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Buy $100 in Groceries on Patch

Just tell us in the comments section how you save at the checkout and you’ll be entered in this week’s contest.

Keeping up with the rising cost of food is anything but easy, especially in the summertime. After all, the kids are out of school. And as any parent can attest – kids can chomp their way through a week’s worth of groceries in no time flat.

Patch gets it and we want to help!

That’s why we rolled out the contest. This week we’re giving away a $100 gift card one lucky winner can use to pick up some extra groceries to help keep a hungry family well fed.

Entering our contest is easy, too! Just share your best tips for stretching grocery dollars in the comments section below.

We’re taking entries from all 19 of Patch’s Florida sites, so we expect to hear some great ideas from you!

We’ll select one winner randomly from the comments submitted when this week’s contest closes on Friday, July 20, at noon. The winner will be notified directly and announced on the sites as quickly as possible.

We know you’re expecting our legal department to have some fine print you need to read. You’re right! Here it is:

* Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia who are 18 and older. * To enter, post a comment on this story.* All entries must be received by July 20, 2012, 12:00pm Eastern Time.* You may enter once.* 1 winner will be selected in a random drawing for each week’s drawing.* One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive the $100 gift card for Week One of the contest.* Click here for complete Official Rules.

Kim Wagner July 18, 2012 at 08:50 AM
Wow, thanks for all the tips. I usually plan my meals for the week around the grocery ads. I make my list and try to stick to the list. Most importantly, I do not take my kids or husband to the grocery store with me as the bill practically doubles.
cindy July 18, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I've found the best way to stretch my dollar is to get together with a family member or friend and do our shopping together so that we can take advantage of the BOGO deals at the three major grocery stores and also buy meat in larger packages which are cheaper and split them up. Also, some items are cheaper if you buy more of them and having someone to split the bill with while you both get the groceries you need is a great way to save.
redhededkewty July 18, 2012 at 02:04 PM
It's my second job to shop economically for my family of 3 adults. I follow the sales in stores I patronize - Sweetbay, Aldi, Walmart, Publix, Sam's Club, Save-a-Lot, Big Lots. I get emails from some, pick up fliers at others, I get newsprint fliers, too. I clip coupons and freeze items, including loaves of bread. Friends and family know I do this and give me their extra coupons. I don't buy something just because I have a coupon for it, I buy brands I like, and often buy store brands. I avoid stores that are overpriced - Walgreens and CVS come to mind. Publix is in that group, but the often have valuable sales, and Publix liquors are cheaper than Sweetbays, although Walmart has great wine prices. Clearance racks are a fun bonus, especially at Sweetbay and Publix. Save-a-Lot is amazing, but I avoid foreign-made processed foods from countries that don't have the same strict purity policies found in the US, Canada and Europe. It's interesting to me that many stores buy meat from Mexico and fish from China, especially Walmart. I read labels, which is another way to get value from what I buy.
Brian Blaszczak July 18, 2012 at 04:10 PM
We buy our meats in bulk and separate into meal size portions. We like the BOGO in combination with coupons to really stack the savings and try to plan our meals around what's on sale or on BOGO (marinades, salad kits, etc).
Teresa Harvison July 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I shop mainly at Publix, I use Iheartpublix.com and trulycouponing.com. I print online coupons and I also get 6 Sunday papers. I keep my pantry stocked as well as my son's apartment. I have a huge upright freezer and 2 fridges. During the summer, I buy fresh, local veggies like corn, peas, butterbeans and etc by the bushel or bushels. I buy enough to last until the next summer. I also buy seasonal fresh local produce. Every 6 months or so, I go in with a few friends on a whole organic cow that we have butchered. I have a local butcher I buy poultry from, enough for a few months at a time. By doing this, I buy less at Publix but I save a lot of money using coupons. I shop weekly for the sale items and I stock up on those, enough for a 12 week period until the sale goes on again. I buy very little processed foods. I freeze cheese, butter and etc. I have a monthly budget that includes food, toiletries, gas and etc that I try to stay within. We eat out but we prefer home cooked meals.
MK Bullara July 18, 2012 at 06:57 PM
BOGO!!!!! Our savings tip is actually our way of helping our daughter who is a single mom, without us going broke in the process. This also is our way of helping our elderly parents! We find and buy as many BOGO items as we can. We then keep one and give the free one to them. It costs us $0 to help them and it fills their home with groceries and household items...FREE! In this economy, it's the best money saver there is! (As an alternative you could BOGO, then split the bill.)
Lane A. Houk July 18, 2012 at 06:59 PM
We specifically look for the buy one get one free deals at Publix and stock up on those types of items when they come up. We buy bulk at Costco when we find deals and of course, catching dinner in Tampa Bay helps save on the groceries here and there!
Monique Bradbury July 18, 2012 at 07:07 PM
BOGO at Publix with two coupons is the best! Stack a Target coupon and a manufacturer's coupon, or a Publix coupon and a manufacturer's coupon and you save even more. We have a veggie garden also and an upright freezer so save leftovers.
Tracey Suits July 18, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Buy meats at Sam's club and freeze! Chicken breasts ate $1.77/lb! Buy generics of other groceries and when you prefer a name brand, BOGOs!
Jen Rivera July 18, 2012 at 08:57 PM
We buy some things in bulk at Sam's Club (like toilet paper, paper towels, etc). We primarily go to the local produce stand/farmer's market for our produce which not only saves us money but also helps the local farmers. We try to use coupons for other things we need at the regular store, and I've started going to Target for more of my regular every day grocery items because I can save 5% on top of my coupons (and it's much less hectic than going to Wal mart!).
Joanne M July 18, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Always shop with coupons! Buy at least 4 newspapers on Sundays or have your friends give you their coupons. Walmart now sells 2 sunday papers bundled together for a lower cost. check online for coupons and print in black so you dont waster your color ink. Clip all coupons even if it is for something you normally dont buy. If its something you cant use donate or give to family or friends (only do this if it is free or low cost) Organize your coupons into a binder and use baseball card pages and sort by cathegory.Check online coupon match up webites for the best deals out there. I always buy meat when it is on sale and stock up. Browse the clearance areas and the back of the stores. It will be easy to check if you have a coupon for those clearance items since your coupons are all organized in your binder. Dont be product loyal - be loyal to your bank account. Usually find better deals for paper products at Walgreeens or CVS. Watch when you shop the dollar stores - the product may look the same but actually be a smaller box for the same $$ as the grocery store. Buy One Get Ones are usually great deals at Publix - if you have the coupon its even better. Buy multiples - there is usually no limit. Dont hoard!! Watch expiration dates. I typically save $100 per week.
Ana Hidalgo Stooks July 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
We set a specific budget per week and use only cash!! It forces you to realize some of the stuff we really don't need (even some of the Buy One Get One free items). When the cash is out, we don't make excuses for going over.
Stepheny Smith July 19, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Wow! Tons of comments on this one! :-) I shop at Aldi, that saves me a ton.
Amanda July 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I do three things to save on groceries. First, I plan out meals for 2 week periods. I make a list under each day of what I need- then use that to make one master list. (I also skim the weekly ad to see what's on sale and try to use those items in my menu). Secondly, I keep a price list with me. I mark down how much items are at the stores I go to frequently (Publix, Target, Sanwa, MacDill AFB, etc) so that as I'm shopping, I know what's cheaper where. Finally, we live on leftovers. It doesn't cost me much more to make 3 or 4 portions instead of 2 (maybe another dollar), and those extra portions either go in the freezer or with us for lunch the next day. Cooking this way has also helped my waistline! I know I can't empty the pan, because that's tomorrow's lunch!! Hope this helps someone!
Jeff K July 19, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Only BOGO if you need the product. If you don't need it, stay away. Best way to save is the Target Debit Card. 5% off every purchase. $100 per week saves $5. That's $250 per year plus any coupons. Target and Walmart have much lower prices than stand alone grocery stores.
D July 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Publix buy one get one free is frequent and helpful. If you want an affordable meal for one person Publix hot meals are good. The entree is so geneous it makes more than one meal and there are two sides and a bread.
Christine Tsotsos July 19, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Saving has become an art form in my home! :) I don't buy meat. Period. My veg comes from deals I get at Tommy's Produce, Dunedin's Green Market and Dunedin Produce on Patricia Ave. Produce at these places are usually 1/3 the price per pound than I would pay at Publix. I do get basic stuff and Aldi's (not all their items are my favorites), occasionally find deals at Save-A-Lot, cook from scratch...nothing ever pre-prepared or pre-packaged. I cook beans from dried, make my own salsa, hummus, tomato sauce, etc. Everything else I need comes from Walmart, Sweetbay and OCCASIONALLY Publix. You can NOT beat Publix bread or iced-tea. Know what you need, know what the stores have and how much they generally charge for things. Look at the flyers and plan.
MK Bullara July 19, 2012 at 05:42 PM
PS: Of course, this is on top of the things we already do to help ourselves.....like use coupons, shop around for deals, buy in bulk, buy generic, use a list, etc. Also helps to buy at produce at farmer's market or food stands! All about helping others in the process. ...........................................................MKBullara
Lauren Tice July 19, 2012 at 07:11 PM
We use a lot of coupons & also get BOGO deals at Publix. We try to search for sale items and make meals out of what ingredients we already might have in our pantry :-)
Tawny Swain Castle July 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM
I no longer eat meat and have been trying to make my own items that would add up at the store. For example, corn and tortilla chips, hummus, dry beans and granola. Having my first garden produce greens has helped as well.
Patrick Burgess July 20, 2012 at 01:04 PM
You get what you pay for, so I avoid elaborate packaging, brand names, frozen foods, and food that have been trucked or shipped halfway around the world. I try to only eat in-season vegetables. They are cheaper and they taste better. I try to grow as many vegetables at home as possible. Herbs and peppers in particular are easy to grow, expensive at the store, and don't go bad if you don't eat them. Whole chickens are a bargain, and you can make a delicious broth from the bones and pate from from the livers. The cheap cuts of meat (and cheap fish) can be just as good as the expensive ones, you just have to learn how to cook them. Of course grains, rice, beans, onions, and potatoes are almost free.
Melody Urso July 20, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Several different ways - coupons, Dollar Store for non-perishables, local Green Market and, most importantly, I make a shopping list based on what I am doing that week. If I am going to be out at an event or traveling, I don't buy just to buy. I buy mostly what I am going to eat for that week or two and not much more.
Rebecca Wellborn July 20, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I shop BOGO at Publix and Winn Dixie for all items we normally use. Replenish when I don't have a back-up. I divide family pack and BOGO meat/poultry into meal portions and freeze. Use 50% off Groupons at Harr's Surf & Turf for expensive items like fresh snapper, sea scallops and lamb. All produce and cheese comes from Steve's on Alt 19 in PH who has the best selection and prices in general. Huge dollar bags of fully ripened or slightly bruised produce gets parboiled and meal portioned for the freezer. He also has some nice frozen seafood. Everything else comes from Winn Dixie, usually store brand if it is healthy, where I get points towards gas at Shell. Filled up this week and got .60 off per gallon on 15 gallons. It takes planning and time to save money, so I hope my husband reads this.
Madalyne Warren July 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
So many great ideas are expressed in the comments...I'll add my two cents too. I am a 'senior' and my memory isn't as good as it once was so I use recipes for almost anything I make. I stick to the ingredients required by the recipes when I shop and I serve us one dish meals, casseroles etc. as they are the easies to do for our dietary needs. We are vegetarian and save lots of money (and animals) by not buying meat! My husband does eat tuna which we buy in bulk at BJ's. We save by using local produce, buying only what we need and what matches the recipe. I think it goes without saying (but I will) that we love the BOGO at Publix and two for one deals. I try not to go from store to store as I find it a waste of money and time unless there is a pretty dramatic savings.
sugar July 20, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I go to Winn Dixie and buy the specials that go toward Shell gasoline. I not only save on food but also 5 to 50 cents per gallon on my gas.
Tim July 20, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I always purchase 10 for $10.00 stuff, two for one stuff, by one get one free stuff, or 3 for $10.00 as in sausages. Plus I save money on gasoline by shopping where I do.
Tim July 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
People ask me, "Tim what do you like to eat?" I answer them, "whatever's on sale!"
norma wright July 20, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I love anything that is BOGO. It really stretches your food budget!
Monty Seidler July 20, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I bounce between Dunedin's Publix & Winn Dixie at the corners of Main & Keene. What ever BOGO's and other sales I can find in the grocery fliers, I get! That way I also get the gas discount from Winn Dixie and the larger inventory access at Publix. It's all about shopping for the best buys. I also support our Green Market, Co-ops and local produce markets.
Lisa Kinzey July 25, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I shop between Walmart and Sweetbay. I use coupons, but only for those items that we actually use and need. We keep a grocery list on a dry erase board all week, I make a weekly menu, add that to the list and rewrite the list on paper and take it to the stores with me, so I don't overspend. Sweetbay has a convenient grocery list with prices on their site, so I go through my list, mark the prices of items, go to Walmart first and if they are cheaper at Walmart, I buy the item(s) there. Personal care items are ALWAYS cheaper at Walmart, so they are purchased there. Sweetbay occasionally sends out coupons for $5-$10 off your grocery bill and those really come in handy at those times.

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