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Cheapskates on a diet...

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Old 01-28-2008, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default Cheapskates on a diet...

Anyone use coupons for food buying? I am curious if it's worth it or not. I'm starting a new financial diet through the Dave Ramsey program and am having to really budget to pay down some debts. Interestingly in his books he compares financial planning with dieting, and it might be true - both are about tracking and discipline. And both are hard to do.

His plan comes with a coupon book. But I've never clipped coupons in my life. Seems like when I look at them they are mostly promoting lots of stuff I don't buy, the ones in the Sun paper that is. Of course I have a card for Safeway and City Markets for their "discounts" but I've never even really watched the ads for what's on sale at various stores. Do you run to several stores for deals?

And of course there's Sam's Club, where I don't go often, and I know I'd save especially on sparkling water, bulk meats, etc. What are the best items to buy at there and Costco?

My "budget" for food is shot this month already. I spent over $200 on one trip and more on another, but I just got back from an extended vacation and had to restock my kitchen. SO what do you budget a month for food? What is a fair amount, I'm a single mom with a four year old boy. I don't even have a clue what the "normal" number should be.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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Most of the things I buy don't come with coupons. So no I don't clip coupons and so no reason to do so.

I shop at Costco.

I buy fresh fruit, frozen fruit, fresh vegetables and frozen vegetables there. I also buy rice and some spices there. Even though I'm not a fan of soy based fake meat, I recently did buy a box of Boca burgers from there. Each patty has 100 calories which is pretty good. I may chop them up and use them in a dish or 2.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:48 PM   #3
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I LOVE coupons. There is a site called the couponmom. If you search on google you will find it, but what she does is she matches coupons in the national paper with sales and the like at different stores around the country. This service is free! You should check it out. Also, regarding costco I get seasonal veggies from there along with my staples: beans, rice, tofu, cheese and boca burgers. The rest I get loss leaders from the grocery store and yes I go multiple stores if the deals are good enough. Buy as close to natural and in season items as you can and you will save A LOT of money.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:50 PM   #4
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I find that coupons are usually for things that I don't buy...junk food and packaged products. So coupons usually don't do me any good.

Circulars, though (the ads that say what is on sale that week) are good, because they'll show you which stores have your healthy staples on sale....you see your boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale and you go and stock up!

If you have freezer space, you can save a lot of money in the fresh foods department at Costco...meats and produce are a LOT cheaper. You can buy a lot of several kinds of produce, make a huge batch of soup, and freeze portions. You can also freeze larger packages of meats (broken down into one-meal portions and ziploc baggied) and get some savings that way.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:59 PM   #5
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I bought a huge bag of chicken from Sam's and forgot about it in the back of my fridge, anyone know how long that would be good for? I like the idea of taking larger bags and splitting them into smaller, or making soups and freezing.

Yes it appears that the coupons are for junk food mostly.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:15 PM   #6
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Horsey, I don't use coupons either. Like others have mentioned, I generally don't find that they are for things I buy. Something I do pretty often is peruse the store ads, then instead of going to each store seperately, I take the ads to Wal-Mart and they will match them. I purchase a lot of my produce and meats this way, and repackage the meats and freeze them for later use.


If the chicken is frozen, I would think you would be safe using it up to a year later. If it is fresh, it will go bad before the week's out. I always use my nose to tell if it is good or not.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:22 PM   #7
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For rice and spices, I'll often go to Indo-Pak ethnic stores as they sell them bulk and ultra cheap. Also for rice, fresh vegetables, curry ingredients or oddities, I'll go to the Asian markets like H-Mart or Assi Plaza. I end up saving a lot of money that way.

Also around Philadelphia, we have these stores called Save-A-Lot, which are kind of funky, but I'll stock up on frozen veggies or canned vegetables. The only thing is, I'm a little wary of their veggies since I found a huge grasshopper head in a bag of frozen green beans. Ugh! But now I just sort through and wash before I cook and it was a one time affair. (I mean, people in the Bible and in Asian/African countries eat them, right?)

Okay, off of the gross topic, we'll also look at the store circulars at the front of the store before we go shopping, and I'll keep my eyes pealed for the sale stickers on things that I usually buy or things that I like but often won't get. (like malted milk powder)

Unfortunately, healthy things like vegetables rarely go on sale, and oftentimes prices on fruit can be absurd, like grapes.. Just a regular pre-packaged bag of grapes at the grocery store can cost like $11 dollars! There used to be a green grocer/produce stand next to my old place, but since we've moved there isn't one local and I tend to rely on the Asian market for my fresh produce.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:28 PM   #8
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The chicken should have the date when it was packaged on it. It doesn't last very long. You need to be especially careful with poultry.

I love Costco and Sam's. I spend lots of $$ there. BUT, you need to be sure that you don't over-buy. You will end up wasting food that spoils because you don't use it fast enough. If you buy something in a huge package, do you have a place to store it? Can you resist "impulse" items? I think of Costco and Sam's membership as part of my entertainment budget. I love to shop. We live 90 miles from the nearest store, so we make a day of it, eat out, overspend......You get my drift....

I always read the grocery advertisements and use them to plan my shopping. We only have two grocery stores, but I usually only go to one of them, unless the other has a loss-leader that I really want/need. At this point in time, I need to consider the cost of gas along with any other inconvenience of "shopping around".

I have no clue what we spend on food, but we try very hard not to waste anything. That's like throwing money away!

I rarely use coupons because I am into fresh, from scratch cooking, but if you see coupons for things that you regularly use, by all means.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:14 PM   #9
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I love to use coupons for the stuff I normally buy: Crest toothpaste, Sure deoderant, laundry detergent, dish soap, Tampex, Morningstar Farms products, toilet paper etc. I don't use coupons for stuff I wouldn't normally buy! No sense paying 2 bucks to save 50 cents.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:22 PM   #10
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I don't use coupons, but we do go to about a million stores to do our grocery shopping as inexpensively as possible and to get all the things we need. It's kinda annoying. One store has super cheap produce but nothing else, another store has really cheap goat cheese; the third and fourth stores have everything else. One store has the good mushrooms and cheaper egg whites, but the other is cheaper overall. It's a pain. Grocery shopping takes forever, even when we divide the stores between us. I hate being broke!!!
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:19 PM   #11
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I'm going to be "broke" for at least 6 months, more likely a year on my new financial plan... I used a credit card too much last year, overspent and was stupid and now I'll just have to cut back on everything. I found a book at the library tonight about Living Frugally, it's one of those For Dummies books. I'll speed read it then I'll post on here some ideas from that book too.

My brother who became a multi millionare in real estate uses coupons and always has. He shops at various stores, will go store to store as well even to this day although in his early 40s he could retire! My mom that I just spent a vacation with was watching store flyers, cutting coupons and watching her budget too. I'm the stupid one who just spent and spent without thinking - now there's a price to pay.

Anyone that wants sound financial planning advice go read Dave Ramsey. Churches all over the US have sponsored his programs. It's a matter of cutting every corner possible and paying off debts as quickly as possible. I'm not in bad shape, just need to get in shape physically and financially at the same time. SELF DISCIPLINE.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:51 PM   #12
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I rarely use coupons myself because they're usually things I don't buy. I do get coupons attached to things that I buy and I do use them.

As for Sam's, I normally purchase my fruits there. Saving $1 for each pineapple is huge, when I eat a LOT of fruit. I also buy most of my non-perishables there, such as toilet paper, dish detergent, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, etc. I also sometimes purchase bread there and freeze it. Oh, and my gum. I chew a lot of gum.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:45 PM   #13
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I go through 5 lbs of spinach a week and I don't know what I'd do without Costco's cheap spinach.

Although if you are a Costco member (or Sam's), they have other services. My auto insurance is extremely cheap through Costco. I've gotten deals on other stuff as well.
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