Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Store Sales + Store Coupons = Getting the Most Bang for your Buck at Food Lion

I do most of my shopping these days at Food Lion in Greenville, NC. It isn't fancy. It isn't organic (most of it anyway), but it's healthy, real, and affordable food and I'm usually able to stay within my weekly $50 food budget for the two of us. 

This budget generally ONLY includes food and sometimes things like dish soap or toothpaste. I buy MOST of our other household items in bulk for super cheap from Amazon once every few months. The last time we bought toilet paper and paper towels was in December.  I also buy all of our cat food online through Amazon, again because I can get it in bulk, get it deeply discounted or at least for a comparative price, AND it's delivered. 

One way I'm able to stay within my $50 budget is buy ONLY shopping the store sales and store brands. There are a few items that are rarely on sale (like butter, eggs, and/or organic milk), but generally at least half of what I buy is on sale. Each week I check out the online sales paper for our local store. 

  • Money-Saving Shopping Tip: GET to KNOW your favorite store's websites! They often have special coupons available (often customized JUST for you and your shopping habits), they ALWAYS have their current sales flyer available. They also often have great custimization tools to create your own shopping lists that can be emailed to you or your smart phone or just printed for your convenience. You can check out all of the store's coupon policies along with all the details of any current store promotions. I have become a HUGE fan of Food Lion's customer website, it has helped me tremendously each week to create my shopping list and stay within my budget. (And NO, they have NOT paid me to say that or review their store, I've just been shopping there for years, and I'm a loyal customer!) 

I create a shopping list just from the items in the flyer and then I create a weekly menu from those store sale items. Sometimes the menu isn't very exciting... but it's nearly ALWAYS healthy, real, unprocessed foods. 

Here is a breakdown of the items I bought this week (highlighted items were not on sale, just store-brand regular priced items): 
  • 2 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios (on sale with MVP card = 2 for $3.98)
  • 1 box Corn Chex cereal (had a .50 off coupon ON my store MVP card, that I found on the food lion website = $2.99)
  • 2 small cans of tomato sauce (.64)
  • 1 bag dried lentils (1.39)
  • 2 cans green beans, 1 can corn, 1 can sweet peas (on sale with MVP = $1.68)
  • 1 pound ground beef (on MVP sale for $3.35)
  • 2 turkey drumsticks ($3.07)
  • 2 whole chickens (on sale for .99/ lb. = $10.79)
  • 1 head cauliflower ($2.99)
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes ($2.52)
  • 1 bunch celery (on MVP sale, $1.29)
  • 3 pounds yellow onions (on MVP sale, $1.79)
  • 1 pound asparagus (on MVP sale, $3.77)
  • 1 green pepper (.89)
  • 1 pound carrots (.79)
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms (on MVP sale, $1.69)
  • 1 package (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese ($2.49)
  • 1/2 gallon organic milk ($3.59)
  • 2 dozen medium eggs ($2.09 per package = $4.18)
  • 1 pound butter ($2.97)
  • 1 package paper plates (on MVP sale, $1.99)
TOTAL with store coupons & store sales = $54.10

So it turns out with this trip, it was about half MVP store sale items and half store-brand lower priced items. My goal every week is to try to make sure to buy as many REAL food items as possible and very few processed items for the best prices I can find. Right now, I don't focus on organic foods. When we have the money for them, I definitely go for organic, but I think overall if you have a tight budget and can simply focus on whole foods, you're still doing pretty darn well! 

Cheryl's lentil dal, roast cauliflower, and baked sweet potatoes

We will use the food from this trip combined with the food in our pantry and freezer to make some of the following meals: 

Slow cooked roast chicken with artichokes and lemon - see recipe from my slow cooker cookbook below!

Recipe shared courtesy of Carrie S. Forbes (myself), author of "The Everything GF Slow Cooker Cookbook"

Do you have a favorite store that you shop at consistently? 
What's your favorite thing about the store? 

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