Friday, April 10, 2009

Grocery Shopping Tips for Families on a Budget

This week I've been featuring tips for shopping on a budget, plus meal ideas for my friend, Jane, and her family of four.

On Tuesday, I posted Jane's basic shopping list, which she keeps as a Word doc on her computer.

Today, at Jane's request, I met her at Whole Foods and shadowed her while she did her weekly shop, offering tips for saving on her grocery list, which she had with her.

Jane works part-time so she suggested we meet mid-morning for these reasons:
  1. "It's not busy in the mornings so with less people about, shopping is hassle-free."
  2. "I won't be hungry at 10.30, so If I'm not hungry then I'm less likely to buy on impulse."
  3. "It's much easier to shop when the kids are in school. When they come with me, I end up caving into them, buying things I would not normally buy."
As we walked into Whole Foods we picked up The Whole Deal which contains coupons and the Good Stuff For Less flier, which lists What's on Sale.

Jane's already a pretty savvy shopper, but I did remind her of several of the money-saving tips I posted on Tuesday -- you might want to read over those again.

She took advantage of a number of sale items:
  • Half & Half, 2 pints for $3
  • 365-brand Large White eggs 2-dozen for $4
  • Whole Catch Mahi-Mahi for $8.99 (which will make one meal for the whole family)
  • Buy one Get one Free 365-brand pasta
  • 365-brand Black Tea, Fig Bars, Orange Juice, Yogurt, and Chopped Spinach.
  • And it's Easter on Sunday, so her treat this week for the family is mini Easter eggs.

Using coupons, buying Good Stuff For Less and 365-generic brand product, and getting credit for using 7 of her own grocery bags, Jane spent $170. And this week for her family of four she'll make:
  • 16 packed lunches
  • 6 evening meals
  • Plus, tonight she has 2 guests coming for dinner (total of 8 people)
  • And this Sunday she's going to an Easter brunch for 8 people (I suggested she make Savory Bread Pudding for the brunch and use some of her eggs and the Half & Half.)
Shopping for a family and saving on your grocery bill is possible at any grocery store using the above tricks. Whole Foods Market just happens to be my favorite store because there, I feel I can get the best overall value for money.

I do recommend one-stop shopping, in other words, do your research and identify the one store that you feel gives you best overall value and become a loyal customer.

Most grocers offer loyal-customer discounts and when you're on a budget, why not take advantage of these programs just as Jane took advantage of the values at her local Whole Foods.

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