Shopping Trip – The “I’m About to Give Up on Kroger” Edition

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on October 11, 2011

Shopping with the $5 Dinner Mom

So I’m about this close (fingers pinched together) to giving up on Kroger entirely. And I can’t believe I just said that.  I can’t really put my finger on it. They just aren’t having the rocking sales that they used to. I can’t remember their last sale for ground beef…ages ago it seems. I’ve long since run out of my stockpile and end up buying it when I can squeeze it into the budget, or whenever I see it marked down. I quit buying apple juice a long time ago…because the cost nearly doubled. (And my kids don’t really need it anyways.)

It’s not their fault really. I know there are many, many, many factors in play with these kinds of things.

But it’s forcing me to rethink they way I grocery shop.

We upped our grocery budget last week…but I think if I’m a little bit more creative…and willing to drive to another store in town…I might be able to get the budget back down.

Shopping exclusively at Kroger used to work for us…but that might not be the case anymore. (I should add that Kroger is the only grocery store within 10-15 minutes drive from our house…and it’s almost in our backyard, so it’s hyper convenient. And I can’t wait for the new Earth Fare to open up…will only be about 5 minutes drive!)

Thoughts…do you shop at multiple grocery stores? Are you now hunting sales at different stores to keep up with the rising food costs?

Kroger


We had family over for dinner on Sunday, so I had to run back into the store…spent a little less than $20 for a bunch of burgers (that were marked down!), buns and watermelon. So that left me with about $60 to spend for the week.

Just an average trip. I did snag a large package of stew meat, marked down to $9.92. I divided it up into 3 plastic baggies, added some seasoning (minced onion, garlic and onion seasoning and some olive oil, salt and pepper) then put it all in the freezer.

The only coupons I used were for the milk. I needed a week off from ” couponing.” So I took one.

Total spent at Kroger: $60.92 + $19ish

Total for the month: $82.84 + $79.92 = $162.76…right on track for the month!

My grocery store’s ad scan and my “Shopping FAQ!”

Thanks to Andrea at Savings Lifestyle and Marcy at Stretching a Buck for posting the best deals and coupon matchups at my stores each week! Find the coupon match-ups for your grocery store at The Frugal Map!

A

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaina October 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

I don’t think you can have one grocery store anymore. With big retailers like Target offering groceries and the other stores having their promos, if it’s feasible you have to shop around. My dad has been couponing since I was born, so about cough29yearsagocough, and he’s always had several stores that he went to based on sales. I wouldn’t drive all over town, but if they’re convenient use them.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

LOL Shaina!!! *cough*

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Nicole October 11, 2011 at 9:29 am

I think you have to go to multiple stores, hate to say it but I go to Walmart and pricematch most things to trim down the stores I go to and get my meat at my local store. It does save money, but I have a family of 5 too and a VERY limited budget we cant go over and by going to 2 (sometimes if its a REALLY good sale 3) places I got our budget down to $150 a month… Sign of the times!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 9:55 am

Good for you Nicole!!

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Shelia October 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

Nicole, way to go! I have been excited to get our budget down to $400 a month for a family of 4. Looks like I can cut down a lot more (we are down to one income now).

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Katie October 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

I realized this about a year ago…our store that used to run awesome sales isn’t really doing it anymore. Even a friend who used to post coupon matches and her totals at the store (which were phenomonal) is not doing that anymore. I too, am missing the ground beef sales, and we don’t have a Kroger anywhere near us. It must be nationwide. Bummer. I do shop multiple stores and have not really come up with a plan yet, so I’m still spending more than I should. I hope you share with us your new plan, if you decide to do multiple stores. Perhaps it can benefit many of us :)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

I will be sharing Katie…It’s like a fun new experiment and challenge for us all!

Erin

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Susan October 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

i heard a rumor over the summer that the drougt would cause the ranchers to need to cull their heards thus flooding the market w/ beef….unfortunately i think that was all it was. i miss the $1.99/# beef sales

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

Right Susan…I’ve heard that being the main factor for the beef!

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Sara October 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

You should email Kroger a link to your blog. Maybe it would help. I find it frustrating that Kroger won’t mail me a flyer. I live about 20 mins outside of town and, although I tune into websites, I like to have a hard copy to look at. They want me to drive to grab a flyer.

I used to see bloggers post these extreme coupon pics from Kroger mega sales, but I’m not seeing it at all anymore. I miss it. And 79 cents for a can of kroger brand green beans? Please.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

Wow…that’s too bad. Does it not come with a newspaper? And yes…I’m holding out for the $.50/can for vegetables too!

The Mega Events are still happening, they are “OK”, but not as they were!

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Michelle October 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

ALDI! I never pay more than .49 cents for a can of veggies anymore.

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Jackie October 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I used to love Kroger, but once they stopped doubling and tripleing coupons (I live in Texas) and the sales were not that good, I stopped shopping there (unless I need milk or bread), even though it is only 5 mins away. I now do most of my shopping at Heb, which usually has great sales and their store brand products are really good. I also shop at Randalls and Target if I have coupons for items on sale. I find it necessary to go to multiple stores in order to stay within budget.

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Gina October 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

I’m actually glad to hear you say this! I’ve been feeling the same way about our grocery stores here (and it’s not just one, it’s all of them). The sales haven’t been good and we’ve totally given up on ground beef (I’m using turkey) and apple juice (my son is still mad). It’s been really frustrating, and I finally gave myself a little more money in the budget just to account for the changes. I do go to multiple stores, but I’m careful about running all over town just to save a few pennies. It’s not worth the gas or my time. I’m hunkering down and baking more instead of buying snacks, and I’m limited portion sizes on everything. Definitely feeling the pinch!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 9:59 am

You can count on me to always tell it like it is!

The “gas and time” balance is the hardest, I think. Because it costs me lots of time and gas to get the next nearest grocery store…which is at least 10 minutes away. I do my best to “be in that area,” but I’m not going to make up errands just to “be in that area.”

Sigh.

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Aaryn October 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

I gave up on Kroger this summer when they got rid of double and triple coupons in my area. I was a loyal Kroger shopper before, but now I definitely shop around.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’m sure you are not the only one who gave up on them. We still have double coupons here in OH, but I know it won’t be long before they take them away from us too! :(

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Rachel Davis October 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

I am so glad that I am not the only one about to give up on Kroger. It has gotten really frustrating. In the town that I live in we have Kroger, Aldi and Walmart. And as much as I used to think Walmart was more expensive, they are now less expensive than Kroger. I will say that I usually hit all 3 on a weekend. However I am thinking about cutting Kroger out completely due to their rising prices.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:01 am

Rachel – I’m hearing/seeing the same price switch here that you’ve mentioned. Walmart used to be more expensive (2-3 years ago), not so much now!

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BrandyU October 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

You can definitely see the difference in prices in only a few short months and in turn my shopping trips are a lot higher than they used to be. I have only been to Kroger a handful of times since May because I’m spending my dollars at Food Lion and a couple of local stores depending on who has the best sales.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:01 am

Smart shopper you are!

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Rachel@Time for Good Food October 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

I was just lamenting on FB how I am putting off going to the grocery store. I hate it!!!! And I do find that I have to shop at multiple stores, which gets old, but it’s the only way that I have found to eat mostly organic and not spend too much. The one good thing that may come out of rising food costs is that people will stop buying so much processed junk and cook and bake more! :)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

You are spot on about the cutting out the junk, Rachel!!!

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Heather October 11, 2011 at 9:59 am

I agree with all of you, I been noticing this here (in indiana) for the past 3 months. Granted I am on foodstamps and thats limited on the budget, I am noticing its way off. I am down to couponing and using my 5 dollar dinner book, I am thinking I need to become more of a homemade type of mommy just to get past this box food sales. I go to aldi’s ( a couple times) and Krogers and walmart and they are all this way. I used to use krogers for all my shopping and now I feel I cant.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:04 am

Definitely Heather…cooking and baking from scratch is way cheaper than the boxes…even with the sales on the boxed products. Keep up the good work!

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Kristi Hesse October 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

Do you have an Ingles where you live? Its worth a drive. We’ve been shopping there lately- they have really good meat, good prices, a good selection of organics and specialty items. I can’t stand Wal-Mart meat, so I haven’t been in ages (except for shampoo, etc)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

We have Kroger, Meijer, Aldi, Cub Foods and Walmart where I live. There are some local grocery stores too, but too far away.

And I agree about Walmart meats…no thanks! :)

Erin

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Katy October 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

I shop Kroger/Smith’s for sales only, and yes, their sales have not been that impressive lately. A lot of grocery items I stock up on at WalMart, but I almost never get meat there (too pricy!) and only get produce there about half the time (because sometimes it just looks pathetic). To make our budget work I have to shop around.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

Smart Katy! I’m with you on the produce at Walmart…I shopped there a year ago for a while and I was impressed with their produce and their prices (which were always priced to what the other stores sales were.)

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Kimberly October 11, 2011 at 10:04 am

I have always found Kroger to be more expensive. My favorite for the area is Meijer. At one point I had a spreadsheet of the Meijer, Kroger, and Giant Eagle (for basic items at regular price), and Meijer was almost always the cheapest. When you add in sales and coupons, it got even better! I am lucky, though, in that I have a Meijer, Kroger, and Giant Eagle all at one intersection about 10 minutes from my house, so if I know there’s a great deal at one or the other, it’s not too hard to stop over.

Also, Meijer had ground beef on sale several times this summer, ranging from $1.77-$1.99. I stocked up each time, so I have quite a bit saved up. And when they have their 10/$10 sale, you can get some basic items for fifty cents or less. Oh, and I got apple juice this summer for $0.25-$0.40 each!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

Good to know Kimberly…I’ll start watching their ad more closely too! Thanks for sharing!

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Katy October 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

We shop almost exclusively at Meijer with a few supplemental trips to Payless (Kroger) because it is closer. Occasionally I can find deals at Kroger but Meijer really works best for us ecspecially their coupon offers!

Have you ever considered buying 1/2 a cow? We pay about 1.87 a pound for ours once a year and have meat to last us the whole year and then some. We get steaks, stew beef, roasts and TONS of extra lean ground beef. Just an idea.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

I’ve toyed with that idea Katy…maybe now is the time to do that! :)

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Paula October 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Katy,
I so agree! We buy a half a cow each year and the meat is so much better. Ours is all organic, raised by someone I know, and the hamburger is awesome, hardly any fat at all!

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Bannon October 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

Lately I have found Kroger to be expensive, but I think that they are similar to Giant Eagle and Meijer. I shop at all three for the loss leaders only most of the time.

The place I shop the most now is Costco. I get almost all of our vegetables there and the quality of them is much better there than at a regular grocery store. I compare prices and Costco is cheaper than the grocery store on a lot of basics like cheese, salad, waffles, milk and bananas.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

Oh, I wish we had a Costco closer…nearest one is in Cincinnati :(

Keep up the great shopping!

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Kimberly October 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I have Costco in my spreadsheet, too, and have noted which items I can get cheaper there (almost always coffee!) and which I can get cheaper at the grocery with coupons.

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alexis October 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm

We recently joined Costco to and have to drive to Cincinnati when we go. Their produce rocks, compared to Kroger and I spend less. The unfortunate part is having to plan when I’m going to justify the 40 mile drive. I can get organic products for a fraction of the cost of the regular store (flour, bread, yogurt, butter, rice etc.) My friend goes with me and we split larger items to cut the cost as well. For example, we bought a LARGE bag of Lundberg Farms Organic Rice and split it or the 10 pound bag of onions and split it too. I recently invested in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and paid $150 less than Kohls. Then I supplement with the local stores in my area which is only Kroger, Walmart and a small store. Kroger just changed their coupon policy for the Southwest Ohio region I haven’t read it all yet, but I’m imagining its not good.

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Brenda Riley October 11, 2011 at 10:06 am

What is this Earth Fare you were referring to above? And, I also am about ready to can Kroger. I can never find the things I use on sale – they know what I purchase week after week and yet when they give me a coupon at the register it is always for something I do not want nor need! What’s up with that? Don’t they see from what I have just purchased what products I normally use? They should give us sales on the products we use! I am upset that I cannot find coupons to save on purchasing MY groceries! My grocery bill has almost tripled over the past few years and there is no one but my husband and myself. I do have my grandkids over on the weekends, but I do not spend hardly any extra money on ‘junk’ food for them. I will get them a litte tad of candy and maybe an ice cream product but that’s it – the rest of my receipt is for things I NEED and groceries to cook meals with. I am about fed up but at this point, but there is nothing I can do except to continue to patronize the only food stores in my area: Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Food Depot. I do not save anywhere – if I find coffee on sale at Walmart then the other items I need will cost more there than say at Kroger. So, what choice do I have? None. I could use some help. Thanks.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

Earth Fare is “the healthy supermarket”…it’s brand new to the Dayton market. It’s like Whole Foods, but less expensive…from what I hear. It will be nice to have another option for quality food!

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Michelle October 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

I gave up on Kroger when they limited me to 1 transaction per day. I live 2 hours away from a Kroger and would always stop when I went to “town” …. but it’s not worth my time, when they only double a few coupons and limit the transaction. I do a LOT of price matching at Walmart and try to find meat sales where ever I can! I am loyal to the store that gives me the best sale/deal that week!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:13 am

That’s a good place to be loyal Michelle. Bummer about the 1 transaction…I think they are moving that way nationwide, from what I hear :(

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Dana October 11, 2011 at 10:09 am

My husband and I bought a share of beef last fall that’s pretty much lasted us to this point, so its been great. It was organic, angus beef for about $2.50 a pound. We got ground beef, steaks, roasts, and stew meat. You should look into it! I think its a great price for good quality meat, and its allowed me to leave beef off my grocery lists for a year! I’m hoping the order form comes around soon for more :)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

That’s a great price…that’d definitely be worth it at that price!

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annie October 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

I head to Fred Meyer ({our Kroger} down the hill from us when I don’t want to spend the money to head out to WinCo which is further out from us. I feel like if I can get the majority of the things I need at a similar price, then I save the money {& time!} by just heading down the hill. Additionally, I like earning the points and getting the coupons every quarter.

However, I do scan the ads and see who has the better deals on meat, cheese, etc. and am totally willing to shop around for those types of items. I usually hit Freddy’s or WinCo though. — they are my “go to” stores.

Sara: if you can, jump online and check out http://www.kroger.com and you can check out the circular right there AND grab e-coupons too!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

We will be getting a fuel center here at “my Kroger” in the next week or two. I will look forward to actually being able to use our fuel points!

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annie October 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The fuel center is wonderful!! Just knowing that I’ll save 3-cents for being a Rewards Card holder is great. Getting 10-cents off is even better!

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Erika October 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

one word: ALDI

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:23 am

Yes. I will be stopping in later today for crushed tomatoes and squash. I’ll be scouting prices out while I’m there too!

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Melissa Miller October 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

Yes, I shop at multiple stores. It can get crazy some weeks, but I need to save all I can. I have learned to shop early in the day to get the best deals and I like using sites that have coupon match ups to help me find the best deal. I miss the sales on beef.

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Emily Weiss October 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

Don’t forget to factor in the gas to the other store since it is farther and also you will be losing gas points for Krogers as well which play a factor in my budget….I stick to Kroger but will use some of my higher price coupns at WalMArt if I am going there any way.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

Right Emily…we will be getting a fuel center next week…so that is exciting! We’ve not really been able to use our fuel points because the nearest gas center is 20 minutes away. That will certainly help with overall budget!

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Lisa October 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

We don’t have any national grocery stores in our area, only Wal-Mart. The 2 grocery store here are owned by local families and they keep prices high (we gave come here from other parts of the US, so we know prices are high). Because of this, even Wal-Mart gas raised their price because they can. I find shopping very discouraging. Milk here costs more than gas.

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stephanie October 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

I go to at least two grocery stores – Tom Thumb/Safeway/Randall’s and Sprouts. Sometimes I add Target Super Center because their prices are the lowest on staples. I don’t even put my toe in the door of Kroger unless it’s a fabulous sale and only for that one particular thing. Garden is definitely going in this winter and we are buying a side of beef as well.

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teresa g October 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

Years ago, I used to go from one store to another to get the best prices and then I started calculating how much extra money I was spending on gas as well as my time. And I really wasn’t getting that many great deals doing it that way. Now, I only stop at stores when they are on my route home from work. There is a local Mexican store that has great meat and veggies at incredible prices. Target almost always has the best price on milk. Then Dominick’s for the bulk of my shopping (daughter works there and gets employee discount). Plus with Dominick’s I get the gas points :-)

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janene October 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

I live in Boise and grocery shop 2x per month. I start at Grocery Outlet since they have a lot of off brand items (but hardly never the same item for longer than a week!) and try to get as many of the items on my list as I can. I always have my grocery list made out with prices for items listed on things that I know are on a really good sale, so if I see them cheaper somewhere else I’ll get them. I then shop at WinCo and sometimes Albertson’s (only if it is a really good sale…they’re usually much more expensive). I’ll shop at Walmart for paper, household cleaning and personal products. Fortunately I live close to all stores so it doesn’t take much fuel to drive around for the best deals.

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Dawn October 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

We head to Sam’s Club about once a month…there is the membership charge, but we think it’s offset by the prices on some things we buy often. Gone are the days of $1.99 ground beef, but our Sam’s has huge tubes of ground beef for $2.89 a lb. – 90% lean I believe, and I am amazed at the folks who pass them by for the smaller, more appealing and less lean packages. We buy them and divide them up at home into smaller packages. Sometimes, we brown a bunch and season before storing for quicker meals. Also, they have pork loin for under $2 a pound all the time and their pork butt, used to make pulled pork and such, are a similar price to our local grocery chain,but we found them to be a much leaner meat, therefore getting more finished meat from the roast. Just have to know and watch the prices at Sam’s because depending on sales and coupons, they don’t always have the lowest prices on staples and paper goods.

For staples and things that are sold at every store, you can’t often beat Walmart’s prices. I don’t like the meats and produce at our local Walmart store, but I do buy almost everything else there.

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Kati October 11, 2011 at 10:58 am

If you have Aldi you should check it out. I’ve started to get a lot of my basics there because it is cheaper, and the quality is great. I think the quality of produce varies in areas, but my store has good stuff most of the time, especially when it is in season. I’ve purchased salmon, tilapia, and shrimp there, and have been able to add them to our meal plans occasionally because they are actually affordable there. We have a lot of options in our area for groceries. I tend to stick to one, and go to Aldi every other week or so, but I’ll go to another store if the sales are better that week. I hit Earth Fare or Whole Foods from time to time for allergy free stuff, and Trader Joes about once a month. Those stores are not as close to me so I definitely have to work them into errands nearby to make the gas worth it.

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Kimberly October 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Our Aldi produce is really good, and it’s nice to get things in season!

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Kayla H October 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

Oh, I wish we had an Aldi! I hear such wonderful things about it. I thought I was the only one thinking that Kroger was not running the good sales anymore. It seems like the mega event items are all things that I never need. I do shop there for the meat deals, when they have them, because I WILL NOT buy meat at Walmart. So basically this is what I do: Kroger- items I can get a good deal on with coupons (they still double/triple for now), manager’s special and sale meat and manager’s special produce, and gas- they are usually the cheapest; Walmart- anything I want to price match (although this is becoming a hassle because they don’t know their policy and ask to see the ad), and whatever else we need that is not on sale anywhere; and the a local chain- meat on sale and whatever else is on sale that I can get a good deal on because they will double coupons now. And for all of the other essentials, CVS! I used to only shop at Kroger because there were so many sale+coupon items that I could get, that I only had a few essentials left to get. Now I have a Walmart price book on my frequently purchased items to compare, but Walmart prices go up nearly every week so that isn’t much help anymore. My budget used to be $50 per week for us a year or so ago, and now it is $100 per week for a family of 3 and I feel like I barely squeak by with that. We do have a decent stockpile of sale items so we can get buy with only buying dairy and produce for a week or two at a time.

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Erin October 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

I went to Fred Meyer(a Kroger affiliate) and scored the other day. I got gallons of Organic Valley milk marked down to 2.49. I also found deals on Brown Cow yogurt for .49. I found a bunch of good deals. I never shop there though because it is over an hour and a half away from where I live and I was just driving through. I shop Safeway, Walmart and my local independent grocery store. Where we live Walmart is the cheapest, but my local grocery has an amazing meat department and I’ll only buy my meat there. Prices are going up and wales stay the same, it’s a bad situation.

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Justine October 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

I agree that I often price match at Walmart for most of my groceries. The problem comes when they won’t price match store coupons so I still go to Kmart (with their super coupons) & Walgreens when they have great prices (like bogo’s on vitamins or pain medicine). There is also a local store who has better meat & produce departments & offers gas discounts with purchases. I am very lucky I can plan my stores along with other trips I have to make during the week so I don’t spend a lot of extra time & gas getting groceries.

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Lauren October 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

Agreed!! I shop at Smith’s (a Kroger store) waaaay less than I did a year ago. A few of my favorite cashiers got fired and the new cashiers are not nearly as pleasant. Their prices and sales are not what they used to be, so I do shop about 3 other stores in my area. We never had doubles in Las Vegas , but I did have a cashier tell me they are now limiting one like internet coupon per trip and five like manufacture coupons per trip. So that being said, I am close to giving them up as well, especially since there will be a WinCo opening in my area next year.
P.S. I do believe all the Kroger changes are a direct result of them being on that stupid couponing show!

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Susan October 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

I have to agree! I usually shop at multiple stores in one week. And Kroger here has just started raising prices again, right after they bought Schnucks and Schnucks left the market. Add that to the new coupon restrictions, and Kroger has become very frustrating. I actually will shop at Aldi, Target and some local stores we have each week just to get food to feed our family of four. Aldi has the cheapest milk and chip prices, even with price increases we have seen this year. I’ve also noticed that deals on blogs aren’t matching up, especially at Walgreens. They’ve implemented a pricing structure based on store location, so you can drive down one street, see 3 different Walgreens, and the same item will be priced differently at all 3 stores! Needless to say, I have become very flexible with my shopping and couponing!

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Jessica October 11, 2011 at 11:35 am

Food is costing us alot more, coupons have not been that great, plus the sales even less thrilling. Some things I have done in hopes to combate the costs are splitting a whole cow with a friend. I am paying $3# for grass fed beef, so thats great. I bought chicken through Zaycon Foods. I am also shopping around for produce sales, or my local farmers market. I am freezing and storing fruit and veggies to last me through the winter. FOr example, roma tomatoes are .88# at QFC (kroger) I bought a ton and roasting and freezing them for sauces and soups. So this month I an WAY over budget, but I am hoping that it will be less in the long run, plus healthier

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Rhonda Hall October 11, 2011 at 11:44 am

I shop multiple stores but save a ton of $$ by buying 1/2 beef every Nov. off of a local farmer…money stays in the community and I know what it’s been fed, and it lasts Ed & I almost a full year at a cost of about $15 a week..we eat roasts, steaks , hb ect…..
I stock up on canned food when on sale but my problem is coupons expire way too soon anymore or you have to buy 2 or more, or it’s on sale one day after coupon expires Grrrrr!!
Luckily in Xenia we do have several options on where to shop..Kroger, Aldi, Groceryland ect..

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JODI B October 11, 2011 at 11:54 am

Erin, it really isn’t cheaper elsewhere. In fact, I made a list of the carbuster sale of items that I ‘might’ buy and went to Walmart to see, if in fact, I was really going to save money by shopping at Kroger. Only 2 items were cheaper at Walmart. It’s hard to believe, right? I find deals at Kroger on ground beef depending on the day of the week. You go on Mondays, right? Well, that’s when all the things have been picked through from the weekend. I hope this helps.

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Julie P October 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

When I lived in Kentucky, I shopped almost exclusively at Kroger because it was 5 min from home, and since I only buy things on sale, it was good. Also, they double coupons with no limit, and I could do multiple transactions if I wanted to. My weekly budget (including diapers, cleaning products, etc) was about $100 for my family of 6.
Three months ago we moved to Maryland, and OMG the local stores are waaaaaay too expensive! My husband is military, so about once a month I go to the Commissary (it’s about a 35-min drive); there I get everything I can for the month that is not more expensive than Aldi’s prices. Once a week, I go to Aldi (about 10 min) for everything else I need. And I hit Walgreens (about 15 min) for their sales, and occasionally Rite Aid (5 min) and CVS. I’ve had to up my food budget to $100, and that does NOT include diapers, cleaning products, TP, etc. Lately, I have been getting some of my best deals from Amazon for paper products.
The sales at Safeway are not worth the trip (it’s 25 min away, on the freeway), since their “sale” prices are usually right around Aldi’s everyday price, and can’t touch the Commissary.
There are several grocery stores in my area, but I have had a hard time just getting to them, since I still don’t have a “groove” at my new house yet. LOL

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MommaTails October 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Dont know if i can really add too much insight on this because we only have 2 grocery stores within 30 minutes from my house. WalMart and Harter House. We buy our meat from Harter House but thats it. Everything else is so insanely expensive!!

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Michelle October 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

No Kroger around, but we did have a “knock off” one called Hilander, but they were recently bought out by another local chain called Logli. Not a fan of their prices AT ALL. Its alright, it was a 50 minute drive out there, but I used to love all the awesome sales and mark downs.
Now I’ve got Aldi, Walmart, Piggly Wiggly, and a local employee owned store called Woodmans.

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Jessica S. October 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I try to stick with Aldi. We just got a new one that’s bigger and has more variety. The simplicity helps me stick to my budget. I find great sales at Meijer and they have a large meat and produce selection if I can’t get it at Aldi.

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LaToya @ Christian Momma October 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I was shopping only at Publix using the BOGO, coupons and getting the necessities. But the meat there went sky high so I am now getting meat at Winn Dixie. They have really good BOGO meat sales every week. I’m seriously wondering if I could handle farm life where I could grow my own produce and have my own animals. Probably not since I kill aloe plants, LOL

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Hazel October 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

We have a Kroger and Meijer within about 5 minutes of each other, Huber/ Dayton area, so I typically use both. Meijer has been better on sales for the last couple months. We have a friend who raises cows ( no hormones, free range ) so we buy a half cow from him. Big savings on beef and much better quality!

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Jessica M. October 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Hazel, I am in the same area (Fairborn/Beavercreek) and have just started shopping both Meijer and Kroger weekly. I am curious about coupon policy at Meijers, based on what you have experienced. The official policy says you can only double two like coupons per transaction. Is that true? And if so, how many transactions can you do at once? I am no extreme couponer,but every now and then I like to order 10-20 coupons off Ebay when I can stockpile something we really need. I have never had a problem doing this at Kroger before, but am nervous to attempt it at Meijer.

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Hazel October 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I typically use the Huber Meijer and haven’t had any problems at all. It is two like coupons per transaction but I usually do several transactions to get all my coupons to double. I use the self check out at times and the only problem I sometimes have is the cashier will have to over ride the computer on some of the higher coupons but are usually really nice about it. I’ve also used the Fairborn/ Beavercreek one without any problems. In the actual check out I’ve probably done up to 6 separate transactions and even more than that in self check out. I’m not aware of any limit to the amount of transactions you can do. Meijer also has mperks. It’s basically an extra savings in addition to your paper q’s on certain items. Sign up on their website for it :)

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Rosa October 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I try to go monthly Aldi’s & Deals (Same shopping center), then drive to WM Supercenter for all those things you can ONLY get there. ANother week I go to Harps (a local store that doubles coupons) and get all my doubles in one trip. Rest of time Neighborhood Market.

BUT in March Aldi’s opens a new store across from Supercenter and right down from Dollar Tree … so I anticipate that I will probably go to Aldi’s weekly starting then, as I won’t have to factor in gas cost for its locatino. :)

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Carrie October 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Erin,

I’m sad to hear about your trips to Kroger but happy to hear I’m not the only one not able to find the good deals at Kroger any longer. I am about ready to shop somewhere else too and I hate to say that. Let us know what you do. I might be following you out of the store too.

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luna October 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I never go to just one store. I use a price book that I made to figure out where my staple items are the cheapest. So after I make my grocery list, I go through my price book and the weekly sales (since I don’t coupon) and mark on the list where to go for each item.

I still get 1.99/# ground beef here in Iowa and have been stocking up all summer. I usually have ot get the 3-5 # tubes, but no problem there. And recently I’ve been getting 1.80/# chicken breasts at the meat counter which have been fantastic too. Maybe it’s a Midwest thing?

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Lou Ann October 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I have noticed in the last couple of years the major gorcery stores in my area of Los Angeles have cut down on their off brands and cut down on the choices of their brands. I went just lately to Ralphs to look for pumpkin pudding that they were selling last year (Royal Pudding) and by the way this pudding is fantastic. The puddings were vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch and cream cheese. That was it. We are in the season for egg nog and pumpkin stuff and this is my choices. I look for off brands in the major gorcery stores and sometimes I can get them and sometimes I can’t, but they have cut down the selections. I normally shop for the major of my food at the 99 Cent Store where everything is 99 cents. Then I go to Food For Less to get the fresh vegatables and fruit. Now what I find funny is the prices are cheaper at Food For Less than Ralphs and Ralphs owns Food For Less. I try to get mark downs when I can find them, but lately it has been hard. Even the cost of a can of soup is a $1.00 most of the time.

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Treasure October 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I am a homeowner and family of one. I spend $75 – $80 every two weeks on groceries. Thats $150 per month usually. But I also include my dry goods in there too. With the economy in such dire straits, I too have begun budgeting fiercely! The sales at Kroger have begun to sink. Another issue at Kroger is that several times the cashiers have forced me to do my Kroger card before any coupons can be scanned. Beware of this! The digital coupons don’t double and manufacture ones do up to $1. However, they will not accept both types of coupons. So the digital ones sometimes end up costing you more.

Erin, I live near you in the Dayton area. I have begun to shop at Kroger, Cub Foods, Meijer and Aldi. I can get to them all within 10 minutes of my home. It does save me money overall.

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Kelly Hess October 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I used to be a dedicated Giant Eagle lady, but not anymore. The sales have been not that great. They did hav 92% ground beef last week for $2.99/# so I stocked up. I now shop at Aldi’s and Costco a lot. You do not have to deal with coupons and you are getting the best deal. I still go to Giant Eagle but only for select sale items only!

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Carolyn Chenault October 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Thought you might want to know that Walmart add matches all adds except % off & B1G1. I go through all my ads write down sale item, store, sale price and any coupons for each ad and go to the local WM. Saves time and gas by only going to one store.

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dani s October 11, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I shop at four grocery stores (Market Basket, McKinnon’s Meat Market, Shaw’s and Stop and Shop), one Target, and of course CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s. We are fortunate to live within 2 miles of all of these stores ,so it’s not a big drain on gas. I usually get my pantry staples at Target as well as any freebies they may have any given week (putting them away for gift baskets or later use), I shop the four grocery stores for our fruit, veg and meat. I am only buying special deals and aggressively shopping the sales for those (sine I rarely get coupon’s for those types of things). I also will go to the store with the best price and/or that doubles (or triples) a coupon to get it for as close to free as possible. I still spend @ $60/week, but @ half of that is stockpile, the other half is for our food for the week. I have no problem dropping a store if I find their policies too limiting, or annoying and sometimes will not set foot in a store for a few weeks/months depending on sales/etc. You’ve really got to be right on with your spending now a days, I only work 1-2 half days a week, so I consider couponing my contribution to my family’s finances, since I’m not making much money.

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