Showing posts with label groceries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label groceries. Show all posts

10 Tips on How to Bag Your Groceries Correctly

As one who has a handy self bagging expert shopping with me every time we shop, I thought I'd share. DH puts pride into his grocery bagging technique, and it is upsetting to see some fellow shoppers putting crushable and squishable items in the bottom of a bag. Or for the horror - once a shopper put his warm rotisserie chicken in the same bag as the Ben & Jerry ice cream. DH has bagged thousands of bags of groceries in the past few years and he's perfected his technique.
 
Anyway, this is how to correctly bag your groceries.
 

1. Bring your own reusable bags, especially the good heavy ones with double stitched handles. It's easy to remember to bring your bags if that is where you store your coupon clutch. For most small trips you will need at least 3 bags.
 
2. Put the frozen foods in boxes standing up on the side of the bag. Put ice cream in a plastic bag and then place on the bottom of the bag. This double wrap keeps it colder longer. Unless of course you live in one of the many places that ban plastic bags, like San Francisco, Oregon, Spain, France and soon Los Angeles. Place lighter items like frozen vegetables and food in bags or pouches on the top.
 
3. If you have a stockpile freezer or refrigerator, it helps to put all those items that will be stockpiled into the same bag so you can just bring it there and unload straight into the cooler.
 
4. Think about where the dry foods you buy will be stored in your house. If products are for the stockpile room or for the bathroom, or the laundry room put all those items in the same bag. Put your kitchen and pantry dry foods into a different bag so they can be unloaded directly into the kitchen cupboards.
 
5. Place all refrigerated items in the same bag with the heaviest packed first - like milk. Put produce in bag last with heavier items like melons on the bottom.
 
6. Grab a plastic bag for smaller items like vitamins and health care items so they don't get scattered among everything else in your dry goods bag.
 
7. If you have large light items, like bags of chips or boxes of cereal you could opt for using a paper bag provided by the store (to use later as your trash bag) or just use a separate bag. Keep in mind where you're going to store this stuff whether its in the kitchen or pantry stockpile area.
 
8. Always put raw meats in a clear plastic cover bag that is provided in meat departments to avoid contaminating your other foods or your grocery bags. 
 
9. Always shop so you get refrigerated and frozen items last. Especially milk which loses 1 day of shelf life for every 1 degree temperature rise.
 
 
 
10. Some items don't really need bags, like 12 packs of soda, large bags of pet food or gallon containers. These are easier to just pick up by the handle. If you have multiples of these heavy items, just place one on the checkout belt and tell the cashier you have more in your cart.

5 Money Saving Ideas for Long-Term Food Storage Shopping

While many of us are thinking about saving money by buying in bulk and storing the goods for a few weeks or months, there is another type of food storage we should also consider. Storing the right foods in case of an emergency can ensure the survival of your family. Many pre-packed kits can feed a family for 1, 3 or even 12 months, but they are outside the price range of many families. You can shop for food long term, however, without it costing a fortune.
1. Pay attention to calorie counts, servings and nutrition on prepackaged meals.
It may seem that the meal plan which offers the most calories per dollar is the best money-saving choice, but this isn't always the case. Nutritious calories are much more satisfying, in addition to supplying you and your family with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. For example, 100 calories of butter is much less filling than a large apple, which is also around 100 calories. The apple is also much healthier.
2. Packaging matters in prepackaged meals.
Where you store the meals where they are not exposed to excess heat, but it is up to the packaging to protect the food from spoiling due to exposure to moisture or air. The common ways that long-term emergency meals are packaged include Mylar bags, pails and tin cans. In each of these packaging techniques, the air is removed through the process of nitrogen flushing, or an oxygen absorbing pellet is inserted in the package. Pails are not airtight, so are usually used in combination with Mylar bag and cans. Mylar packaging lasts 7 to 10 years. If you plan to keep your emergency rations longer than this time, it may be necessary to replace the meals. Some meals packed in oxygen-free tin cans can last up to 25 years.
3. Find a balance between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
Some foods are best preserved through dehydrating, while others can only remain nutritious long term when freeze-dried. Freeze-dried foods may store a few years longer, but dehydrated foods are much less expensive. In order to freeze-dry foods, the food must be flash frozen. The frozen food is then put into a vacuum chamber where the ice is removed by turning it into a gas. This is a complicated process requiring very specific technology and tools. Dehydrated foods simply have had the water removed through heating.
Dehydrated food also shrinks significantly from its original size while freeze-drying does not. This means dehydrated food requires less storage space than an equal amount of freeze-dried food.
Some companies that sell prepackaged meals already offer a combination of the two, but if not do not be afraid to purchase your meals from more than one source. Buying items such as fruits and vegetables that have been dehydrated in addition to freeze-dried meals can help to bring down the total cost of emergency food storage. 
4. Know what kitchen basics have a long shelf life, and buy them in bulk.
When considering emergency food options, it is easy to get sidetracked by all of the companies who sell ready-to-eat Mylar packed meals, tins of freeze-dried foods and other prepackaged supplies. There are some items in your kitchen right now, however, that have a shelf-life longer than many of these purpose-designed meals. These products include wheat, rice, corn, sugar, beans, oats, pasta, potato flakes and non-fat powdered milk. While they will not sustain your family on their own, ensuring you have enough of these basics for several months of regular use can help save money when you are stockpiling your rations. Purchase these items in bulk from a local restaurant supply, warehouse store or even your local supermarket. They can be stored in food grade 5-gallon buckets with rubber seals, which are available at most hardware stores.
5. Shop around, just like you would for your weekly groceries.
The most simplistic way to create an emergency food supply is to in pre-packed, storage ready containers. There are many companies who offer these foods, as well as associated items such as first aid kits. Not all of these deals are created equal, however. Many online stores offer coupon codes for free shipping or special gifts with purchase as well. Look for these specials to get more for your money. 
Ensuring there is nutritious food during an emergency is an important consideration for any family today. While stockpiling and storing several months' worth of food can be expensive, you can reduce the costs by following these tips.
 
This guest post provided by Agnes E Jimenez, a professional blogger and writer.

2012 Yearly Shopping Totals


This is complicated calculating yearly totals since there are so many factors that everyone uses differently. My yearly totals include all household products that are consumed, including gasoline for the vehicles. I pretty much only shop at Publix, I went to Sweetbay three times and Winn Dixie twice. I did not shop at CVS, Walgreens, or Target. Using manufacturer, store and competitor coupons matched with sales and occasional rainchecks we were able to get all our household products essentially free this past year.
  • We had 444 transactions and purchased $32,729 worth of products and gift cards.
  • Of that amount purchased; $3755 was gift cards ($1005 Publix, $2750 gas cards).
  • Total spending was $2951, for a profit of $803 in gift cards plus all the product was essentially free. 
  • On average, we spent $245 a month to purchase an average of $2727 worth of product.
  • The largest transaction was $179 spent for $384 worth of product including $200 in gas cards.
  • This does not include rebates and gift card offers received - I didn't track those.
You may notice we purchased a lot of product. We consume a normal amount of product and have stockpiles of paper goods and non expiring products to last years.  With food and products that expire, we determine our usage and purchase enough to have through expiration. If items are free or very cheap (less than $0.25 ea) we will buy to get our totals up to use a $/$$ coupon, or to use up the coupons I have. We donate a lot of product, and also have a yard sale to move any products that are extra and we cannot consume before they expire. The cash we earn from the sale goes into my coupon envelope and is used when we need to get gas cards, so the months with lots of cash spent - it is yard sale money. We are still learning how to manage a stockpile and determine what is appropriate amounts to keep. It is very frustrating to sell extra laundry detergent at a yard sale, and then the good deals disappear and we come perilously close to running out of a household item. 

TYD totals JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN
 $   1,925.47 cash spent  $ 546.48  $     (3.28)  $     (23.34)  $     438.88  $      (4.65)  $    219.26
 $   1,025.82 GC spent  $   97.14  $   136.30  $      75.24  $     121.32  $     92.96  $      76.04
 $   2,951.29 Total Spent  $ 643.62  $   133.02  $      51.90  $     560.20  $     88.31  $    295.30
32,729.70 Value of Goods 4,322.47  $2,729.67  $ 2,534.65  $  3,856.14  $ 2,458.57  $ 3,212.34
$3,755.00 GC purchased 890.00 270.00 145.00 910.00 65.00 520.00
$803.71<---earnings 750 Gas 50 Gas 750 Gas 400 Gas








JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR AVG
 $     (42.62)  $      1.32  $     (5.04)  $   562.52  $      42.07  $   193.87  $   160.46
 $      83.84  $     33.57  $     55.93  $     32.98  $    108.04  $   112.46  $     85.49
 $      41.22  $     34.89  $     50.89  $   595.50  $    150.11  $   306.33  $   245.94
 $  2,366.35  $1,308.27  $2,529.04  $ 3,323.63  $ 1,860.68  $2,227.89  $2,727.48
10.00 0.00 0.00 705.00 0.00 240.00 $1,005.00 Pulbix CG
700 Gas 100 gas 2750 Gas CG







 
There were a lot of coupon policy changes in 2012 and a lot of the usual coupon offerings dried up - Publix booklets weren't as good, MQs are smaller value, and limits on usage make it tougher. I expect it to continue to be a challenge in the future. It does seem that empty shelves aren't a problem as much now and there are less opportunities for rainchecks. We have had to decrease the size of our orders and increase the number of transactions to take most advantage of the $/$$ coupons. My goal with every shop is to pay less than a dollar. I don't really like to have my orders go negative and have them pay me. It does happen occasionally, but I don't plan it that way. I spend my overage on non coupon items. One advantage of frequent transactions is that you are in the store almost every day and usually get the coupon booklets before they are gone, or you can ask CS each time you're in the store and get the amount you need.
 
My strategies for the upcoming year - continue multiple Sunday newspaper subscriptions, multiple computers to print coupons, frequent smaller transactions, review forums for deal ideas, use GroceryTracker app for planning each shop.
 
Hoping for good coupon karma in the upcoming year!