Episode 171 6 Tips to Save Money Buying Grocery Markdowns

Groceries are getting more expensive. One way to save money is to buy grocery store markdowns. 

Grocery store markdowns are not the weekly ads or coupons. They are items the store discounts to sell quickly. There are many reasons a store will mark down and item. Here are few:

  • The item is getting discontinued
  • The packaging is slightly damaged
  • The item’s shelf space was bought by another product
  • The item is expiring quickly
  • The item is overstocked and the store needs the space for other items

You can often save lots of money buying marked down items. Use these 6 tips to be smart when buying markdowns.

Tip 1- If you won’t use it, it is not a bargain.

Don’t buy things just because they are a deal if you won’t use it.

Tip 2- Know the regular and common sale price of an item.

This helps you know if it is a great deal or not. 

Tip 3- Buy ahead when items are on deep discount.

Keep some wiggle room in your budget and stock up when items are at their best price.

Tip 4- Consider your storage and freezer space before buying items in bulk.

If you don’t have room to freeze or store the items then it is not wise to buy large quantities.

Tip 5- Repackage meat before freezing.

You don’t want to freeze the meat in it’s original packaging. You will end up with an ice block of meat that is hard to separate into meal-size portions.

  • portion the meat before freezing
  • cut into the size you need for cooking before freezing
  • you can cook the meat before freezing. I like to brown hamburger or cook chicken to add to recipes like spaghetti or casseroles.
  • chicken breasts are best frozen in single layers on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen you can put into zip bags. You can pull out the number you need for each meal.
  • freeze in individual or meal-size portions 

Tip 6- Learn the markdown habits of your favorite stores.

Each store is different. Don’t be afraid to ask employees when they mark down items in their store.

Know where each store keeps their mark down items. 

 

Links from this episode:

Other Podcasts: 

Episode 165 Freezer Cooking that is Delicious with Rachel Tiemeyer of Thriving Home

Recipes:

Make Ahead Hamburger Patties

Homemade Turkey Sausage

How to Grill Chicken Breasts

Products:

Souper Cubes

Sheet Pans

Parchment Paper

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active teens. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. Check out her YouTube Channel or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

This podcast was sponsored by Yummy Crate. Get 50% off your first month and free shipping with code FYFT.

Episode 133 4 Ways to Get a Break in the Kitchen

Episode 133 is about getting a break in the kitchen

I truly believe every mom needs a break from fixing dinner at least one day a week. My mother hosts our family for a weekly dinner at her house, so I can always count on one night a week where I don’t have to cook (or plan, or shop, or clean up). On this week’s podcast, I share four other ways to get a break from the kitchen.

 

1 – Go Out to Dinner or Get Takeout

Going to a restaurant or getting food from the drive-thru is how most moms get a break. The key to enjoying the experience is to PLAN for it. You have permission to write “dinner out” on your weekly dinner plan when you know you’ll be too tired to cook. 

 

Making a specific plan to eat out frees you from any guilt you may feel about changing your meal plan last-minute. You’ll get to experience the joy of anticipation knowing that a break is coming, and it will help you stay on track when you want to throw in the towel on other nights of the week.

 

2 – Use Frozen Foods

You will have to use your oven, but reheating frozen foods isn’t really the same as cooking. By using quality frozen foods in your meal plan, you can minimize the amount of time spent on prep and hand-on cooking.

 

By the way, frozen foods do make great backup meals, but it’s ok to plan them, too! Save yourself some time and mental energy by keeping a pre-made lasagna or a bag of pot stickers in your freezer.

 

3 – Let Your Spouse or Older Kids Cook Dinner

 

If you have a spouse who likes to grill or a teenager who loves to try new cooking techniques, you may be able to pass the dinner responsibilities to them once in a while. However, communication is key! Be very clear about what you expect so you can be relaxed instead of resentful. 

 

Some things to agree on beforehand:

  • Who will plan the meal?
  • Who will buy the ingredients?
  • What time does dinner need to be ready to eat?
  • Who cleans up afterwards (and what does that actually mean)?

 

4 – Use Your Grocery Deli

 

Prepared items at the deli counter of your grocery store are usually less expensive than restaurant takeout, so this can be a great option for larger families. Pair a bagged salad with a rotisserie chicken for a quick healthy meal, or get a variety of Chinese dishes for everyone to share.

 

Often when we feel burned out about making dinner, it’s less about the physical cooking and more about having a break from the planning, prep and cleanup. What are your favorite dinner shortcuts? Join us in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook group to share your tips and get ideas from our other community members.

 

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here.

Episode 120 How to Shop Grocery Sale Ads

Title of Episode is How to Shop Grocery Sales Ads

There are three kinds of people when it comes to shopping grocery sales.

  1. Doesn’t pay attention to the sales. If something is on sale it is just a bonus.
  2. Shops several stores each week and aims to get the lowest price on everything they purchase.
  3. Somewhere in the middle. Pays attention to the sales, but does not worry if they don’t get the best price on every item.

I am the third type of sale shopper. Growing up my mother was much closer to the second type of shopper. I learned a lot about maximizing grocery sales from her.

 

You want to create your own personal grocery sales strategy. You want to consider your season of life and your budget. There are times in my life where the final prices were most important and times when I couldn’t shop at several stores each week and convenience was more important.

 

Start by getting to know the stores you frequent. I follow the sales of three stores. Get to know their sales cycles and the everyday prices of the items you frequently purchase. Episode 115 talks about base ingredients.

  •                 Stores like Walmart and ALDI have an everyday low-price strategy
  •                 Stores like Sprouts have great sale prices but many of their other items are more expensive.
  •                 Stores like Kroger are middle of the road. They will not have the most or least expensive items.
  •                 One store’s “sale” price may be more expensive than another store’s every day price.

The easiest way to simply sale shopping is to focus on the price of meat and produce. Because I buy most of my staples during deep dive quarterly shopping (episode 99) I am mostly purchasing meat and produce weekly.

Meat and produce are often “loss leaders” in grocery ads. This means the store sells the item at or below cost to get you in the store and purchase other more profitable items.

To maximize your savings, you need to be flexible in your meal planning.

  • Plan your meals around the protein and produce that is on sale.
  • Buy in-season produce for the highest quality and best price.

Some items only come on sale once or twice a year. You may want to stock up.

                At Thanksgiving time, you will see these items on sale:   

  • Turkey Breast
  • Butter
  • Stuffing Mix

                At back-to-school time you will see these items on sale:

  • Granola Bars
  • Dry Cereal

A few red flags to watch for:

You cannot “spend yourself rich.” If you don’t need or use the item don’t buy it just because it is a great deal.

                Watch out for buy 5 get $5.00 off or buy 10 get $10 off deals.

  • If you don’t need 5 of the item it is not a deal.
  •  Sometimes you can mix and match items. Look for non-food items to fill out the number requirement like dish soap.

                Watch out for buy one, get one free sales.

  • Sometimes the items will ring at 50% off. You only need to buy one.
  • Sometimes the “free” item is a lesser value.
  • Read the fine print to maximize savings.

 

In the end, shopping sales can be very personal. For some people it is worth the time and effort to go to several stores to get the best price. For others, it is more important to focus on a few key items and plan your meals around sale meat and produce.

 

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a full transcript click here

Episode 119 How to Avoid Multiple Grocery Trips

How many times do you go to the grocery store each week? My goal is to go twice a week. I like to do a big shopping trip at the beginning of the week and a small trip for more produce and sometimes fresh fish at the end of the week.

But in reality, I can often go to the store many times a week.

Part of that is because I live five minutes from 9 grocery stores and it is just too easy to get to the store.

I also have to manage more than just the food for my family of six. I have to manage the food for the recipe testing, photos, and video production for the website.

 

Today I have 2 big tips to help you make fewer trips to the grocery store.

1- Keep a well-stocked pantry.

  • Having a well-stocked pantry means you don’t need to run to the store for staples. It also helps you make substitutions in recipes. If you don’t have penne pasta, you can substitute rotini or another shape from the pantry.
  • In episode 108 I talked about how I like to do a deep-dive shopping trip once a quarter to stock my pantry with basics.
  • If you have a tight budget, you may want to do this once a month rather than once a quarter.
  • Have a system for keeping track of items that are getting low.
  • Have a system for rotating pantry basics so items don’t get stuck in the back of the pantry unused.

 

2- Plan

  • When you plan your meals at the beginning of the week, you know the ingredients you need to buy at the store. There is less guessing at the grocery store and you can purchase exactly what you need.
  • Get the free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet
  • I understand if you like to go to the store to get inspired or to shop sales. That is okay, but make a plan first. You can adapt your plan if you find a good deal in the store.
  • If you don’t have a plan when you go to the store you will likely end up making the same foods over and over and you will need to go back to the store to get extra items to complete recipes.

 

Extra trips to the grocery store waste time. Even when you are close to the store, you have to get in the car, drive there, park, and drive back home. A “quick run” to the store takes more time than you think. These tips will help you be more prepared and make fewer trips to the store each week.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Click here for a transcript. 

Episode 99 Deep Dive Grocery Shopping

I first learned about deep dive shopping from Lisa Woodruff at Organize365. She recommends doing a big shopping trip at the beginning of December to buy enough staples to get you to January. I have found that doing a deep shopping trip 2-3 times a year can really save me time and help with meal planning all year long.

 

When looking at deep dive shopping trips the first thing you want to consider is your budget. If it is super tight, you may only be able to stock up on a few items. If you have a little flexibility and can stock up in a big shopping trip you will spend much less time and money on your future shopping trips.

 

Once you clean out your pantry and freezer for fall (Check out Fall Dinner Game Plan.) You can look at your Master Meal Planning Sheet and see the kinds of foods you want to eat in the fall and winter. Think about the ingredients you need for those meals and stock up on the basics. In my house that means stocking up on canned goods like pumpkin, tomatoes, and beans. I get pantry items like chicken broth, pasta, and oats. I also fill my freezer with frozen veggies, fruits, and meats.

 

You also want to think about non-food items. Stock up on paper products (like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins.) Get all your cleaning supplies like hand soap, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, and bleach. Stock up on personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, and makeup. This will make your future grocery trips smaller and faster. You will only need to buy perishable items like fresh fruit, veggies, and meats.

Once you have a list of all the items you need, plan your shopping trip. It is best to shop on a weekday morning without children. If you can’t do it on a weekday morning, the next best time is Sunday morning. It is hard doing deep dive shopping when the stores are extra busy on Friday afternoons or Saturdays. Start with the store that is farthest away from your house and work your way home. You may need to put a cooler in your car for frozen items.

 

By doing a deep dive shopping trip, you will help yourself meal plan. With a well-stocked freezer and pantry, it is easier to decide what is for dinner. You make meals around the ingredients you have on hand. It helps with decision fatigue because you have fewer choices. One ingredient can be used many ways. For example, I use frozen mixed veggies in pot pie, tater tot casserole, soup, and fried rice. One simple ingredient has many uses and helps me narrow my decisions.

Be sure to set up a system to note when you are running low on an item. In my house, everyone knows that when they use the last of an item to write it on the calendar. It is super frustrating to expect to have something from the pantry and find out it is gone.

For a transcript of this episode click here

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 80 Finding Your Best Place to Buy Groceries

Finding your best place to buy groceries means you have to decide what is most important to you. Is it prices, convenience, safety, freshness or something else? Your values may change in different seasons of your life. What is most important is that you decide what you value now, decide where to shop based on that value and then stop second guessing yourself.

We make thousands of micro decisions each week and the more we can “batch” our decisions, the more brain space we create. You can decide where to shop each week, or decide where to shop for a season of life. Just free yourself from all the second guessing once you have made your decision.

 

Episode 76 Grocery Pickup or Delivery 101

Episode 76 Grocery Pickup or Delivery 101

You may have been using grocery pickup for a long time, or maybe you just started recently because of social distancing. If you have never used it but were always wondering how it works, then this podcast is for you.

Marie outlines four of the major grocery delivery services in Wichita, Kansas. Many of these are available nationwide. If you have other services in your area, please tell us about them in the Feed Your Family Tonight Facebook group. We would also love to hear how well these services are working in your area.

 

What are the services available, how much do they cost, and how do they work?

Walmart- Pickup or Delivery

Walmart employees select the items. Delivery is done by a secondary provider like Door Dash.

There is no fee for pickup. Delivery has a $12.95 per month or $9.95 per order fee plus tip. 100% of tips paid online go to the driver.

You can choose which items you are willing to accept substitutions but you cannot give produce selection instructions.

Kroger Click List – Pickup or Delivery

Kroger employees select the items. You can leave instructions such as “I prefer large apples or I prefer green bananas.”

There is usually a $4.95 fee for pickup (As of publish date the fee is temporarily waved.) There is a fee for delivery which is done by a secondary provider.

You cannot tip at pickup but tipping is expected for delivery.

You can approve or deny substitutions at pickup.

Insatcart – Delivery

You are assigned a personal shopper who goes to the store/stores and hand selects your items. If you need to have substitutions, the personal shopper will text you options.

You can pay yearly $99.00, monthly, $9.99, or per order $3.99-$7.99.

You can get items from multiple stores in one order.

Items cost more through the website than they do in the store. (Think .20 to .30 per item.)

Tips are expected. The person delivering your items also took the time to go to the store, select your items, paid for the items and delivered them to you. 100% of tips goes to the shopper.

Shipt – Delivery

You are assigned a personal shopper who goes to the store/stores and hand selects your items. If you need to have substitutions, the personal shopper will text you options.

You can pay a yearly $99.00, or monthly, $14.00. Extra fees for orders under $30.00.

You can get items from multiple stores in one order.

Items cost more through the website than they do in the store. (Think .20 to .30 per item.)

Tips are expected. The person delivering your items also took the time to go to the store, select your items, paid for the items and delivered them to you. 100% of tips goes to the shopper.

 

Tipping

In most cases, tipping is not allowed for pickup items.

Tipping is expected for delivery items. If the store employees selected the items and the delivery was done by a second party 10% is a reasonable tip. If the personal shopper selected and delivered the items 10-20% is the customary tip.

 

Please keep in mind that the delivery and personal shoppers are taking a higher risk in this time of stay at home orders. Please tip generously. I have read reports from Instacart employees who have said there are times that they are making less than $10.00 per hour by the time they go to the store, select items, text about substitutions, wait in line to check out, load the groceries, and deliver them to you. It is a labor-intensive process.

 

Other Perks of using a delivery service

Shipt and Instacart can help you get items from stores that require memberships like Sams or Costco. If you have 1 or 2 items that you like from those stores, they can purchase and deliver to you allowing you to get the items without paying a membership fee.