Hitting The Jackpot When Grocery Shopping

Sometimes you have grocery shops that are so so, and then some shops, like my last one, things just go so beautifully that you almost feel like you hit the jackpot.

I went out with specific items in mind that I needed- I had large quantities of limited varieties of produce in my house, and my house was mostly stocked, so my list of absolute needs on my shopping trip was not much. My husband didn't see why I'd want to go out shopping for such limited amounts of things- why not just go to the neighborhood (expensive) grocery store for those few things, but I didn't mind going out of my way to hopefully save money. The biggest thing though was that I didn't want to spend so much, and I know I do get tempted when I'm at the grocery store, to buy more than what I'd entered the shop intending to buy...

When I got there, I saw that the clothing store right next door to the grocery store was having their "end of season sale" and they were trying to convince me to come in. I didn't need to go clothing shopping, but I figured I'd just take a chance- I told the boys that I'd buy them socks- maybe I'd be able to find them cheaply?
Well, just my luck- socks were half price! I bought 4 packs of three for a total of $11.42, working out to only 95 cents a pair, with the added bonus of having 4 pairs of each type, making it easier to find a match and have usable socks, even after the sock monster inevitably devours some lone socks.

After that, I went in to the grocery store and gave them some bottles for recycling- they are supposed to give me money for those- but they were busy then, so told me to come back later to pick up my store credit receipt.

I made my way to the meat counter- I was trying to buy some cheap easy to make proteins. Ike has been off dairy again since his diagnosis of autism, to see if it would help with his meltdowns- and it has tremendously- but it makes it hard to find what to feed him that doesn't take so much work, since he hates beans and doesn't eat fish, so I was hoping I could find chickens cheaply. As I was looking at the whole chickens, I noticed a discrepancy in pricing- the sign said that whole chickens were $2.14 per pound, but the chickens themselves were marked $1.93 per pound, so I asked the worker there what price I'd be charged at the register, and he confirmed that I'd be charged the lower price. So I picked out three of the smaller whole chickens, because I think people eat visually, and  people tend to be satisfied the same with a chicken thigh from a smaller chicken or a larger one, so might as well go with the smaller one. For the three chickens I paid $18.49 for about 9.5 lbs.
The worker at the meat counter wanted to know when I'd be finished with my grocery shop. I didn't understand why he cared, and why it was his business (it was a really weird question to be asked), but he clarified- chicken breast was on sale- instead of its usual $4.53 per pound, for the next 7 minutes, they'd be on sale for only $1.93!!! so if I'd get to the register by then, I'd get that lower price. I could have practically kissed that worker for that tip, because it would be saving me a lot of money! Chicken breast is my favorite type of chicken to buy, it's easy to make and is all meat, no bone, but its usually so expensive... but at $1.93 per pound of pure raw meat, it works to only $2.12 per pound of cooked meat. Chicken wings, the other cheap meat I buy, typically at $1.28 per pound, work out to be $2.61 per pound of cooked meat! This was absolutely a steal, so I scooped up as many packs of chicken breast as I thought reasonable- I took about 19 lbs of chicken breast for $36.35- when it's usual price would have been $86 for the lot- so that was almost $50 saved there! But that was only if I could make it to the register within 7 minutes!

I tried to do the rest of my shopping as quickly as possible- best way to make sure you don't impulse buy and buy things you don't need- give yourself only 7 minutes to do your shop, or risk being charged an extra 50 dollars.
Because I knew there was that much money on the line, I didn't price compare so much- I just grabbed things and hoped they wouldn't be too overpriced.
I took 3 extra large packs of rice cakes, 3 packages of disposable cups, a package of toilet paper, and a few packs of corn meal.

I made it to the register in time- and got a nice surprise at the register! Most of the things I bought were on sale, and lower than they had been marked!
Rice cakes, instead of being $3.42 per package were only $3.05. I bought 3 packs.
Disposable cups, instead of being $1.11 per package, were on sale for 95 cents each. I bought three.
And the toilet paper, instead of being the $9.68 that had been listed on the package were only $7.97!
Corn meal, which I usually only saw sold in pound packages for $1.57- I discovered also being sold in 2 pound packages for $2.82, or $1.41 per pound.

I really felt so blessed at the register! The entire shop cost $83.33!

And then I realized that I'd never picked up my receipt giving me store credit for my recycling, which was annoying, because I already did my shop and I didn't want to have to shop just for the sake of shopping when there was nothing I needed... so I was trying to figure out what I should buy, but then when I got there, I discovered that I could get cash for my recycling, not just store credit- so I opted for that, and left the store with some cash, which is a much nicer feeling than store credit!

And because I was rushing so much during my shop- I managed to finish in time to be able to use a transfer on my bus ride home instead of needing to pay another fare!

What a wonderful feeling!

Have you gotten amazing deals lately at the grocery store? Ever been surprised at the register, discovering things were on sale that you hadn't known about? Ever rushed through a shop to be able to pay before a great sale ended?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. We only have one vehicle and the closest (expensive) grocery store is over 30 minutes away. Plus, my husband left today, taking our only vehicle, for a month long work trip. I like to keep a full pantry, but I knew I needed to stock up! This week, I went to Costco to buy rice, flour, water (our well runs off electricity and we are in for another snow storm where we may lose power), some cups to store baby food in, apples, bananas, canned fruit, oranges, squash, rutabaga, hummus, bread, rice milk, almond milk, canned coconut milk, and some other essentials. My total came to $150, where normally I spend $250 or more on the same items at other stores. Then I went to the grocery store, where I picked up 16 cans of each type of veggie I keep in stock at home- corn, creamed corn, carrots, stew veggies, mushrooms, diced tomatoes (32 cans), green beans, peas, spinach, beets, tomato paste, and whole and sliced potatoes. Plus I got 16 cans each of olives, kidney beans (red, dark red, and white), garbanzo beans, black beans, and lima beans. I then got shelf stable milk for my son, 30 cans of tuna (without soy!) and sugar for a total of $240! The tuna was b1g1 (making each can .50) and the veggies and beans were b2g1 (making each can .66)! Plus, since I paid cash, they didn't charge me sales tax, which is unheard of at a grocery store in the US. Lastly, I went to a butcher shop, where I was able to pick up 2 whole chickens for .75 a pound (normally $3.35 a pound) and some all beef natural casing hot dogs for $2.50 a pound, normally over $6.00 a pound. Then I got grass fed ground beef for $4.55 a pound, normally over $10.00 a pound (I got 15 pounds). Lastly, I picked up some goat cheese for $6.00 for 1.5 pounds, normally $12.00 a pound, and got 12 pounds. In all, I spent under $550 for a ton of food that will last well into May. My mother-in-law wonders why I travel almost 2 hours once a month to buy food, and it's because that same trip would cost me at least $1023 before tax. Yeah, I will take a two hour drive each way once a month to save over $500, even including a gallon of gas at $20. My husband was so proud of this trip!!!

    1. Great shopping, Lindsay!

      I've never heard of a store skipping sales tax because you paid cash. Are you sure that's legal?

      But about untaxed groceries being "unheard of in the US"--it depends on which state you're in. Pennsylvania charges NO SALES TAX ON GROCERIES except for a few categories of ready-to-eat or non-nutritive foods. So for anyone who lives near the PA border, driving into PA for groceries may be a thrifty move. (We also have no sales tax on most clothing.)

  2. Kroger has Perdue chicken on sale for 99cents a lb for drumsticks and whole fryers. I got a bird and plan to go back tomorrow before the sale ends to get more since it's on the way home and I now finally have some space in my freezer doing the pantry challenge. I'm being very good about that lately.

    For savings....i spent $30 at Kroger, saved $30. Same at Publix...spent $30, saved $30. So saving 1/2 off my total shopping bill always makes me happy because it makes me feel better for all the coupon clipping I do to get to that point. And since I'm cutting out carbs I'm saving a ton on junk food since I only need to buy it for the husband and he doesn't need much.

    By implementing my new diet which is a simple: are u hungry enough to eat a kiwi? then eat, if not, then don't eat mentality (not big on kiwi's). And cutting out carbs and junk food and increasing my water intake should help take off some pounds and save money in my wallet.

    Back to your original question, my stores never really do a timed sale, it's just week to week. Sometimes tho I will impulse shop and grab something just to find it on sale or clearance and that makes me happy. Also controlling my impulse shopping makes me happy. LOL.

    Loving the blog Penny...can't wait for the next installment.

  3. I thought you use cloth toilet paper.

    1. Penny probably buys real toilet paper for when she has guests. Also it could be that not all family members like cloth.

    2. My husband was starting to get annoyed with clothes in the laundry, getting stuck in crevasses in the machine, falling off the clothes line, landing up around the house, so he started just tossing them... So yea, not using them anymore. Use a combo of a bidet and toilet paper for most of the members of the family.

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