High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

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High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by HappyDaze »

I am curious as to what, if anything, you all are doing differently as a result of the rapid and significant increases in grocery prices over the past few months. Are you modifying your meal plans, making changes to the items you normally purchase? I feel like I have a good grasp on how to eat as cheaply and healthy as possible but I feel that we should share our tips and help each other out in these times - and I am looking forward to getting more ideas!

I have had to adjust my food budget and spend a bit more, especially because I'm trying to build a "stock up pantry" and spend $5 to $10 on that each week. Other things I do to try to compensate for the high prices:

1. My first stop in the store is the "rescued produce" rack. Sometimes I don't find anything but sometimes I do. All of the "rescued produce" is in red net bags and each bag is .99 cents. Yesterday I scored 4 lbs. of little potatoes and 6 sweet red peppers for $3.00. I've scored apples, cauliflower, etc. in the past. There is often something "wrong" with this produce - like one apple in 6 will have a soft spot or the peppers won't be "perfectly shaped". I can fix any problem this "rescued produce" might have!

2. My second stop in the store is the "reduced price" bakery rack. Yesterday I got a huge loaf of pre-sliced Italian bread with the "everything bagel seasoning" on it for $1.00. Sometimes there isn't much of a selection - yesterday there were a lot of sweets - cookies, etc. and I don't buy that stuff.

3. My third stop in the store is aisle #11. This is the magazine aisle - but across from the magazines is this long shelf of items that have some damage to the containers, are near expiration date, being discontinued, etc. Recent scores in this aisle are huge boxes of organic multi-grain cereal for $1.45 each, boxes of "triscut type" crackers for $1.50, a pound of roasted, salted almonds for $1.75 (WOW!!), packages of gnocchi for .80 cents, packages of Thomas's English muffins for .75 cents - and more.

4. Next I go to other aisles - dairy (I try not to use much dairy but the "vegan" options for dairy items are in this aisle too), breakfast, etc. - I am up and down every aisle multiple times looking for that "yellow sticker" that tells me an item has been marked down. I stay flexible and will go "off the plan" if I find a deal. For example, last week - 15 oz. cans of store brand tomato products (diced, stewed, crushed, etc.) were .49 cents. I hadn't planned on getting any canned tomatoes - but I bought 20 cans. If I see frozen vegetables on a good markdown, I will get all I can.

5. Using the store circular, I look at what is on sale that I need or can use. For example, a few weeks ago they had 1 lb. packages of tofu at 2 for $3. You can't beat that $1.50 price for a pound of tofu - so I got that. Sometimes I will have a coupon to put with what is on sale, but not so often these days.

6. Last, I consider what else I need to make healthy meals and decide if I want to buy it there, at the "regular" grocery or go to Save A Lot or one of the dollar stores. If I'm lacking produce, I will go to Save A Lot. Save A Lot is also good for stocking up for winter on things like canned peaches.

7. I continue to rely heavily on foods that are the "best deal for the money" - can still be expensive yes, but they go a long way and are versatile - potatoes, old fashioned oats, fresh carrots, cabbage, whole grain pasta, etc.

8. I don't go to the store with a meal plan anymore. I let my grocery finds dictate what the plan will be. If I'm finding bags of 3 or 4 beautiful sweet peppers in the rescued produce section for .99 cents and I have brown rice and tomato sauce at home and can get fresh broccoli for .99 cents a pound, I know instantly that stuffed peppers are on the menu. Then maybe I look at mushrooms because I like to put them in my stuffed peppers. But mushrooms are an insanely high price - no markdowns, no deals - so I decide to make the stuffed peppers without them - no problem.

Grocery shopping is like a full time job theses days - so much to consider regarding where to spend the budget, being careful to not buy junk, etc. Let me know what you do, I need all the ideas I can get!

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Re: High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by floridacatlover »

None of the grocery stores in my area have marked down produce, bakery or dented cans. My mom and dad shopped that way years ago but I haven’t seen those markdowns in years. Most recently a store called Winn Dixie had marked down produce on Sundays but when they remodeled they stopped it.

I still feel uncomfortable going to Aldi because the store is always so crowded. I could do Instacart but there is the fee and the tip.

So I mostly try to buy extra sale items at Publix and do Walmart pickup. At Publix I’ve seen some items I’ve always shopped for on sale are on sale less often. With Walmart, most prices are decent and they do often substitute a larger item it the item ordered is out of stock.

My budget is not super tight except in my own mind so I try to save on other expenses here and there to make up for higher grocery prices.

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Re: High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by HappyDaze »

Florida, what other expenses are you saving on to compensate?

I wish I had Walmart near me - I can drive about 35 miles in either direction to get to one - but none closer. People say "it's worth it" - and yes, I'm sure gas cost to get there would not be much and I would save more - but I am also driving a 12 year old car that has to last me a couple more years - so going around the corner and up the street are better options for me at this time. Once my daughter gets moved in (any day now, lol) we may use her car to go to Walmart once a month.

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Re: High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by Jackielou »

Okay what am I doing....

Right now I am making a list and planning my monthly menus around what I have in the freezer for meat. I purchase my meat when it is on sale and then use it sometime in later months.

I watch for surprise sales (and I have a friends husband that informs me of them as well). If it is a good one I may take advantage and stock up a bit.

If I see something our grocery shelves have been short of for awhile I purchase it as who knows when we will see it again.

Process what I can from the garden. That was not much this year as the weather really didn't work in our favour.

I check the one basket of markdowns my favourite grocery usually has. If it is something I can use I purchase one or two. Most times it is nothing that I purchase.

We don't have yellow stickers, we don't usually have a markdown in produce either.

My grocery shopping expenses (that usually includes OTC meds, and paper products) have skyrocketed even with me squeezing each and every penny.

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Re: High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by alliesmama4 »

Sheila sound like you are doing a great job working hard at getting the biggest bang you can for your buck. Kudos to you.

I rarely shop now a days except for fresh meat, fresh produce, and dairy. I will sometimes do a Walmart curbside pick up for those items. Also we have a Ruler grocery store that is Kroger's version of Aldi's. They have much lower prices on a lot of things. They even have fresh organic produce, some organic dairy, and gluten free items. Sometimes their organic produce is greatly reduced and I will buy it.

For years I have based my food purchases on the loss leaders in the grocery Ads. I know some people like to have menus and have a taste for something but I really have not done my cooking based on that. I recently did a major stock up of a lot of canned goods of veggies, fruit, tuna, salmon, Almond milk and oatmeal to name a few things. Also did a meat purchase for my fridge freezer. Stockpiling basics for baking like baking soda, baking powder, yeast, and gluten free flours. I think except for the occasional fresh produce I am set for a very long time. I am phasing out dairy for a toxic cleanse soon.
Janet Alliesmama

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Re: High Grocery Prices - Are you doing things differently?

Post by itspennyc »

My grocery costs have gone way up. I have no choice.

I no longer drive so I have to pay for delivery, delivery prices are 3¢on the dollar higher.

H-E-B's prices overall are very good often better then Walmart. Plus the company is local, their headquarters are in my city.

They are big donors to our local food bank. Food insecurity is very high in this city, it was even before COVID-19 it is even worse now. One of our food giveaways made the national news.


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