Saturday, October 15

Stretching the dollar on a busy day

Saturday's become our major shopping day since the fall semester began. Kristin is taking a course at the community college campus about 40 minutes away. It so happens that Walmart and Shoprite are along that route so we drop her off first and then go on our merry way.

Gas prices have gone up at least a dollar a gallon since last year and that's really hurt us. We only have so much to budget for gas and can't really change the amount so we're getting a lot less and have to curtail our driving quite a bit. I am really ticked about the gas prices. Maybe that's another sign I would bring to Take Over Philly. The prices go up, come down, and then jump up again for no rhyme or reason other than (I suspect) corporate greed by the oil companies. I don't mean the jump you get around the holidays. I mean like what happened in recent weeks. The price of gas went down fifty cents, to around $3.13. Now it's jumped back up again. Why? Who knows!

I collect the grocery flyers and look through them carefully to see who's got the best price on what I need. Usually Shoprite has decent deals on meat (although prices have gone up) but not this week. No chicken or ribs or sausage or anything. However, at Acme (the store closest to us), they had a 4/$19.99 meat sale going on.

We usually skip Acme when we shop because they have the highest prices around. The 4/$19.99 special is okay though. The packages are supposed to be enough to feed a family of four. Before our surgeries, this wouldn't have worked for us. TB and I eat as if we were one person and so the meals do make it. We just don't have left overs. We're able to get ground beef, whole chickens, sausage and ground turkey.

So with the flyers I have, I make lists. I haven't been clipping manufacturer coupons because they really haven't helped me. Most of them are for products I don't use. When they are for something we us, I find the store or generic brand is cheaper. I do use store coupons though. As long as we make a $25 purchase, we can save money on things like deli cheese, produce, sometimes meat or shrimp, and dairy stuff.

Walmart's been a place to save money since they opened a refrigerated section. They are not a super Walmart because they don't have meat or produce but they have just about everything else. Their canned, bottled, and boxed foods tend to be less expensive than Shoprite. Another thing is, they match prices from other stores. I haven't taken advantage of that yet mainly because it would be a little confusing. I'd be bringing five flyers to show them that red cabbage is blah-blah at Stop & Shop, tuna is 10/$10 at Shoprite, bread is so much at Super Fresh and so on. But as prices for food goes up and our budget has no more wiggle room, I'll have to do that.

I'm sure a lot of people have to shop this way these days.

We had a busier day today because we needed to stop for TB's cat scan appointment. This is another test the doctor ordered to figure out why he had so much protein in his urine. Hopefully this will explain it.

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