6 Ways To Save On Groceries

Okay, so you’ve cut canned vegetables from your grocery list and now your food budget has exploded like a can of green beans. How can you cut corners and save a little money without resorting to Breathairianism? Consumer Reports offers six suggestions, and while many of them may seem like common sense if you already practice them, the list is still helpful enough to be worth checking out. Tip number one:

Choose cheap stores. Not all stores are created equal. After doing a price comparison, Consumer Reports found that the following stores offered the best bargains: Aldi, Costco, Market Basket, Slater Bros., Shoppers Food Warehouse, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart.

We’ve covered this before with homespun advice from the thriftymommy side of the matter, and those soccer mom tips still pertain as well (although be sure you also read the highly useful reader comments on that post).

Six Ways To Cut Your Grocery Bill [CBSNews.com]

(Photo: idiotboy)

Comments

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  1. kaikhor says:

    Ok, I’m going to be picky here, but it’s Stater Bros, not Slater Bros…

  2. samurailynn says:

    No news for me. I already do all of these except asking to match competitor’s prices. I don’t think the grocery store I usually shop at does that anyway.

  3. Alexander says:

    In Los Angeles, CA (or any other area with a large hispanic population) try the small hispanic markets. They carry most of the same products, usually have a great butcher/seafood section, and their groceries are way way way cheaper than larger chain super markets. Having great choice here in Los Angeles, I do most of my shopping at hispanic markets and then I browse the other market’s ads and hit them up when they have great deals like Vons’ 10 for $10 (ie, $1 each) products.

  4. Morton Fox says:

    Pathmark sells a number of store-brand items in bulk. That’s what I usually get nowadays unless there is a worthwhile store special on a brand-name item.

  5. TheSeeker says:

    Trader Joes is a cheap store?

  6. Cowboys_fan says:

    Food Banks are dirt cheap I hear.

  7. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    @TheSeeker: Apparently cheaper than Whole Foods says one of my colleagues.

  8. Alexander says:

    @TheSeeker: I don’t know if they are necessarily cheaper, but for being a supposedly more upscale market their prices are pretty up to par with most of other markets. I buy Salmon from them all the time and you can get 2 good size salmon fillets for about $9. At Ralphs, 2 good size salmon fillets go for about $5 each. Of course there are slight weight variations but most of the ones at Trader Joe’s come already marinated or stuffed or something…

  9. QuirkyRachel says:

    Trader Joe’s is an excellent store, but I wouldn’t go to just any store because their cheap. Quite often that means that they’re cutting costs somewhere. A lot of them are also buying food that has been through “temperature abuse”, which is when the trucks or freezers aren’t maintaining the correct temperature.

  10. lhempheaven says:

    I have to say that the best tip to save on groceries is using coupons coordinated with the weekly sales, also called “loss leaders.” These are sale items that the grocery store sells at such a low price they lose money on that item, but they hope to get back that money by getting you in the store and hoping that you’ll by other items. You come the winner if you stock up on items that you have coupons for and are on sale. This tip, along with the others will save you the most.

  11. Alexander says:

    @QuirkyRachel: I hear what you are saying. However take the Ralphs by my house (Lake and Walnut in South Pasadena), they are remodeling the store. They are not introducing new products or higher quality, they are just making the store look more luxurious and upscale. I’m sure that it’s us the consumers who’ll be footing the bill with an increase here and an increase there. When the building is done, it’ll be the same market but they’ll just be fooling people into thinking it’s somehow better than the market down the street because they have the booze in wood cabinets and the produce in individual baskets.

  12. gafpromise says:

    Trader Joe’s private labels (read: store brand) most of their items so they can sell it for less. For gourmet or hard to find items, their prices are really difficult to beat and even on more standard items like milk and cereal their prices are generally lower than a regular grocery store. But for rock bottom, ya can’t beat Aldi. Any store that makes you provide your own bags and pay 25 cents for a cart has got to be dirt cheap!!
    Full disclosure- my husband works for Trader Joe’s but I was a TJ fan way before I even met him.

  13. DeliBoy says:

    Coupons. Nothing beats sale + manufacturer’s coupon + in-store coupon. Have your friends/family/neighbors give you their unused weekend newspaper coupons. Lots of free stuff also – that’s how I wound up with 4 bags of Hershey’s Caco Reserve in the pantry.

  14. The_Shadow says:

    I don’t get it – how does not buying canned vegetables translate into savings?

  15. j-o-h-n says:

    I guess I’ll never know what the prices are at Aldi, I swear that store must close at 5pm. It’s never open when I go by.

  16. Clobberella says:

    Winco, west coasters! So it’s not the most fun place to shop but you have to admit it’s possibly the cheapest grocery store ever.

    Also, I have to disagree with the comment in the article about getting store cards. Any store that has those I prefer to avoid like the plague. The stores just jack up their prices so then they can put things on “sale” so it looks like you’re getting a “discount” when in fact you’re just getting ripped off.

  17. HungryGrrl says:

    Market Basket, aka “Market Bucket” or “the Bucket” in New England, is in fact the cheapest grocery store I have ever been in, and they have great produce and edible bakery items. They also have lots of screaming kids, Muzak, very long deli lines, sawdust on the floor, hideous sales fliers, and interior decoration circa 1970.

  18. justelise says:

    I would always question a cheap store’s business tactics because they must be doing something shady to sell the same stuff at lower prices. I would also demand to know where everything is coming from. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is, if it’s coming from China I’m not buying it.

    Wouldn’t you be better off buying fruits and vegetables when they’re in season and freezing them for later use? How about Farmer’s Markets where you may have the ability to haggle if you’re gonna buy a large quantity of something?

  19. howie_in_az says:

    Obviously also shop when they have sales; Fry’s, which is the only decent grocery store in the immediate 20-mile vicinity of my house, regularly has 10/$10, 20/$10, and other such sales. In fact, two weekends ago my girlfriend and I stocked up on Morningstar Farms vegetarian goodness while Fry’s had them priced at 3/$8 (regularly $3.xx/each).

    Additionally, sign up for a store card. Not the store credit card, but a VIP customer or whatever card. Basha’s, for instance, has a deal wherein you buy 5 milks at normal price and get one for free. Most of their stuff is pricey, however, so we only go there for the milk.

  20. chrisgoh says:

    @The_Shadow: I think they were more referring to not buying canned veggies due to the current botulism situation.

  21. kerrington.steele says:

    Trader Joe’s is by far the cheapest and nicest grocery store I’ve ever been to in New York (on par with Fairway, but easier to get to for downtowners). The selection can be tricky to navigate, because they don’t always have everything in stock every week, but for vegetables, nuts/berries, cereal, OJ, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and their delicious frozen food, TJ’s has much better options than traditional grocery stores, and is WAY cheaper than Whole Foods.

  22. bohemian says:

    We check the loss leaders in the store flyers. If items in the loss leader sales are item we normally use we stock up on those items. Both of the grocery store chains are on our way home so it is not a big deal to make two stops.
    When the farmers market is full of produce, usually the end of August you can get canning tomatoes, zuchinni and cukes dirt cheap. Stock up and freeze, can or pickle.
    We buy a few items at Sams club because that is the cheapest. But we avoid the things that are a waste of money like all the processed convenience foods and impulse items. We don’t have a costco here, bummer.

  23. shopping the sales at big stores (A&P, Pathmark, Stop and Shop, etc) is easy to do and saves you a lot. Point in case- today I went to the A&P, glanced at the discount rack and they had about 10-12 cans of chef boy-ar-dee ravioli with $1 store coupons taped on them. they were normally $1.60, but were on sale for $1, minus the $1 store coupon made them free to take away.

    on another note, trader joe’s has to be the best bang for the buck in terms of “higher” quality foods. its definitely above quality-wise compared to the bigger supermarkets, but not as expensive as the whole foods and balducci’s that are littering street corners

  24. jgpenzen says:

    @TheSeeker: Compared to Aldis no. But if you are trying to stay more organic/natural thier prices are tons lower than Whole Foods or Wild Oats.

  25. MercuryPDX says:

    @Clobberella: Seconded! Winco is cheap as hell. I started shopping there after they started accepting Debit cards (instead of it being cash or check only). My only complaint is that you have to go very early, or very late to have the “store all to yourself” and be leisurely through the aisles.

  26. Chicago7 says:

    @msb2:

    Depends on what you buy. It’s really cheap for cheese, although the prices have gone up recently.

    Wine also.

    Ghiradelli chocolate slabs.

    Pasta.

    Mushrooms.

  27. HrPingui says:

    @ JUSTELISE

    Aldi for example:

    -Has a deposit on your cart, to save on cart collecting personnel

    -Stocks their items in boxes (as opposed to shelves), to save time and money

    -Carries mainly cheap storebrand products and some national brands

    -Makes you pay for bags and has no bagging personnel

    -Usually has no special sales, so scanning goes quicker and reduces errors

    -Simplifies checking to reduce personnel

    -Has no Butcher/Florist/Bakery/Magazine/Card/etc. section

    These all are examples of cutting the unnescary extras to reduce food costs.

    Other major grocery chains (Safeway/Edeka/etc.) do the exact opposite and have higher prices.

  28. Jon Parker says:

    Wegman’s has excellent prices and excellent quality. My girlfriend, who doesn’t care at all about price, will buy their store brand just because it’s good.

  29. floofy says:

    I have been shopping at Aldi’s for about 2 yrs now. At first, I was a snob, and thought only welfare people went there. I was wrong, and their food is actually better tasting than anywhere I’ve ever shopped, and I only spend about $75 every two weeks for myself and my 5 yr old. Not bad. I’m just too cheap to shop anywhere else.

  30. spinachdip says:

    @QuirkyRachel: Their stuff is cheaper because their business model is based on looking for deals directly with producers, i.e. on oversupplies, not because they’re cutting corners.

    And I haven’t been to a mass market grocery store that sold pacific wild salmon for less than $6/LB. I just wish there was a TJs within walking distance.

  31. Chongo says:

    I shop at Jewel Osco in the Chicagoland area. Do NOT sign up for the store cards. The only purpose of the card is to track your spending and so that the store can better market to you (or whatever demographic you represent). Every cashier has their own employee card that they will scan for you if you do not have one. I always do this.

  32. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Trader Joe’s: Cheap (cheaper than standard grocery stores — compare for yourself) + high quality + happy employees. And no Big Brother “loyalty cards” (see http://www.nocards.org.). (I was disappointed to see CBS’s Marshall Loeb kind of recommend use of those cards. Stores that have card systems are not pro-consumer. Note that Stater Bros., for one, is card-free.) In my experience, Trader Joe’s is the best value by far. (Full disclosure: I have zero connection to Trader Joe’s — I’ve just been a very happy, very impressed customer.)

    Aldi is an international grocery company based in Germany. Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi. Aldi-branded stores in the US do the “cheap” part very well, but the quality, I’ve noticed, is correspondingly inferior.

  33. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    PS: Trader Joe’s did raise their prices recently, across many items, after years of no increases. A manager blamed it on “gas prices.” I’m confident they are still cheaper than Albertson’s, Kroger, Safeway, etc.

  34. march_or_die says:

    I adore WinCo. They have a huge selection, and it’s incredibly cheap. Their produce is kind of nasty sometimes, but I prefer to go to a Farmer’s Market or Co-op for that stuff anyway. They have have an amazing bulk section though.

  35. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @ThinkAboutItPlease:
    Trader Joe’s is not owned by Adi.
    It’s owned by the same two very reclusive brothers that own Aldi.
    Much of the better quality Aldi stuff is the same stuff that’s at TJ, but with a lower price.
    For example:
    Aldi has been selling its knockoff of Cheerios for $1.29 for at least 15 years, cheaper than all store brands & way under the price of the real thing.

  36. Erik_the_Awful says:

    @Clobberella: I share your hatred of the so called “savings cards.” I’ve been meaning to fill out one of their applications with an obviously false name like “Chuck U. Farley” so I could have a card to use that would amuse me.

    If you go down that road, only pay ‘em in cash. As soon as you use an ATM or credit card, that info goes into the big database in the sky and then they got ya for their lovely studies and marketing crap.

  37. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Greasy Thumb Guzik: Thanks for the clarification about the ownership of Trader Joe’s/Aldi. I’ll have to try the Aldi Cheerios knockoff. (I do like Joe’s O’s.) But I’ve noticed that the Aldi crackers, cookies, condiments, and canned items I’ve tried (so far) are lower quality than what is sold at Trader Joe’s. Aldi also sells some produce items that would be refrigerated at other stores (e.g., broccoli) without refrigeration. That kind of makes me wary…

  38. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Erik_The_Awful: Check out http://www.nocards.org. Those cards are a scandal waiting for a serious Consumerist bust/action, and/or legislative action.

  39. zeitguess says:

    Ya’ll are talking about salmon fillets and I am buying off brand tuna at Save-a-Lot. I do agree with the Mexican grocery comment. You can get better quality for less $$$. Most of the produce in the supermarkets are imported from Mexico and South America anyway (per their labels), so just skip the supermarket middleman.

  40. acambras says:

    Hey, you know the Duggars, that family in Arkansas that has a ton of kids? I saw a news story that the mom gave birth to child #17 this week.

    Anyway, I saw a tv show about them the other night, and at one point a bunch of them go into Aldi’s to do the family grocery shopping.

    I guess my point is that if Aldi’s is the store of choice for a family of 19, then it’s probably pretty affordable. I’ve never been, but I might go check it out.

  41. Derv says:

    I was going to email this in, but i’ll paste it here instead:

    Grocery Store Insider Tips:

    Shop with a list
    And leave the kids/husband home. This sounds incredibly obvious, but so many people end up either coming in for one item and ending up with a cartful, or having to come back for an item that they forgot, wasting their gas and their time.

    The store brand is not necessarily inferior
    Case in point: the unnamed grocery store where I work sells their own, private label brand of bread for 89 cents per loaf. One day, I was straightening the shelves in the bakery area and saw vendors with Sarah Lee shirts on stocking our private label bread. When I asked them about it, they told me that our store brand bread is the exact same bread as the Sara Lee bread that costs $2.89 a loaf, just in a different bag.

    If you don’t use coupons, you are an idiot!
    Take 15 minutes every Sunday morning and get the paper. Even if your local paper is absolute crap, like ours is, you’ll save much more than the $1.50 the Sunday paper costs if you clip the manufacturers coupons and look for the store coupons. That 89 cent bread I mentioned earlier? It’ll set you back only 28 cents with a coupon. The manufacturer coupons offer some of the best deals, and most stores won’t mind you combining them with store coupons, as the store gets their money either way. You can usually get a copy of the coupons from the customer service counter of the store, but be warned; occasionally the coupons at the service desk have additional restrictions on them, such as a minimum purchase or quantity limit. You can also find your grocery store’s coupons on their website, just Google it. Check out websites like [thecoupongame.com] for even more info about coupons!

    The prices on the shelves lie
    Our store recently had a soda blowout. We moved something like five thousand 12 packs of soda in just a few days. People were freaking out, thinking that they were getting such a great deal, with three 12-packs of soda going for just $9.99, seing the huge flyer saying “Ad Item: Super Low Price” and thinking that that was as cheap as it was going to get. Those people were morons. Little did they know, if they bothered to stop by the service desk, or even ask a cashier, they could’ve gotten two more 12 packs for free! We had a 5 for $10 coupon in the paper, and we were even letting people combine this with their multiple $1.00 off coupons for Coke. Yes, you read right, Coke and Pepsi were both included in this blowout.

    The Bakery and Deli Departments are Incredible Ripoffs!
    But you probably already knew this. Bake your own damn muffins and save a few bucks.

    But Don’t Get Too Pushy
    The margins in the grocery business are incredibly slim. We recently saw a breakdown of it during training at my store, and for a $100 order, $76 goes to the suppliers, $10 to the salaries, $5 for gas/electric/water, $5 for supplies, and a buck or two for miscellanious expenses. The final profit was about $1.80, and I imagine a large chunk of that too disappears because of theft and shrinkage.

  42. Major-General says:

    @alexander: Of course the Hispanic markets also smell of decay. Where I live there are only two I can go through without getting sick.

    Of course, the same used to be said about the closest Albertson’s.

  43. Chicago7 says:

    @Chongo:

    Haha! That is true! I found a Jewel card on the street, so I use that. Look around, you can probably find one somewhere, if you look long enough.

    What a stupid idea these cards are. I’m old enough to remember when they started the Jewel cards. I looked at the woman who was issuing them and said “So, instead of having sales that are for EVERYBODY, you will have sales that are only for Jewel card holders”? She said, “No, sir. This will be SPECIAL sales for Jewel card holders. The other sales will still be there for everybody” HA! What a load of crap!

  44. EtherealStrife says:

    My area has a huge concentration of Iranian-Americans, so I shop Persian. The food is fresh, and if you stick with halal foods you know you aren’t getting any weird crap mixed in (msg, gelatin, etc). The prices completely blow away the Ralph’s (westcoast Kroger) and Trader Joe’s that are in the same center. There are also some excellent Persian bakeries, if a bit pricey.

    Ethnic pockets are the way to go.

  45. unoriginal says:

    I third the “use coupons in combination with sales ad” from others. I use a site called couponmom: http://www.couponmom.com to help me figure out the best deals each week. It is a completely free site and they cover quite a few stores all over the country. I know of another one called the Grocery Game which does the same thing but they charge you a fee each week to get access to their lists.

  46. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Aldi’s might be inexpensive, but I’m totally suspicious of the origin of all that cheap food. Not worth the gamble, in my opinion. I like Trader Joe’s for milk and yogurt (although I may start making yogurt at home) and special stuff for entertaining and a local farm market for seasonal produce that I can and/or freeze for use through the off-seasons. We buy shares in a cow and a pig, so that puts meat in the freezer along with chickens bought from a local farm (all the meat – organic and hormone-free – comes in at an average of about $2 a pound). Things like rice, beans and pasta come from Indian, Italian and Mexican stores catering to their respective “ex-pat” audiences. The rest I fill in on the edges with the very occasional trip to a regular supermarket.

    Seriously, though? The best way to save on groceries is to do more of the steps of food preparation at home. Making chicken broth and using it with plain rice, diced carrots and toasted orzo is a much better and cheaper pilaf than anything you’d get in one of those “rice mix” packets. O.K., maybe those sale-priced $1 loss leader frozen pizzas are cheaper than homemade, but would you really want to eat one?

    Cooking (and saving money) this way takes time, some skill and a functional kitchen (which can’t be taken for granted in great swaths of what we call “housing” for the people who need access the most to better nutrition and savings), but it can be done – and it’s neither drudgery nor something out of Little House on the Prairie. Make your own soup, your own spaghetti sauce, your own pilafs, etc. and see if your grocery bill doesn’t go down.

  47. HungryGrrl says:

    Is homemade yogurt really a good bargain now that milk prices have gone up so much? I’ve considered making my own, but if milk is $4 a gallon, I don’t think it will end up much cheaper than the quart sizes on the market.

    The two biggest ways to save on food costs are- making your own convieniance food- by making 10 servings of rice at a time and freezing it in smaller portions, making a big pot of chili or soup etc on Saturday afternoon and freezing it for lunches, roasting a whole chicken on Sunday evening and eating leftovers in lunches/quick dinners, buying quarts of yogurt instead of individual cups, etc; and stocking up on loss-leader sales, only buying meat, tuna, peanut butter, canned goods, cheese (shredded cheese freezes well!) and other ‘keepers’ while on sale (this requires some planning, financially and logistically, being able to predict what your family will use in the next few months). And of course, nothing is a bargain if some of it gets thrown out, so don’t let things go bad in your fridge and don’t buy things your family won’t eat.

  48. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Market Basket is great..at least 20% cheaper than any other store in New England. And HUNGRYGRRL nailed it…if you’re into atmosphere, forget it…it has the same “do your shopping and get the hell out” attitude that stores had in the 70’s..which is fine with me, I don’t want to be in any grocery store any longer than necessary or use it as a social club. No warm fuzzies, just cheap prices.

    I usually buy store brands for the staples..the rest of the stuff…you just have to taste test. Market Basket runs hot and cold on store brand items..some are good and some aren’t.

    Another tip the article didn’t mention: Never go shopping on an empty stomach.

    And I also hate “hostage cards”..either you’re going to sell me something at a certain price or you aren’t. Shaw’s is great for that…cut the price for card-users, and then jack it way up if you don’t have the card.

  49. oneswellfoop says:

    While I see the point of this article and the price comparison, and it makes sense for families struggling with a budget and feeding themselves(likely not the demographic to be reading this site), I have to ask what the long term costs of feeding yourselves the cheapest crap possible are. A recent study has shown that a large number organically grown and heirloom varieties of things like tomatoes have substantially more nutritional value than their mass produced and selectively bred(for quickness of growth, resistance to disease and weather extremes, and overall size) for everything but flavor. Crap like that is why so many kids hate vegetables, and even as an adult I didn’t really like them until I was exposed to and started eating locally and organically grown products.
    If you just want to fill your stomach, go buy some ramen noodles. If you’re trying to eat “healthy” and are shopping at places like walmart, odds are you’re just eating less badly than the majority of an obese population.
    If you want a good deal on healthy food, go check your local farmers market. Not only will the prices probably be competitive with what you’d find in lower prices stores, you’ll be a )reducing your carbon foot print by buying things trucked in from 30 minutes away rather than shipped from China, b) reducing your overall costs, c) Supporting your local farmers and local economy and d) eating food that is actually good for you rather than making the effort but going about it the wrong way.

  50. Havok154 says:

    I hear walmart has some great chili sauce at low prices.

  51. Rusted says:

    I miss Shopper’s Food Warehouse. Been hanging out at Krogers but not the same. New Costco nearby but I don’t need huge amounts and I prefer fresh anyway. “Organic” means not mineral to me. Also means, let’s pay more for that banana. I don’t play that game.

  52. night_sky says:

    “maybe those sale-priced $1 loss leader frozen pizzas are cheaper than homemade, but would you really want to eat one?”

    Yes. Tetino’s FTW! j/k Seriously though, they’re good and I buy them all the time when they’re on sale, which is almost all the time.

  53. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @ThinkAboutItPlease:
    Also, Aldi’s dry cereals are made by Malt-O-Meal. That came out when Malt-O-Meal screwed up & sprayed too much iron on the cereals. That’s how cereal is fortified with vitamins & minerals, it’s sprayed on.
    Most store brand dry cereals are made by Malt-O-Meal or Ralcorp [Ralston Foods].

    Most imitations of Pop Tarts are made by Schulze & Burch Baking. I know this as I’ve gone to the seconds store in Chicago & see all sorts of store brands sold there.
    Schulze claims to have invented them.

  54. @Chongo: “Do NOT sign up for the store cards.”

    Better, sign up for a store card and swap with friends. Kroger believes I am a 40-year-old unmarried male minister living in the mountains of southwest Virginia who buy a surprising lot of feminine products. :) Then swap again every so often with someone else.

    There are websites where you can do this online, too.

    I don’t mind the targeted marketing — I’m happy to buy a different brand of ice cream that they give me a coupon for b/c I bought brand A this time and brand B wants my business. Just the tracking. And the stupid Purina coupons. I’M NOT SWITCHING, PURINA!!!!!!

    Coordinating your weekly menus (assuming you do menus) with the on-sale meat saves a lot. My husband says he wants tacos, I say tough noogies, turkey’s on sale this week.

  55. Chicago7 says:

    @HrPingui:

    Wow! What neighborhood are you shopping in? Watts?

  56. synergy says:

    I only know of 4 of those stores, only 2 of them are where I live, and only 1 of them is nearby. I’m not shopping at Wal-Mart. I may be “poor,” but there’s other cheap stores around here that don’t have Wal-Mart business practices.

  57. asherchang says:

    I love store brands, but generic cola just tastes too weird, and I go with brand-name whipped cream cuz it usually dispenses right.

  58. luckyjim says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Haha, I had forgotten about all the unwanted Purina coupons people would get when I was a cashier.
    I’m in produce now. The produce from most stores is the same, and most of it’s sent in from California (I’m in New Jersey). So don;t pay attention to the signs all over the department that say it’s fresh- if it had to travel a few thousand miles to get there, it’s probably not so fresh. Be wary even when it is advertised as local- my manager makes us put out eggplant from cali in the Jersey Fresh bin. Makes for some awkard stares from customers since the boxes clearly say ‘California Grown’. Most of these things can be found easily locally.
    Also, never buy organic from the regular chain supermarkets like ShopRite- since it doesn’t sell that quickly, it’s even less fresh and usually half the stuff is past ripeness and well on its way to rottenness by the time a new box comes in.

  59. theblackdog says:

    If you’re in Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina, consider shopping at a Bottom Dollar foods. If you’re like me and you don’t bother with the deli or bakery when shopping, you’d like this store. It’s mostly Food Lion store brands, but they have plenty of name-brand products as well and often beat those prices at other stores if you must have that name brand. They also have some great deal on meats every week, I’ll stock up my freezer with what I can get.

  60. AtOurGates says:

    @oneswellfoop: Don’t forget growing your own. If you have a backyard and live south of Anchorage, there’s really no excuse for not having a summer garden.

    We’ve been gorging ourselves on heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and squash for the last few weeks down here in SoCal, all from a little 10′ x 4′ plot and a few planters. Soon I’ll be planting greens and researching what else I can grow during the winter down here.

    We’re renters, and it wasn’t too difficult to convince our landlord that a little garden plot would improve the value of the property.

  61. no.no.notorious says:

    i love these advice articles. it’s all common sense.