Using the ad match program at Walmart, I’m able to purchase all my groceries for about $75 per month. Each week, I review newspaper ads, take my findings to my nearest Walmart, and get what I need at a low, advertised price. Did I mention I only eat healthy, tasty foods?
A while back I mentioned that I only spend about $75 per month on groceries and I got a few questions asking how that’s possible. Since you wanted to know, I’m more than happy to share. I buy nearly all my groceries using Ad Match at Walmart, but a lot of other stores offer ad matching as well.
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This Week’s Grocery Ad Matches
- Carrots: 88 cents for 2 pounds
- Red Delicious Apples: 68 cents per pound
- Grade A Large Eggs: 49 cents per dozen
- Strawberries: $1.28 per pound
- No Sodium Added Canned Vegetables: 29 cents per 15.5 oz can
- Bananas: 28 cents per pound
- Peanut Butter: 99 cents per pound
- Kiwi fruit: 3 for $1
- Dole Lettuce: 68 cents a bag
- Navel Oranges: 2 for $1
- Butter: $1.88
- Cottage Cheese: $1.48 for 18oz
On Wednesdays over lunch, I spend about 10 minutes reviewing newspaper ads. Some old guys bring the papers to work. I’m the only person who likes looking through the ad section. So, while I eat, I thumb through ads, tearing out anything that meets the following criteria:
- Relatively low price
Here’s What I’ve Learned
- The first few pages are full of killer deals. The cool thing about this is basically every store in town will use loss leaders to get people in their doors. So, I’m essentially getting groceries cheaper than the store can put them on the shelves.
- Search for products that haven’t been heavily processed or made super convenient. The more fiddling around the manufacturer has done to a food item, the more the store charges. Tiny yogurt containers or Lunchables are never good deals.
- Typically, buying bulk is cheaper.
- Buy based on what’s in season. Right now fresh fruit and vegetables are super cheap. In the winter, Santa Claus lowers the cost of baking supplies.
- Look for foods that are already cheap. Think carrots, oranges, potatoes, bananas. Price match those and you’re well on your way to lowering your grocery bills.
- It doesn’t take very long. You’ll learn in a hurry which stores run the best ads, so sorting through ads really only takes a few seconds.
- Forget coupons. Some people love coupons but they aren’t worth the hassle for me. Most of them are for products I don’t want or need. Plus, they typically only bring the prices down to that of generic goods. I’m not too proud to buy generic. Especially when generics are usually the exact same product but with a less flashy graphic design job.
- Keep it simple. I throw the ads in a manila envelope and get on with my life. When I need groceries, I take my envelope to Walmart and do my shopping.
When to Shop
Okay, so at this point, you’re moaning about how scary it is to enter Walmart. I get it. Here’s how you avoid the crazy: Go early in the morning. This way, the store has been cleaned and freshly stocked and the crazies are probably still sleeping/hungover. Walmart is pretty swell early in the morning.
You actually don’t need the ads in hand; you can just tell the cashier the advertised price you saw. Normally, they don’t even double-check. But don’t lie; that’s bad.
Note: I try to pick a young cashier. Sometimes the old ladies will take forever typing in my prices. When finished, I see a small number on the readout (usually about $10 per trip), swipe my debit card, and then I’m on my way. Easy peasy.
Some Final Thoughts
Here are a few other details about my situation:
- I’m 6 feet tall. I walk/run/bike/work out daily. I burn a lot of calories. But the thing is, I eat a lot of whole foods. Those fill me up quickly and give me lasting energy. For instance, a Pop-Tart has 200 calories. Do you think 10 Pop-Tarts for a total of 2,000 calories will keep you energized all day? No way! It’s just over-processed, sodium-filled garbage. About 2,000 calories of chicken would be about 12 pieces. That’ll fill you up.
- I also avoid organic if it’ll cost me extra. I have yet to read any conclusive evidence that proves organic is better anyway. Please leave me a link in the comments if I am just ignorant on this topic.
- I try to stay away from straight carbs. They have the power to make me fat in a hurry. To help avoid the temptation, I bake all my own bread. That way, if I really want carbs, sometimes my laziness will save me because I won’t want to bake anything. Sometimes it pays to be a little lazy!
- I’m not a fan of most beans, so getting cheap protein is a little tricky. I eat a lot of peanut butter (gotta watch the calories on that stuff!), turkey, and chicken.
So, that’s how I spend about $75 per month on groceries. I say about because I don’t use a budget. But when I was calculating how I save 85% of my income, I calculated an average of my grocery bills from the past year. And be sure to stay away from restaurants — which can have as high as a 900% markup.
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