Shop Cheap

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

November 29, 2011
Take a holiday from holiday shopping

Thanksgiving went by in plates full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie. Then there was that turkey of a football game after dinner!

We only have about a week until holiday food shopping kicks up again, so enjoy this brief respite. If you like Dungeness crab, this could be your week to get crackin'. The boats have left the harbor  and at Safeway, they are banking on the catch because in their ad Dungeness is BOGO.

The other deal we like at Safeway is the $10 reward coupon you get if you spend $75 or more on groceries. Maybe that $10 off will make up for the price of milk - $3.19 a gallon for Dairy Glen. Lucerne is even more.

Other highlights at Safeway this week: Braeburn and Fuji apples are 88-cents a pound; Texas grapefruit is 3/$1 and bags of mini-peeled carrots are 99-cents each. Bananas are 79-cents a pound and oranges are 99-cents a pound.

The daily and weekend specials are plentiful. On $5 Fridays, there's lobster tail; Signature Cafe Meatloaf and Family Size pizza; Foster Farms party wings; a 5-lb box of Clementines and Safeway Select strawberry Boston cream cakes.

The $5 Monday offerings include that lobster tail again; a 20-pack of Coke and 2 bags of chocolate kettlecorn.

The weekend specials include fresh baked cookies 2/$5; a box of fire logs for $12.99; Nabisco snack crackers and cookies for $1.99 a box and seedless grapes for 99-cents a pound.

Coke 12-packs are buy 2, get 2 2 free bags of "Snack Artist" chips. A case of refreshe water is $2.99; Chobani Greek yogurt is $1 a cup and Campbell's Chunky soups are 2/$3. Rosarita refries are $1 a can; Mission tortillas are $1.49 with coupon and taco seasoning mix is 69-cents. Buy 2 packs of Johnsonville sausage and get a free loaf of Artisan French bread from the bakery. Buy 2 jars of Classico pasta sauce and get a 3rd free.

If you're clipping coupons, check out Ritz Crackers for $1.99; Oscar Mayer deli tubs for $2.49; CapriSun drinks for $1.79 and Oreo cookies for $2.28. San Francisco sourdough bread is $1.99 a loaf; Signature Cafe soups are $3.49 and Star olive oil is $4.99. 6-packs of 7-Up are $1.99; Blue Diamond almonds are $1.99 a can and Eating Right slenders are $1.99. Lucerne large eggs in the 18-pack are $1.99.

Safeway and Kraft foods are offering a pre-filled bag of groceries for $10. All purchases will go to local food banks.

At Raley's boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.88lb and boneless crossrib roast is $2.99lb. Avocados are $1 each; Clementines are $2.99 for a 3lb box and Holiday seedless grapes are $1.79lb. Pears are 79-cents a pound. Hothouse tomatoes are $1.99lb and Kiwi is 99-cents a pound.

Coupons worth clipping include a case of Crystal Geyser spring water for $2.99; Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna for 50-cents; Hormel chili for 99-cents and Eggo waffles for $1.99.

Campbell's soups are 5/$4; Stella shredded or shaved parmesan is $2.50 and a dozen eggs are $1.48.

And in the spirit of the season, Raley's announced Tuesday that it will donate more than 125,000 pounds of meat, chicken and ham to help feed the hungry. The West Sacramento based store is working with local food banks to distribute the food.

Save Mart has the deal of the week on bananas at 47-cents a pound. Other produce prices are pretty good, too. Fresh green beans are 99-cents a pound; bell peppers and cucumbers are 33-cents each; small lemons and limes are 10/$1 and tomatoes on the vine are $1.99lb. Pomegranates are 2/$3 and 5lb bags of apples are $3.99.

Sunny Select party size lasagne is $8.99; cans of diced tomatoes are buy 1, get 2 free; and coupons worth clipping include Barilla pasta sauce 2/$4; Barilla pasta 88-cents and Tyson entrees for $2.99. Other good coupons: Tropicana OJ in the 89oz jug is $2.99; C&H sugar is $1.99.

On Monday only, chicken tenders are $3.99 in the deli.

Be sure to check out the Save Mart recipes. Monterey white mushrooms are 2/$5 and the Mushroom "Risotto" with Feta recipe is free.

November 22, 2011
Last minute tips for T-Day cooks

Sure, you have 24 hours before the relatives arrive but that doesn't leave much time if you haven't even started your list. And don't be surprised when you open Wednesday's paper and the grocery inserts are nowhere to be found. We told you last week that this time of year, the sales from run through Thanksgiving Day.

Here's the skinny for the cooks who like to live on the edge. Most stores will be open for a few hours on Thursday. Raley's opens its doors at 6 a.m. but they close at 3 p.m. Save Mart stays open until 5 p.m. Safewaywill open - probably at 6 a.m. - but you better check the exact hours because Shop Cheap couldn't find them anywhere.

Most deals on turkey require a $25 minimum purchase. And if you're buying a frozen bird, don't wait until T-Day. It will never defrost in time. Fresh turkey is more expensive - 99-cents a pound as opposed to a flat $5, $7, $9 or $10 each for the frozen variety.

For all the tips from last week, including what's on sale click below and scroll down to last week's blog at

If you need recipes NOW, go to

They have recipes that will match what's on sale at their stores.

Lastly, enjoy your family, your meal and your San Francisco 49ers...for the ulitmate Thanksgiving  family gathering.

November 15, 2011
Read this, then shop for Thanksgiving

Ah, the holiday that's all about food. What's different this year? You can purchase your entire meal at stores that range from the traditional - Safeway, Save Mart, Raley's - to the non-traditional - Target and Walmart. Or, you can try a new store - Sprouts. They all have turkey and the fixins'.  And the ads you see this week are good until Thanksgiving Day. 

We are going to hit the highlights - the rest is up to you. FYI: most stores are open on Thanksgiving day.

Raley's (open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Finally, an ad for fresh turkey and it's 99-cents a pound for the Raley's All-Natural bird. They also have buy 2 dozen, get 1 dozen free dinner rolls. Sara Lee pies are $3.99. Buy 2 and get a free container of Sunnyside Farms ice cream. Martinelli's sparkling cider is $2 a bottle; Ocean Spray cranberry juice is the same. Fresh green beans are 89-cents a pound; yams are 59-cents a pound.

Want a frozen turkey instead? They are $8.99 and $10.99 each, depending on size.

You want the entire meal prepared so you just heat and eat. Prices range from $59.99 to $109.99, but you better order soon.

In the bakery, fresh fruit tarts or Ladyfinger cakes are $14.99; triple delight cake is $9.99 and a fresh muffins are buy 2 packs, get 1 free.

Other highlights from Raley's: Nob Hill herb and onion stuffing mix is $3.99; rotisserie turkey breast is BOGO; Cool Whip topping is 99-cents; Swanson broth is 5/$3; Heinz homestyle gravy is 99-cents and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is 4/$5.

Save Mart (stores close at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving): Frozen turkeys are 49-cents a pound; asparagus is $1.67lb; celery is 37-cents a bunch; Nabisco snack crackers are $1.99 a box; pumpkin pie from the bakery is 2/$7 and Vienna rolls are $2.99 for 18.

The complete holiday meal at Save Mart is $49.99, plus you get 2-free liters of Pepsi with purchase. Buy one Sara Lee pie and you'll get another free, plus a free container of Cool Whip.

Canned veggies are 69-cents; Martinelli's drinks are $2 a bottle; 7-UP and A&W are 79-cents a jug; and Pepsi products are buy 4, get 4 free.  In produce, Roma tomatoes are 97-cents a pound; avocados are $1 each and green onions, radishes or cilantro are 50-cents a bunch. Fresh pineapple is $2.97. Fresh cranberries are 2 bags for $5.

Safeway (stores are open to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving): For the cheapest bird - $5 - shop here. Other prices range from $9 to $9.99. Fresh birds are 99-cents a pound. Packaged green beans, Fresh Express salads and berries all are are BOGO. Mousse cakes in the bakery are $9.99; a fresh fruit tart is $12.99. Cool Whip is 99-cents; pumpkin pie in the bakery is $4.99; a dozen rolls are $1.99. Cranberry orange fruit salad is $2.99 in the deli and Sara Lee fresh pies are BOGO. Dreyer's or Haagen-Dazs ice cream is $3.

Safeway isn't advertising the prepared meal but it has lots of party trays and a $5 off coupon.

You can purchase an entire frozen meal for $32.99, including a Zaky Farms turkey, stuffing; mashed potatoes; a Claim Jumper pie, ice cream and whole cranberries.

The $5 Friday special is chicken tenders; mini cinnamon rolls; a Frito Lay variety pack and a 24-pack of Pepsi.

Come back next week for some last minute recipe ideas. 


November 8, 2011
It's time to start talking turkey

We really don't want to start with the turkey talk but we have no choice. The birds are out there; the sales have started and it's just two weeks until Thanksgiving.

 Here's what we have so far:

Safeway has frozen turkeys for $7.99; $9.99; $10.99 and $13.99. If you don't want to stress, buy the bird now and plop it in the freezer. One per customer!

They also have the complete meals for $39.99 (turkey); $49.99 (ham); and $69.99 prime rib. You can pre-order at the store, on the phone or online.

Save Mart has frozen turkeys for 49-cents a pound.

Raley's has the complete pre-order meals for $59.99 (traditional turkey); $89.99 (all natural  turkey breast); and the Diestel dinner for $109.99. They also have the alternative to turkey: Ham for $59.99; butternut squash ravioli for $59.99 and prime rib for $89.99.

If you want to wait until next week here's what we like:

Raley's has a coupon for $10 off your next purchase when you spend $75 this weekend. (Guess you could use the coupon for the holiday dinner if you pick up your meal on Sunday, Nov. 20!) Other stuff we like: A big container of blueberries for $6.99; grapefruit 5/$2; portabella mushrooms 2/$5 and pears 99-cents a pound.

A case of R Everyday water is $3.48. Dole juice blends are $2 a carton; Eggnog has arrived at $1.79 a quart and eggs are $1.48 a dozen.

Save Mart has large pomegranates for 87-cents each. Get a free bag of Doritos when you buy 3-12 packs of soda for $10.98. Coupons worth clipping include Sunny Select broth 2/$1; Tropicana OJ for $2.99; Farmer John ham steaks for $1.49 and Nestle hot cocoa, buy 1, get 2 free.

There's a chicken meal deal in the deli. For $9.99 you get either rotisserie or fried chicken; a pound of salad and bread.

In produce, navel oranges or tangerines are 79-cents a pound; Fuji apples are 97-cents a pound and berries are 2/$5. Earthbound Farms organic salads are BOGO. There's also a nice recipe for Fresh Tomato Salsa.

We are going to swing over to Safeway for boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.99lb; French bread in the bakery for $1.79; and BOGO Oroweat bread and English muffins.

Tried a sample of  Dave's Killer Bread but at $3.99 a loaf the killer is the price.

Safeway is promoting its produce this week. Broccoli for 77-cents a pound; ruby red grapefruit 3/$1; O Organics baby carrots for $1 a bag; organic celery for 99-cents a bunch; Roma tomatoes for 99-cents a pound and avocado for 77-cents.

$5 Friday specials include roasted turkey breast; family size pizza; Fage or Chobani Greek yogurt and a tasty looking Bistro cake in the bakery.

Added to the $5 Fridays this week are the Fri-Sun specials. Shop on Friday and score twice with BOGO fresh baked muffins and berries; a case of refreshe water for $2.99; Minute Maid OJ 2/$5 and Farmer John bacon for $3.99.

Clip-worthy coupons include C&H sugar for $2.49; Safeway sparkling cider for $1.79' brptj fpr 99-cents and Nestle baking morsels for $1.99.

Kraft marshmallows and Jello-O gelatin or pudding are BOGO.

At Sprouts Farmers Market, asparagus is $1.49lb; tomatoes on the vine are 99-cents a pound; apples are 88-cents a pound and avocados are 88-cents each. Spend $30 or more and get $5 off your bill.

Over at Sunflower, Texas grapefruit is 6/$1; tomatoes on the vine are 49-cents a pound; avocados are 2/$1 and seedless grapes are $1.49lb.

Be sure to come back next week for everything you need to Shop Cheap on Thanksgiving.. .


November 1, 2011
Attention, shoppers: It's T-Day minus 21 and counting

Three weeks, shoppers! That's all we have until Thanksgiving. Hardly seems possible, but take a look at the grocery inserts and you'll know we aren't fooling around here. Can't bring myself to even consider the holiday but if you want to, go right ahead. Safeway is making it easy by inserting a special ad with prices good through Nov. 24, T-Day.

For the rest of the shoppers, we'll ease into Thanksgiving with a few tips then get serious in a couple of weeks. Until then, here's what's on sale this week.

Raley's is big on the BOGO. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cross rib roast, New York steak and spareribs. All are buy one package, get one free. Other BOGOs include avocado and pomegranates.

Minute Maid OJ is $3.99 for a 89-oz jug. You can earn a $5 Raley's gift card when you spend $20 or more on frozen foods, like Klonkide bars, Breyers ice cream, Bertolli and PF Chang's meals.

Rosarita refries are $1 a can; Rice-a-Roni or Pasta Roni is $1 a box and S&W tomatoes are 99-cents a can.

Fresh berries are 2/$5. A case of Crystal Geyser spring water is $3.33.

Save Mart has boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.77lb. Foster Farms fresh half breasts are BOGO. Fresh salmon fillets are $5.99lb.

Minute Maid OJ is 2/$5; Dole juice blends are 2/$4. Sunnyside Farms bread is $1.99 a loaf and Sara Lee deli rolls are $2.69 for six. Progresso soups are BOGO. Nestle is sponsoring a Mix&Match sale where you get $5 back instantly if you buy 10 participating products. They include a case of Nestle drinking water; Buitoni refrigerated pastas; Dreyer's ice cream and Lean Cuisine meals.

The deals in produce include avocado 2/$1; asparagus for $1.97lb; Roma tomatoes for 79-cents a pound; pomegranates 2/$3 and berries 2/$5.

In the deli on Mondays, whole rotisserie chickens are $4.99 each.

Shop at Safeway and get a $10 reward coupon if you spend $75 or more on groceries. To hit the $75, consider Foster Farms whole chicken for 79-cents a pound; BOGO Smithfield bacon and Jennie-O ground turkey.

In produce, tomatoes on the vine are 99-cents a pound; asparagus is $1.69lb and pineapple is BOGO. Cucumbers are 79-cents each and baby peeled carrots are 2 bags for $3.

Safeway Kitchen sliced bread is $2 a loaf. Chobani Greek yogurt is $1; Yoplait is 10/$6.

The best of the BOGOs are: Cheez-It and Club crackers; Star olive oil; Swanson's broth and Trident gum.

In the bakery, wheat French bread is $1.69 a loaf and Vanilla Bean or Red Velvet cakes are $7.99.

The best of the Friday only $5 specials are sliced ham, turkey or Muenster cheese in the deli; a box of Satsuma Mandarins and a 20-pack of Coke.

Perhaps, the best produce deals are at the Sunflower and Sprouts stores. At Sunflower, a pound os asparagus is 99-cents. Lemons are 3/$1; berries are $2 a carton and apples are 99-cents a pound. Onions, avocado and Roma tomatoes are all 88-cents a pound.

At Sprouts, seedless grapes are 69-cents a pound; apples are 88-cents a pound; berries are $2.50 a basket and baby carrots are 88-cents a bag.

One last reminder: We turn back the clocks on Saturday night!

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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