A Week in the Life: Price matching, family calendars and meat in bulk

by Melody on April 17, 2014

Welcome to a Week in the Life of an occasional spend-all-the-money-in-the-world impulse shopper who sometimes uses a coupon but tries mightily to save money where she can.  Each week (or whenever, because I can’t seem to stay on schedule) I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time.  Or both.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

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Price matching to save time

We just had a new Yoke’s Fresh Market open near our house and I’ve been shopping there quite a bit lately.  I drive right by everyday to drop my son off at preschool so it’s super convenient.  They do run great sales, but their regular shelf prices tend to be higher so it’s not always the most cost effective.

I learned on accident that they will price match competitor’s store coupons that run in their weekly ads.  For most stores (Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Safeway), the store coupons they put in their ads tend to be very quality deals.  For example, Yoke’s was willing to price match these 2-pound bricks of Tillamook cheese that were on coupon in the Fred Meyer ad for just $4.99.  While I do love to share the love and shop at all local stores, sometimes it’s just not in the cards.  If I know a trip to multiple stores is so not going to work that week, this is a fantastic option!

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Lots and lots of meat

More Zaycon Foods!  This time we ordered their fantastic ground beef and split with a friend, which meant we had 20 pounds of beef to repackage and freeze.  At just over $3 per pound, it’s a little higher than we can find on a good sale.  But here’s why I still do it.

It’s delicious.  Consistently delicious.  One short hour or so and I have several packages of beef ready for meals or the freezer, which requires one less trip to the store.  I know. I could find a fantastic sale and run in to buy it at the local grocery store.  Know what happens when I make a trip “just for ground beef”?  I come out with a $60 bill and a cart full of things I didn’t intend to buy.

This saves me time.  And money, because I’m impulsive.

If you haven’t signed up for a Zaycon Foods account, it’s completely free and you will be notified of events in your area.

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Stocking up at a low price point

We usually buy our bananas at Costco for around $.44/pound, but occasionally they go on sale at a local grocery store for $.38/pound.  We go through these like mad crazy apes in our house, so I stock up.  We have filled carts.  People ask questions.

We eat through what we can and then I peel and freeze the rest for green smoothies.  We mostly buy whole foods and it’s rare to find a coupon for these kinds of items, so our best bet to save on our grocery bill is to know a good stock-up price on the items we do buy.  When it’s cheaper than we normally pay, I buy approximately 1,724 pounds.  Or you know, enough to fill a freezer drawer.

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The Hansen Family Calendar

I don’t know about your family, but starting in about February, our spring and summer weekends start to fill up like crazy.  Come June, we’re lucky if we have one spare Sunday afternoon.  This is never intentional and we don’t necessarily plan on filling up every waking hour, it just happens.  There are concerts and baseball games and college football in the fall and Vegas (most likely) and competitions and birthdays and barbecues.

This year, we got smart.  My husband made this fantastic calendar at work and we listed out every planned and possible trip or party we are going to attend for the rest of the year.  I’m not going to pretend like this is saving us a ton of money, doing stuff costs no matter how we try to cut down on costs.  What it is doing is preventing us from double-booking and telling us what we need to buy tickets and hotel reservations for.

For example, we are doing a few races this year where the price goes up if you don’t register by a certain date.  Having them listed on the calendar has forced me to go through and make sure we are signed up and ready to go.  By doing it early, we lock in the lower rate instead of waiting until the last minute and paying WAY too much.

Having it all listed out makes me a little more sane (and just a little more crazy) all at the same time.  Another bonus perk?  We can start lining up childcare when we need it instead of waiting until the last minute.  It also helps with my husband’s work schedule, as he can ask for all these days off in advance.

What local stores in your area do price-matching?  Have you taken advantage?

What is your favorite source to buy quality meat at a low price point?

Do your summers look like our families?  What is your favorite thing on your calendar this year?

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