Mar 16 2011

Saving money at a spendy grocery

The big grocery chain here in tahn is Giant Eagle. I tend to make one shopping trip per week and don’t have time at the moment to go to multiple stores, so I go to our neighborhood Giant Eagle because it has everything I need and has a good selection of organic produce and natural meats.

But the price? Ick.

Still, there are ways to save money there. This post is mainly for my yinzer readers, but if you have a spendy store near you, perhaps some of the same ideas will translate over there.

– Go to the Giant Eagle web site and access their e-coupons. E-coupons drive me sort of nuts. It’s like a secret sale. Why can’t they just offer the prices to everyone without making them work for it? Anyway, you select the coupons you might want to use and they are loaded onto your Giant Eagle Advantage card. It can take up to 3 hours to load (why??) so be sure to do this well in advance of your shopping trip.

– Also, you can view the weekly and monthly coupons that will print coupons at the register for you to use for your next purchase. You might see that if you buy 3 of a certain item you’d buy anyway, you’d get a $1 off coupon for next time, for instance.

– Check the Giant Eagle coupon matchups and deals posted on Money Saving Mom. The store doubles manufacturer’s coupons up to .99.

– If you fill up your gas tank at GetGo, you’ll earn 1% off your purchase at Giant Eagle for every 10 gallons of gas you pump, up to 20% off total. We don’t use much gas at all, so I never accumulate much before I have to use it before it expires (I think it’s 90 days?). Still, if you use a lot of gas, getting 20% off your grocery bill could make for a fantastic stock-up trip.

– Every $50 you spend at Giant Eagle earns $0.10 off per gallon of gas at GetGo.

– Check the bulk bins! There are some great bulk bin deals at the Market District Giant Eagle. For example, I got bulk organic quinoa for $1.99/lb. Way cheaper than the boxed variety. They also have bulk rice, couscous, organic popping corn, lentils, etc. I haven’t really figured out quinoa yet, but it’s supposed to be a really nutritious food so we’re working with it.

– I love the bulk spices area. I got a large packet of dried bay leaves for a dime. They have a ton of varieties and you can get packets to refill your bottles at home at a much cheaper price than you’d pay for a bottled version. Awhile back, I made a recipe that called for sesame seeds. I found a jar in the international foods section for about $8. It was a lot more than I needed. They had sesame seeds in the bulk spices area and I got a much smaller amount more suitable to my needs for less than $2.

– Standard grocery shopping advice here — plan your shopping list around your weekly menu. Make your menu based on items you already have on hand and what’s on sale to maximize your dollar. Most importantly, stick to your list to avoid those expensive impulse purchases!

I try to keep our grocery expenses within reason, but I’m not going to stress out about the budget right now. I don’t have time or energy to devote to coupon-cutting and matching. I want to feed our family with high-quality foods and I’m willing to spend a little more if I have to. Still, using the e-coupons and stocking up on sales and raiding the bulk bins really does seem to help the bottom line. Our CSA will start up in June and runs through October, so my produce spending goes way down in those months.

Oh, and for those of you who say, “There aren’t usually coupons for whole, real foods,” I have seen e-coupons for things such as bagged spinach, broccoli, frozen fruit & veggies and yogurt. And cheese. And whatever. Plus, you can use coupons for toothpaste, soap, cleaners, whatever and cut your spending in those areas.

Wanna know my trick for grocery shopping with two little kids? I don’t take ’em! They stay home with Shane while I make a mad dash to the store. My door-to-door time is usually 40-60 minutes. I don’t even wanna know how long it would take if I took one or both.

Related: 5 simple switches to lower your grocery bill @Living Well on Less

Check Organic Deals and Healthy Life Deals for coupons and deals.

How do you save at Giant Eagle or other expensive stores?



3 Responses to “Saving money at a spendy grocery”

  1. I sorta like the idea of e-coupons! I have a complicated relationship with printable coupons. I can’t EVER get them to print on my Mac, and I can’t get the Bricks printable coupon app to work, so I miss those deals. So when you mentioned e-coupons, I was all, “Ugh. Printable coupons!” But I like that they just load automatically onto your savings card. I should check and see if Kroger offers anything like that!

    Oh, and Tony does the shopping in this house while I stay home with the baby. He likes the grocery store. I hate it. So it works out. But yeah, sometimes he doesn’t always hunt for the best deal. He does okay, though.
    Karen´s last post ..5 simple switches to lower your grocery bill

  2. Stretching a Buck has a more comprehensive list for the sale items at Giant Eagle than Money Saving Mom – I should know, I put the list together for Marcy each week LOL. It pretty much has everything. I have a love/hate relationship with the e-offers. They frequently don’t work for me. Here in OH GE is the cheapest (where I live, down by Columbus that isn’t the case). Plus GE is the only one that doubles for us so that helps. Great list of ways to save!

  3. I’m not big on coupons right now, either, but I keep an eye on http://www.ohcherrypicker.com/category/grocery-stores/giant-eagle/ now and then. She’s in OH, but most everything’s about the same…and she’s funny! My staple dairy items seem to be cheaper at GE than some other area stores. I usually stock up on Stoneyfield yogurt, buttermilk, and whipping cream when I’m there. If you go in the evening, check the bread at the bakery counter. They usually have lots of $1 off coupon stickers out after 5 or 6 pm.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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