Friday, November 4, 2011

Who Else Wants Cheap Groceries?

You DO NOT have to clip coupons to get cheap groceries.  Having said that, I extreme coupon (time permitting) and will save an average of 70%...but it takes at least 10 hrs/week of preparation.  Even if you don't have the time or gumption to coupon, you can still save up to 50% with minimal planning and without couponing. And let's face it, costs are rising so every bit helps.

Don't underestimate the value of planning:

The more you are willing to pre-plan the more you will save.  I like to think that my savings are directly proportional to the time spent planning beforehand. 

Where to begin:

1.  Know what's on sale and where the best deals are.    Sale Ads come in the mail or in your newspaper and are the key to finding the best deals.  Quite often, several stores will have the same exact item on sale but their prices are drastically different.
    This week's Avocado Sales ~ $0.44 difference!
2.  Know the Weekly Sale Cycle: The old saying "a day late and a dollar short" applies.  It does you no good to shop a sale that ended yesterday.  In my area, grocery store ads run from Wednesday to Tuesday.  Most other national retail store ads run from Sunday to Saturday (Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Office supply, Best Buy, etc). 

3.  Shop from a list.  This will keep you from making spontaneous purchases which add up quickly.  In my 'pre-savvy' shopping days, I'd use this strategy when money was tight (and also keep a running tally while shopping so I wouldn't go over my budget).  I was amazed at how much money I saved.  Conscientious shopping pays huge dividends!

Now it's time to shop---there are 3 ways to do it:
  1. Go to multiple stores to get the best deal at each. This will yield the highest savings.
  2. Choose the one store that has the best deals.  You won't save as much but every little bit helps, right?
  3. Shop at one store that offers price matching (i.e. Wal-mart).  Enjoy the savings of all the stores without having to drive to them all.  The one hitch? It takes a little more time because the cashier must manually change the price but, hey, rushing doesn't lend itself to savings anyways. Furthermore, most cashiers are quite competent at using the register and can price match fairly quickly.  Lastly, it's worth the savings to take a little extra time.

Other Tips:
  • It's worth saying again...Planning = Savings
  • Plan your meals by what's on sale
  • Stock up when prices are low.  Most items will reach their rock-bottom price every 12 weeks.  Buy as much as you can afford to get you through till the next sale cycle (12 weeks) or, for perishable goods, as long as they will last (if it rots before you can use it, you've lost the savings).  Buy on price rather than brand when possible.  I agree that some name brands are worth holding out for (and yes, they go on sale too), but brand snobbery as a rule will yield less savings overall.

 Finally, You can save on everything you consume.  I've acquired all my copy paper FREE for 2 years running.  Last month I bought  10,000 sheets of copy paper   for $, that's not a typo; I mean 2 pennies!

6 reams left over from 2 yrs ago                           10,000 sheets

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