Monday, March 17, 2008

Money Saving Tips on Groceries?

Hasn't the price of groceries just astounded you lately? I know I've been shocked. Everytime I go in there to get groceries, I come out with a little bit of stuff and it's at least $40-50 just about every trip. We used to take for granted that bread, milk and eggs were staples that most could afford to have around all the time, but even those items are getting out of sight! The state of our economy is pretty alarming to me, so I thought it would be fun to share some grocery tips with each other. How do you save money on groceries each week? Do you have any great ideas on buying groceries and keeping the costs down?
It definitely pays to shop around. This chili mix that we love is $1.00 cheaper at Walmart than it is at Publix. That adds up!

I used to be pretty good about clipping coupons, but have gotten out of the habit in the last few years, as I have gone to using store brands for so many items now, that cutting coupons for national products just doesn't seem to be such a great deal anymore. Now, I still buy some name brand products, but I try to buy them on sale. For instance, our main grocery store here in B'ham is Publix. I love this store and have been shopping with them ever since they came to Atlanta in the early 90's. Great store, great service and the products are wonderful. So, that's my favorite grocery store to shop in. Unfortunately, their prices are not the lowest all the time and their meat prices are definitely not that great. So, I shop them for weekly specials and meat specials and go to other stores, like Bruno's and Winn-Dixie to stock up on meat buys for the most part. Wish we had Kroger here, as in Atlanta they have to compete with Publix prices.
I do buy a lot of Publix store brands, whenever I can and I can honestly say their store brands are excellent. Everything from milk, bread, frozen foods, crackers, and even that cheese ravioli you see above. Good stuff! So, that's one of my ways to save money. Buy store brands whenever possible.
Frozen veggies Their milk is fine too, but I will get milk on sale sometimes at Walgreens when they put the local dairy milk, Barber's, on sale, so I will try to pick it up on sale whenever possible. At over $4.00 a gallon, you have to look at saving money wherever you can, even on milk! Who would have thought we would be paying that much for milk?? It's crazy! My hubby likes 1/2 and 1/2 for his coffee, so we get that at Publix too. Now, I do shop at Walmart the rest of the time for staple items, like canned goods, name brand crackers or cheese, paper products, cleaning products, soft drinks, etc. I will pick up a lot of items there and then fill in with Publix specials each week. I look at the weekly grocery sale papers when they come out each Wednesday and make note of meat specials first.
For instance, this week, Publix had sweet potatoes for 49 cents a pound, so I bought some of those. We love sweet potatoes, but when they are about $1.00 a pound, I usually pass on them. Asparagus is another favorite, but I will only buy it on sale too. I think it's coming in season now, so we should be able to get it reasonably priced for the next few weeks. This week it was $1.99 on sale. I won't pay $4.00 a lb. for asparagus. I try to work my cooking around what is in season for fresh veggies and fruits. Then stock up on things then. And during the winter, we eat mostly frozen veggies.

Publix has a lot of items each week, Buy One Get One, so I definitely go for those items that I need when those BOGO's run. For instance, I was almost out of mayo and they were running BOGO on Kraft mayo, so I got a new one and saved 1/2 that way. That's how I do most of my shopping at Publix, buying the specials for the most part and then supplementing from Walmart, since they are cheaper overall on everything else. This week they had Kelloggs Raisin Bran BOGO (usually 2 for $4.00 or less), so I stock up on those sales, but otherwise, I'll buy Publix Raisin Bran which isn't bad at regular price ($2.69 for 25 oz).

I cook from scratch for the most part and don't buy a lot of boxed items. The only exception is I keep canned soup (Progresso) around in the pantry for something quick to eat, as well as rice packets and sometimes ravioli, like I showed above. Other than that, I'm a from-scratch cook. What about you? I think buying boxed foods is so much more expensive from what I can tell.

So, what do you do to save money on groceries? This is a topic that many of us are concerned about right now, with the price of everything going up so drastically. We have to do what we can to keep those costs down, but we gotta eat too! Let's all share ways that we save money on food....chime in, please! Do you all still clip coupons? Let's hear from you!
My parents are coming today, so I'm going to enjoy a few days with them. Here's hoping the weather cooperates and we can get outside for a project.

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Lynne said...

You are so right about the grocery prices. You have to be able to find deals.

I always look at the sale papers first. We do most of our shopping at Krogers. For every $100 we spend in a month, we get one gas fill-up at 10 cents off the pump price. I try to stock up on things when they are on sale. Like right now, Kroger canned vegetables are on sale for 39 cents a can. Since our dogs eat 2 cans of green beans or peas each day with their dog food, I stock up on these. If not on sale, I'll get them for 42 cents at Walmart.

I fill the freezer with meats when they're on sale. And I buy frozen chicken breasts at the Tyson plant near us. I can usually get 20 pounds for about $25, individually frozen so I don't have to touch icky raw chicken. I package them in smaller bags and freeze them.

I also do cooking for a month at a time. I'll fill the freezer with meals that we like, using the store specials as a guide to what I cook.

Even if I don't need a product that's on sale right now, I'll stock up on it anyway, so I don't run out and have to buy it when it's not on sale.

I'll stock up on buy one-get one free items. And our Publix has a secret shopper special every Sunday and Monday - the item is a penny. If it's something that I'll use, I always get it.

I don't usually use coupons because I mainly buy store brands. There are a few items that I always buy the brand name, and I'll look for coupons for those.

I usually spend about $100 a week and save about 25-27%. Plus I shop on Wednesday when Kroger and Publix give an additional 5% to us "senior shoppers."

Rosie's Whimsy said...

It is terrible. I used to love to grocery shop but now I just keep thinking about the prices and wonder how people survive on smaller fixed incomes than we have. Can't wait to have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden.....we live on that for many months :-)

windycorner said...

We go through so much produce at our house that I've started going to a little farmer's market to get it. The prices are far below Publix, and the same quality. I also stock up on sale items and think twice before buying snack foods. We've pretty much cut crackers, chips, etc. out completely.
Holley

Julie said...

Have you been to moneysavingmom.com? I love that sight. She feeds her family for $40a month. That is not possible for my family, but what I love is that she alerts you to the best sales at all the stores and what coupons to use to get the items really cheap!
Another way we save money is we shop at Aldi for all our basics. Do you have one near you. You can go online and check. The nearest on is 45 minutes away so I only go once a month. It is worth the trip. They have very reasonable prices on produce and staple. For example $.75 for white bread.
We also take a trip every 3 month or so to the Atlanta Farmers Market and fill our freezer with fresh veggies.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

We have Kroger and Publix here in Nashville. I have to admit I am not very good at clipping coupons but I am trying to get better. I also have started carrying my little coupon organizer in my purse because I
ALWAYS forget it.

I tend to buy store brands. I love our new Publix. The customer service is awesome.

I look at the sales fliers and try to plan our meals around whatever meat or seafood is on sale. Also, when chicken breasts or ground chuck are on sale I buy in bulk and freeze the extra packages. I buy a lot of household cleaners and snacks for my girls at Dollar General. I also try to do a monthly WalMart run. I don't care for their meat or seafood but it's great for staples and canned goods.

I'm trying to get better at budgeting our groceries. I'm spending more than $100 a week for a family of four.

Catherine said...

There's four of us - two of the are teenagers who eat a LOT! I'm not a coupon clipper. I do look at the sale paper for my local grocery, the Piggly Wiggly. I do my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart because it's much less expensive, but I get my meats at the Pig. They have better prices and better quality meats....ang they're not irradiated. It's not a special trip because I go past it several times a week anyway. I plan my meals each week around the meats on sale. Menu planning saves me more money than anything else. I also do simple homemade desserts instead of frozen or deli-made desserts. I'll be gardening more this summer to save there, as well. Have you seen the price of romaine lettuce ??!!?? Pray for rain - another drought this summer would make prices go even higher for those of us in the south!

PAT said...

We have Kroger, Walmart and Aldi, here in our small rural town. We shop the specials at Kroger, but their produce leaves a lot to be desired and we love our fresh fruit and veggies. We drive about 14 miles south where we shop Dierbergs and Schnucks. Both began as locally owned (Saint Louis) and have spread around the state and I believe IL now has Schnucks, I'm not sure about Dierbergs there. Dierbergs has the best fresh produce in our opinion. We shop the specials at both these stores and buy store brands.

The new Aldi in our town is hugely improved from the former store. They took down the old store and built a new one at the same location. The products are much improved, also.

When we are entertaining and need to buy in quantity, we sometime shop Costco. That's about 30 miles from us.

With cost of fuel skyrocketing, we will probably shop closer to home. Stay in town, in other words.

Pat

MGD Cyndi said...

Hi Rhoda et al:

We saw your blog post and can't agree more. Grocery prices are climbing higher and higher.

I am a real bargain hunter and when it comes to groceries, I really get down to business. I actually work for a site called MyGroceryDeals.com, it is a deal comparison site that list all the deals at the major stores in your local ZIP Code. The idea is that you can check out site, find the best deals in your neighborhood and make a list before you head out to shop.

We even have printable manufacturer's coupons that you can match to the deals for even greater savings.

Oh, and, I forgot to mention that our site is FREE! You should visit soon!

Painted Pink Pot said...

Same here always ruiing in for a few things and leaving spending $50.00. I keep saying I should do one shopping for the week and stay out of the store picking up the little extras. I do go to the Walmart close to my home, there boxed and canned food is a lot cheaper then anywhere else. I don't care for there meats, so get that at a deli in town. I could definatly use ideas my husband loves food!!! Yes Milk is out of control here. I asked my husband the other day if we could get a cow and make our own, because i can't keep up...........Stacy

Cre8Tiva said...

i think i will stop eating...i have missed so much recently...hope you are well...thank you for all your support...hugs and happy st. paddy's day...rebecca

Preppy Mama said...

I seriously have to go to three or four different stores to save on my weekly groceries. Thank goodness I live not far from a Target and a Walmart. I go there to get my milk, eggs and bread because they are a dollar or more cheaper than the grocery store. Its gotten so crazy.

hoganfe said...

Wow hot topic here at my home !! Love to hear everyone's ideas and suggestions - thank you.
xo
mary
hoganfe handbags

Michelle said...

I'm a Aldi/Wal-Mart shopper, straight across the board. We live in a smaller town smack dab in the middle of two larger cities, so going to either one is about 15 minutes away - not too bad.

However, we have ONE grocery store in our little town - it's a Spartan store and I'm always astounded at how much higher items cost there! (Needless to say, I really try to avoid ever going in there!)

Sad to say, but we've cut way back on our fruit consumption around here - it's just soooo expensive. Anyone else experiencing that?

I've never had a garden before but it's sounding more & more like a great idea to try my hand at it.

Mary Isabella said...

I like you cook almost everything from strach and that saves a little. As you said everything even our staples are so expensive. I hope someone puts eggs on special foe Easter as I will need them for baking as well as dying....Happy Saint Patrick's Day.....

Sheila said...

Rhoda,
Hi I am so glad you wrote this post! It is impossible to get out of the grocery store without spending a fortune nowdays!
We shop at Walmart for staples and I do use coupons. I use store brands for somethings and try to always use coupons for specials. I shop at Dollar General for paper goods, cleaning products and we also have a Dollar Tree that has medicines cheap in smaller quanities.
We raise cattle so hamburger, red meat is covered there. I buy my chicken from Institional Wholesale, they sell to our Schools caferteria, I get Tyson Chicken breast indiviually frozen, seperate the bag into smaller freezer bags (big savings and they are delish'.
I am definetly checking out the grocery sites listed here by the other readers.
I also have a summer vegtable garden, I can tomatoes, green beans, freeze corn. This year I plan on doing much more than I usually do. I hope these ideas have been helpful.
Thank you for getting us involved and sharing, this is so good for all of us bloggers...
I hope you have a wonderful visit with your parents and great week...
Smiles,
Sheila

Anonymous said...

Rhoda,
Great post!! Always love to see your new decorating ideas.
I use grocerygame.com and I am truly an addict! Weekly lists of the best deals at your favorite stores, along with the coupons by date. You will definitely stock your pantry in no time with little $.
cowgirlcutie

BailiwickDesigns said...

When our son left the nest about a year ago, our weekly grocery bill went down so much I didn't even bother with coupons for awhile! But now I clip a few - mostly for cleaners and hair color and that sort of thing. I look for store specials and stock up when they have 10 for $10.00 or buy one get one free. I cook larger amounts, too, and freeze single serving sizes for other meals. ::Jill

Donna said...

Grocery prices have gotten out of hand! I still clip coupons and buy some store brands. Can't wait to get the garden planted!
Hugs,
Donna

Andrea said...

You are so right! We are trying to save money by not eating out, so it seems like we are spending sooo much at the grocery store. I think overall we are saving, though.

I use coupons when I can. My MIL gets the paper and gives them to me. I use store brands as well. Most of the items we've tried in store brands are fine. I don't shop at WalMart for various reasons, but have found that groceries at Target are usually cheaper than the local grocery stores. We don't have the Super Targets in our area (wish we did), but they all have a small grocery section. Cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars and things like that are always cheaper. Household items (cleaning, toilet paper, etc) are always cheaper there tool. I also shop at Costco. Generally, everything we buy there is cheaper in the bulk form. I love to buy the Tyson frozen breasts in a large bag. They are delicious and come individually wrapped so they are never freezer burnt.

Since I am a teacher, have two young children, and have very poor time management skills, I usually don't shop around for deals. I go to Target, then Smith's (a version of Kroger). I also get a discount on gas when I spend a certain amount at Smith's. that certainly helps out. I go to Costco usually once a month if I'm lucky.

I try to cook from scratch because there are less preservatives and it usually tastes better. I still use taco seasoning and a mix for stew. I haven't figured out how to make stew on my own yet! Most boxed meals are really gross in my opinion.

I'm trying to save money, but don't feel like I'm doing a bang up job of it!

Southerner said...

I have always been a frugal shopper. I have to be with 5 kids who constantly have many friends over.

I stock up on the loss leader sales combined with coupons. I get many items for free or very little money.

I cut up whole chickens and take backs that are left and fill a pot with water and boil them. After about 40 minutes remove the bones and take off the meat- you'll be surprised how much will come off. I then have a pot of broth to make a soup or freeze for later uses.

When trying to cut back I make many meals that do not center on each person having a whole piece of meat. Make stir fries, casseroles, soups, etc. that stretch two pieces to feed 7 people. I add beans to stretch meats like in tacos. We eat our chili over a bed of rice.

I buy the whole bags of apples and oranges instead of individual. I buy the fruits that are on sale each week. I buy frozen vegetables most of the time. They yield more per ounce of the veg over canned of the same ounce. I do buy canned veg when on sale. I just bought 38 cans last night b/c they were $.36 cents each.

When milked jumped up so high we went from 1 gallon a day to 2 gallons a week. We cut out cereal and instead started making biscuits, pancakes and other things that stretch it further.

I get all of our toiletries and cleaning products free from Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS. I buy all the free after rebate items each week and use CVS extra care bucks combined with coupons to get items for free.

Use chip or pretzel crumbs to coat chicken to bake. Save bread ends for croutons or bread crumbs. Use stale bread for croutons or french toast. Save the small bits of leftover veg and meat in a bag in your freezer to add to soup. When you bake meat or have pan drippings in a skillet add a tablespoon of water and get all the loose pieces of the pan drippings off the pan and save these in frige of freezer to season rice, soup, etc.

Wow, Sunday we were at Costco and had a full snack on samples. We have taken advantage of hot dogs at festivals and the kids also are entertained. Don't be stingy or a freeloader but enjoy events where food is provided at church or in your community. Offer to work clean up instead of set up and you get leftovers a lot of time.

I cook up many lbs of ground beef with onion and freeze for different meals. If you make meatballs they can be used with pasta sauce, a white sauce and noodles, on a sub sandwich with a mushroom or pasta sauce, in soups, or in a pinch you can crumble it back up. I sprinkle breasts with Greek seasoning and grill. This can be used in chicken salad, chicken salad sandwich, rollups, with a white sauce and noodles, in quesadillas, on pizza, in fajitas. Keep some basic things like this ready for quick meals so you don't eat out.

I love to try to cut costs and find new ways and that is what my blog is all about.

lusks said...

www,madaboutbargains.com is a great site for us in the UK. You can look at all the major supermarkets and see what their deals are for that particular week.

I also like to look for the 'woops' aisle where things that are going out of date are offered at knockdown prices, bread, meat, chicken etc can be frozen and used later.

ValleyGirl said...

I'm definitely into clipping coupons and shopping on sale days. I try to only buy the bare necessities otherwise. Another thing I do is substitute chopped, frozen zucchini for half the ground beef in some recipes (mostly ones in a tomato-y base, like lasagne or chili, but I also do this when making burgers). I always buy meat that's marked down because its 'best before' date is the same or next day, and I buy as much as I can. I also try to make sure I use all the leftovers in my fridge instead of letting them go bad! (or feeding them to the dog and cats just before they go bad because we're obviously not getting around to eating them!)

Reynie said...

These are all such great ideas and suggestions!

We have Kroger where we live and everyone is correct on what great meat deals they have there! I try to go by there on Friday after work. They put out a bunch of great "manager specials" on meat for the weekend. The good deals will be gone quickly though if you wait till Saturday to shop. I buy what I think we can use and freeze it.

Also, I love my veggie garden and do lots of freezing of veggies for easy dinners on cold winter nights.

Mrs. B said...

Hi Rhoda! Thanks for visiting my blog. My comment doesn't have anything to do with saving on groceries, because we're really not very good at it! I wanted to tell you that I linked to your earlier post on your Easter display because it inspired me to do a little rearranging. Hope that's okay and thanks for sharing your great ideas!

restyled home said...

Hi Rhoda,
Yes, the news keeps getting worse...have you caught discovered how much the price of flour has gone up?? It has at least doubled, due to the wheat shortage and thus resultant high cost of it. Apparently, this will lead to a dip in the price of beef, as farmers are struggling to pay for grain to feed them...they are slaughtering them in record numbers!! While this will be a savings to the consumer, we must expect the prices then to soar as they will then have a beef shortage!! Aargh...does it ever end??

Meanwhile, I'm stocking up on flour...when I can still find it at the lower price! I read in the paper that bakeries are seriously hurting as their customers are balking at the increase in prices, yet the flour costs to the baker are exhorbitant!!

Maybe it's time for all of us to go on one of those low-carb diets...

Interesting post!!
Linda

Rosemary said...

Hi Rhoda,
I know what you mean. A few things is $50. I am not a coupon shopper. I try to buy on sale though.
Have a fun visit.
Rosemary

Rue said...

You are so right about the price of groceries! I try to go once a week to walmart and buy all my main products there (paper towels, TP, cleaning supplies, milk, cheese, etc) and then I go to the regular stores for meat and produce.

I cook from scratch too, but my sister-in-law cooks from a box and she gets things a lot cheaper that way, but I love to cook, so it's just not for me.

The biggest thing I can think of to save money on is plastic baggies. The store brand is the same as Ziploc. It's not much, but it helps :)

Rue

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Ditto friend!
I love to go to Whole Foods... and look. Publix's is my mainstay.
Have fun with your family for Easter.

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

I shop at Costco and Sam's club for most things. I divide up my meats and freeze them. I purchased what I can from Aldi Foods and then finish up with the rest from Walmart.

Groceries are getting too high. I try to stretch the food bill with such things as homemade soups, chilis, stews, meatloaf, sloppy joes, things like that at least a few times a week.

Blessings,

Sher

Sandi McBride said...

The cost of food is absolutely alarming, which makes my canning and freezing all that much more welcome to my family. I'm glad that I enjoy it, too! My next project is to enlarge my pantry...now it's a must! Thanks for all the tips.
hugs
Sandi

Debbie Kay My Vintage Daydreams said...

Hi Rhoda:

I agree with you, the price of groceries has gone way over the top. I always shop at the Walmart Superstore for 75% of my food and household items. I find the prices to be much lower than say Vons or Albertsons. I can't get everything there and some things are cheaper at Trader Joes. Go figure....

Thanks for the tips. Love your blog.

Debbie Kay

ShabbyInTheCity said...

My dad used to carry the sales ads around and gather meat on sale then cut up chickens, etc. himself for freezing...with gas prices now that probably wouldn't float! I don't even know how to cut up a chicken.

Multitasking Mama said...

Hi. My first visit to your site and I love it. :D The pic of Publix potatoes caught me off guard - that's my store of choice, LOL. I will also vouch for their store brand - top quality.

For mom's - I've tried their diaper wipes and they are soft and a nice quality (plus they have the soft pack with peel and close opening). Also, Publix offers a baby club where they send coupons (my son is getting close to 2 and i still get the coupons on a regular basis) and they sometimes include coupons for milk, produce, deli, etc.

I coupon and match sales to coupons to try to get the best deals and stock up when I can. Visit my blog @ multitaskingmama.wordpress.com for some of my shopping tales (I share freebies too). :p I find that using coupons + sale together I can get name brand items cheaper than store brand or dollar store items.

We don't get the penny item sales in Florida - perhaps b/c Publix is based here and they are more settled in.

Thanks for sharing your blog - I'll be back to check it out more. :)

see you there! said...

Wandered over from Shabby's place.

I love to cook and I'm fussy about what ingredients I use and what goes into my food. Boxed/pre-packaged things aren't part of my menu. I guess I'm really not frugal about groceries.

However, we do have a small garden with something growing almost year round (greens grow here in winter months) and I am a demon when it comes to controlling waste. Some folks waste lots of food. That just makes me sad.

Darla

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

We were spending nearly $600 a month on a family of 5 and my husband thought that was a little much so I set out to cut costs. Without trying very hard I've nearly cut our grocery budget in half. We don't eat a lot of meat, so that helps. Like you, I find Wal-Mart to be significantly cheaper on many things. I also love Publix private label and buy that if shopping at Publix. Stephanie Nelson, the "Coupon Mom" on Good Morning America is a member of our Sunday School class and she swears by the whole coupon thing, but I don't clip. Forget them half the time and it was just too much for me. We also have a huge farmer's market nearby that we love to shop for fresh produce. Finally, I love this site
http://www.southwesternproduce.com/index.html for locally grown produce shipped directly to your door. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhoda, thanks for this great post. The price of groceries has gotten so high that for dh and I at times just doesn't pay to cook. We'll do takeout knowing its not healthy for us. We miss Publix terribly since moving to NC from Fl nothing compares to the quality and cleanliness of Publix. We shop Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart. I'm also looking into a Food Saver to store/freeze and perhaps have less waste. Lucy

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhoda.....It is hard to shop for just 2 people, isn't it? Sometimes we just eat out & forget the grocery store. Other times, we shop & it is expensive! YOu gotta eat something though, LOL!

Bonnie

KJ said...

Hi Rhoda! I know what you mean about grocery shopping. I am being so conservative with my selections and my eyes pop out at the register. One thing that has helped here in So. Cal. is the opening of Fresh & Easy. They are a British company that specializes in fresh and mostly healthy foods, encouraging shoppers to buy in small quantities, a few days at a time. The stores are touted as Neighborhood stores and are not huge. The prices are very reasonable. It's kind of like the "Why French Women Don't Get Fat" concept.

Have a blessed Good Friday!

KJ

Charlotte said...

For Chili mix - I make my own dry mix using Ground Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika and Ground Cumin and I like to use "Hot Chili Beans" which is added kick and saves money on spices.

I agree with you " Publix brands" taste great and they save money and I stock up when things go on sale or are 2 for 1. I buy some things in bulk if I have room in my pantry.

I shop once a week with a LIST to help me stay on buget.

"The Dollar" store is also a great place to shop and my parents shop at "Aldies" which they happen to believe hung the moon and in their opinion the cheapest grocery store around. Here in Aldies is not close so this store really is not an option.

Thanks to everyone for posting so many helpful comments.

Happy Resurrection Week!

wanda said...

There is an Aldi's here in the Birmingham-Metro area. It is located on Greenspring Hwy in Homewood. You should check it out.

Diane said...

Well now that spring is here I plan to grow a lot more of my own and can and freeze. Right now we are planting potatoes. Twice as many as last year. I am growing more tomatoes so I can freeze those. Perfect for chili and stews. I will be growing corn and green beans to freeze. We let the green beans grow up the corn to save space. You would be amazed at what you can plant in a small space if you really plan it out and nothing tastes better than FRESH produce. All of my climbing veggies will grow up the fence that surrounds the garden so they won't take up any space. Like cucumbers, squash, peas....You can grow lots in 5 gallon pots too. Just make sure you poke a whole in the bottom.
xoxo
Diane