (onions, garlic & potatoes from costco), bagged salad, bell peppers, etc. Help me create easy, nutritious meals based on the meat I bring home. As an added bonus, the ‘clearance meat’ forces me to be creative instead of getting stuck in a food rut, making the same recipes week after week…


Pam Gotcher November 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

My trick is to try to do as much shopping as possible at ethnic grocery stores. There are both Mexican and Asian stores in my area. When I shop there I usually get twice as much food for the money! It helps to be willing to try new things too.


Saryn P November 11, 2009 at 8:23 pm

My tip takes is a few steps that allow me to maintain my weekly shopping budget. I always check the pantry, check the store ad along with my coupon matchups and meal plan before heading out to the store. I find that a few extra minutes planning save me big $ at the store. I always walk in with my list and coupon matches in hand. I also keep a running total of the items I place in my cart so that I know if there is any room left in the bidget for stocking up on any unadvertised sales/ markdowns that we come across. Please throw my hat in the ring for the Safeway giftcard…this is one of my local stores.



Jenny Stein November 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I save money by only shopping from my list, certain items at each store, and checking out my coupons and sale flyers in advance.


Jenny Stein November 11, 2009 at 8:34 pm

I save money by only shopping from my list, with certain items from each store and checking out my coupons and sales fliers before I shop.


Megan November 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

My tip is go to the store with a meal plan and specific grocery list- and don’t buy anything not on your list! Also, use coupons!


Alyssa November 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm

This may sound like alot of work, but it only takes about a half-hour per week:

1. When the Safeway/Vons sale ad shows up in my mailbox on Tuesday, I circle the items I need for the week in bold, sharpee pen.

2. Then I go to the website and check the Coupon Database for the products that I’ve circled. I also check for any extra products I need that weren’t in the ad.

3. The website tells me which Sunday paper the coupon is found in. I go to my coupon files (right next to my computer) and cut out the coupons I need. (All coupons stay in the whole sheet and are filed according to Sunday date; when people give me coupons I just add them into the correct file.)

4. Make a specific list and paper clip the coupons to the list. My list is good for the whole week (I menu plan).

5. Go shopping and manage to save a ton: the store has discounted the items for the week, plus I use coupons on top of that! (Sometimes I even get free stuff!)


Alisa November 11, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Buy real food instead of processed. Like Michael Pollan says, if his grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, don’t buy it (easier said than done but worth working toward).


Sarah November 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I always shop from the bulk bins when they are available. You can get huge savings on pasta, beans and cereal and only buy as much as you need. Also, although it is a small savings, bring your own bags for 5 cents off apiece at many stores.


Gena November 11, 2009 at 10:25 pm

My tip:
Try the generic. If you don’t like it, try the next cheapest brand up, until you find your ‘sweet spot’. The cheapest isn’t always the best for you, but the name brand you’re used to isn’t always the best price for you.


Klara Le Vine November 11, 2009 at 10:42 pm

WOW – I love your readers – and so glad Sarah mentioned bringing your own bags – I’m a bit forgetful, will put the bags in the car and forget to take them into the store – so then I put all my food back into the shopping cart and bag them when I get to the car :>)

Are you judging or Safeway? because if it’s Safeway, makes sense that all those who promoted use of store coupons, loss leaders, safeway site is to the benefit of Safeway (I even took notes for you: Karen, Keri, Angela all said store brand, Rachel, loss leaders, Lucia, on sale, Gigi, Ellen, GLM, Sara, all use the magic of the internet and Safeway’s site, Kate also says stock up on bargains, as does Mamadrums, Wendy, KarynV and Alyssa – now how on earth do you pick??

I have something Safeway won’t want to hear – when I lived in the States I went to Price Club, a warehouse, and got everything in bulk, then I’d go to Farmer’s Market for the rest of my produce (Price Club also had produce in bulk) – that’s somewhat close to Pam’s buying in ethnic stores – some products I’d go to a restaurant supplier for (also bulk).

But if it’s you who’s choosing I loved all the plan your meals, don’t waste food, cook from scratch, don’t shop when hungry, and leave kids/hubby at home – and for me personally, I loved the don’t buy meat – vegetables and grains and beans are sooooooooo much healthier (will save in medical costs in the long run) than meat and dairy and cost a lot less!!


Sherry Worthy November 11, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I save money by share shopping with friends and family. We split the cost of items in bulk or that we only need small amounts of. It works well for us and helps reduce food waste.


m November 11, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Lots of good advice from readers. Thanks!

One thing I like to do is a periodic fact finding mission when the store is least busy (I am a very early morning person, but I’m sure there are other times the store is quiet). Sip a cup of complimentary coffee or bring a cup from home. Cruise the aisles at leisure, check out items high and low, read labels, discover new products, visit with the butcher, baker and produce manager to learn what and when they mark down items and listen to their suggestions for best buys. This field trip could make the difference about when you shop (for markdowns) and items you will select when you are in a hurry.

Yes, count me in on the drawing… I love Safeway.


Sara Reyes November 11, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Agree with many of the answers we use a combination of tricks:

buy our beef in large sizes and have the butcher cut them for us (not only does it take me back to growing up in rural Lancaster County PA but we have a better “feeling” for the beef) We also get the pasture / non-feedlot beef.

shop on a full stomach and shop only the aisles you need.

Don’t be afraid to stop and compare products — proud of my daughter who lines them up and compares on a shelf. She usually ends up lecturing some unwary customers. She started doing this in college and hasn’t stopped.

Make everything you can from scratch, not only do you control the ingredients but there are plenty of recipes and shortcuts to find to make your own “mixes” and they’ll taste so much better.

And really, if you don’t know how to cook, invest in a good cooking class or get a friend who does to give you some tips. It will save you so much over the long run plus make you healthier. And it can be a fun family project.


hiptobeme November 12, 2009 at 12:17 am

My favourite is when the Safeway has buy one get on free specials. I use it to buy warehouse packs, repackage them and stock my freezer. I hope I win!


Elizabeth B November 12, 2009 at 12:31 am

Never, never go to the store hungry. 😉


Kristen November 12, 2009 at 12:54 am

I haven’t had a chance to read through all the tips yet, but these are fantastic.

My tip is something I am working on now: select and prepare a meal based on the store’s weekly loss leader. Whole chicken down to 69-cents per pound? Guess what you’re eating this week! It’s a fun way to try new recipes and ideas, too. Of course, keeping a price book (a la The Tightwad Gazette) is infinitely helpful in this regard.


Keema November 12, 2009 at 1:04 am

I use most of the tips that have been mentioned,keeping an eye on the fridge to avoid waste, and before I go to the store I look up recipes I want to cook and make a list from that. I find it really helpful to do a big shopping trip at the beginning of the month, then pick up a few items as needed thereafter.


Karen November 12, 2009 at 1:45 am

Great tips, everyone! My tip–Use the whole chicken; after baking, cut the meat off and serve, then save all bones etc and make your own stock. Stock freezes beautifully, so you can always have this frozen asset on hand.


Kathy November 12, 2009 at 5:57 am

Yup. Don’t shop when you’re hungry, or you risk blowing your budget and your diet. 🙂


BarbS November 12, 2009 at 8:06 am

I couldn’t agree more! The grocery store I go to less than half a mile from home, and on my way (walking) from the train station. It’s so tempting to just “pop in” for one little thing…that too often ends up being TEN little things. I try to avoid it by having a list and a meal plan.


Tonya November 12, 2009 at 8:11 am

I love my Safeway! I shop there even more now that my local store doubles coupons up to a dollar. This is because my money saving tip is to buy multiple items (with a coupon, of course) when they go on sale. My cupboards, freezer, and pantry are well-stocked due to this savvy shopping trick.


Cindy November 12, 2009 at 8:21 am

I go grocery shopping once a month since my husband likes to go with me (he is the big spender). If needed I stop by myself for absolute necessities. Train your family….once something is gone…you wait til the next shopping trip.


Miss Blueberry November 12, 2009 at 8:56 am

My best tip is when buying round steak in bulk for fajitas, beef stroganoff, etc., to ask the butcher to cut the large pieces into “fajita style.” There is no charge for this, and if cooking in bulk for freezing, it frees up a bunch of time that would be spent slicing through pounds of meat!

I also always bring my own bags!

Thanks for the contest, Katy!


WilliamB November 12, 2009 at 9:01 am

In my area – far more urbanized – buying a quarter cow runs about $3.50 and up/lb processed. This is more than the cheap cuts, less than the expensive ones.


Marj M. November 12, 2009 at 9:18 am

Never shop hungry is the first. Never take my husband is the second. (he wants chips and junk) I cook from scratch…… much cheaper. Last……all these tips seem to be followed by all.
Don’t ya love it?


Jacquelyn November 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

My favorite grocery money saving tip is to avoid grocery store shopping whenever possible. I buy the majority of my family’s food from a grocery co-op, farm-direct, dairy-direct, and from the farmer’s market. Staying out of the grocery store aisles with their multitude of temptations solely designed to make me slow down and spend more money saves me a lot! However, when I need to run out for a case of beer or some last-minute forgotten item, my neighborhood store is a Safeway, so a gift card wouldn’t go to waste on me!


Christine T. November 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

I save money by buying minimally processed foods that are low on the food chain such as dried beans, rice, quinoa, and produce. Hopefully it will help me save on health bills down the road too!


sherry asp November 12, 2009 at 10:49 am

I usually only shop the perimeter for produce, dairy and meat. After that I shop the isle with baking goods, purchase my flour, sugar, etc. and make as much as possible from scratch. This allows me to avoid purchasing most boxed/packaged food and save money.


Danielle November 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

My favorite tip is to shop from the food bins at the store. I get my pasta, beans, cereal, kid snacks, baking items and more from them. The prices of these items are less expensive because there is no packaging and the quality the same.


Annette November 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm

When I’ve had to seriously economize, I would keep track of the prices (per ounce) of the items I regularly use in alphabetical order, peruse the advertising circulars very carefully to see which (if any) were on sale, stock up when they were, and basically feed my family on the bargains. Now with the internet it is easier to find recipes based upon ingredients you have on hand.


Queen Lucia November 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I’m with most everyone else: take stock of what you have; make a realistic menu plan based on the circular; make a list and stick to it; keep track of spending as you go. Once a week I set aside time to make healthy snack and dessert items for the week, so we’re not tempted to add “special treats” to the list.

By the way, this is the only blog I follow where I read all the comments with every post – so thanks, everyone!


Hydra November 12, 2009 at 4:34 pm

One way to save, I’ve found is to not go shopping. Don’t go just out of habit or because you need a few things. Sometimes when I feel the need to go shopping, I look around and decide that I can probably get away without shopping for another week. Forces me to clean out the pantry and prevent more food waste.


Kate November 12, 2009 at 5:33 pm

It’s hugely important for me to go to the grocery store with a specific list of everything I need for the week’s meals. If I don’t have the list, it’s like I’m lost. I spend 3o minutes or so writing it up (and planning the meals), then go to the store with blinders. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get purchased.


linda November 12, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I always make sure I’m not the least bit hungry when I go to the grocery store. I also always have a list that I have made after I go through what I have at home. I also don’t shop the whole store, just the aisles where there are items that I need on my list.


Alicia Epperly November 12, 2009 at 7:05 pm

I stay familiar with my pantry and the normal cost of items I keep on hand. That way I know when and item is on sale and go ahead and purchase more. I also use the built-in calculator on my phone to calculate the price per unit.


Becky November 12, 2009 at 8:56 pm

All are great tips! I try to live by the motto of “people first, things second” so my grocery shopping does not involve driving all over town to get the lose leaders. I am fortunate enough to live less than a mile from our King Soopers (Safeway is 7 miles away) and each week I stock up on what the “bargains” are but I am also willing to spend a few more pennies for a few things because I have gotten to know the meat guy, the produce lady, the checkers etc. and they have made it a point to get to know me and my family and that relationship is priceless.


Mary Bigger November 12, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Great tips; I also try to find a store that consistently has good prices on what I need, but stay aware of the others’ strong points. My newest frugal grocery activity is an extension of the zero food waste goal. I include a bone tub in the freezer and make veggie stock on refrig. straighten day. Even tired lettuce and greens can join broccoli and asparagus trimmings and potato water to make a fine soup stock. I freeze it until I have enough to can or use in a project. Fat trimmings go out on the bulkhead for the birds.


Jeni November 13, 2009 at 12:04 am

I am a coupon lover. I really love the $10 off a $50 purchase coupon from Safeway, the coupons that you can load to your Safeway card online, and of course the double your manufacturer coupon that comes in the Safeway add each week. I also really like the rewards program at Fred Meyer. They send out great coupons to reward members.
I have also found that making a shopping list before you go is key!


Rich MOMents November 13, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Shop only AFTER you’ve recently eaten a good meal. Shopping on an empty stomach = extra purchases…esp. if you’ve got kids along! 😉


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