I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve found that it costs A LOT to feed my family of five. My husband and I eat the same amount as always, but my 11 year old seems to have grown a hollow leg and typically eats as much as or more than my husband. My nearly 7 year old is not far behind.
While their appetites our growing, our grocery budget only has limited room to grow, which means I’ve had to be a bit more savvy when it comes to grocery shopping. I’ve found that I need to think a bit more outside traditional grocery stores to save money on food.
These are some of my favorite new stores to shop at:
Yep, you heard that correctly. This discount retailer sells some groceries in addition to their home and yard décor.
We follow a gluten free diet, and gluten free flour can be expensive. Our favorite, Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Flour regularly sells for approximately $12 to $14 for the 44 oz. bag. It sells at Big Lots for $7.80 a bag. We also enjoy Beanitos chips, but they usually run $3 to $4 per bag. At Big Lots, we found them for $2 a bag.
Those prices are enough to get me really excited, but when you sign up for their Buzz Club Rewards card, Big Lots will e-mail you coupons. Last week I received and used a coupon for $10 off a $50 order. I bought all groceries with that coupon, which essentially saved me 20% off their already discounted prices. This week they sent me a $5 off $15 coupon.
This store is based in the Northwest. They sell health foods, organic and regular produce and many other items. I belong to a buying club, and once a month we place our orders (with a $50 minimum per person). Eight days later, the semi-truck arrives with the food for delivery, and I pick it up from another member’s house. I have found great deals on organic apples and pears for less than $1 a pound. Spice prices are unbelievably low. Since we can’t eat corn, either, we like to buy the brown rice tortilla wraps. At most stores, these sell for $4 to $5 per pack of 5 tortillas. At Azure, I can get them for $2.61 a 5 pack if I buy in bulk, which I do.
Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op that delivers their baskets every week or in some areas every other week. Since they place orders in bulk for all of the customers, they’re able to get steep discounts.
They offer both conventionally grown and organic produce baskets. The conventionally grown produce costs $15 per basket, and the organic, $25. They also offer add ons such as bread, smoothie ingredients, etc. that you can choose from.
The catch with Bountiful Baskets is that you have no say in what comes in your basket. You won’t know until you pick up the basket what fruits and vegetables it contains. If you’re a big meal planner like I am, this can make menu planning a bit difficult. However, they do offer fabulous savings, especially if you have a growing family.
Aldi or Save-a-Lot
These two stores offer rock bottom food prices, but know that they are also no frills.
You have to pay a .25 cent deposit to use the cart, and you’ll need to bring your own bags and pack them yourself or use the boxes they have available at the store. I used to shop at Aldi fairly regularly, but now where we live, neither of these stores are available.
Sure, Costco can save you on groceries, but I had no idea how much.
Every year I easily recoup the cost of my membership just by buying organic soy milk (we can’t have dairy), rice in 50 lb. bags, and organic produce.
I can buy a one pound package of organic lettuce or spinach for $4.00, which is a real steal. A 10 lb. bag of organic carrots costs $4.99. We go through 20 lbs. of carrots a month, so that’s a great deal!
What are your favorite ways to save on your grocery budget?
We don’t have the dietary issues your family has to accommodate, but this helps us. A small garden, a salvage grocer, bulk buying at our local grocer when they give discounts, free day old bread box at church, CVS when they have sales and coupons at the same time.
Peter Anderson says
When we moved a while back we moved in right next to an Aldi. I keep meaning to go there after hearing great things about them, and your post may be the catalyst I need. That, and my in-laws saying how cheap the produce and other groceries are there. Alternative food sources here we come!
Abigail @ipickuppennies says
That’s a lot of feeding to do! I don’t envy you.
Big Lots does sometimes have good deals. It was our go-to place for affordable Flipz for awhile. Probably not what you’re looking for, but it’s still a fond memory…
These are all great suggestions for bigger, well known, national chains, but one more thing I’d recommend is taking a look at your local grocery stores. I recently discovered a local store in my area that not only has better products than the big chain stores I usually shop at, but they often have big sales on those products so they end up being cheaper too!
Farmer’s markets are good for this reason too :)
Ernest Warner says
We have the “dollar” type stores in Orange County CA. They now have produce and fruit as well as canned goods and chips. EX: 3lbs apples for $1.