It Can Be Cheaper to Grocery Shop Daily

Patti McKenna

Through the years, I've read at least one hundred different articles with tips and tricks on how to cut your grocery bill. With a large family, I've followed most of the advice at one time or another. I've cut coupons, browsed through sales flyers, etc. One piece of advice that doesn't work for me is to planning a week's worth of meals and shop only once a week.


I have seen how this works, and it does. It reduces impulse spending, and forces the shopper to buy only the items they need for a week's meals. But the concept neglects one way to save money on the biggest cost of a meal - the meat for the main dish.

I have a family of six, and they definitely expect a meal that will fill them up. So, when I cook seven dinners a week for the gang, the meat takes up a large portion of my bill.

I've found that grocery shopping several times a week for "meat only" purchases is actually cheaper for me. When chicken leg quarters are on sale for 39 cents a pound per 10 pound bag, I grab as many as allowed. Then, I'll make another trip later in the same week, and grab a couple more. But what I've found to be most helpful is to look for the reduced meat (meat with an expiration purchase date of today or tomorrow). Typically, these specials are reduced by $1 to $2 per pound. Whether its steak, roasts, or pork chops, I can get my meat below sale price. Now, its catch as catch can - I never know what cuts will be available, (new ones are usually discounted daily) and I only buy what we truly like and I always check the meat for possible discoloration, etc. But if it meets my criteria, I'll buy it and cook or freeze it immediately.

Some cuts of meat, however, are tougher cuts. For instance, this week I found a 4 lb. top round roast in the "marked-down" section at the market. It was $1.19 per lb. I don't like to cook a top round roast as a roast - you know with mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. It isn't as flavorful or tender as a rump roast. But it is leaner, with less fat. These are the cuts I cook in the crock pot or slow cooker to make them fork tender. Just add water and the meat makes its own broth (canned broth has too much sodium and salt). I slice onions and place them in the bottom of the pot, and add garlic, pepper, and oregano for Italian Beef. Note that I didn't add any salt - the other seasonings do the trick. Buns came from the day old bread store, and we had a side salad. If the buns are slightly stale, it's okay, because I lightly toast them under the broiler before we eat. The cost to feed a family of six (with enough left for lunch the next day) was about $8.00. So, I do find it more than worthwhile to run through the grocery more than once a week!

May 1, 20060 found this helpful


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May 1, 20060 found this helpful

Invest in a crock pot, and it will never let you down! I make my own marinades (Caribean) and use canned tomatoes to "break down" the meat. We also go half or split three ways part of a cow, and it lasts in our freezer for at least 6 months. Comes out to less than a dollar a pound and it is WONDERFUL meat! My family eats more chicken, turkey and pork, so that helps the money load.

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May 22, 20060 found this helpful

I like to run to the store as little as possible to reduce impulse buying and to save my time. However, I often stop when I drive by just to check out the marked down meats. On a good day, I find several packages of roasts, steaks, chicken, ground beef, etc., and fill my freezer. I agree that it's one of the best ways to save money. If you live close enough, have the time, and are disciplined enough to pass other items and go directly to the marked-down meat section, this can be a gold mine.

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August 2, 20100 found this helpful

I couldn't make it without the reduced to clear (marked down) meat and the day old bakery. I refuse to pay $3.00 and up for a loaf of good whole wheat or rye bread when I can get it at the day old bakery for $1.79. I just read something about shopping at the dollar stores but I've seen food in there higher priced than WalMart or the grocery store.

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August 2, 20100 found this helpful

Tough piece of meat, change up the menu and use tomatoes, etc to tenderize it. I have never found a tough piece yet.

My son in a manager at a local grocery store and tells me to check those end cap freezers, containers. They put the specials or over stocks in them. Ordered twice as much of something (frozen) and they need freezer space for the next week's big sale. They end cap certain things to move, often it is the ice cream which is short dated for the freezer anyway.

Unadvertised specials can change daily. Shopping once a week you miss out on the best deals.

Cheerios end capped: 2-$5 but there was an attached $1 coupon to each box. So $1.50 each 18 oz box, no limit. Peaches or any other fruit coming again in big stock the next week (they got the special price) and they need to move the current stock out faster, 50% cut in prices.

I also know when the 3 day sales will have something I use often and stock up. 3 lb chicken breast frozen $2. Of course! Or the frozen 4 oz servings of fish at .89, enough fish for 2 adult servings. Make with side dish, salad and you got a meal.

I ask each department manager when things are on 'special' that I use often. Portobella mushroom every 3 weeks and I make soup, etc then. Red/Yellow/Orange peppers 3 weeks, not same as mushrooms. ETC. Follow the schedule and stock up. Each ad has a rotation time frame. My son said except for meat, it is fairly consistent. Exception is the summer fresh produce and a lot of it is brought in fresh from local farmers daily.

The heat we have makes a difference on the meals cooked. Mostly on grill outdoor in heat and humidity. Space for meat, veggies, potatoes, etc. Even done pie, cake on the grill. My granddaughters have been eating new veggies cause they get tossed with olive oil and kosher salt or spices.

I can slow cook roasts on the grill as well, making sure you add plenty of water for broth, cook on low.

The soon to expire meats are a bonus daily. This is the pull date from the shelves not an eating expiration date.

I have been fortunate enough to be there when too much kielbasa was ordered during sale, got a case of 30 for $1 each. Also yogurt at expiration date got free and had to bring back containers. They were fine, my dog also loves frozen yogurt in the summer for a treat. Outdated cottage cheese makes the best bread and I get that free too. The store owner tells my son to call me to see what I want that he has to offer.

Another thing. Son is frozen food manager. So he knows how long things are in freezer, knows what is not moving. So when he pulls it out, he has a list of people who get it in their freezers, well meaning elderly, low income, etc. It is a store write off to toss it, someone still gets the food.

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