"I have been a long time follower of your blog. Which I love and enjoy all the helpful information, recipes, and resources. I have never paid for your service because I have been a coupon-er and used other online services. With the raising prices of groceries and the restrictions placed on my favorite coupons; I am finding more and more that I need a new system.
I was wondering about your thoughts on adjusting your price matching "best prices" with the inflation. Specifically, I am finding there are only a handful of okay sales each week in comparison to a cart-ful each week, say two years ago. I've noticed on your blog that your documented fantastic shopping trips are few and far between. I guess what I am wondering is what is your take on price matching with increasing food prices? Have you adjusted your dollar amounts to reflect a great deal given today's inflated prices? When you give out your deals to your subscribers are you finding so few deals, it's not even worth the trip? I am feeling sad every time I shop and walk away with out that feeling of savings like I use to."
I agree with you! The prices of yesterday are so different than today. I am sure we will never see a 25 lb. bag of flour again for $1.99 (those were the good ol’ days!!). However, I still feel with price matching I haven’t felt the strain on my food budget like I should be. I am extra careful about only purchasing the great/red deals each week and find I am stocking my freezer more full when certain items go on sale (meat especially). As I am stocking up when prices are at their lowest, I notice I don’t feel the inflation quite so much because I have a year supply in my storage that I can turn to as prices get higher. I then stock up when those items go on sale for great prices (sometimes less often, but it still happens) and that seems to help keep prices low.
As far as my grocery bargain pictures, I should be better at posting more of those. To be honest I never know if people think those posts are lame, or if I should do them. I still shop every 2 weeks and my piles are just as impressive as they always are..I just get lazy and don’t take pictures ;) Thanks for the reminder to keep up on that!
As far as keeping up with the inflation prices I just compare the prices each week to Costco, Sams & Walmart (all of which have gone up quite a bit the past couple of years). I do have to adjust the red deals to these new prices, but there seems to still be several great deals each week. Some week’s have more great deals than others, but over all, the lost-leader prices from each store are still rock-bottom prices (which makes me happy each week!) and worth shopping for.
One item to watch very closely is meat prices. Meat prices, especially red meat, are sky rocketing!! Gone are the days of most meat prices at $2 or under per pound. The ‘new’ low price for red meat is more like $2.50-$3.00/lb. This is a lot higher than a year ago. So…when meat goes on sale for great/red deals, stock your freezer with as much as you can fit and afford. This will help you not have to get in a pinch and buy these items at full price, or a not-so-great sale later in the month.
As far as couponing, I find I can save more money on all of the regular food items my family eats on a regular basis--without clipping coupons. I am a strict shopper and don’t buy very few (if any) pre-packaged or processed foods/snacks and so coupons have never worked for me. I know you can get the occasional coupon that works for items I use, but it is not worth my time or money to clip and organize them. For me, using Deals to Meals is easy and saves me hundreds of dollars! I only shop 2x’s a month, plan my meals using our weekly meal plan (one week’s meal plan feeds my family for 2 weeks), and price match at Walmart. By using this method I am able to keep my family’s budget to $500-$550 (plus or minus a few) a month, keep up my food storage, and stock my freezer with lots of good stuff! We have a family of 7 with BIG eaters and appetites, so the fact I have not increased our food budget in 2 years, makes me feel I have inflation at bay. Just remember...be a wise shopper, don't impulse buy, go to the store with a plan & stock up so you have extras on hand. Doing all of these things will help keep your budget low and your wallet full! Hope this helps ;)