Go now – meats, supplies, pet food

Found some great deals today while out running errands. I was in a few different parts of town, and prices at the grocery stores change on Wednesday, so I checked out a few Bi-Los to see about any markdowns. At the Fernwood store, there were some deli meats on sale for $2.99 a pound sliced. There were also several of the high-end cheeses for sale at about 40% off, which works great if you have a coupon to stack on top of that, and lots of the cooked deli items like pasta salads and chicken wings half priced. At the Reidville Road store, there was a large stack of trays from the fresh bakery with cakes, pies, breads, and rolls at half price. At the Asheville Hwy store, score!! They had cat food in the clearance rack for 32 cents a can, lots of dairy items like yogurt for half price, and several deli sliced meats at $2.99 a pound (regularly $6.99, $7.99 or $8.99). Whole turkeys were on sale for $0.79 a pound … if you want a turkey for Christmas, get it NOW, and freeze it, that’s a great price!

Office Depot still has a bit of clearance left to buy. There were about a half dozen backpacks still available in their clearance aisle for $1.95 each. I was really tempted to get more, but I didn’t want to be greedy. When I first noticed the sale, I picked up one for every family member to have for their emergency kit, plus one for every vehicle to keep an extra emergency kit. So I resisted the urge to buy the rest in case anyone else can use one. Also, lots of school supplies at 90% off, pencil cases, organizers, lunch pails, folders, etc.

Check on the Petco website for their store coupons. They have a $5 off any size Beneful dog food, and in the store the small bag sells for $6.99. There is also a manufacturer’s coupon out for $1.50 currently. They will allow one store coupon plus one manufacturer’s coupon per item, which means you will get $6.99 worth of dog food for $0.49. There are also several freebies – cat food and canned dog food – I left with six cans of cat food and one bag of dog food for $2.15, the regular price would have been over $11.00.

I do this every day in every category of consumable … it does take time, you have to put in the effort to find the deals, be patient, wait for the best deal, and then be able to go and get it. But you will be rewarded handsomely for your time and effort. The rest of my day went about like that. I did some grocery shopping and in total, had $120.80 worth of items and paid $5.67. That is not a typo. And no, I didn’t do like they do on TV where they get 100 sports drinks, 100 candy bars, 100 jars of mustard, and crow about how much they saved. I got our actual grocery list for the week.

  • 48 cans of cat food
  • 2 bags of dog food
  • 2 lbs of sliced roast beef
  • 2 lbs of sliced roasted chicken
  • 4 cartons of College Inn chicken broth
  • 1 can of Hanover chick peas
  • Hungry Jack sugar free syrup
  • 32 oz box of Hungry Jack pancake mix
  • 4 boxes of sugar free drink mix
  • 2 packages of Pillsbury ready-made pie crust
  • 2 Country Crock Light 15-oz tubs
  • 2 dozen Egglands Best eggs
  • 4 packages of Hormel mini pepperonis
  • 2 lbs of fresh carrots
  • 2 one-pound packages of fresh mozzarella (not the shredded … this is the good stuff!)
  • 2.5 lbs of fresh pork chops
  • 2 lbs of fajita style shredded fresh beef

The biggest thing to remember is do not buy things when you need them, buy things when they are at the lowest price. If you do not have time to pay attention to coupons, at least do that much. ONLY buy things that are “buy 1 get 1 free” or that have a store markdown on them to bring the price down to 50% or better.

Meat freezes well, so I buy extra when I see a good price. At Bi-Lo, that’s really easy. They will put a big yellow sticker that says “Hot Price!” with an additional discount off the sale price on the individual packages. I only buy those because they are the sale price minus an additional discount. I don’t even pay attention to what is in the sales circular, because I do better than that every time. Sometimes I will strike out for a week or two in a row, which is fine, because on the good weeks where there is more meat on sale, I go ahead and buy it and freeze it.

Most dairy will freeze well too – milk, cheese, half and half, cream, etc. Sour cream changes when it freezes, so I only freeze sour cream if I plan on being able to use it in a sauce when it thaws. If I want to use sour cream as a dip or topping on tacos or something where taste and texture will be really obvious, I don’t freeze it.

It might not seem possible that $120 worth of items ends up costing less than $6. But the way I do it works.

See my earlier post on what to do if the store is out of a sale item – the rainchecks will be your friend. At Bi-Lo, the rainchecks never expire, so hang onto them until you have that perfect storm of buy 1 get 1 free, plus store coupon, plus manufacturer’s coupon, to get them as close to free as possible.

Example – the 1 lb. fresh mozzarella is normally $6.99. At buy 1 get 1 free, that makes them $3.50 each. Today, I found 2 packages with a store coupon on each of them for $2.50 off, making them $1.00 each. And, I had manufacturer’s coupons for $1.00 off, making them free.

Same thing happened with the eggs, pepperoni, deli meats, pie crust, broth, butter, drink mix, and pancake items. The only things I paid for, and they were on sale, were the carrots and chickpeas and a little on the fresh meats. Everything else was free after discounts and coupons. Looking at that list, you can see that our family is going to eat very well all week long. We’ll have pot pie, pancakes and eggs, fajitas, and mini pizzas.

Start small so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Start with looking at the circulars and planning your meals around the “buy 1 get 1 free” items first, and by cruising the deli, bakery, dairy, fresh meat and seafood areas for the things that are on sale plus have a markdown.

One word of caution – discount meat is quickly approaching its time when it would need to be frozen or consumed. I try to decide quickly when I get home whether it is going in the freezer or refrigerator. One secret is to brine all discount meats – that will purify and tenderize any meat and hold its condition for a few days. Change the brine daily if you do not plan on using it right away. I don’t have a lot of storage in my refrigerator, so I’m usually not thinking ahead more than 3 days worth, but I have found that brined meat stays fresh, tastes better, cooks up moister and more evenly, and takes on flavors of spices, sauces, marinades and casseroles better. Don’t be afraid of marked down meat, just handle it differently and you won’t be disappointed.

Nothing tastes better than FREE!

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