Happy Ad Wednesday!

All the stores have gone Full Pumpkin this week, with all the ads having at least an entire column if not an entire page devoted to making sure you’ve got pumpkin options in every aisle.

This is what I picture TJ's board meetings look like.

    This is what I imagine TJ’s board meetings look like.

If you can keep it together and get past the pumpkin mayhem, there are some great buys this week.

Pork loin is a staple at Chez Cheepie. I buy these when they get under $2/lb and portion each into three roasts. They’re really versatile: you can go savory or sweet, portion into chops, or cube for a curry. Other meats I’ll stock up on this week are ground pork and whole chickens.

Apples of all kinds are on sale, I’ve listed a few varieties that are on sale in case you’ve got a favorite.  Sprouts has avocados, carrots and tomatoes all at super-cheap prices. Head over there before the avocados all have thumbprint dents in them!

Last, if you’ve got someone to cheer up, bribe, or woo, Sprouts has got roses on sale for just $5.99 per dozen!

Randalls

whole boneless pork loin                        $1.79/lb

country style pork ribs                             $1.49/lb (Fri-Sun only)

TreeTop apple juice, 64oz.                         2/$3 (must buy 2)

Sprouts

Hass avocados                                     48c/ea

raspberries, 6oz                                    $1.50/ea

organic red grapes                                    $1.98/lb

celery                                                      98c/ea

Sunset Campari tomatoes, 1lb                   98c/ea

organic carrots, 5lb sack                           $2.98/lb

organic Lady in Red apples                        $1.50/lb

bscb                                                       $1.88/lb

Lärabar                                                      88c/ea

dozen rose bunch                                    $5.99/ea

HEB

red seedless grapes                                              87c/lb

sweet potatoes                                                      50c/lb

organic Fuji or Red Delicious apples                   $1.77/lb

Texas Grapefruit, 5lb                                           $1.77/ea

HCF whole chicken                                              77c/lb (limit 2)

Butterball turkey bacon                                          B1G1

ground pork                                                    $1.97/lb (grackle only)

Fiesta

Roma tomatoes                                           44c/lb

lemons                                                          20c/ea

large pomegranates                                     $1.69/ea

pork shoulder roast                                     $1.17/lb (Fiesta limit)

seasoned chicken leg quarters                      79c/lb (limit 10lbs)

bone in chicken breast, family pack        $1.29/lb (Fiesta limit)

Progresso soup                                                       99c/ea

bulk pinto beans                                                       25c/lb

Fiesta long grain rice, 4lb sack                           $1.50/ea

Fiesta box mac and cheese                                     33c/ea

Wheatsville

organic Ambrosia apples                                   $1.99/lb

Muir Glen organic tomatoes, 28oz.                   $2/ea

Knudsen organic juice, selected                       $3/ea

Weekly Flyer Links

Happy shopping, Cheepsters!

Happy Ad Wednesday!

Last week a reader brought up the shrimp on sale at Fiesta.  It’s true, there was cheap shrimp, and I didn’t report it. Reason?  I’m still on the fence about their fish counter.  It looks like mayhem with added fishy smell.  This week there’s salmon, $3.99/lb for a whole, $5.99 for pieces. Which is cheap, it’s true.  Does anyone out there shop the Fiesta fish counter regularly? Am I being fussy?  Is all that advice about ‘clear bright eyes’ and ‘no fishy smell’ all just what clinically clean people think, and I should thank my lucky stars I live in a world where somehow people can farm salmon and send them to the middle of Texas for cheaper than steak?  

Also this week, the Randalls entry was nearly very different. I considered typing, “There are a lot of pantry staples on sale, but you’ve got to buy six of things, and it’s Randalls, so, screw it.”   Their site is only displaying the mobile version of the flyer, and buying six is pesky. Just put stuff on sale like normal people, Randalls!  Because I care I went ahead and dealt with their nonsense. For you. Because I know you want those green stamps.

On to the sales! This week I’m going to be buying raspberries, whole chickens, potatoes, and limes.  I’ll also be buying a couple dozen boxes of pasta at Randalls, so look forward to a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of reorganizing my pantry to accommodate that!

HEB

raspberries, 6oz.                                       97c/ea

Gala apples                                              77c/lb (DD)

Bartlett pears                                            77c/lb

ONLY AT GRACKLE HEBs *

     HCF whole chicken                                                                 77c/lb (limit 2)

     HCF seasoned chicken leg quarters                                      77c/lb

     HEB seasoned boneless skinless chix thighs for fajitas     $1.97/lb

Sprouts

raspberries, 6 oz                                                      98c/ea

tomatoes on the vine                                              88c/lb

organic baby carrots, 1lb                                       98c/ea

green bell peppers                                                 48c/ea (DD)

papaya                                                                   48c/lb (C15)

pork loin roast or chops                                       $1.99/lb

blanched peanuts (bulk)                                       $1.99/lb

organic broth, 32oz.                                               $1.50/ea

Fiesta

pork loin chops, family pack                                          $1.69/lb (Fiesta limit)

Tyson split chicken breast, family pack                          97c/lb (Fiesta limit)

Earl Campbell sausage, 36 oz.                                       $4.99/ea (that’s $2.21/lb)

 Go home, Fiesta! You're drunk.

Fiesta!  You’re drunk.

russet potatoes, 5lb bag                                                 $1.29/ea (DD)

roma tomatoes                                                               44c/lb

limes                                                              15/$1

Randalls

General Mills cereals, selected varieties                          $1.88/ea

Classico sauce, buy 6                                                      99c/ea

Safeway pasta, 12-16oz, buy 6                                       49c/ea

Progresso soups, selected                                              88c/ea

Green Giant frozen vegetables, 7-10 oz.                        88c/ea

Lucerne chunk or shredded cheese, 2lb                        $5 (Friday ONLY)

Weekly Flyer Links

*About the grackle HEBs–here’s the list. Yes, it’s not the sharpest. Apparently HEB doesn’t think anyone out there wants to read this information so it’s in a font size designed to make me feel squinty.

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You can check the flyer in the front of the store, if you’re not sure. The general guideline is, as always, if the HEB is updated, large, and has a full butcher counter, it’s likely a ‘less grackle’ HEB.  If the HEB is small, has a jewelry counter, and feels sketchy as hell, that’s probably a ‘more grackle’ HEB.

Instacart HEB Review

Cheepie isn’t an early adopter. I had an iPhone until last year. Just an iPhone, no number after it. Because it was the first one. It had two fingerprint sized balloons of dead pixels, a quarter of the screen was packing tape covered cracks and the  app store just laughed if I tried to connect.  It still sent texts so I kept using it, despite the fact that it could only hold a charge for 20 minutes.

This is my phone. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

      In 2014 this was my phone.Yes, I             charged it for this post. 

Eventually a friend took pity on me, or tired of me always needing to sit near an outlet when we went out, and updated me from her ‘junk’ drawer.  I’m friends with some generous people! So with my fancy ‘new’ phone I’ve been able to tell you about on-the-spot deals I find, and tweet about how pumpkins can be worrisome.

When HEB/Instacart made their announcement a bit ago about a partnership, marriage, or conscious coupling, I realized something important. I blog about Grocery Shopping. Covering advances in this area is clearly content my readers would have some interest in. I realize this doesn’t make me an early Instacart adopter, but short of this I’d have likely waited until some thoughtful person took my license away because I was 95 and blind. For me, this is early.

So, one day, when we were out of milk and it was raining, I went ahead and placed an Instacart order. For my audience. Not at all because I was in pjs, and it was raining, and the first order? Free delivery.

I ordered milk, bread, and eight other things just before 1pm. My first delivery window was 5-6pm, which was fine since I’d let the kids finish off a half-gallon of Bluebell and they were set for a while.

I hate gum! Surely I didn't buy that?

I hate gum! Surely I didn’t buy that? Kids are sneaky.

My impression of the whole ordering experience was that it was simple. Simple to find what I wanted, simple to register, simple to pick HEB, all super easy. And don’t forget, the first order? Free delivery.

Then, ten minutes early, a friendly guy showed up with four bags of groceries. I handed him a cash tip, because I’m old and that’s how I tip.  I asked him how he liked delivering for Instacart.  He said that he was enjoying it, and that he was just a driver. The shoppers stationed in the store bring the orders out to him.  Reading more about the ‘partnership’ it seems HEB has had Instacart for a while now, and the new thing is this stationing of shoppers that are in the store.

The grapes were perfect, everything arrived, with no missing items. I wasn’t even charged for the HEB bags, an aspect of this system that I didn’t think of until I was unloading my order. Your shopper doesn’t come and pick up your reusable bags, after all.

Yes, while shopping I did check on pricing, because that’s what I do. I was also shopping from my desk while hungry, which explains the chips, salsa and queso. In my defense I did buy the snack I felt had the most minimal markup. Overall, the pricing seemed varied. Some items were $1 over what I’d expect on the shelf, others only 10c or so.  If you’re a price-conscious shopper, you’d need a serious price book or photographic memory to be sure you weren’t over your price point for an item.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Cheepie! As a Grocery Maven, I rely on your help to tell me where to shop. What do I do now?’  

Answer: I think Instacart is worth checking out.  We all have overwhelming weeks where adding one more trip to the list is pushing our sanity to the limit. Sometime, when you’re not in dire straits, head over and just look at the pricing and see if what you normally might order (bread, milk, tp, Bota Boxes)(no? just me? moving on) has got a markup that hits your own price point limit.

The site is easy to use, the emails I received about my order were accurate and timely, delivery was polite. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about my experience.  

Delivering the first order for free is smart, as always, because now I know it’s there. I likely wouldn’t have done this if they were charging me the delivery fee–I wanted to see how it worked first. 

For me, living in the middle of five different grocery stores, I need a good reason to pay the markup, fee and tip. I can see people getting addicted easily, though, especially parents that have little ones to strap in/argue with/placate/change/feed/mentally abandon to get through a big shopping trip.

For my particular order, the milk is the only thing I found well over what I’d pay in the store. I pay $2.78/gal for Randalls Pantry Essentials, so it was a big jump.  Because everything else was pretty much in line, I felt okay about it. With the free first-time shopper bonus, I really felt like I’d made a purchase that would help Cheepsters.

Or keep me from having to find real pants. One of those.

Grocery Items I Have Seen Recently

I find weird things in grocery stores. I know a place where you can buy a whole chicken in a can. Think about that. Why do I know that? Because I’m always looking on the shelves, and at the ads.

My cooking style is pretty much ‘I’ll try anything once if it isn’t too expensive’, so I look at top and bottom shelves, and I look at every page of the ad.

So I find stuff like this:Doesn't this give you the willies?

That’s creepy right? Or am I just being influenced by a husband binge-watching Dexter for a week now?

Here’s this, which I find odd, because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with them:

Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 12.32.28 AM

Do I fill them with salmon? I don’t know what else to do with these. What goes with cottage cheese and dill? That seems like a done thing. Tortillas aren’t supposed to be demanding, they’re supposed to be supple help to maneuver yummy stuff to my face!

And lest you think I’m kidding, here’s that chicken:

Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 12.53.00 AM

Which is at my local store and available to anyone via Amazon!

Doesn’t this give you the willies?