Shop Cheap

Sharing the best prices on groceries and other stuff in the Sacramento region.

May 28, 2008
Let's start saving on groceries
The headlines tell the story: The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years and it's not going to improve anytime soon. Seems like the perfect time to start a blog where we can share ideas about saving money on everything, especially groceries. I'm pretty good at saving money at the grocery store but this won't be any fun unless you help, too Here's the plan: I will scan the ads and tell you where to find the best prices on grocery items. Then, I'll need you all to join in and share bargains, shopping tips and good deals so we all can save money.

Shop Cheap makes a couple of promises: We will never pay more than $3.99 for a case of bottled water. No more than $2 a loaf for whole-wheat sandwich bread and never more than $2.50 for a box of cereal.  Also, there's some lingo you need to know. BOGO is big these days for buy one, get one free. So that I don't always have to type buy one/get one free, we're going to go with BOGO. If you can handle that, you're in. So let's start saving!

Best buys of the week: Safeway has some amazing coupons from Wednesday through Saturday. The fine print: You must use your club card,  you've got to spend $10 and some have a one-item limit. The highlights:.

How about a dozen large eggs for $1 (SaveMart has 18 for $2.50, also a good deal)

4-lbs of strawberries for $4.

64-oz Safeway apple juice for $1

Other good stuff at Safeway:  Chicken of the Sea Albacore tuna in water at 88-cents a can. Cheerios are 2/$4 (same price at SaveMart)

Produce: Red seedless grapes at $1.49 a lb.

Seedless watermelon at $3.88 each

Fresh green beans at 99-cents a lb.

In the 10/$10 category, there's lettuce, red onions; cucumbers; broccoli and baby carrots.

If you like salame, Gallo sliced is $5.49.

The Safeway BOGOs: Kettle potato chips; Chex Mix and Pop-Secret popcorn;  Chips Ahoy! cookies and Honey Maid graham crakcers; Rice Krispies; chicken breast strips; Tropicana orange juice; Lipton Tea and various vitamin-infused waters.

Over at Raley's...

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.97 lb. in the club (i.e. big) pack. There's also a tasty recipe for Chicken with Orange Juice and Fresh Herbs. If you like London Broil (my son says it's not real steak, but what does he know), $2.47 lb is a good price. If you don't want to make your own, ground sirloin patties are $3.99 lb.

In the produce dept., the best deals on raspberries are at Raley's 2/$4 (6oz cartons) and SaveMart $3.99 for 12 ounces. Raley's also has Bing cherries at $2.87 lb. I haven't tried cherries yet this season. If they're sweet, let us know. Hot house tomatoes are 2 lbs for $3 and baby bella 'rooms are 2lbs/$4.

Other stuff: Gatorade at 79-cents for 32oz bottle beats last week's price; Sunnyside Farms ice cream or yogurt is 2/$6 and something totally new to supermarkets: Jamba Juice in the chilled case is $2.79 for 12.5 oz.

Have you tried Lundberg rice chips? They're tasty and all-natural and 2 bags for $3. You have to try really hard not to eat one bag at a sitting! Also in the natural food aisle, Clif Kid Zbars at 65-cents each are a good/reasonable snack for the kids.

If you're planning a Graduation celebration, grab some Martinelli's sparkling cider. 2/$4 is a good price. If you need household items, Arm & Hammer liquid detergent is $3.99. Pantene hair products are $4.99.

SaveMart is king of the BOGO. Here's the short list: Ready Pac salads; Tostitos tortilla chips; S&W beans Oscar Mayer wieners; Hunt's Ketchup and Cattlemen's BBQ sauce.

They also have good deals on produce: Fuji apples $1.29 lb; Leaf lettuce 69-cents a head; radishes, green onions or cilantro 2/$1;  jumbo 'chokes at 2/$4; whole cantaloupe is 2/$4 and whole pineapple at $2.99 each.

We have a few independent, neighborhood  grocers in the area that offer good prices.

Rainbow Foods is located at Florin and Power Inn roads. Highlights this week include: Fresh salad shrimp at $3.99 lb and lots of good produce buys. Iceberg lettuce is 79-cents a head; vine ripe tomatoes at 99-cents lb (just made a salad)! and fresh limes at 10 for $1.

Vic's Market has three outlets in the area, one in South Land Park, one on Fulton and another in Folsom. They operate independently but all have some of the same items.  Here are the highlights: Barilla pasta at 99-cents a pack; whole Foster Farm chickens at 99-cents a pound and fresh ground round (93% lean) at $2.99 lb. In the dairy case, check out Crystal yogurt at 2 for 89-cents.

 In the bottled water dept. Crystal Geyser (Raleys) and Arrowhead (Safeway and SaveMart) have 24-packs for $3.99 (kept my promise). If you'd rather buy by the gallon,  Crystal Geyser is 89 cents at Rainbow and $1 at Safeway for 3 liters..

Here's what caught my eye in the May Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer:

How about a pack of four marinated fish tacos at $4.29 (in the freezer section). I bought a pack and served them to a fish taco fan and they got 2 thumbs up. Whip up a salad or add rice and beans and you have a perfect meal for two. If you haven't tried bagel chips, grab a bag of the Sea Salt Bagel Chips at $1.99. The 6 oz. bag won't last long...The Tuna Lunch with Mediterranean Vinaigrette sounds good. It's in a 7.5 oz. container and only 260 calories. Just add lettuce and bread or make a salad and you have lunch for $2.99...How about a 16 oz. bag of honey roasted peanuts for $2.59?...The cheese offerings are pretty tasty: Sliced Havarti at $3.69 for 10 slices; and a Caprese Mozzarella Log for $4.99. And don't forget their reusable grocery bags. At 99 cents, they are by far the cutest.

Got kids coming home from college for the summer? I don't know what happens when they are on their own, but I've noticed that I've got to stock up on toilet tissue when mine return. Safeway and Rainbow Foods (2 for $13) have Charmin at $6.49 for 12 double-rolls or 24 singles. Angel Soft is the same price at Raley's.

Now, it's your turn. Share your best deals and we'll be on our way to saving big money. But before you drive off, don't pull a Pam and toss your car keys into the trunk along with the groceries!.

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About Shop Cheap

Pam Dinsmore is The Bee's Community Affairs Director. When she's not working, she's shopping. The goal of this blog is to help you save time and money at the grocery store. She's pretty good at it but she can't do it alone. That's where you come in, sharing your tips and secret methods for saving money. You can either respond to the blog or email her at

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