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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saving at the Grocery Store's BOGO sale

     I want to explain how I save money at the grocery store. I rarely if ever use a coupon and usually only if it's available on the shelf or taped to the item at the grocery store. I just follow the sales and stock up whenever what we need or can use is on sale. And you buy enough to last you until you think it'll go on sale again. What really makes this work is having a freezer. Helps if you have storage space for a pantry as well. (I use an unfinished room in the basement for that.)
     This week's sale at Russ's IGA Market is a huge Buy One Get One (BOGO) free sale. They had items all over the store on sale with this offer and I took advantage of some of them, like Kraft sliced cheese (reg $2.79). The big savings though was the meat department. I did get a 1lb tube of pork sausage BOGO at $2.89. That brought each down to $1.45. A package of Little Smokies BOGO was $5.65. Normally that's too expensive for my budget, but two packages at that price I can work with. And it's a treat for the boys.
     I think the real savings though was from the butcher. Boneless Beef London Broil Thick Cut at $4.59/lb was BOGO. I got 2 each 4.5lbs. Normally $6.75 each, half that with the sale. I also got Boneless Beef Top Round Roast at $4.29/lbs BOGO. Normally $7.76 each, half that with the sale. And I found a Boneless Beef Brisket Flat Cut on Manager's Special marked down from $12.83 to just $5.45. Manager's Special's are a great way to find meat on sale. Just either eat right away or freeze.
     I also got two fresh (not frozen) whole fryer chickens BOGO. Original price is $1.59/lb for $6.44, but BOGO that works out to 80 cents a pound! Rarely does chicken fall that low, and usually it's frozen hindquarters. I've found whole frozen turkeys on sale around or after the holidays at 49 cents a pound as the cheapest. (So yes I have a few turkey's in my freezer. Why eat it only on holidays?) I will roast a whole chicken for one meal, then use the carcass to make stock. I then freeze half the stock to cook with later, and use half to make homemade chicken noodle soup. Any leftover chicken meat goes into the soup, or if more leftover, into another meal.
     I saved a total of $40.76 today at the grocery store taking advantage of the BOGO sale. I spent only $81.09 total for 29 items, 12 of which were large packages of fresh meat.
     Meat is one of the most expensive items in the grocery store so it really helps your budget to get it on sale. Before freezing, wrap and seal in freezer paper. I then write on the package, what it is, the date, and the weight so you know what size roast it is, etc. Be sure to rotate your freezer so new items go on the bottom so you're always eating the oldest items first. I've never had any problem with freezer burn on any meat that I'd wrapped in freezer paper, even if it's over a year old. Once thawed and cooked, it tastes fine. I will get freezer burn on anything tossed in the freezer if you leave it the way its packaged from the store.
   Today's fresh sale meat from the butcher, the huge roasts and steaks, cost the same as the ground beef! Ground beef 80% lean was on sale for $2.49/lb. I almost asked the butcher to grind one of the roasts up for me. Most grocery store meat departments will grind meat for you free if you ask. Just last month I find a pork roast on manager's special cheaper than all the ground pork so had them grind it for me. I would have to say that 95% or more of all meat I buy is on sale. Rarely do I pay full price. One hint for finding manager's specials (which is nothing more than the meat put out the day before that didn't sell) is to shop early in the morning as that's when they mark it down. I stock up on ground beef and try not to pay more than $2/lb for it. It can drop to $1.89 or more rarely $1.69/lb for 73% lean ground beef. On the other hand, 93% lean ground beef is over $4/lb. Many times to get the lowest price on ground beef you need to buy it in larger quantities, either tubes or family packs. I either eyeball it, or use a home kitchen scale to divide it up at home into 1lb or 1.5lb packages and wrap in freezer paper. It's cheaper than Ziploc type resealing freezer bags and I think works better for longer periods of time.
    You really need a freezer to stock up on meat like this though. I have two full size chest freezers. One out in the garage and one in my basement. I got the first off the local am radio call in program to sell items. It cost me $10 and nice folks with a truck from church picked it up for me and helped me get it down into the basement. The other freezer was given to us by nice friends that retired and were moving out of state. It even came half full of food! I got my son's boy scout troop, with a truck to pick it up and deliver it to our garage. (That counted towards their community service time.) I've gotten very lucky to have the freezers I do. To sort the food in them, I just use paper grocery bags. Near the top of the bag I write in a permanent marker what it is (pork roast, beef roast, ground beef, etc.) then just place items in the appropriately labeled bags.

1 comment:

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