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Posts Tagged ‘Albertsons’

This edition of Blast from the Past I would like to share a UCB I wrote back in October of 2009.  Even though it is a UCB no points will be awarded to this quarter to Scott for it. He already got his points back in 2009. Its a pretty funny blog I wrote about how I get off on saving money grocery shopping.  I always laugh ever time I peruse it.  I hope you enjoy it as well.  I know tonight I was in serious need of a good laugh.  

This weeks UCB makes a victor again of Scotty B. who apparently is fixing to oust Kooky Kyle as our current standing champ.  Scott did not win the quarter, Kooky took it.  Scott proposed I write about my “best super market score ever”.  For many of you out there that may not know me that well or have just known the Calified version of me, you may not understand what he is talking about.  I will use this blog to shed some light on the subject while highlighting my best super market scores.

Basically I’m what I like to call a genius of thrift or frugality, especially when it comes to eating.  Ok, you got me I am just cheap.  I used to save my money for surf equipment and travel.  These days the money I save means more drinks I can buy at the Wild Cat.  Aint alcoholism grand?

Super Markets in general are virtual treasure troves of bargains allowing one to eat like king yet live on a pauper’s budget.   I my friends love to live like a King and eat undoubtedly as much as King Henry the 8th yet some how always have some coin left over in my nuts and bolts budget (shit these days its more like a budget of bent rusty nails that only the likes of Salad Fingers can appreciate). Now many a stuck up person can and will shake a stick at some of the practices you are about to read, but trust me my friends if you look past the cautionary red tape that has been beaten into your brains about what should and should not be consumed then I assure you that there are ridiculous savings to be had.  I have not died or gotten adversely sick from anything I have eaten on the cheap.

Before I go any further with this I must go through my most recent shopping experience here in Santa Barbara.  Now California is not like Jersey and therefore you have to work a lot harder to find the savings.  Truth be told it has taken me nearly three years of coming out here to get it wired to which I still feel that I can do better.  I went to what I have found to have the best deals of the grocery stores out here, Albertsons (I am no way endorsed by this company or influenced any other way then the savings I get from my weekly shopping).  I have been shopping there four years now and know a good number of the full time employees on a first name basis.   In California its all about the club cards the stores have in order to take advantage of the biggest deals.  I think I have a card from ever store imaginable.

The big trick they try to pull in SB is the 10 for $10 dollar deals.  In some cases yeah if you need ten of something its not a bad deal but in most cases when you do the math you find out you really did not save enough money to be worth storing ten of anything and they never have 10 for 10 on family packs of condoms which really are the only things I really needed in that kind of bulk.  As 2pace would say “I get around”.

Anyhow, long story short I ended up buying $40 worth of groceries (my shopping for a week and a half or so) for $26.50 and that my friends was a high bill for me.  I had to buy a few things that last multiple weeks such as shampoo and sugar to name a few.  Albertson’s also every Monday night has this “Chicken Dinner Meal Deal” as they call it, where you get your choice of eight pieces of fried Chicken or a whole rotisserie chicken, two side dishes, a pound of potatoes wedges and a two liter bottle of Coke for $6.99.  I can eat off that for three to four days if I get it alone or my roommate and I split it spending $3.50 a piece each for dinner and then some, oh and I almost forgot it also comes with a package of four Hawaiian sweet rolls.   Back in the days of the frat we would get like three orders of it.  I think they raised the price to 8.99 now.  Still a great deal.  I have not taken advantage in sometime.  

How are these incredible savings possible?  Well here are some simple steps to help you on your quest to become a super market super shopper saver like myself  (say that ten times fast).  First make sure you sign up for whatever that super market’s club card is.  I know this sounds gay and you feel retarded having the little key chain cards dangling from your keys or those extra cards in your wallet.  I don’t carry a wallet anymore.  I am all about rolling my cash or lack there of small bills out around my ID and debit card.  You know what is not gay; saving nearly $200 a month in food shopping.  Getting these cards are free and relatively no hassle, usually all you have to do is hit up the courtesy booth and fill out an information form that you can totally lie about everything on if your one of those identity theft freaks.  Take your card (I prefer the key things so that I can always have my card on me) and let the savings rain down upon you.

Don’t shake a stick at those generic/store brand items.  Sure their packaging is not as flashy and you may have never heard of the company.  That is just because all that money Coke spent on advertising, Sasha Cola put into making their product $1.99 for a 12 pack instead of 4.99 and that is just one example.  I have also found here in California that the Spanish/Mexican brands seem to always be a bit cheaper as well, not to mention that there are entire Spanish markets that seem to always be a bit cheaper albeit on the ghetto side of things and not so white friendly.

Another money saver and probably the biggest one for me is the expired and damaged food section.   Not every super market has these.  Some of the more uppity places for example feel it cheapens their store.  These sections are not always easy to spot either.  Rule of thumb for finding this score of nearly free food, look near the entrance to the wear house or employee only section of the store and you will usually notice a shelf full of battered cans and ripped packages being sold for half if not three quarters their shelve price.   They store this stuff near the bathrooms too.

Make sure you inspect thoroughly the Appy (Deli), Bakery, Meat, Dairy and produce departments.  These five departments are a super saver’s best friends.  All contain time sensitive products that are ticking time bombs about to go bad.  Many stores rather then  throwing away these products will substantially reduce their prices sometimes as low as wholesale cost rather then lose 100% of the take right before the actual expiration date.  The best time to take advantage of these types of deals is at night usually after 7 or 8pm (don’t go to late or you risk the discounted products getting thrown away, which actually will bring us to our final topic).  If you notice that a certain grocery store gets a heavy lunch rush you may want to check the prepared foods or Appy department after 2pm to see if any of the left overs not purchased during the lunch rush have been marked down.

Shop Rite in Wall back in NJ was classic for all of the above.  I don’t think I have bought any meat here in SB that was not marked down for quick sale.  Pathmark in Wall NJ boxes up all their doughnuts and muffins after 10pm and sells a packed over full dozen size box for $1.99.  I used to thrive on those doughnuts for days.  Forget about Shop Rite that place will go down in my mind as the best super market chain I have ever had the privilege to both work and shop in (I actually worked at two separate locations at two separate times, but that is a whole other blog).

Finally last and probably the most questionable of my methods over the years is the dumpster behind the store after it has closed.  Food store dumpsters, be it a super market or convenience stores or even restaurants for that matter are where you can score a meal absolutely free.  This practice, although the cheapest also takes the most skill and cunning.  First off any time you go dumpster diving you take on some inherent safety risks.  You may have to fight off some bums, large insects and rats or worse, here there are skunks to contend with and entry in and out of the dumpster can cause injury as well.  This Mexican guy I work with Misha recently cut his arm pretty bad dumpster diving for thrift store discards.  I actually had to fight off a bum about a year ago for a discarded uneaten half of a sandwich I saw some business guy toss on State St.  Luckily I although hungry was not starving like the bum, thus my strength won out.  

In the case of dumpster diving for food you really have to use your head about what is still edible and not.  My rule of thumb has always been if it is still in the original sealed package and no more then a week or so past the “sell by” date you are probably golden.  Items such as meat and diary I don’t mess with, dysentery is no fun and the medical bills will totally make your savings null.  Bakery is usually ok especially if you get the stuff that is being thrown away at the end of the day.

When I used to live in Boston I always would score free bread and bakery products from the dumpster from the grocery store across the street from my apartment.  I just always made sure to get there before the bums.  The Einstein bagels in Wall NJ used to throw all their old bagels into their dumpster at the end of their day allowing me to pick off free bagels as well.  To my credit I have yet to dumpster dive here in SB, but with the way things are going monetarily for me, I think my time may be coming.

How have I gotten so good at Super Market savings?  My crazy mother was the coupon clipper queen and would go to every super market in town in order to seek out the cheapest price even if it was to save pennies on the dollar.   Now Im not this bad.  My time is more valuable to me and I figure all the gas driving from store to store eliminates any savings you would have had anyway.  I hope this helps some of you out there especially in these trying times.  Currently I am in the process of maybe setting up a food stamp thing by claiming I am homeless. Time will tell on that one.  As my roommate says “they can’t prove your not homeless”.  Wise words from a very special guy.

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