Posts Tagged ‘saving money’

Big Box Stores and Food Stamps Cooking Club

February 24th, 2012

Do big box stores have little price tags on their merchandise?

We have some food for thought and a treat from our blogger pal, Tawra Kellam today!  Tawra graciously offered a Guest Post, written by Jill Cooper, about saving money, which is what she is all about.  She gives us some really sound advice.  See what hits YOU like a brick…

Before I share her thoughts with you I want to remind you that 40 million of us are using food stamps or SNAP.  Many more have not applied for that sort of help, even though they might qualify. There are children in our own country who are going to bed with empty tummies.  Others who are living on a dime-or less-lean on food pantries, food commodities and whatever other help is out there.  Our purpose here is to help you stretch those food dollars to get the very most you can from your food budgets and feed your family well to keep them healthy.

Now let’s give Jill the floor: 

 Are Warehouse Stores Wearing Out Your Wallet?

 *Do they save you money or just create more work?

by Jill Cooper from Living On a Dime

It’s Saturday morning. With grocery list in hand, you drag a very unwilling family out to the car where you proceed to take them on a mega shopping spree at Sam’s or Costco.

Marching down each isle you tell your family members “We need 3 cases of corn, 4 cases of green beans and — Oh! That’s a good deal on peanut butter so let’s get 3 gallons. Of course Susie, your can get a bag of cookies. They are so cheap! …and Billy you can have a few bags of your favorite chips! Yum! Oh look — samples! These taste great. Let’s get some! What a great buy on chicken – we need 20…

At the dog food aisle the excitement mounts as each member of the family grabs a corner of the 50 lb. bag of dog food to stack on top of the basket. (We won’t mention you only have 1 toy poodle at home.) After waiting in line and waiting in line and waiting in line you push your agonizingly heavy and overloaded baskets out to the car. Getting everything into the trunk of the car makes putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle seem like a breeze but, finally, home you go.

After you lug everything into the house, it’s time to spend the next few hours repackaging things for the freezer. You double wrap your 20 chickens (they could be in that freezer for quite a while) and frantically try to find places for everything else in your cupboards and pantry. By the time you are done, you are so exhausted that you couldn’t begin to lift a finger to cook, so you all go out to eat.

A few weeks later you gingerly sniff the gallon of half used peanut butter as you try to decide if that strange taste is because it has gone rancid or simply because you are sick of peanut butter. You threw out that partially used gallon of maple syrup yesterday because it had sugared and was looking really strange. You still have ten of your chickens left but if you bathe them in some spicy sauce you are pretty sure your family won’t notice the freezer burned taste. In spite of having to throw out most of the 50 lbs. of dog food (after a growing family of mice had invaded it), you’re sure you saved money because “they” said you would.

People constantly ask me, “Can you really save more money at warehouse stores?” I usually answer, “Not any more so than at other stores.” I have checked prices at various stores on many different occasions and factoring everything in, I haven’t found any exceptional savings at warehouse stores.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a warehouse store is for you:


  1. Do your homework and compare prices. Buying in bulk is not always cheaper. You can really save by checking and comparing prices. I was at Costco one day where there was a display of two Clorox one gallon bottles for $1.98 AFTER rebate. I stood there amazed as people frantically grabbed this “great deal.” I knew I could get that same Clorox for $.98 a gallon at my regular discount store and I didn’t have to mess with a rebate, pay postage or lug two gallons of Clorox shrink wrapped together to my car.
  2. Don’t buy impulsively just because it sounds like a good deal. Say you can get 12 bottles of sunscreen for a great price. Think it through before you buy. If your family only uses one bottle of sunscreen a year, that means you will be storing sunscreen for 12 years, not to mention that most of the sunscreen will expire long before then.
  3. In most homes, one quarter of the food people buy gets thrown away. If your family of four eats pancakes once a week, that gallon of syrup is going to last you a VERY long time. You might also consider that unless dry goods and freezer items are very carefully stored, they will go bad or get bugs in them. Remember to buy the size that is appropriate for you.
  4. You need to be very well organized to buy in bulk. Finding places to store everything and then carefully keeping track of what you have is critical if you want to use it all before it spoils.
  5. Most people usually spend more than they originally planned on things they don’t need. This never saves money. We taste samples and so often end up buying. If this is you, be careful. Maybe sampling is a bad idea (unless you’re making lunch of it)!

If you have ten kids, run a day care or are buying for an organization then you almost have to buy in bulk. If you have a small or average sized family, you will probably save as much shopping for sales at your regular grocery store or discount store. The key is to do the math and evaluate your practical needs. You have to decide for yourself if buying at warehouse stores actually saves you money or just creates more work.

-Jill

Good info, Jill and Tawra!  Food Stamps Cooking Club Members, if you liked this article, you can find more of the same on their website Living On a DimeCruise on over and scope out “Dig Out of DebtThere is a plethora of good ideas there and Dig Out of Debt is one of their best offerings yet!

You  are all welcome to offer YOUR best ideas by contacting us at foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com.  WE LOVE MAIL.

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.

Coupons, Anyone?

March 14th, 2009

All the news outlets are going ga-ga.  Each one is doing its best to upstage the other networks to bring the most news and best tips regarding money saving ideas.  That’s commendable.  The problem is this:  How helpful ARE these ideas, really?

Today I watched something about coupon clipping.  They showed the woman with her professionally tended fingernails and her professionally coiffed hair in her designer home, replete with granite countertops and matching stainless steel appliances. The children were dressed in designer duds.  Those images alerted me that she and I might not be in the same league. 

The woman talked about using her many coupons and she told her young children to pick out the cereal they liked because it was on sale…she loaded her cart with every bargain for which there was a coupon…I wondered if, when she got home, she would know what the supper menu would be.  Anyway, at the checkout counter, the clerk had to PAY THE CUSTOMER because she had so many coupons that the STORE owed HER!  Sounds like a good deal.

Really?

My take on that shopping trip is that there were so many boxes and packages of STUFF that is not contributing to the health of those children!  Sugary cereals, juice products laced with sweeteners and loaded with water from who knows what source, MSG…I think it’s fair to say that her idea of a week’s worth of food does not match mine. 

Let’s talk for a moment about your car.  Would you even dream of putting artificial fuel into the tank?  Would you intentionally wash it with polluted water?  Would you neglect to have the oil changed?  Of course not!  Sometimes we take better care of our cars than we do our bodies!  Our automobiles would recognize inferior products; so do our bodies.

Saving money at the expense of your health is false economy.  If you don’t KNOW what’s healthy, find out.  If you don’t know who to ask, consult your local home extension agent at the court house in your county.  We’ll do our best here at Food Stamps Cooking Club to help you know what’s what in the way of healthy, low cost foods and interesting ways to prepare meals. 

The visitors to this site are a great bunch of sharing souls.  They have been most generous to send their ideas and cooking tips to foodstampscookingclub@gmail.com  and we have shared them on this blog as well as the occasional messages that come through your email.  We empathize with those who depend on food stamps and food commodities.  We understand how it is to need to visit the food pantry in your community and that’s why we offer help and hope to those of you who find yourselves in that situation.

We want for you to be healthy while you cut costs, too.  YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO US.

Spring is about to POP and that means it’s time to think about gardening.  Even if you don’t know how to garden, get a few pots and some tomato plants to set in your yard.  Your children will benefit, you will have some good produce to include in your meals and maybe you’ll have enough tomatoes to freeze or can!

Gardening is a very popular pastime in the US.  If you want to learn about gardening, ask someone in your community to teach you.  There are retired farmers and teachers who love to share their knowledge about working with the earth.  Some communities have City Gardens or some similar program.  Don’t be shy about getting involved with those.

If you ARE a gardener, solicit some students.  They can help you weed and harvest.  You can make some rich, long term relationships that way.  And Mother Earth will get some much needed TLC.

Coupons?  Nah, not so much.  Only when it’s a good thing.

Please feel free to visit our partners at Saving Dinner and Kristen Suzanne and if you would like to bring some money into your household, please check out this site: Rapid Cash Marketing !

Connie Baum