Monday, November 9, 2009


One of the skills that I have refined the most since having kids is shopping frugally. Just this morning, I spent a total of $45 on groceries for the week, saving over $30 in the process. I always love the look on the checker's face when they see the totals on the bottom of the receipt. I've even had a few ask how I do it. Coupons, store sales, specials, and generics. Whenever possible, I wait for something to go on sale and use my coupons then, often stacking store coupons with manufacturer ones. It's really a science. Mostly though, it's about timing and patience.

One of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is to buy generic. The store brands, the stuff with limited advertising. The cheap stuff. I buy a decent amount of generic items. For example, canned and frozen food really isn't much different. I almost always buy generic cheese. I've started buy only blocks and shredding it myself at home. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but you get the added benefit of avoiding the preservatives they put on the pre-shredded stuff. Plus, it just tastes better.

Some generic cereal is okay, but some isn't. Some are good, some are just plain nasty. Often the store brands actually have higher sugar contents than the major brands, and with planning I can get those for less than the store brand. Generic ice cream and dairy products are sometimes truly better than the major brands. I only buy store brand sour cream these days.

Some stores have better generics than others. Personally, I love Target's store brands. I've yet to find anything that I don't like, and we have tried many of them. Some of their stuff is actually far superior to the "real" stuff. Their trash bags are much, much better than the expensive ones. And, like I've already said before here, I love the Archer Farms stuff. It really is the best pasta sauce I've ever had. And their Up & Up diapers are great. Not only do they work well and are half the price of the other brands, they are cute!

Of course, there are things that I just can't go generic on. The things that really aren't as good. And the things that will go unused in the house. The things that I will be harassed about if I buy them. Toilet paper. Razor blades. I made that mistake once, and will never do it again.

It's taken me years to perfect it, but I'm pretty good. I've got to put this analytical mind to good use somehow. ;)

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