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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grocery Gaming After Work.. Shop Day & Chop Day!

Grocery Game style shopping works well for me financially. Using the GG list I have stocked up my pantry, freezers and underbed storage boxes to the point that I rarely need to run out for anything.

I have a little store in my house!
Nonetheless,I was pondering if I could continue because the days for the deals are Sunday through Tuesday. I was worried that maybe this would be too hard with two houses and a job to manage.

Shopping on Sunday is not working out anymore. Right now we are out at the new house working all weekend usually -unless I am at my library job. This means I need to shop on Monday or Tuesday if I want to use GG. My work schedule varies, this week I worked all day Monday and I am off today. I really need two days to do my shopping and kitchen work--I need a Shop Day followed by a Chop Day. This week I decided to make Monday Shop Day and Tuesday Chop Day (the day I chop things up and cook and freeze etc.) Neither of these things has to take up a whole day--but I usually want to be at home at least for the mornings on my Chop Day. That way I can take my time and think through what I want to do with all my fresh foods.

I needed to do my shopping after a longish day at work--which I usually avoid as I think I'll be too tired and end up buying dumb things or cutting corners. I needed to be really motivated. Sunday I dropped in at Bi-Lo to grab some quick stuff for dinner on our way home from working at the new place--I was so sticker shocked that I vowed to MAKE myself find time to do my GG shopping.
Unarmed, impromptu shopping is dangerous to the pocketbook!
I decided to make my list, cut my coupons and make up my mind to shop after work. My motivation came in the form of over paying for ground beef.

I was much happier with my Grocery Game shopping trip to Harris Teeter after work yesterday. I saved a little over $50 on my groceries, that's just over half of the regular price for the things I purchased. I spent less than $100 for the week, and my cart was piled high with good things! I don't really shop just for the week--but more for the pantry and freezer-- so all these things will go much further than just this week.

Among the deals I ended up getting these were some favorites: Quality name brand fabric softener in a deal that gave me 20 more loads per pack for the price I usually pay for the softener I buy at Aldi. Free worcestershire sauce and toothpaste (isn't all tooth paste free?)Some fancy~schmancy little pastas for just about the same price as my usual pound of Aldi spaghetti noodles. Some very good quality hand lotion--which is extemely useful when working on a new house or garden- for less $ than the not so good quality stuff is. Shampoo & conditioners all less than a dollar, coffee for less than a buck, butter for less than $2/#, Specialty cheese for $2 a pound.

Basically all around I can stock my pantry with better stuff for less using Grocery Game list and my Couponizer, while enjoying my shopping experience in a really wonderful store instead of shopping in a less than nice place thinking I am saving money--when I really am not.


Speaking of how wonderful Harris Teeter is--I accidentally left my Couponizer at the register! Talk about a panic attack. No matter--they have it and I am picking it up this morning. Phew! That little baby saved me 50 bucks last night! I've never been disappointed by their service. I once had a manager there offer to drive over to my house with a new melon when I thought I'd left one there--turned out it had rolled out of the bag in my trunk so I called him back and cancelled his trip, but have you ever shopped at a store that cared for their customers like that? You'd go back wouldn't you if you could at all afford it?


Some of what I bought last night was for immediate use. On my Shop Days I like to pick up whatever lunch meats are on sale and a couple good loafs of bread when I shop. That way Hubby or a kid can put an 'easy' meal on the table while I make sure my groceries are packed away properly and nothing is missing or priced wrong. Careful shopping takes time. It usually takes me an hour and a half to get through the store when I do my big shop. Its nice to know at the start that dinner will be taken care of. Last night Hubby did the honors and made delicious toasted sandwiches from Honey Smoked Turkey and Ham off the bone, with lettuce, red pepper, pepper jack cheese (from coupons!). Delicious! By the time he was done cooking I was done packing up my haul and ready to sit down.

While I was waiting at the deli for my sandwich meats--which Hubby used for our dinner, and his lunch today--to be sliced, I had time to peruse the many cases of prepared foods like pasta salads that Harris Teeter has in its deli area. My pasta collection is getting kind of fancy which is fun--as I can use neat little pastas to make great pasta salads for less! Looking at what was in the cases gave me lots of good ideas. I vowed to try some new combinations soon.

One I was interested in was a spinach and feta pasta salad--it looked so delicious! I think there is a little feta in my chest freezer, I'm going to take a look as I have some fresh spinach leaves. I did look at the price of feta cheese in the deli--and it ranged from $4.99 to $7.99 a pound. Now I know I purchased some a few months back at about $2/#.It was not a huge chunk--but enough for sprinkling on a couple of meals. I do buy specialty cheeses--but I buy them when they are on sale and many of the cheese companies do have coupons. I usually vacuum seal hard cheeses and freeze them and they keep great for a long time--maybe a year or more that way. If the kids haven't grabbed it, I'll use it for that salad today. I'm thinking if I don't have feta--why not mozzarella? I buy that usually in a large block at Sam's club and then split it and freeze chunks in vacuum bags. That could be good too! The deli version had an oil and vinegar dressing--looked so good in the case.

Actually, going to the grocery store after work--EVERYTHING looks good in the cases. I had a longish shift and I didn't have any lunch time and it was nearly dinner time. I didn't let that make me buy lots of things though. The cool thing about Harris Teeter is you can nibble your way through produce and the deli and bakery area! They have nice little sampling areas set up--nobody pushing you to try high fat packaged goods, but instead they have fresh bakery and spreads, deli meats and cheese and dips with vegetables or fruit on display usually, on the weekends you can often add a sip of wine. You can easily nibble your way through the deli, bakery and produce area before hitting the rest of the store! By the time I was ready to get serious about my coupon shopping, I had eaten nice little samples of the sale priced ham, a cheesy baguette, a little chocolate brownie and a baby carrot dipped in ranch style dip. My appetite was apeased and I was fine to do the rest of my shopping and not grab at the junk food. I stuck to my list!


I guess I realized that with a little pre-planning I can manage to stick with Grocery Game. I would hate to give up shopping at Harris Teeter. Even after we move--I think I will likely drive past the closer stores to get there and do my big shop. I just love the service and quality. I also love the prices I get when I use the GG list. I can do this! GG is still part of my life, and after that little impromptu shop Sunday I am motivated to keep up my GG and my HT even if I must go after work. Thankfully, Harris Teeter makes your shopping experience so nice--you forget you are tired.

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