Shop Cheap

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

June 30, 2008
Shop now, play on the Fourth

 If you'd rather shop early for Friday's festivities, dig into the recycle bin and pull out those Sunday inserts. Here's a rundown of the savings:

Wal*Mart doesn't advertise their grocery items often, so when they do, you need to pay attention. If you are looking for one-stop shopping for the backyard BBQ or picnic, Wal*Mart  is the place. There's pre-made gourmet burgers at $6 for six patties; sliced Sargento cheese for $2; mustard ($1) and ketchup ($2) plus buns for $1.68. Ballpark franks are $2; Lays potato chips are $2 and 24ct. holiday cookies are $3. But, really, on the Fourth you must have S'mores and Wal*Mart makes that easy with graham crackers at $2.50, marshmallows at 88 cents and Hershey's chocolate bars for $2. In the drink department, Coke is $5 for a 24-pack; Gatorade is $4.98 for a 12-pack, jugs of lemonade are $2.50 for 128 ounces and a case of Nestle Pure Life bottled water is $3.88.

In a related note, Wal*Mart soon will be changing its logo. The Wall Street Journal says that in an effort to update its image, the giant retailer will abandon the blue and white motif for an orange background, with the company name in white letters followed by a starburst. 

Speaking of groceries, the Target ad featured BBQ and picnic offerings out front with the home and outdoor goods stuffed inside. At Target, you can get Ballpark dogs and buns at 3/$7; Doritos, Cheetos, Rold Gold and Fritos for $1.88 a bag. Soda - A&W, Sunkist, 7UP and Canada Dry - is 3-12 packs for $8. There's also a free ice cream offer with soda purchase. If you haven't already, you should try Simply Lemonade or Limeade at 2/$4. Propel or Gatorade is $9.99 for a case.

Over at Longs, you can stock up on drinks like Crystal Geyser spring water $3.66 for a case; Snapple 4-packs are $2 each and the A&W, Sunkist, 7UP, Canada Dry combo is 5-12 packs for $11 (with the coupon on page 8). Longs also has Martinelli's sparkling cider 2/$4 but I'm off the stuff until I recover from the freezer explosion.

Stop the presses! At Walgreens all the ingredients for S'mores are $5. A six-pack of Hershey's bars and Nabisco graham cradkers are 2/$5 and the Campfire marshmallows are free with purchase of the chocolate and the crackers. Walgreens also has coupons for spring water at $2.99 a case; VanCamp's pork and beans at 39 cents; plastic cups and tumblers for 99 cents and when the party's over, Tums for $3.99.


June 30, 2008
Sunday at Denios

I made my semi-annual trip to Denios Farmers Market & Swap Meet on Sunday. This time I brought along the college graduate who had not been since he went to get "pogs" with his grandmother. He decided that it's definitely the place to go when he starts furnishing his first apartment. If you've never been to this Roseville institution, it's worth the trip. To say that you can find anything there is an understatement. Furnishings for that first apartment mix it up with rows and rows of sunglasses, shoes, and women's lingerie. There's also bedding, toys, plants, shoes and clothing for the whole family.The college graduate settled on some sun glasses and a San Francisco Giants jersey that was marked $29.99 but went for $18, which the graduate's father said was code for $15. In other words, prices are negotiable, especially on a Sunday afternoon. If you can take the heat, you'll pick up lots of stuff for the kitchen. Because besides the low prices on everything, Denios has one of the largest Farmers Markets in the region. And on Sunday afternoon they really want to unload the produce. It's a good idea to bring a small cart or large bag because you will need help with all the stuff you will be bringing home. If the trip to Denios isn't high on the radar for the spouse, you can coax him/her by offering an awesome view of the Roseville UP railyard - the largest west of the Mississippi - both coming and going.

If you plan to go, here's the skinny. It costs $1 to get in and $1 to park. For hours of operation and directions, check out

June 27, 2008
Get Smart & Final

There was a bright red ad in Friday's paper touting a 72-hour sale at Smart&Final. To be honest, I haven't been to S&F in years but this sale is certainly worth a visit. There are seven stores in our area - visit for locations. S&F calls itself the smaller, faster warehouse store. And like the warehouse stores, you must have a special SmartAdvantage card to receive sale prices. However, the S&F card is free.

The best deals include: a twin pack of Kingsford Charcoal - 2/21.6 lb. bags - for $10.99; Crystal Geyser bottled water (35 bottle cases) 2/$7; 12 packs of soda (Coke, Pepsi, 7UP) 2/$4; seedless watermelon $2.99 each; Florida's Natural orange juice 2/$5 and a 5-quart tub of ice cream for $3.99.

June 25, 2008
Independents' day

And now a few words on the independent markets in our area.

Vic's has some fine Fourth of July offerings at its stores. But remember, each is independently owned so prices will vary. At all the markets, there are good prices on New York steaks, leaf lettuce, Crystal Geyser water and 32oz bottles of Gatorade.

If you need the staples, Vic's has plenty to choose from. Kingsford charcoal is $6.99 for an 18lb bag; Alhambra water is even a better bargain at $3.49 for a case; Best Yet paper towels in a 3-pack $2.99 and IGA Ketchup is 99-cents.

Minute Maid fruit punch is $2.99 in the gallon jug; mozzarella or ricotta cheses are $2.99 and our faves Michellina's frozen entrees are 99-cents.

Foods Co., with four locations in Sacramento/Elk Grove, scores with Quaker cereals at 3/$5; fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.87lb; cases of Arrowhead water are 2/$7 and Doritos are $1.88 a bag. Kraft BBQ sauce is 78-cents; Minute Maid juices and punch are 2/$5; Ball Park franks are 2/$3 and the buns are a great deal at $1.88 for 16-count. In the deli/bakery, the Take'N'Bake pizza is $5.99; fresh croissants are $4.48 for 12 and fresh baked rolls are 5/$1.

Rainbow Foods on Florin has prices worth mentioning in the meat department. Beef strips for fajitas are $2.99lb; London broil is $2.39lb. and fresh Tilapia fillets are $3.99lb. In produce leaf lettuce is 2/$1; strawberries are 2/$4 and peaches are $1.50lb.If you haven't tried Lofthouse frosted chocolate cookies, now's your chance. They are heavenly at 2/$5. Ball Park franks are 2/$4; buns are $1.99 a pack and Nabisco crackers are 2/$5 (do I hear Wheat Thins?). Jones sodas are $3.33 for a 12-pack and dessert shells (to fill with fresh fruit) are 99-cents each.

If you live near a Grocery Outlet - there are about 10 in the Sacramento area - head on over. Sara Lee sliced bread is $1.79 a loaf - most other stores charge $2.50. There are lots of other bargains - cereal, paper products, candy and household goods - at the Grocery Outlet. Definitely worth a visit - even if it's only for the bread.

June 24, 2008
Oh, say can you shop!

There's still a week left in June but local grocers are already celebrating Fourth of July. From steak and hamburger for BBQing to corn on the cob, chips and soda, you can get a head start on planning for the 3-day July Fourth weekend. Here's what's hot:

1) If you're thinking burgers, Safeway has a ground beef sale.

2) SaveMart is giving away soda, chips, salad and links - depending on how much you spend.

3) Raley's/BelAir has a coupon for $3 off watermelon with the purchase of dogs and buns.

4) Summer produce is still at its peak.

Let's get specific: If you live near the Howe Avenue or Sierra College Blvd./Roseville Safeway, don't miss the special "grand re-opening" coupons on your insert. Tortilla chips are 99 cents; $5 off Rancher's Reserve beef and Rice Krispies 2/$2. (don't forget the Club Card!)

If your Safeway isn't holding a "grand re-opening" there are plenty of other Safeway savings this week. The ground beef sale is based on fat content: $1.29lb. for 20% fat; $2.49lb for 7% fat; $2.99lb for 10% fat ground sirloin. Whole Foster Farms chickens are 69-cents a pound; large raw shrimp are $4.99lb and Johnsonville brats or Italian sausage are $3.99 a package.

In the produce aisle, ears of white or yellow corn are 8/$2 (remember to husk the corn at the market to avoid cleanup at home); onions for the burgers are $1 a pound and Fresh Express complete salads are BOGO. Apricots are $1.99lb; 4lbs of strawberries are $4.99 and yellow peaches are 99-cents a pound.

For the rest of the BOGO buys, there's Bulls-Eye BBQ sauce, Grill Mates seasonings, Star olive oil, Tyson sliced bacon, Safeway Select ice cream, 12-packs of soda and Florida's Natural or Minute Maid orange juice. In the pharmacy, vitamins are BOGO.

Safeway also has an excellent floral department. This week (and probably next, too) they are featuring a red, white and blue Americana bouquet for $7.99

Over at SaveMart, they have coupons offering free items pegged to how much you spend. Here's the skinny: Spend $25, get a 2 liter soda; spend $50 and you get Kettle chips with your soda; for $75 add a pound of Reser's potato salad and for $100 you get Johnsonville links or beef franks - just be sure you buy the buns - $1.19 for eight!

If you're looking to stock up before the holiday, there's BOGO Doritos; Lindsay olives for $1; Bohemian Hearth sliced bread $1.99 and Sunny Select briquets $5.99 for 18lbs.

Produce is a definite bargain at SaveMart with seedless watermelon at $2.99 each; small Fuji apples $1.29lb; a 12oz. carton of raspberries for $3.99; avocado for 99-cents each; hot house tomatoes for $1.69lb and limes or lemons at 5/$1.

I'm also thinking that the Driscoll's fresh strawberry Boston looks good at $8.99 for an 8-inch cake.

Raley's/BelAir offers up a delicious recipe for grilled beef, corn and bean salad that they say will feed a family of four for about $10. All the ingredients are on sale and the recipe is available in the paper and online at

The holiday shopping is starting early at Raley's/BelAir, too. If you buy Ballpark franks or Hillshire Farm smoked sausage and Sara Lee hot dog buns 2/$5, there's a coupon for $3 off a whole watermelon.

Need a quick meal, 8-piece fried chicken is $5.99; a bakery baguette is $2 and Fresh Express salads are 2/$4. If you don't want to make your own burgers, ground beef patties (93% lean) are $3.99lb. Salame in the deli is $4.99lb  and would go nicely with the $2 baguette.



June 23, 2008
Smart shopper visits Stupid Prices
I really didn't want to work on Sunday but I decided that a trip to "Stupid Prices" was in order. It had been months since I visited the store and this time it was "work-related." In the past I had purchased three Liz Claiborne blouses at $10 each and a swimsuit at the Roseville location. They were definitely good (not stupid) prices. On Sunday, however, I realized that you really must have a reason to go to "Stupid Prices" otherwise you end up buying stuff that you don't need. I purchased things that I needed - wash cloths, dog cookies, makeup pads, elastic ponytail scrunchies, bar soap and an Adidas running top (yes, I really needed it). Most items are marked with a  green tag, which gives you 50% off the price. Clothing items are 70% off and all sales tax is included in the price. The store carries everything from electronics to furniture to food items and outdoor goods. In Northern California, there are stores in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Roseville and Vacaville. To learn more, go to their website at  
June 20, 2008
The weekend update

Ah, summer. It's here and so is the scorching heat. If you are shopping on Saturday, take note:

1. SaveMart has great prices on Bing Cherries $3.99lb; whole seedless watermelon $4.99 each; jumbo cantaloupe 2/$3; green seedless grapes 99-cents a pound; avocado $1 each.

2. Safeway has cantaloupe for $1 each; organic berries are BOGO and Racher's Reserve Tri-Tip roast is 50 percent off. Cases of Refreshe water are $3.88. All prices are with club card discounts.

3. Raley's/BelAir had a great offer in Wednesday's food section. Two recipies for meals that feed four people for about $10. They list the ingredients and have an easy recipe to follow. If you have already recycled the newspaper, check out their website www.raley' Go to the Recipes/cooking tips section and look for Chicken and Summer Vegetable Kebabs or Chicken Taco Stuffed Potatoes. They are also highlighting the Northern Italian Chicken & Rice Salad. Stop in the freezer aisle and pick up some Dreyer's Fruit Bars 2/$6.

If you're waiting until Sunday to shop, take note of these deals:

Longs: Relish, mustard, olives Barilla pasta and Rice A Roni, all $1 each. All Detergent is $3.99 and a 9lb bag of charcoal is $4.99.

Walgreens: Good coupons on the front with Planters trail mix at 99 cents; Arizona ice tea at 2/$1 and Dasani water at $3.99 per case.2 liter soda (Dr Pepper, 7 Up, A&W, Canada Dry, Hawiian Punch or Sunkist) are 89 cents. Quilted Northern tissue is $4 for 9 big roles and Sun Laundry Detergent is $1.99.

RiteAid: Stop the presses. There's a cereal BOGO at RiteAid. Kellogs products, including Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Fruit Loops, Corn Flakes and Corn Pops. But, wait, there's more.

Check out the BOGO on sun care products, Doritos and Nature Made vitamins. If you buy Revlon products - makeup, lip color or nail polish - they are BOGO, too.

That's it for this week. Happy shopping!


June 17, 2008
Summer arrives with hot produce buys

Summer begins on Saturday and supermarkets are marking the change of seasons by offering lots of fresh fruit. From cherries to watermelon to all kinds of berries, this is the time of year that our fruit bowl runneth over. Here are the highlights:

Overall, SaveMart has the best and most bargains.

Safeway has a fruit BOGO bonanza.

Raley's BelAir has a great-sounding recipe for Northern Italian Chicken and Rice Salad.

And  Nuggett Market opens in  Elk Grove on June 25.

What makes SaveMart so special this week is the volume of  sale items. From boneless cross rib steak $1.99 lb to whole cantaloupe 2/$3 and Bohemian Hearth sliced bread $1.99.

In the meat dept. there's Tri-tip roast at $4.99 lb; Moran's 96% lean ground beef $3.99 and Flat Iron steaks $3.99. For seafood, there's fresh cooked shrimp meat $3.99 and fresh steelhead fillets at $4.99.

Eggs are costing less at $2 a dozen. English muffins are 3/$4 and Chicken of the Sea Albacore tuna is $1 a can. In the bakery, check out the fresh baked strudel bars for $2.99 or a peach pie for $4.49. Fresh baguettes are $1.49 each. In the deli section, potato salad is $2.99lb.

Now, for the produce: Get sweet, (bada) Bing cherries while they are still available $3.99lb; a whole seedless watermelon is $4.99 and avocados are 5/$5. For salads, there's green onion, radishes and cilantro at 49-cents a bunch.

Over at Safeway, the BOGO items include organic strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Large cantaloupes are $1 each; pineapple is $2.99. And those Bings are $3.99lb. at Safeway also. Veggies are a bargain this week with Fresh Express greens and iceberg lettuce at $1 each. Baby peeled carrots are $1 a bag. There's really no excuse not to eat healthy with these prices.

If you're feeling fishy, there's fresh Alaskan salmon at $8.99lb; super colossal sea scallops that are big enough to grill at $9.99lb and Tilapia fillets at $4.99lb.

Down the extras aisle: Dennison's chili is $1 per can; Safeway bottled water is $3.88 per case and Florida orange juice, Cheerios, Safeway select ice cream, frozen waffles and Chips Ahoy or Toasted chips are BOGO buys.

For $1 you can buy items like Pringles, Mac&Cheese; Cheese Nips and olives.

At Raley's BelAir, check out the recipe for chicken&rice salad. A club pack of boneless, skinless breasts is $1.99lb; a 16oz bag of Full Circle raw shrimp is $5.99 and the same brand of Natural Alaskan cod fillets is $5.99 per bag.

Raley's BelAir has a special on Kellogg's cereals and snacks. Cereal is 2/$5; fruit snacks 3/$4.98 and rice krispies treats are 2/$4. 2-liter Coke products are $1 a bottle and Crystal Geyser sparkling mineral water is $1 for a liter bottle. If the laundry is piling up, All or Wisk detergent is $4.59 and cleaning supplies are 25% off.

Over at the independents, Vics markets are having salad days with Fresh Express greens at 2/$3; avocados at 89-cents each; tomatoes on the vine at $1.69lb and mushrooms at $1.99 a package. They are also advertising  boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a 3lb. bag for $5.99

Foods Co. has whole chickens in a twin pack for 67-cents a pound; boneless roast for $2.98lb and fresh Atlantic salmon fillets for $6.78lb. Family favorite Michelinas budget gourmet entrees are 2/$1. They are great to have in the freezer for a quick, tasty lunch. Western Hearth sliced bread is 3/$5; a case of Kroger bottled water is $2.98 and bottles of Powerade are 58-cents each. Large size Kellogg's cereal (Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran Crunch) is 2/$5 and yummy-looking pudding cakes are $4.88 in the bakery.


June 16, 2008
The big freeze and breakfast

You know that I frequently recommend Martinelli's sparkling cider, especially for special occasions. It's a refreshing treat that would have gone well on Father's Day had I remembered to put a bottle in the refrigerator before dinner. Instead, I put it in the freezer for a quick chill and went about preparing the rest of our meal. BAD DECISION. At about 9:30 p.m. there was a loud pop - sounded like the ice maker - in the freezer. That's when I remembered the Martinelli's. Since this blog is all about tips, here's an important one: Do not put sparkling cider in the freezer to chill. The cleanup is nasty.

Scanning the ads on Sunday, I realized that you can get a pretty cheap breakfast at your local drug store. Here's the proof:

At Walgreens, Tropicana orange juice is 2/$6 and Oscar Mayer bacon is 2/$5.99 (or BOGO). Add to that English muffins, a dozen large eggs and a 10-pack of Banquet brown'n'serve links at 2/$3 and you have a very resonable meal.

If you're closer to Longs, boxes of General Mills cereals are 2/$5 and a dozen large eggs $1.79. And remember, sometimes breakfast tastes better at dinnertime.

Longs also has Martinelli's sparkling cider for $1.89. You know why I could use another.

June 14, 2008
She shops, she scores
Shop Cheap hit one out of the shopping cart this weekend. A stunning 39% savings off the grocery tab at Safeway. Just followed my own advice and purchased the BOGOs and the Club Card items as well as the $10 off Father's Day special on Rancher's Reserve beef along with four items suggested by a reader.
June 13, 2008
Senior moment
We are going to leave the shopping cart for a moment and talk about another good deal. It's not going to cost me much...only my youth. Apparently, Sunset misses my subscription so much that they have offered me 12 issues of their magazine for $10. That's nearly $50 off the cover price. But, wait, there's a catch: It's a special Senior Citizen rate! Do I qualify? Do I really want to qualify? Oh, what the heck. Sign me up and notify AARP, too.
June 11, 2008
Put Dad's favorites on the list

It's Father's Day weekend and that means treating Dad to his favorite meal. If you need help, not to worry. The area supermarkets have it all worked out. Here's the best of the bunch.

Raley's/BelAir has Dad covered, including a recipe for "Dad's Tri Tip Dip."

 How about this for a reasonable, easy to fix Father's Day Meal?

Earthbound farms baby green blends 2/$6

Green onions/radishes/cilantro 2/$1

Tri-Tip roast $2.97 lb

Garlic bread $1.29

For dessert: Lemon Raspberry meringue pie sounds delightful at $4.99

Other good stuff at Raley's/BelAir: Grapes $1.27lb; limes 10/$1; Post cereal 2/$4; Arrowhead bottled water $3.99 a case; and my favorite sliced bread Miltons $2.99 a loaf.

Safeway goes BOGO. (Remember you must use your club card for the buy one/get one free offer.)

Here's a BOGO list: Lucerne 18-count Grade AA eggs; Breyers ice cream; Tostitos chips; Vlassic pickles; Arm&Hammer toothpaste; Kellogg's raisin bran; Hormel sliced bacon; Ball Park franks; Jeannie-O Turkey sausage; Foster Farms lunchmeat tubs; Safeway butter top sandwich bread; 12-pack Safeway soda; lobster tails; Minute Maid or Florida's Natural orange juice and Angel food cake.

A tip from reader Mr. Aero: Save $10 off your grocery tab (see ad for specifics) by purchasing $20 in Rancher's Reserve beef (Rib Eye is $4.99 lb; whole beef tenderloin $8.99 lb; London broil $3.49 lb) and four items that include watermelon at $3.99 each; Ruffles chips at $3.88 a bag; 8-pack of Gatorade 2/$10 (Bingo) or Bryers ice cream (BOGO). Alex is getting some steak, a couple of watermelons and two bags of chips.

Other Safeway savings: Seedless watermelon $3.99; yellow or white peaches $1.99lb; Sunchips 2/$5; tub of Redvines $6.99; Aquafina bottled water $3.97/case and the new Jamba Juice smoothies 2/$6.

Save Mart scores with produce: Pineapple 2/$5; Seedless watermelon 2/$5; Asparagus $1.99lb; Peaches $1.69lb; Iceberg lettuce 79-cents a head; Braeburn (and other varities) apples $1.49 lb; Blueberries and raspberries 2/$5 or 12oz carton of raspberries $3.99.

Other savings: Dozen eggs $1.69; Cottage cheeze $3.99/32oz; Crystal Geyser bottled water $3.98/case; Charmin bath tissue $6.88/24 pack; Tide detergent (large size) $6.88; Pantene hair products 3/$9.99; Crest toothpaste 2/$3.


The independents: Vic's has some outstanding values this week. These prices are available at the three Vic's Markets in our area.

If Dad likes rib eye steak, $6.99lb is a good price. They also have white corn at 3/$1 and a 16oz container of blueberries for $2.99. IGA brand large eggs (18 count) are 2/$5 and avocados are 89 cents each at the Land Park and Fulton Ave. stores. Vic's also has two coupons worth mentioning: Arrowhead bottled water $2.99/case and Oreo cookies 2/$4. Both have a limit of two.

Foods Co., with four locations in our area, has many deals worth mentioning. If Dad likes New York steak, $3.97lb in the family pack is a good value. They also have fresh Foster Farm drumsticks for 97-cents lb. If you want to add fish to the menu, fresh salmon fillets are $4.98lb. Fresh Valencia oranges are 3lbs/99-cents and a 5lb bag of long grain rice is $1.98. Malt-O-Meal cereals in the bag are 3/$1 and nectarines are 98-cents a pound.

Rainbow Foods over at Florin and Power Inn has some good bargains. Fresh red snapper fillets are $3.99lb. In produce, Iceberg lettuce is 59-cents a head; a pint of blueberries is $2.79 and peaches or nectarines are $1.59lb. If you like squash (there's always zucchini bread), it's 89-cents lb. and red onions are 59-cents per pound. The fixins' for pasta are a reasonable meal with Del Monte spaghetti sauce at $1 a can and Barilla pasta at $1 a box. If you'd rather Ragu, it's $1.99 per jar. They are also featuring Macaroni Grill meals at 2/$6. And lastly Gatorade is 88-cents for 32-ounces and a case of Crystal Geyser water is $3.99.

That's it for this week's ads. Happy Father's Day.





June 10, 2008
Summer fun at Trader Joe's

It's not the Fearless Flyer, it's a compact catalog listing Trader Joe's summer specials, complete with crossword puzzle, shopping list, fun graphics and a recipe for "Sophisticated S'Mores." Remember, it is only available at the stores. If you want more info, go to their website,

The highlights: Turn immediately to page 16 and check out the "Sophisticated S'Mores" recipe. Then head to the store and get the ingredients - dark chocolate bar; vanilla marshmallows and cinnamon graham crackers - because once you read about the s'mores, you won't be able to resist making some.

Since we started with dessert, let's hop over to appetizers. The Mediterranean hummus is delicious and a good price at $3.49/16-oz tub. Spread the hummus on the whole wheat Lavash bread $1.99/16oz. package. All-natural chicken drumsticks are 99-cents per pound and white albacore tuna packed in water is $1.49. The artichoke, spinach & four cheese chicken patties are $2.49 for two and are fully cooked. Top them with the all natural organic pickle relish $1.99. There's lots more to choose from but the Lemon Tartes - $3.49 for two - seem like a great way to end a meal ... and a blog item.

June 9, 2008
WinCo is a winner

Urged on by readers to check out WinCo, I took a field trip on Sunday to the Roseville outlet. It was a dangerous journey because it meant I had to drive past the Galleria without stopping. Once inside the store, I was pleasantly surprised. It's well-stocked with major brands and their own labels. If you like shopping for essentials and buying in  bulk, this is the place for you. But be forewarned: This is no-frills grocery shopping. You must bag your own items and cart them out to the car. One plus, you get 6-cents per bag if you bring your own.

Tale of the (cash-register) tape: The produce section is huge and offers lots of variety. Navel oranges cost 58-cents lb.; apricots were $1.48lb. Fuji apples were $1.47lb - all significantly cheaper that most supermarkets. Other highlights include: tortillas at $2.40 a package; fresh bagels 35-cents each; whole wheat sandwich bread $1.58 a loaf; Barilla pasta 98-cents per box; a gallon of non-fat milk $2.45 and Kozy Shack tapioca pudding at $1.98 is more than $1 cheaper that most supermarkets. One of my favorites - Martinelli's sparkling cider (all varities) is $1.78 a bottle and a case of the WinCo brand (American Falls) of bottled water is $2.98 per case.

WinCo has a large selection of bulk items, too. You can purchase everything from jelly beans to granola to almonds by the pound.

Overall, it was worth the trip and definitely a way to Shop Cheap. To learn more about the company and locations in our area, go to

On my way home, I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up a copy of the "Summer Guide 2008," which is only available at the store. More on that tomorrow.

And if anyone shops at ULTA, the salon/fragrance/cosmetics store, your reward points are going to expire on June 30. That's what I was told, anyway, when I was there over the weekend using my coupon.



June 6, 2008
Weekend update

If you are out shopping this weekend - and who doesn't stop at the grocery store at some point during the weekend - here are the Top 5 picks from the Wednesday ads. (You can read the full story below.) 

Here's the Top 5.

1) The best overall deal: a 6oz carton of fresh blueberries for $1.47 at Raley's/Bel Air.

2) A pound of Laura's lean (92%) ground beef at SaveMart $3.99

3) Whole avocados 5/$5, also at SaveMart

4) 24 pack of Raley's/Bel Air bottled water $3.33

5)  Tomatoes on the vine $1.77lb at Safeway*

The best prices overall, go to Raley's/Bel Air and SaveMart. Check Saturday's Bee for an updated SaveMart ad.

Longs Drugs also had Aquafina bottled water for $3.88 and soda for 79-cents.


Happy shopping....


June 5, 2008
Reader suggests Winco, Food 4 Less
Another reader suggestion: Price conscious shoppers should be checking out Winco Foods and Nugget Market/Food 4 Less.  Nugget/F4Less is rated as a top employer in the country  and Winco is an ESOP owned company (non-union).  Best deals in Northern California at these two companies (especially if you're not a WalMart fan).  If they were closer to where I live, I would be shopping them consistently. Currently I do when I'm in the area.  L. Thomas
June 5, 2008
Savings at Longs

Got a Longs Drugs in your neighborhood? They have some cheap prices on beverages and other treats. Check it out: 2-liter sodas (Dr. Pepper, Squirt) for 79-cents; 24 pack of Aquafina Water for $3.88; Dreyer's ice cream for $2.99 and Kraft BBQ Sauce (69 cents) and salad dressing $1.79. If you've got kids at home, check out the Capri Sun drinks at $1.88 for a 10-pack.

Know of other deals? It's time to share.

June 4, 2008
A WinCo question

Penryn50 wants to know if ShopCheap is going to cover WinCo. If someone can get me an ad from the store, I'd be happy to include them. I could check online. Does that work for you all? Let me know.

June 4, 2008
The Wednesday savings

It's week two of Shop Cheap and just to refresh, here's what we are doing: The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years and it's not going to improve anytime soon. We started Shop Cheap so that we can share ideas about saving money - especially at the grocery store. I'm going to scan all the ads available to me and highlight the best bargains but it won't be any fun unless you help. I'll share my best deals in the blog, then you do the same. Together, we'll make ends meet.

And remember BOGO (buy one, get one free) and to get the Safeway prices listed, you must use your club card*.

Here's the Top 5 this week.

1) The best overall deal: a 6oz carton of fresh blueberries for $1.47 at Raley's/Bel Air.

2) A pound of Laura's lean (92%) ground beef at SaveMart $3.99

3) Whole avocados 5/$5, also at SaveMart

4) 24 pack of Raley's/Bel Air bottled water $3.33

5)  Tomatoes on the vine $1.77lb at Safeway*

The best prices overall, go to Raley's/Bel Air and SaveMart this week.

Let's start with Raley's/Bel Air: Flip over the ice cream ad and feast on the coupons.

32oz of Gatorade for 59-cents (limit two)

Aidells sausage (you've got to try this flavorful brand) $4.99

Fresh Express bagged lettuce 87-cents

Frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza for $3.99 (remember the kids are home)

Other stuff: Sutter sirloin steak $3.77lb;sliced bonless pork loin $2.27lb; gallon jugs of Crystal Geyser water 10/$10; Raley's brands: Sparkling water 4/$3; pretzels 2/$3; canned tomatoes 66-cents, pasta 2/$3. My kids have been popping Michelina's Budget Gourmet classics into the micro since they were little. At 79-cents a carton, it makes a great, quick lunch. Other kid-friendly stuff: Keebler cookies or crackers $1.69, Blueberry muffins in the bakery 6-count/$2.99; Fuji and Gala apples $1.69lb.

In the specialty dept.: You've got to love the Cupcake Party cakes and the coupon for $3 off a graduation cake.

Over at SaveMart:   They are giving things away (like a salad). Spend $25 and you get a head of lettuce; $50 add a bag of croutons; $75 for Kraft salad dressing and $100 add on Oscar Mayer cooked bacon.

Good prices on produce: Jumbo strawberries 28oz/$3.99; whole cantaloupe 2/$4; red and green seedless grapes $1.99lb. There's also green beans $1.49lb; fresh squash 89-cents lb and fresh asparagus $1.99lb.

Other stuff: Fresh cooked shrimp meat $3.99; fresh snapper $3.99lb and Herb crusted Tilapia fillets $5.99lb. Sunnyside products: cottage cheese is 2/$4; 18-count large eggs $2.69 and Shredded cheese is 2/$4.

Got graduation plans? Martinelli's sparkling cider 2/$4; bakery rolls 6/$1.50 and rotisserie chicken salad at $4.99lb.

Over at Safeway, there's more tasty produce prices: Cherries ($2.99lb) are really sweet this year. Seedless watermelon is BOGO and raspberries are $3.99 for 12oz carton. If you're totally pressed for time, Ready Pac cut fresh fruit is $5.99 for a 32oz carton.

Coupons worth mentioning: General Mills cereal 4/$6 and Lucerne shredded or chunk cheese $4.99 for 32-oz.

BOGOs: Ocean Spray Cranberry juice cocktail; Tropicana orange juice; Lucerne large eggs (18-count); Foster Farms chicken breasts; also thighs or drumsticks.

Now, for the independents:

Vics, all locations. Fresh cherries $2.49lb; Nectarines $1.89lb.

Foods Co. (Four Sacramento area locations): Fresh strawberries 4lbs/$5; White corn 4/$1; limes 10/$1; fresh lettuce 2/98-cents; Boneless, skinless chicken breasts $1.87lb; Minute Maid Lemonade or fruit punch 64oz/98-cents; Crest Toothpaste 10/$10; Western hearth bread $1.78 loaf.

Belong to the Co-op? Check out the ad in Wednesday's Bee. Items include: Stonyfield organic yogurt 75-cents; Rice Dream organic beverage $1.69; Drew's organic salsa $2.69 and Garden of Eatin' tortilla chips $2.69; Rising Moon organic pasta sauce $2.49; polenta $1.99.





June 2, 2008
The weekend update

Hi Shoppers. There were some good items in the paper over the weekend. Did you catch the Safeway insert in Sunday's Bee? Check out the back page for the coupon bounty. Post cereal at 2/$3 is way cheap. Caveats: must buy 2 boxes and you must spend at least $10 with club card. Prego pasta sauce is 2/$2 and Nature Valley granola bars at 4 boxes/$6. You've got to buy 4 boxes but remember summer is almost here and the kids will be hungry. Inside is a coupon for Colgate toothpaste 2/$4 and Garnier Fructis shampoo/conditioner/styler 2/$5.

Walgreens also had a coupon-filled insert: Dawn dish liquid for $1; Charmin tissue 2-big roll packs for $13; (on the back page, there's Angel Soft at 4 rolls for $1) Bumble Bee albacore tuna in water at 79-cents a can and 8oz tomato sauce 3/$1. If you have a baby at home, there's $3 off infant formula and Johnson's and Desitin products on sale. Walgreens also has cereal - Kellogg's Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, etc., at $2 a box. I was reacquainted with Werther's Original candies over the weekend. OMG, they were tasty! You can get 2 packages for $2 at Walgreens. If you like Sun Chips, they are 2/$4...that's $2 less than the grocery store.

This just in: Raley's advertised last week for Jamba Juice drinks in the cold case. I read a blurb from the Orange County Register explaining that Jamba is moving into grocery stores to capitalize on our one-stop-shopping environment. Wonder if they taste the same as a freshly made Jamba?

Remember, if you have a shopping tip, email me or add it to the comments field. I'll be back on Wednesday with more grocery savings.



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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