As a single income family, we operate our household on a strict budget. I’ve mentioned before that Meal Planning is my biggest money saver when it comes to my grocery budget, but it helps to be a savvy shopper. I’ve been couponing for years, but there are plenty of ways to save without clipping coupons. Our competitive grocery market in Colorado Springs is actually your ally!
First and foremost, you have to know what you’re paying for the items you buy regularly. Make a list of the things you find yourself buying all the time. Then identify the unit that applies to that item. Most meats and produce are broken down into pounds, cereals and snacks are often by the ounce, and a lot of items are by the individual piece like a bar of soap. Next, figure out what you’ve been paying for that unit. Your goal will simply be to pay less going forward.
Here in Colorado Springs, we have several grocery choices that can help cut your costs: Sprouts, Albertsons, Safeway, King Soopers, and SuperTarget.
Sprouts is my favorite option for fresh produce, bulk items, and sometimes meat. The best thing about Sprouts is “Double Ad Wednesdays”, which means they run ad specials from the previous week and the next week at the same time. I can go every other Wednesday and get all the sales for the month! I also found that many items are cheaper in their bulk sections than prepackaged in other stores. Since I live on the north end of town, I’m really excited about the new location coming to the Northgate area!
Albertsons isn’t super convenient for me due to location, but their sales are good enough to make the trip sometimes. They often run meat sales like “Buy 1 get 2 free”. You have to break down the unit price like I mentioned above, but it’s a good deal on some items. I’m also a big fan of a sale they run frequently called “Cash in Your Quarters” in which they offer many items at .25, .50, .75, and so on. Canned vegetables, canned beans, cheese sticks, cornbread mix, and gravy/seasoning packets are some of the items I stock up on during that sale. Albertsons does not require a loyalty card to get their sale prices, but you may have to present in-ad coupons in order to get the sale price.
Safeway has a great digital coupon program that links to your free loyalty card. The more I shop there, the better deals I get offered. They also have great markdowns on items that are nearing expiration. Albertsons and Safeway have merged companies, and I’m finding more & more similarities in the advertisements each week. Safeway requires a loyalty for most of their sale prices along with some in-ad coupons. The coupons in the ad are usually also available on the digital program, which has an app for your smartphone or tablet. Sometimes I get double dip offers in the digital program where the regular sale available to everyone combines with a personalized offer just for me. I also get random freebies. Safeway also doubles manufacturer’s coupon values. In our area, they double up to $1 (meaning .25 becomes .50, .50 becomes $1, but .75 will only become $1).
King Soopers is definitely a favorite for great sales. While King Soopers is Colorado owned and operated, they run the same big sales events as Kroger stores throughout the nation. “Mega Sales” are when they offer an overall discount for purchasing a certain number of participating items. There are great stock-up opportunities in these sales, and there are always way more items included than what’s advertised. You are required to use a loyalty card to get sale prices, and their fuel program is fantastic. King Soopers also has a great digital coupon program with an app for your smartphone or tablet. They also double manufacturer’s coupons in the same way that Safeway does.
SuperTarget also has some great programs for saving money on groceries. They have a text coupon program as well as an app called “Cartwheel” that saves percentages on selected items. It can get a little complicated, but you can stack their different coupons together for big savings. A blog called Totally Target has great info on getting started.
I use an app called Favado to help with necessities. If I realize that I need milk and haven’t looked at sale papers yet, I use the search function to find out where it’s cheapest.
There are thousands of blogs dedicated to this topic, so I couldn’t even begin to really scratch the surface in one post. I’ve just been so happy with the options here, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about saving money on your groceries. You may not have time to go to all the stores every week, but you might find deals you didn’t know existed by trying somewhere new.