When it comes to grocery shopping I have friends who clip coupons, browse every store mailer and split their shopping between several different stores in order to get the best price. I also have friends who don't care about price and head to the store with the sole intention of getting what food they want to eat without taking price, sales or coupons into consideration. I have done it both ways, saved 90% on a pile of crap food that took me four different stores to acquire and headed to the closest store to get exactly what I wanted regardless of price.
I'm happy to report I now fall somewhere in the middle, and by supplementing my shopping at warehouse stores I'm now able to shop once a week to fill in the cracks with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats that have an expiration date.
During my experimental
couponing phase I found that rarely can one get fresh fruits, vegetables
and meats with coupons. Even dairy is hard to get for next to nothing
so I ended up buying an awful lot of chips, not because that was what we
ate, but because I could get 10 bags for $0.47. I certainly don't have a
problem stocking up on a few non perishable essentials and emergency
rations during a sale, but I certainly don't clear the shelves. Another
friend and I got into experimental couponing at the same time and we
both realized we just ate worse with those things were in our houses, no
matter how cheap they were. (However we do love using coupons for
household items, THAT'S the way to save money!)
I have four grocery stores within five minutes of my house but when it comes time to get a lot of groceries I actually choose a store that's about 20 minutes away. They have the best selection of fresh produce, much of it organic, as well as the greatest selection of many other items and really good sales. The grocery stores closest to me either have higher food prices when what you're buying isn't on sale or a miserable selection of produce and meats.
Now that I have a house with a pantry and chest freezer I've been able to do some more serious warehouse shopping, stocking up on staples such as condiments, canned goods and baking products for much cheaper than a grocery store. And while buying 10 pounds of chicken all at once for $17 seems a bit overwhelming, considering chicken at the grocery store averages around $2.50 a pound? Those 10 pounds at $1.70 a pound are a great deal if you have the means to freeze and store it.
I feel like I've finally hit my grocery shopping stride, not buying or spending too much and putting real food on the table for my family.
How do you choose where you grocery shop and have you found your grocery shopping stride?