Weekly Grocery Fliers
Don’t throw them away! If you shop super centers such as Walmart and Target, those sales start on Sunday and the fliers come in the Sunday paper. Your local grocery stores, such as Publix and Winn Dixie, usually have fliers delivered by mail on Tuesdays and used to be what I called “junk mail”. Well, not any more! Those fliers in the mail are like gold to me now because I am able to scan the sales and visibly plan my meals. The fliers will also usually come with coupons, such as $5 off a $50 purchase… which are incredible coupons!
Coupon Match Ups
Using a couple websites that already do the hard work of matching sales with coupons is a great way to save even more money. I use I Heart Publix to see what coupons match the sale items I plan to buy and use for my meals. This site also lists the super deals for the week at Publix. Another site I use is Addicted to Saving, a local blog that does coupon match ups for the stores in my area. Therefore, the prices and coupons usually reflect the same prices I see in my stores (store prices and some coupons vary by region or where you live). CouponMom also has a great coupon database that I will use to see if there are coupons available for a sale item I see in a flier if I don’t see a coupon listed on one of the blogs above.
In my menu plan, I had a good amount of items that were already stocked in my pantry, fridge and freezer from previous weeks’ sales… some even from more than a month ago! When I see an item that our family goes through a lot (such as chicken) and at a great price, I stock up… a lot! I know I will use these items within a few weeks in my meals. For instance, two weeks ago there was a great sale and coupons for cream cheese and sour cream. Yes, these items do not last months, but they do last a few weeks in your fridge so I purchased four of each. Last week I used some with our tacos, casseroles and baking. This week I will probably use the rest of them in our meals and baking as well. Stocking up is a very cost effective way to plan great meals and save money in the process.
When menu planning and shopping sales, make sure to check your pantry as well. Especially if you stock up. I have two pantry areas that hold my nonperishables and an extra freezer in the garage. Often in the past before I became a consistent menu planner, I would forget what I had in stock already. This caused me to buy more than I needed. The old items would expire, wasting us money. Now I make sure to quickly glance through what I already have on hand before I plan my meals and hit the grocery store.
These four things help me immensely with planning my meals for the week. I find when I am not using or doing the four things above, our meals aren’t planned and we tend to eat out more. Hubby tracked how much we spend eating out and it’s really pricey! Yes, we treat ourselves to occasional meals out, especially with extended family. But using sales to plan our weekly meals has so far been a great money saving tool and sanity-saver!
Stay tuned for some great tips on finding recipes to match weekly sales and helping you become even more of an efficient menu planner! (Click here to read Part 3.)