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    Did you know that Name brands cost 20-50% less than their name brand counterpart? Several years ago we ran a "scientific" budget experiment in our home. Unbeknown to my unsuspecting family, I purchased several store brand items and literally swapped them with their brand name counterpart. I saved the packaging of the brand name when they were empty and then refilled them. I wanted to see for myself whether my kids had turned into food snobs based on marketing ploys or whether the brands truly tasted different or of lesser quality. Here are our results:

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    1. Categories:
    2. Weekly Menu,
    3. menu plans,
    4. grocery shopping,
    5. cheap menu,
    6. frugal menu,
    7. savings tips

    Each week we'll share our weekly menus as well as recipes for our family of 4, which includes two seemingly ravenous teenagers (& several of their buddies) and two adults. I mention that we include the kids' friends in our menu because it's become a habit for them to have friends over several times per week. For the past 15 years, we've spent, on average, less than $250 per month for groceries (& household items- cleaners, detergents).
    Our menus include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. They also include various beverages. I do not include pet foods, although over the years we've often made our own for our pets.

    Regarding Coupons:
    On occasion we DO use coupons; with that said, our weekly menus are NOT based on coupon use. There are really great deals out there- and oftentimes if one is diligent enough, one can get free groceries/cleaners, etc. However, this requires considerable effort, regardless of the sites that tell you it's simple. Here are several reasons that this is not so:

    1. It requires you to go to several different stores several times per week in order to find and take advantage of the best deals. Each and every time that you enter a store the chances of impulse buying increases. (Read More about the Dirty Tricks Retailers Play)
    2. It requires you to find,buy and clip coupons, or seek them out online from "coupon clipping services" and purchase them, which is time consuming.
    3. Stores are becoming less and less helpful at receiving multiple coupons in a transaction.
    4. Cashiers at said stores are often not educated about basic coupon lingo such as the difference between a purchase (single item) and a transaction (entire order) and make life a living hell when attempting to use coupons.

    With that said, we do sometimes use coupons, but only on when it's absolutely convenient for us.
    Published on 03-07-2011 12:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Weekly Menu,
    3. menu plans,
    4. grocery shopping,
    5. dirt cheap,
    6. cheap menu,
    7. frugal menu,
    8. savings tips
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    Week 10 Grocery Notes: The gas prices are skyrocketing once again, if they continue at this rate, I may have to switch to Bi-weekly menus so I don't waste our grocery savings on gas expenses! Since sausage was so abundant (& dirt cheap at only .50 per pound!) we took advantage and wrapped ...
    Published on 02-20-2011 12:58 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Weekly Menu,
    3. menu plans,
    4. grocery shopping,
    5. dirt cheap,
    6. dinner,
    7. cheap menu,
    8. frugal menu,
    9. savings tips
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    Week 8 Grocery Notes: Over the past few weeks while shopping, we've had the opportunity to stock the freezer with numerous packages of boneless skinless chicken breast and pork in various cuts (roasts, chops, loin, etc). With meat in the freezer, our focus this week is restocking ...
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    2. grocery shopping,
    3. savings tips

    Math is a subject that many of us would prefer to avoid, particularly when grocery shopping, but basic arithmetic can save you hundreds.

    It's no surprise ...
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    2. grocery shopping,
    3. savings tips
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    The world of video rentals has been transformed by these wonderful $1 rental kiosks by Redbox and Blockbuster. Not only are the rentals dirt cheap, oftentimes there are codes available online for free rentals, too bad it didn't stop there. Unfortunately, these rentals have a hidden cost that could be tanking your budget!
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    1. Categories:
    2. grocery shopping,
    3. savings tips
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    The costs of many of your favorite brand name products have skyrocketed out of control, chances are, due to these clever marketing techniques, you probably haven't even noticed.
    Itís the case of the shrinking package! It sounds as though it could be a Scooby Doo caper, ...
    1. Categories:
    2. grocery shopping,
    3. dirt cheap,
    4. savings tips
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    The retail industry spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, collectively, to come up with various ways to manipulate consumers into purchasing their wares. While some of these tactics are well-known, many ...
    Published on 02-13-2011 12:58 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Weekly Menu,
    3. menu plans,
    4. grocery shopping,
    5. cheap menu,
    6. frugal menu,
    7. healthy,
    8. savings tips
    Sale on meat

    Week 7 Grocery Notes: Once again, boneless skinless chicken breast is available dirt cheap at only $1.77 per pound. It's a great time to take advantage of the sales and buy several packages and vacuum seal them for future meals.
    Strawberries are starting to come into season- they ...
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