My office is having a competitive canned food drive to bring in as much food as possible for local food pantry, Manna for Life, which is part of the Chicago Dream Center. If you too are part of a canned food drive and want to make your dollar stretch, here are a few tips.
Note: For our office, I’m trying to steer people away from getting a bunch of Ramen just because it’s super cheap, and instead getting vegetables or other items with some nutritional content.
AMAZON PRIME IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
If you work in an office, Amazon Prime may be your best friend. If you go to work on public transportation or it’s a long haul from your car to your office, the convenience of ordering on Amazon is great. It’s also super helpful for those who want to give but don’t want to make special trips to buy food. A few clicks and you’re on your way.
Here are a few most cost-efficient, delicious, healthier items for the holidays:
SHOP WHERE YOU OTHERWISE MIGHT NOT
When looking for deals, the Jewel or Dominicks you usually go to might not have the most inexpensive options.
CVS - Great sales, In got this tip from expert couponer My Chicago Mommy
- 2/$3 Betty Crocker SuperMoist Cake Mix, Pumpkin Pie Filling
- $0.99 Green Giant canned vegetables
FOOD 4 LESS - Super low prices PLUS download app for coupons
- But 3 get 1 free Progresso soups
- Save $0.50 on 2 Private Selection Dry Pastas
- Save $1 on 4 Heinz Homestyle Gravy
ALDI - Everyday low prices
- $0.79 Reggano Pasta Entrees
- $0.99 L’ovcen Fresh Brown & Serve Rolls
- $0.99 Happy Harvest Candied Yams, 16.oz (canned)
- $0.89 Chef’s Cupboard Homestyle Turkey Gravy
- $0.89 Sweet Harvest Jellied Cranberry Sauce
- $0.89 Sweet Harvest Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
- $1.69 Specialty Selected Gourmet Pasta (12/4 deal)
- $1.49 Bake House Creations Crescent Roll Mix (12/4 deal)
Peapod - You can find good sales here too, plus convenience of shipping to your door
- 3 for $5 Stove Top Stuffing Mix
- 10 for $10 Pasta- or Rice-a-Roni Side Dishes
- 4 for $1 Ramen Noodles
- $0.80 canned green beans, corn, or beets
COUPON IT UP
I know, couponing can seem cumbersome. But, if you download the mobile app of the store you’re going to or go to Coupons.com, you can pair in-store savings with these deals. It’s extra footwork, but the savings can be huge. You can learn a lot by reading couponers’ blogs like My Chicago Mommy Extreme Couponing Blog.
Save $0.75 on 2 Betty Crocker cake mixes
Save $0.50 on 4 Del Monte canned Vegetables
Save $0.50 on any Bisquick Baking Mix (e.g. biscuit mix!)
Save $0.55 when you buy 2 Hormel products
Save $1.00 on 2 Wonka Candy Cane packs (av. $2.50 each- sour patch, jelly belly, etc)
DON’T OVERLOOK THE OBVIOUS
Jewel, Target, Dominick’s. They all have weekly circulars. Look yours up by going to the retailer’s website and see what they have on special.
WALMART Known for their everyday low prices.
- $4.50 for a 6 pack of Macaroni and Cheese
- $1 Knorr Rice Sides & Pasta Sides
TALK TO THE MANAGER
Sometimes, if you let the store manager know you’re a frequent customer (don’t fib!) and that you want to buy a lot of items for charity, they may let you in on a special deal. Note: have a standard tax deduction form on hand to show the manager as proof of what you’re doing. Once, we were getting cart fulls of turkeys for Thanksgiving and the store manager saw; knowing what we were doing, we approached us and offered the turkey sale that had ended the day before! So generous.
I hope those tips help others who are doing canned food drives get the most out of your money in order to give the most and best food possible!