Groceries are expensive. Simple statement but something I didn’t realize until I started to stock the fridge of my first apartment when I was 19. Damn near $5 for cereal? Now I understood why I didn’t always have my beloved Kix or Honey Nut Cheerios growing up. But fast forward years later and I’ve learned the art of keeping my belly, and my debit card happy.
Every week I check my grocery store’s circular to see what’s on sale. Then I go through my coupons to see if I can rack up even more savings. For example, Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies are on sale this week at Pathmark for $1.69. I had a $1 off coupon, so these cookies that normally cost $3.39, only set me back 69¢.
And there are certain items I never, repeat never, pay full price for, simply because they’re normally too expensive and can be found on sale at least once a month.
- Ice cream: At any given moment, at any given grocery store, you can find a brand on sale for 2 bucks of so, like Breyers or Turkey Hill. I’m a devoted Haagen Daas strawberry lover but no way am I paying $4+ for a pint. I wait until it’s on sale for 2 for $5.
- Desserts: I pretty much love anything sweet but I’m not willing to pay excessively for it. Entenmann’s baked goods and Mrs. Smith pies are enough to induce a diabetic coma, but occasionally they’re ok to eat…especially when they’re $2-3. And Entenmann’s frequently has sales where the entire line of baked goods is on sale. Their pound cake is perfect for strawberry shortcakes.
- Frozen Vegetables: I live in Harlem and I swear sometimes it seems easier to find some crack than a fresh head of broccoli so I frequently stock up on frozen veggies. They’re just as nutritious, if not moreso than the fresh stuff (they’re picked and frozen at their peak) and a pound of veggies can usually be found on sale for a little over $1. Convenient, cheap and best of all, does your body good.
- Dairy: Where was I when cheese passed the $3 mark? My favorite brand has to be Velveeta. It’s perfect for making a gooey grilled cheese sandwich or cheese eggs, but at $5 a pack, I’ll pass. Whenever it’s on sale (which is kinda rare) I go crazy and get a few packs but I usually go with whatever brand is on sale that week.
- Rice and Pasta: No meal’s complete without a carb companion. Though these items aren’t particularly expensive, it’s even better when they’re on sale. One of the (few) things I can’t do is cook rice, so I stick with the instant stuff. Anything that’s “instant” tends to mean it’s a bit more expensive since they’re throwing in added convenience. Uncle Ben’s has a new Jasmine rice that cooks in 90 seconds. It’s on sale this week, I think I’ll stock up on a few!