Shop Cheap

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

July 29, 2008
It's coupon time

According to Scarborough Research, the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto market is one of the worst for redeeming grocery coupons. Got to change that attitude because there are plenty of coupon savings this week. Check out the highlights:

Raley's/BelAir has an entire sheet of savings. Everything from shredded cheese,($7.99 for 32oz); Johnsonville grillers sausage ($2.99); hot fried chicken ($5.99); Fresh Express salad (89-cents!) to Pop Tarts (99-cents) and bakery mini-muffins (2/$5).

Safeway's coupon savings include marinated pork tenders ($4.69 each); large raw shrimp ($3.99lb); Iceberg lettuce (49-cents each); Nabisco cookies ($1.99) and those PopTarts or granola bars (99-cents).

SaveMart has the "more you spend, more you get free" coupon promotion. It goes like this: Spend $25 get a free loaf of bread; spend $50 and get the bread and sliced cooked ham; spend $75 and you get the bread, the ham and iced cinnamon rolls. Finally, spend $100 and you get all of the above plus a 5 lb. bag of Fuji apples.

So, come on, Sacramento. Start clipping and start saving!

Now, for the rest of the bargains.

Continuing with SaveMart, they have Bohemian hearth bread 2/$4; Driscoll's berries 2/$4; BOGO on Oscar Mayer hot dogs; buns are $1. Sunnyside Farms ice cream 2/$6 and all the sundae fixins' - cones 99-cents; whipped topping 99-cents; syrups $1.99. Sunnyside large eggs (18-count) are 2/$5; Rotisserie chicken salad is $4.99lb and fresh garlic bread is $1.99 a loaf. In produce, peaches and nectarines are 99-cents a pound; broccoli is 99-cents a bunch and vine ripened tomatoes are $1.29lb.

In addition to all the coupons, Raley's/BelAir has tri tip roast at $3.77lb; and fresh baked baguette for $1.99 each. Dreyer's fruit bars and Dibs are 2/$5. Fritos, Rold Gold pretzels or Cheetos are 3/$6. Their split chicken breasts are $1.69lb and St. Louis style spareribs are $2.99lb. White Ruffy Swai Fillets are $3.99lb. Whole seedless watermelon is $3.47.

Once again, the Howe Avenue and Sierra College Boulevard Safeway stores have the coupons to clip for. This week it's Safeway breads for 99-cents; chunk or shredded cheese at $4.99 for 32oz.; and the best deal of all - Refreshe water for $2.99 a case. Also part of the special sale is Kellogg's frosted flakes and raisin bran for $1.88 a box and Rancher's Reserve London broil for $1.99. For the berrie-lovers, blueberries are $5.49 for 2.5 lbs. Watermelon at Safeway is $3.99 each; large green bell peppers are 2lbs. for $3; and yellow or white corn is 5/$2.

Did you try Safeway's Friday special last week? (The whole-loaf sub sandwich). I did and it was well worth the $5. This week they have 8-pieces of fried chicken for $5. A couple of BOGOs worth mentioning: Foster Farms thighs or drumsticks; Hillshire farms smoked sausage; Tyson chicken strips; Safeway sodas; Lucerne ice cream novelties and  Safeway Select vitamins.

One last item worth the cart: Fresh baked cookies at $2.99.

Our independent markets continue to be a great source for bargain shopping. The highlights:

Foods Co.: How about a pound of strawberries for 99-cents; fresh split chicken breasts for 97-cents a pound; large peaches for 38-cents a pound; 7*Up or Sunkist soda for 88-cents; Fritos or Cheetos $1.78 and everyone's favorite Top Ramen (12 pack) or Cup Noodles (6 pack) 2/$3. Tropicana fruit punch is $1 for a 64oz. carton. Navel oranges are 98-cents a pound; green onions are 2/78-cents and red bell pepper is $1.98lb.

Rainbow Foods: Tri tip roast is $3.79lb; whole seedless watermelon is $2.99; nectarines are 99-cents a pound; Youplait yogurt is 50-cents a carton and Crystal Geyser water is $3.99 for a case.

Vic's on Fulton and S. Land Park Drive have similar items on sale. Fresh corn is 3/$1; bell peppers are $1.59lb; Fuji or Gala apples are $1.59lb and cherries are still $3.99lb.

Over at Vic's in Folsom, you might want to grab a tri tip roast at $3.97lb; Arrowhead bottled water for $3.99 a case; Crystal yogurt 2/89-cents and Jif peanut butter at $1.99 a jar. Whole cantaloupes are 99-cents each; fresh green beans are $1.29lb; and fresh sliced mushrooms are $1.69 a package.

That's it for another week. Happy shopping!


July 28, 2008
The Sunday inserts

Did you check out the Sunday inserts? In addition to lots of back-to-school stuff, there were plenty of  other items worth mentioning.

Longs has Kellogg's cereal for $2 a box. Anderson's split pea soup Campbell's chicken noodle and tomato soups are 12 cans for $10. Also 12 for $10 (or 83 cents a can): Bells chipped or sliced olives and Kraft easy mac cups. Pepsi products are 3-12 packs for $10 and Aquafina water is $3.99 a case. In the BOGO department, there's cosmetics (with coupons); kids vitamins and batteries (with coupon). Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches or fudge bars are $3.99.

RiteAid is holding a "stock up" sale that includes Mennen (teens, men and women) deodorant products for 99-cents as well as Colgate toothpast. An additional coupon gives you even more savings. Other 99-cent items include Irish Spring soap (3-pack); Softsoap liquid hand soap and Alberto VO5 shampoo or conditioner. Covergirl products, Clearasil items, Kleenex tissues, Planters Nuts and RiteAid vitamins are BOGO.

Walgreens goes BOGO in a big way with Maybelline products, vitamins, post cereal, school backpacks, Planters nuts and Dreyer's ice cream. Inside the ad, you will find coupons for bottled water; chicken broth, mac&cheese, tomato sauce and tuna. Walgreens is also the place to get a head start on back to school shopping. The supplies are one better than BOGO. They are buy one get two free. Guess that's BOTWO! On the back you will find coupons for spring water ($2.99 a case) Angel soft tissue ($4.99 for 12-double rolls) and Tide or Gain detergent $5.49.

July 24, 2008
Price check

Here's a great note from Robert Gaskin, a reader who longs for the price of groceries in his old hometown:

For what it's worth, I moved to Orange County about 2 years ago and the food prices were definitely higher than at the Raley's near my old house in Citrus Heights (not that I was too surprised). A year ago, I moved to Vancouver, Washington, (I like to move) and the food prices are still higher compared to the prices in Sacramento. See if you can talk Raley's into moving up here. Robert.

July 22, 2008
Produce and seafood top the week

As we head into the last weekend in July (really), it's tough to get excited about grocery shopping. But our friends at the supermarkets are keeping things interesting and offering some variety. That's why we're highlighting fish and fresh produce:

Fresh catfish fillets ($3.99lb), raw shrimp ($4.99lb) and vine-ripe tomatoes ($1lb) at Safeway.

Fresh salmon fillets ($3.99lb), bartlett pears (57-cents a pound) and cantaloupe (37-cents a pound) at Raley's/BelAir.

Shrimp meat ($4.99lb), fresh catfish ($3.99lb) and Bing cherries ($2.99lb) at SaveMart.

And the store-by-store breakdown:

Pound-for-pound, the best deals this week can be found at Food Co., with three stores in the Sacramento area www.FoodsCo.NET. Check it out: A case of Crystal Geyser water for $2.99, a loaf of Western Hearth sliced bread for $1.78; seedless grapes at 77-cents a pound and nectarines at 2lbs. for 98-cents. They also have fresh chicken breasts in a family pack for 97-cents a pound and Zacky farms franks for 88 cents a pack. Oranges are 2lbs for 98 cents; cantaloupe is 3lbs. for 99 cents and head lettuce is 78 cents.

Over at SaveMart, cross rib steaks are 2.49lb; and Italian sausage is $2.49lb. SaveMart doesn't list its price for milk, but 18 eggs are $3 and Sunnyside Farms lemonades are $1 for a 64-ounce carton. The BOGOs are hard to come by this week. Only Doritos tortilla chips and FX styling products. Lots of canned goods for $1: olives, chili, pineapple, Chef Boyardee and Cadbuy or Hershey's candy. A rather odd combination but a good price is a good price. SaveMart has Aquafina bottled water for $3.99 a case. The best bargains can be found in produce with blueberries (18oz carton) $3.99; cantaloupe 2/$4; Iceberg lettuce at 79-cents a head and 1-pound bags of baby carrots for $1 each.

Raley's /BelAir is advertising a big mix&match/10 for $10 sale. Dollar items include 2-liter Cocal-Cola; Celest pizza for one; frozen vegetables; olives; Raley's pasta and Airwick air freshener and Dial bar soap. There's also boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs at $2.27lb and the recipe this week is for Sutter Sirloin grilled sandwiches. The sirloin is $3.97lb. Raley's also is offering free marinades and rubs when you purchase meat or seafood. Arrowhead water is $3.99 a case and the 34oz sparkling water is 4/$3. Johnsonville sausage or brats are 2/$7. More 10 for $10 items in produce, including bagged garden salad; broccoli; mini carrots and large eggplant.

Safeway scores with chuck steak ($1.29lb at Howe Ave. and Sierra College stores; $1.49lb elsewhere). Whole boneless pork loin is $1.99lb and those Johnsonville sausages are BOGO at Safeway. If you are near the Howe or Sierra College stores, grab the tuna coupon and head over before they run out. Starkist solid white is 4/$2 with coupon. Don't have to tell you how many tuna sandwiches that will make, especially if you go for the 99-cent loaf of Safeway premium bread. If you're looking to stock up on frozen meals, Smart Ones and Eating Right brands are $1.88 each.That 10/$10 deal is everywhere, including Safeway. It includes Mama Lucia meatballs, Chef Boyardee; Pasta or Rice-a-Roni; 7*UP; Gatorade; Kraft Mac&cheese; Clif or Luna bars and aluminum foil or snack bags. BOGOs include eggs (large, grade AA, 18 count); Nabisco crackers or fig newtons; Paramount Farms pistachios; Tropicana orange juice and Windex glass cleaner. If you are in the store on a Friday evening, check out the "Friday only" meal deal. I have tried them twice and haven't been disappointed. This week it's a foot-long loaf "All-American" sub sandwich with turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce for $5.

The three Vic's Supermarkets have some good items in common. A whole Foster Farms chicken is 99-cents a pound. A case of Crystal Geyser spring water is $3.99; Dannon yogurt is 50-cents a container and V-8 fusion drinks are 2/$6. Sun Burst or Ultra detergent is $2.49 and Sun Stations dish soap is 99 cents. The Vic's on South Land Park has fresh squash or zucchini for 59-cents a pound and fresh peaches for 79-cents a pound. Fulton Avenue Vic's has Davis Ranch sweet white corn 5 ears for $1. and yogurt cakes in the bakery are $3.99. Vic's in Folsom has fresh asparagus for $2.99lb and seedless grapes are $1.29lb.

July 18, 2008
Two last-minute tips

Remember that soup I recommended at Safeway. Checked it out today and it's not such a great deal, afterall. It's a smaller, 15oz portion, not the 24oz. size that I usually buy. In other words, they downsized and priced it at $3.99. Since it's summertime, I'd say wait until it cools down and the price heads downward, too.

But I did stumble upon a great sale at Mervyn's in Roseville. It was a BOGO sale - and it's a good one. Sale-priced items - everything from men's and women's clothing to stuff for the kids - is marked half price AND buy one, get one free. Hard to pass up this sale, especially if you are looking for last-minute summer items; have a baby shower to go to or want to get ahead of Back-to-School shopping. Plus, if you use your Mervyn's card, you get another 20 percent off.

July 18, 2008
Weekend update

Raley's/BelAir surprised us Friday with a full-page ad promoting a 3-day sale. It's a good one if you haven't planned your weekend meals. First, clip that corner coupon and get up to four-2-liter bottles of soda (7*UP, A&W or Sunkist) for 78-cents. Then there's the Iceberg lettuce at 67-cents a head. The possibilities are endless with Iceberg. One of the easiest is slicing it into wedges and topping with dressing, sliced almonds and dried cranberries. The tip in the ad suggests shredding, tossing with an Asian salad dressing and topping with grilled salmon. Or there's boneless cube steak for $2.99lb. and sliced or whole mushrooms at 2 packs for $3. Cook up those cube steaks and top with sliced mushrooms and you have a tasty main course.

Over at Safeway, I spotted a BOGO on 18-count, large eggs for $5.99. That's a lot of eggs. But if you partner with a neighbor or a relative, it's only $3 for 18. 

July 15, 2008
Eat your fruit and veggies

It's going to be easy to follow Mom's advice about eating your fruit and vegetables. Local supermarkets are bursting with fresh summer fruit - some of it exotic - and reasonably priced. That along with lots of specials on beef and the Taste cover story on fresh salads by Leigh Grogan, this should be a cool week in the kitchen.

Here are the highlights:

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are 2/$4 at SaveMart.

Raley's/BelAir has a BOGO on personal size watermelon. Blueberries are 2/$5.

Safeway has the exotic fruit specials with Black Velvet Apricots, Aprium and Magenta queen peaches all for $1.99lb. They also have corn on the cob at 10/$2.

Some of the independent markets still have the best prices on produce. Rainbow Foods has avacado for 79-cents each; iceberg lettuce for 79-cents a head and personal watermelon 2/$3.

Foods Co. has cherries at $2.98lb; honeydew melon 2lbs/98-cents and a 2 pounds of strawberries for $2.98.

Here's the store-by-store rundown.

SaveMart: If Hawaii isn't in the cards this summer, how about Mahi-Mahi and fresh pineapple instead? Previously frozen fillets are $4.99 a pound; pineapples are 2/$5. If you're feeling more Italian, SaveMart is introducing an imported pasta called Fasolino's at 4 packs for $5. They also have a recipe for Tuscan shrimp and chicken pasta, which sounds delicious. You can add a fresh baguette at $1.49, slices of salame at $5.99 a pound and fresh mozzarella at $3.99 for a complete Italian feast.Other specials include bottled water at 2 cases/$7; 32oz tub of cottage cheese $3.69; Minute Maid OJ 2/$6 and Simply Limeade or Minute Maid enhanced juice at 2/$5. If you need a greeting card, check out the $1 off coupon in the ad.

Raley's/BelAir: Another delicious sounding recipe this week: Grilled Beef and Avocado Melts. I might improvise a little and swap the New York Texas Toast in favor of cibatta rolls but otherwise it's London broil $2.77lb; seasonings, avocado 4/$5; onion, tomato and Monterey or pepper Jack cheese $3.99. It's a main course the ad claims to cost "about $10." Cases of Aquafina water are $3.99; fresh cooked salad shrimp is $3.99lb; Fresh Express salads are 2/$4 and bakery baguettes are $1.29 each. If you want a sweet treat, try Nonni's biscotti 2/$6.

Safeway: In addition to those 10 ears of corn for $2, you can toss a tri tip roast on the BBQ. (Howe Ave. and Sierra College stores $2.99lb; 50% off elsewhere). Safeway has the BOGO going with bacon, Foster Farms lean ground turkey; General Mills cereals, orange juice; Nathan's beef franks; Lucerne whipped cream and Hefty storage bags. The best deal of all is - gasp - the Signature soups. Now, if it was the middle of winter, I'd drop everything and stock up. But even in summer, $3.49 is a great price. Their Kaiser rolls in the bakery dept. are 2/$3. They make great buns for burgers. If you're not into shredding, Lucerne cheeses are 2/$5 and Oroweat breads are 2/$5. I've seen Oroweat products as high at $4 a loaf. In the milk dept., gallons  are 2/$6.19. And one last shout-out for cherries - sweet red or Rainier - $3.99lb.

Vic's Markets: If you get the Fulton Ave. ad, check out that chicken pose on the cover. Is it reclining, or what? A good buy, though, at 89-cents a pound for a Foster Farms bird. Land Park Vic's has avocado for 69-cents each and red or green bell pepper at $1.69 lb. Folsom Vic's has plums, peaches and nectarines for 99-cents a pound. Other good stuff at all the Vic's markets: Tilapia fillets are $4.99lb and Michelinas frozen entrees are 99-cents each.

Rainbow Foods: Don't usually start out with detergent but All varities are $2.99 with the coupon. Golden Grain pasta is $1 a box and Classico sauce is 2/$4. Dannon yogurt is 10/$5 and Skinny Cow ice cream treats are $3.99 a box.

Food Co.: Produce reigns with raspberries at $1.98 a carton; limes at 10/$1; cantaloupe 4lbs/$1; peaches 2lbs/98-cents; and avocados at 98-cents each. Other good stuff includes Yoplait Yogurt 10/$4; Kellogs cereals 4/$8; Minute Maid juice or fruit punch 2/$5 and LaModerna pasta at 3 bags for 88-cents.



July 14, 2008
The milk dilemma and weekend updates

Looks like we are going to have to wait a month before milk prices stabilize. My colleague, Business reporter Jim Downing, had an item Thursday saying that prices paid to farmers would drop in August. That should translate into 23-cents less per gallon, he reported. In the meantime, I shopped WinCo on Saturday hoping for a price break on two-gallons of non-fat. No such luck. Their own Hy-Top brand was $3.18 or $6.36 for two. Looks like Raley's/BelAir is still the place to go for when the kids ask, "Got milk?"

But there were some bright spots this weekend, especially at Longs Drugs and Walgreens. In case you missed the Sunday inserts, here's a short recap:

Longs Drugs: Get your BOGO going with Revlon, Maybelline and Rimmel cosmetics, Suave shampoo or conditioner, Nature Made and Longs brand vitamins, Hershey's candy and alkaline batteries. (Check out the coupons inside and on the wrap.Some are only for three days) There's Aquafresh toothpaste 2/$4, Adidas and Nivea products for men are BOGO and Longs still has a dozen eggs for $1.79.

Walgreens: Coupons are the highlight here. Alkaline batteries, Palmolive dish soap, spring water, All detergent and Charmin tissue. Sorry, kids, but we're already seeing "Back-to-School" ads. If you like to shop early, check out the folders, notebooks, pens and markers that are on sale. Another great buy - White Rain hair products at $1 each. If you like raisins on your cereal, you are in luck. General Mills cereal is 3/$7 and Sun-Maid raisins (or Sunsweet dried apricots) are $1.99

July 11, 2008
A reader tip

Roseville reader Dee Dee Gunther has a "Shop Cheap" tip that she wants to share. Check it out.

"This is not about groceries, but my daughters and I discovered the best "recycled clothes" store for teenagers and young adults. It's Crossroads Trading Company at the TJ Maxx Center on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville. (There's one on Arden Way in Sacramento, too. Check out their website They're not really a consignment store because they buy clothes outright from customers and resell them for a reasonable price. They also have some department store close-outs (new with tags). They only accept young, fashionable, brand-name clothes in really good condition. We did our back-to-school shopping early and loaded up on Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Wet Seal tops at about $8.50 each. These are brands that we can't afford at regular prices.

For older girls and guys, they have a lot of party/club clothes, too. I even saw a Vera Wang! The store is clean and attractive with a very helpful staff. The only problem I had was that they group the clothes by type (T-shirts, dresses, skirts, jeans, etc.) and color rather than by size. Digging for the right sizes takes some time. They also are eco-friendly. If you don't ask for a bag for your purchases, they give you a 5-cent coupon to deposit in a choice of jars - each representing a local charity.

This is such a fun place to shop that I now have to explain to my 12-year-old that even though it's cheap, we still can't afford to go every weekend."

July 10, 2008
Shopping for a vacation

Let's take a break from groceries today and think about a California getaway. Given the air outside, a quick trip to the coast sounds heavenly. But before heading out on any adventure be sure to check out this website - It is run by the California Travel & Tourism Commission and it offers (printable) discount coupons on popular Northern California attractions like, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Bay Area Discovery Museum and the Charles Schulz Museum. Discounts also apply to destinations in Southern California like Legoland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Catalina Island Express, Universal Studios Hollywood and the Warner Bros. VIP Tour. 

But that's not all...You can download maps, make reservations, buy tickets and find the best places to eat in advance. It's really hard to "Vacation Cheap" but every dollar off helps fill the gas tank.

Have fun and don't forget to write!

July 8, 2008
Sweet produce and cool bargains

I don't know about you, but I was cookin' over the July 4th weekend. Now, I'm just plain HOT! It's hard to get into the mood for grocery shopping when the highlight of the trip is the AC inside the store. But there are bargains to be had and lots of sweet fruit in the produce department. So in addition to shopping cheap, we'll be shopping light this week.

Here's the scoop.

Peaches and nectarines are ripe for the picking. You won't pay more than $1 a pound for this delicious fruit.

Sweet Bing Cherries are $2.99 a pound at Raley's/BelAir and $2.98 at Food Co.

Seedless watermelon is still cheap and plentiful.

After that, the best deals are in the cereal aisle.

Here's the store-by-store breakdown:

Safeway is still celebrating a grand re-opening at the Howe Avenue and Sierra College Blvd. (Roseville) stores. If you live in the neighborhood, it's worth a trip because of the special coupons: A dozen AA large eggs 99-cents; Tostitos chips $1.77 a bag and Peter Pan peanut butter 2/$2. The other coupons - available at all stores - are pretty good, too. 6-packs of Coke in 16.9oz bottles $1.49; Kellogg's cereal or Pop-Tarts 4/$6 and bath tissue or paper towels 2/$11.Safeway has nectarines for $1 a pound and the first crop of Rainier cherries are here at $3.99 a pound. Safeway goes BOGO (remember, buy one, get one free) on Minute Maid orange juice; Breyers ice cream and Eating Right stringless sugar snap peas in produce.

SaveMart has a great cereal deal. You must buy 4 boxes, but if you do, select Kellogg's products are $1.50 each. Aquafina bottled water is $3.99 a case and Gatorade is 79 cents on 32oz. varities. After all that grilling last week, I can barely mention BallPark franks, but they are BOGO again at SaveMart. On the other hand, Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese is $1.99 for a 16oz. container; yogurt is 10/$5 and and 18 Large AA eggs are 2/$6. If you want to limit your servings of ice cream, try the 3.6oz of Ben&Jerry's at $1 each - and be sure to eat it with the little spoon inside. A tuna sandwich sounds good and cheap. Chicken of the Sea chunk White albacore is $1 a can and Bohemian Hearth bread is $1.99 a loaf. Over in produce, the nectarines and peaches are 99-cents a pound; mangoes are 3/$1 and whole pineapple is $2.99. Fresh Express salad blends are 2/$5 and you've got to try the Nature Sweet Cherub tomatoes in the plastic container 2/$5.

Raley's/BelAir also has the Kellog's cereal offer - 4 boxes for $1.50 each. You can top your cereal with fresh, yellow peaches at 97-cents a pound or fill a bowl with Bing Cherries for the sweet price of $2.99 a pound. Raley's has a carb-lovers special - their Nob Hill Trading Co. breads at $2.89 a loaf. In the beverage department, there's a 69-cent coupon for Gatorade and a buy two, get two free 7-UP offer. A case of Crystal Geyser bottled water is $3.99. In produce, Dole 100-calorie salads (a light lunch?) are 2/$3; limes are 6/96 cents and green bell peppers are $1.49 a pound. Raley's is also introducing a Rotisserie "Grand" chicken that's 50% larger than the regular-size, already cooked bird. The "Grand" weighs just over 3lbs. and costs $8.99. But you get a free bag of rolls, too.

Vic's Market in Folsom has a frothy headline this week: "Cheers to Beers!" At the other two Vic's - Land Park and Fulton Avenue - it's summer melons - go figure. They also have Crystal Geyser bottled water at $3.50 a case. Given the heat, you might want to grab some Sobe Life Water at $1 a bottle.

Foods Co. is the place to go for Tropicana Fruit punch $1 for a 64 ounces. They have General Mills cereals for $1.88 a box and  Sunnyside Farms yogurt for 50-cents a carton. Fresh cherries are $2.98lb; nectarines are 98-cents a pound and gourmet cookies from the bakery are 2/$5. The Foods Co. "Colossal" rotisserie cooked chicken is $6.98 and diced potato salad is $1.98 a pound. That's dinner at my house!

Rainbow Foods has fresh Mexican shrimp for $3.99 a pound and ears of corn at 4/$1. Cantaloupe is 99-cents each and limes are 10/$1. A 3-pound bag of Fuji apples is $2.99. Chicken of the Sea solid white tuna is $1 a can and sesame Hoagie rolls are $1.79 for six.

I've been watching the price of milk lately and it's going up, too. Raley's Bayview brand, which was $4.79 for two gallons of non-fat, is now in the $5.59 range. Lucerne milk at Safeway is 2 gallons for $6.19. A month ago, WinCo. Hy-Top was $4.90 for two gallons of non-fat. Do you all have any tips on where to get the best milk prices? It's critical at my house because we're talking nearly 4 gallons a week!


July 7, 2008
Shop Cheap visits The Fountains

Sometimes you just have to leave the cheap at home. That was the goal Saturday when Shop Cheap took a trip to The Fountains, Roseville's newest shopping experience. My Mom was in town from the Bay Area for the July Fourth weekend so we took a drive to check out the scene.

Here's the skinny: The Fountains is more like a shopping village than a shopping center - and it's still under construction. The stores that have opened - Sur La Table, Anthropologie, Orvis, West Elm - are all new to the Sacramento area. There's also Drapers & Damons, Z Gallerie, Coldwater Creek, Chico's, Posh Punkins and other speciality shops open for business. (For a complete list, go to  I't a very pleasant place to shop with great people-watching - more like something you'd find in Southern California. In addition to the retail, a number of restaurants - California Pizza Kitchen, Big Spoon Yogurt, McCormick & Schmick's and Boudin Bakeries - are scheduled to open later in the year.

And after an hour or so of looking, Shop Cheap managed to find a bargain at Chico's - $88 skirt for $24. Thanks, Mom.

July 2, 2008
Cracking the egg market

My colleague Jim Downing had a story in Business today about the rising cost of eggs on the wholesale market. It's hard to say when those increased prices will hit your supermarket, but if you want to hedge your bets, the prices are still fairly cheap at three local stores:

Longs: Grade AA large - $1.79 a dozen

SaveMart: Sunnyside Farms grade AA large - $2.50/18 count

Raley's/BelAir: Raley's brand grade AA large - $2.99/18 count

July 2, 2008
What's BOGO?

Thanks to the item on the cover of The Bee's Taste section, Shop Cheap has lots of new readers today. And all those new readers have one big question: What's BOGO?

BOGO is shorthand for "Buy one, get one free."

July 1, 2008
Save some green on your red, white & blue menu

So many sales, so little time before the celebrations begin. This week we are going to stick with Fourth of July fare because that's what most of the markets are advertising. There is no excuse not to have a fun and fairly frugal Fourth. Check out the prices on the fixins'  that make a great BBQ or backyard picnic.

The top 5:

Whole seedless watermelon: Most are less than $4

Buns: Don't pay more than $1 for a bag of 8.

Ball Park franks are BOGO at SaveMart and Safeway.

Tostitos are BOGO, too.

And soda ... Buy two, get three free means 60 cans of your favorite soft drinks to share with the neighbors.

The store-by-store breakdown.

SAVEMART: If you want tri-tip instead of dogs, this is the place to shop. At $2.77 a pound (in packs of two roasts), you will have enough for the adults at the party. Ribs are also a good value at $1.88 a pound. Get the Ballpark BOGO here along with charcoal for $5.99. Buns are $1 a bag and olives are $1 per can. Crystal Geyser water is $3.98 a case and all the soda bargains are available. In produce, avocados are $1 each; radishes, green onion or cilantro are 2 bunches for $1 and vine ripened tomatoes are $1.29 a pound. (Note to partygoer: sounds like a good day to bring salsa to the neighbors.) Along with a lovely Fourth of July bouquet $7.99 in the floral department.

RALEY'S/BELAIR: Here's where you grab the fresh corn (5/$1)  for the BBQ. If you opt out of burgers and dogs, Raley's has its Sutter sirloin for $2.77lb and a recipe, too. They also have ribs on sale from $1.77lb for country style to $3.97lb. for baby backs. Here's a deal: Buy a bag of charcoal ($6.99) and get free BBQ sauce. In produce, watermelon is $3.99; blueberries are $3 for a 12 oz. carton and don't forget the sliced red onions (69 cents a pound) for the salsa or the burgers. If you don't want to do burgers on buns, grab some cibatta rolls 5/$2.69. For a great snack, try YaYa's popcorn 4/$5 with some punch or lemonade at $1 a carton. Once the Fourth festivities are over, you're still going to need cereal - General Mills products are $4 off if you buy four; eggs are $2.99 for 18 and bottled water is $3.33 for a case of Raley's own brand.

SAFEWAY: Definitely the place to go for buns ($1/8 in a pack) and the BOGO items: BallPark franks; Hillshire Farm smoked sausage; Tostitos, orange juice and Dreyer's ice cream in that smaller container. If you want a more hearty sausage, try Johnsonville Brats, $2.99 with coupon. Safeway also has garlic bread for $1.99 and Arrowhead water for $3.99 a case. For a colorful table, set out some RedVines ($6.99 for a giant tub) a bowl of cherries ($3.88 a pound) and some sliced up watermelon ($3.88 each).

At the independents, Vics has seedless watermelon at $2.99 each. The pork spareribs are $1.99lb and the KC Masterpiece to slather on the ribs is $1.69. General Mills cereals (Cheerios, Rice Krispies) are $2 a box and cases of Arrowhead are $3.99.

FOODS CO.: Another one-stop market with combo packs of fresh chicken for 97-cents a pound; Bar S jumbo franks for 78-cents; packs of buns for 98 cents;  Fritos or Cheetos at 3 bags for $5 and Minute Maid fruit punch or lemonade at 98 cents. Cases of natural Spring water are $2.98 and jugs of Hawiian punch are 2/$4. In produce, grab the whole watermelon for $2.87 each; sweet white corn 3/99-cents; oranges 2lbs for 78 cents and limes 10/$1. Those delicious Lofthouse patriotic cookies are 2 packages for $5 and an 8-inch apple or pumpkin pie is $2.50.

Be safe and have fun!


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

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31