Shop Cheap

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

September 25, 2012
Gone shopping

Dear Shoppers,

Shop Cheap is on hiatus but that doesn't mean you are without her shopping tips. Remember what we taught you back in the day when Shop Cheap first started scanning the sales just for you.

The Top 5

1. Never pay more than $2 for a loaf of bread - even the high quality brands.

2. Never pay more than $3.99 for a case of drinking water. You are wasting money if you do.

3. BOGO is good. Buy one, get one (free) is a deal but make sure you do the math. Sometimes stores increase the price of one item so that getting 2 isn't worth it.

4. Always make a list and when you are making your list do it by department. For example, if you always start in produce and end up in the deli/bakery, that's the way to list your items.

5. Those $10 off your next trip coupons are a good value. Just make sure you get as close to the $75 minimum as possible.

And finally, don't forget to bring your own shopping bags. Aisle be seeing you.

September 18, 2012
Score with September savings

Everyone seems to have a full plate these days - and we aren't talking food. To make things easier for all the shoppers out there, Shop Cheap is here to highlight the best buys at the three big supermarket chains in the region: Raley's, Safeway and Save Mart. We also like to give a shout out to Sprouts because of their great produce prices.

Here's what we like this week:

Raley's has a good deal on Honeycrisp apples from Washington State. Only $1.89lb, compared to $2.99lb at Safeway. Also, 2lbs of strawberries are $3.99; peaches are $1.49lb and a bag of their Tesoro tomatoes is $2.99. Cantaloupe is 97 cents each; broccoli is 99-cents a pound and a 5lb. bag of potatoes is only 99-cents.

Quaker cereal and chewy granola bars are only $1.69 a box and a dozen eggs is $1.68. A case of Crystal Geyser water is $3.49.

Whole Foster Farms chickens are 89-cents a pound; pork spareibs are BOGO. In the deli, chicken strips are $4.99 and grab & go sandwiches are buy 2, get 1 free. If you like hummus, the Sabra brand is BOGO. Raley's fresh salsa is $2.

If you clip, Lay's Kettle chips are $1.79; Hillshire Farm deli meats are $2.49; Jif is $2.49 and Sunnyside Farms OJ is $2.50.

Save Mart has a 10lb. bag of potatoes for 97 cents and fresh salmon fillets for $3.99lb Friday-Sunday. Get a free case of Sunny Select water when you buy 4 boxes of Kellogs Special K for $10. Other free stuff: a pack of Sunny Select fish sticks with coupon and $25 purchase; and TopCare hand sanitizer with coupon and $10 purchase.

Other stuff we like: yellow onions for 15-cents a pound; Bartlett pears for 29-cents a pound; red bell pepper 3/99-cents; seedless grapes for $1.67lb; radishes and green onions 2/$1 and BOGO raspberries. Limes and baby lemons are 6/96-cents; Haas avocados are $1 each and oranges are 99-cents a pound. Gala apples are $1.29lb.

Yoplait yogurt is 10/$5; Bayview Farms OJ is $1.99; Sunnyside Farms large eggs are $1.50 a dozen. The "our brands" challenge includes Nutri-Grain bars; Nabisco saltines and Colgate Plus toothbrush.

A single serving of Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese is 78-cents; Lindsay sliced olives are 99-cents; Sunny Select diced chilis are 78-cents and whole olives are 99-cents. Mustard is 99-cents; diced tomatoes are 65 cents and mushrooms are BOGO. Tomato sauce is 4/$1.

Bohemian Hearth bread is $1.99 a loaf and Nutella Spread is $2.99.

 Safeway has cornered the market on coupons this week and you can either clip or click to get the savings. For example: Best Foods mayo is $2.49; Post Cereal is $1.99; popchips are $1.88; Sargento string cheese is $2.99; Campbell's soups are $1.25; Wishbone dressing is $1.29; and Nathan's beef franks are $2.99. Lucerne large eggs are $1.69 a dozen; Pilsbury Grands! biscuits are 99-cents; Smucker's preserves are $2.49.

If you'd rather click than clip, fresh mushrooms are $1.49; deli counter meats and cheeses are $4.99lb; Golden Grain pasta is 67-cents; Safeway coffee is $6.99; Open Nature sandwich bread is $1.99 and Quaker chewy granola bars are $1.75.

In produce, grapes, broccoli and Roma tomatoes are all 99-cents a pound.

Refreshe water is $3.34 a case; Pepsi or 7-UP is 99-cents for a 2-liter jug.

The $5 Friday specials are plentiful this week. There's whole roasted chicken; a gallon of Odwalla OJ; the All-American sub sandwich; Star olive oil; Quilted Northern or Angel Soft bath tissue and Brawny towels. There's also 12-packs of 7-UP or A&W at 2/$5 and Tostitos chips and salsa also 2/$5.

Pillsbury cake and brownie mixes are $1. Powdered sugar is $2 and Gold Medal flour is $3.

And, lastly, Sprouts has seedless grapes for 77-cents a pound; avocados 2/$1; red bell pepper 3/$1 and Granny Smith or Gala apples 99-cents a pound. Radishes, cilantro and green onions are 3/$1 and whole seedless water melon is 3lbs/$1.

Aisle be seeing you!.  

September 11, 2012
Smart shoppers shop cheap

This weekend, it's Mexican Independence Day and that's reason enough for Raley's and Save Mart to offer savings from South of the Border.

Without saying what they are celebrating, Save Mart has a 3-day sale on avocado - 3/99-cents; ground beef - $1.99lb; sour cream - 99 cents and jumbo prawns - $5.99lb. They also have Mission tortilla chips for $2.89; salas for $1.50 and green onions 2/$1. Their free coupons include Mission tortillas and tropical mango.

There's whole seedless watermelon for $3.97; BOGO raspberries, organic salads and Taylor Farms salad kits. Fuji apples are $1.27lb; Roma tomatoes are 99-cents a pound and corn on the cob is 3/99-cents. Seedless grapes are 97-cents a pound.

Boneless chicken breasts are $1.99; boneles pork chops are $1.99lb and NY steaks are $4.99lb. Fresh cooked shrimp meat is $4.99lb.

Kraft mac&cheese is 88-cents a box; Golden Grain pasta is $1.10 a box and Del Monte sauce is $1.08. Ground Italian sausage is 2/$5 and Rosina meatballs are $6.99 for a 32oz. package.

The hot and fresh meal deal at Save Mart is convenient on a busy night. For $9.99 you get 8-piece fried chicken; a side salad and bread.

Over at Raleys' where they really are promoting "Fiesta Time," all the ingredients are on sale. Fresh pork shoulder roast is $1.99lb; limes are 6.96-cents; Nob Hill pico de gallo is $2; jalapeno peppers are 49-cents a pound and cilantro is 50-cents a bunch. Their Tres Leches cake is $15.99 in the bakery. Jalapeno cheese focaccia bread is $3.99.

If you're clippin', Tostitos chips are $1.99; La Mexicana salsa is $1.49; Mother's cookies are $1.99 and Gatorade is 89-cents.

Fage yogurt cups are $1 each; Kellogg's cereal is $1.99 a box when you buy 4 and a case of R Everyday water is $3.48.

Raley's new Top-N-Bake pizzas are buy 2, get 1 free. Cross rib roast or steak is $2.99lb and 8-piece chicken is $5.99.

In produce, large tomatoes are 79-cents a pound; seedless grapes are $1.49lb.

Golden Grain pasta is 99-cents a box. Kozy Shak pudding is 2/$5. 2-liter jugs of Pepsi, 7-UP and Dr. Pepper are 99-cents.

Their 2-day weekend sale offers personal size watermelon for $1.49 each; Fresh Express garden salad for 79-cents and fresh ground beef patties for $1.99lb.

Safeway is have an "our brands" sale with reduced prices on all things "Safeway" and "Pantry Essentials" - their other brand. Pudding cups are $1 each; pasta is 99-cents a box and condensed soups are 89-cents a can. Safeway spices are buy 2, get 1 free; mayo is $1.99 and preserves are $2.49. Safeway mac&cheese is 69-cents a box.

In produce, raspberries are buy 1 container, get 2 free; cantaloupe and grape tomatoes are BOGO. Corn on the cob is 6/$2 and Cara Mia marinated artichoke hearts are BOGO, too.

Arrowhead water is $3.50 a case; Coke 6-and-8 packs are $3 each. Lots of BOGO buys: Annie's organic products - mac&cheese; fruit snacks; cookies and crackers. Also, Nabisco cookies and saltines; Foster Farms ground turkey and Thomas' English muffins.

Bush's beans and Rosarita refries are both $1 a can. But if you buy 4 cans of Rosarita refries, you get a pack of tortillas for free..

The $5 Friday offerings are expansive (that's expansive, not expensive!) this week. And, if you load them on your card, you get the Friday prices all weekend long. For example: Lobster tails; NY strip steak in the value pack; deli ham and hot pepper jack; Boston cream cakes; Signature Cafe turkey pot roast; Simply OJ in an 89-oz jug; Stouffer's and Buitoni meals and 20-packs of Coke.

For the clippers, Nabisco crackers are $1.99; Prego sauce is $1.49; cream cheese is $1.29 and Kleenex is 99-cents.

If you want some of the best produce prices around, head to Sprouts Farmers Market. Most berries are 2/$3; cantaloupe is 99 cents each; oranges are 99-cents a pound. Cauliflower, cabbage and peppers are 2/$1; avocados are 77-cents each and leaf lettuce is 88-cents a head. .



September 4, 2012
The savings start here

It's September and by now most kids are back in school and we're heading into fall. Thankfully, we still have plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and weather nice enough to keep the BBQ going for at least another month.

Like they did last year, Raley's is remembering 9/11 with an offer of free coffee to members of the military, police, firefighters and paramedics on Saturday and Sunday. It's a nice touch. And if you're a Raley's shopper, check out the prices on red or green bell pepper 2/$1; broccoli for 99-cents a pound and boneless, skinless chicken for $1.99lb. Seedless watermelon is $2.79 each and bananas are 68-cents a pound.

Oroweat is introducing "Dutch Country" 100% wheat bread and it's only $1.69 a loaf. Raley's is advertising a new cook-at-home pizza offer that includes different toppings. They are called "Top-N-Bake" pizzas where you buy a 16'' or 12'' pie and get a topping for free. The 16" pizza is $10 and the 12" is $8. They also have "Take & Bake" breadsticks for 99-cents when you purchase a pizza.

And if you get a pizza, you should also pick up some fresh basil for only 99-cents a bunch. That's the best topper of all!

Lots of items for $1 this week: Dennison's chili; Hunt's tomatoes and pasta sauce; Rosarita refries; and Rice or Pasta Roni. Sunnyside Farms has Greek-style yogurt for $1 a cup and a gallon of Crystal Geyser spring water is 98-cents.

Buy 10 or more General Mills products and each one is $1.50. Ten sounds like a lot but General Mills is more than just cereal. There's Progresso soups, Old El Paso taco shells and Betty Crocker cookie addition to Total cereal and Cheerios.

Coupons worth clipping include Sunnyside Farms ice cream for $2.99; Raley's sparkling water for 50-cents; Precious string cheese for $2.99 and Maruchan Ramen, 8/$1.

Moving on to Save Mart, where they continue with their new ad format, produce is king. Heriloom tomatoes are $1.99lb; personal size watermelon is $1.47; nectarines are 97-cents a pound and raspberries are buy one, get 2 free. Seedless grapes are $1.67lb; red and green bell peppers are 2/$1; avocados are $1 each and white corn is 3/99-cents.

Beef back ribs in the Max Pak are 99-cents a pound. You can mix and match beef, chicken and pork, buy one - get one free. The "our brands challenge" includes Snyder's pretzels; Jolly Time popcorn; Vitamin water and Old Spice, Dove and Olay body wash. Buy the national brand, get the local brand for free.

Bohemian Hearth bread is $1.98 a loaf; Ronzoni pasta is $1 a box and a large tin of Yuban or Maxwell House coffee is $7.99. A case of Crystal Geyser water is $2.99; a gallon is 88-cents.

In the deli, fresh sliced roast beef is $7.99lb; Buffalo wings are $3.99lb on Mondays. In the bakery, fresh cornbread is 2/$5 on Fridays and fresh baked cookies are $2.99.

Safeway has avocado for $1 each; Pistachios are BOGO; baby carrots are 99-cents a bag and hot-house tomatoes are $1.99lb.

Single serving Yoplait or Tilamook yogurt is 10/$5. Greek-style Fage or Dannon is $1 each. Buy 4 Betty Crocker or General Mills products and you'll save $4. Fruit snacks are 99-cents; cereal is $1.99.

There are lots of coupons that you can either clip or add to your Club Card. Highlights: C&H sugar for $2.49; Mission tortilla chips for $1.99; 8-packs of Pepsi bottles for $2.99 and Hefty bags or Reynolds Wrap foil for $2.49. A carton of eggs is $2.49.

The $5 Friday only specials include a pound of Primo Taglio ham, turkey or Provolone; Bertoli dinner for 2; Signature Cafe pizza or chicken wings; 20-packs of Coke and Tide Detergent.

That's it for this week. 

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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