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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Grocery Savings Strategies

This is this my most recent shopping trip.  I paid $61.24 (plus tax) for this batch of food.  Normally, I am an avid couponer, but most coupons are for nonperishable food items.  It is very hard to find deals on meat or find coupons for meat items.  Some meat packaging websites will offer coupons for their brand of meat (such as Hormel) and the brand that is store owned, Red River Ranch Angus, but those are few and far between or are only for specific items.

My strategy for saving on meat is twofold:  First, I know the days the meat is marked down at the store where I shop, which is Homeland.  Second, I have a coupon that is issued by the store for $5.00 off a $50.00 purchase.  These $5/$50 coupons are usually available in fundraising booklets.  One place to find such a coupon is on the back of the Homeland Cares coupon books (see photo below).  The second is from a fundraising book called Enjoy the City.*  which can be purchased online.

I check the marked down meat first.  I then stack up $50 worth of meat, and use my $5/50 coupon.  By using that coupon, it automatically takes my purchase down by 10%.  Add in the markdown on the meat, and you've got significant savings.  Even if the meant is not marked down, by using the $5 off $50 coupon, you've automatically reduced the cost by 10%. 

Today's purchases included extra items, making the total a bit more than $50, but everything will be used to prepare the meat I purchased.

Here is a list along with prices: 

Bell Peppers x4  @ $0.79 each = $3.16
Green onions x1 @ 0.69 each = $0.69 (not a great deal but I needed them)
Yellow Onions x2 @ $0.79/lbs. = $1.01 
Jar sliced jalapenos x1 $1.89 =  $1.89
Campbell's Chicken gravy x1 =  $1.49
Best Choice chopped green chiles x4 $0.99 each = $3.96
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $2.99/lbs. @ 2.65 lbs. = $7.95  (the one item not on sale)
Beef Top Blade Patio Steaks = $3.31
Ground beef 1.5 lbs. @ $3.84 each = $11.52 
Stew Meat (sirloin chunks) 1 lbs.. x1 = $3.94
Stew Meat 2.5 lbs.  = $7.86
Stew Meat 3.5 lbs.. = 10.07
Boneless Pork Tenderloins = $4.26

Subtotal $61.11
Minus $5.00 coupon
Final total with tax**  = $61.24

*Enjoy the City books are available for many metropolitan areas and may be directly purchased from the website linked above.  They are not just for Oklahoma.  Most major grocery store chains have coupons for a certain dollar amount purchased in these books, so it is worth your time to check into them.They also contain numerous coupons for other activities, restaurants, and stores in your area.

** A note about sales tax.  Even if you use coupons and bring your total down, tax is charged on the original dollar amount, not the amount minus coupon, so keep this in mind when figuring totals.  Particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Hope Kids Outreach, for whom I am a board member, is selling the Homeland Cares Coupon books for $5.00 each.  You make your money back using the $5/50 coupon on the back, and it contains $40.00 of manufacturer coupons that often double at Homeland and are not available elsewhere.  If you are interested in purchasing one, please let me know in the comments and leave an email, and I'll be happy to contact you.

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