Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grocery Tips and Tricks

I'm not going to delude you into thinking that I am one of those coupon ninjas, swooping into the grocery store matching coupons with sale items with thrift-like precision and buying $200 for $3.39. But I will tell you that there are a few things out there I picked up on that do save me money. Let's face it: five dollars saved? Well then that's five more dollars I get to keep.

Keeping a Price Book

This is a strategy I picked up from Amy Dacyczyn's The Complete Tightwad Gazette, and it's a relatively cheap and easy thing to do. All you need is a spiral notebook (or binder) and the weekly ads from your local grocers....oh yeah and maybe an hour or so of time. Each page in my notebook is labeled by item and then alphabetized (this is where a loose leaf binder may be more user-friendly). It is on these pages that i keep track of individual grocery stores sales. If you often shop at more than one store you can also record everyday prices here too which will track pricing trends (and inevitably save you more). Since I am all about convenience (along with frugal methods) I tend to only focus on sale items, keeping track of the normal prices at the one grocery store I frequent and comparing the sale items to other stores. I've found that for the most part, my grocery store tends to be cheaper with better sales with the odd exceptions here and there. You can print a free price log here: Grocery Price Log

Coupon Clipping
Let me tell you, this is probably the most fun but for me. I only clip the coupons for items that I actually buy. I use the following sites in addition to the weekly inserts in my Sunday paper:

I recently read about a coupon strategy that is setting the frugal world afire. It's called the One Month Coupon Strategy and I read about it on The Simple Dollar. Rumor has it that if you save the coupons you have clipped for roughly 30 days, the items that were featured as coupons have now gone on sale. The Simple Dollar explains why this is,

Why does this work?
Coupons in the newspaper are usually the first wave of a product push from large companies. They’ll put out coupons to start bumping up the sales, then they’ll move onto sale prices later on in the promotion. The reason for doing these in waves is so that the overall product sales trend looks solidly positive and not just a big spike with a fall-off. Plus, coupon users who use the product, like it, return to the store, and notice the item on sale are often willing to buy the item again. I’ll admit to noticing this working for me in the past with products like V-8 Fusion.

List, List, List
OK, look I know this one is pretty basic but hear me out. Have you ever stopped by the grocery store when you were hungry for just a few quick items? Next thing you know you're walking out with 4 boxes of Eggo Waffles, frozen pizzas and those really delightful fruit snacks with juice in the middle. Believe me, I've done this so many times that now I ensure I am satisfied before shopping, even if it mean having to go home from work to eat before setting out on my journey.

Well keeping a list is a lot like that. Sit down and make of list of the items you need or will need and have coupons for. It's easy to sit down after clipping your coupons and compiling a list of items you need based upon weekly sales, coupons and legitimate needs (if you're low on toilet paper, chances are you aren't going to be waiting around for a sale or a coupon to save that extra $.55). When you go to the store, stick with this list! I don't care if kumquats are on special $2 for 10lbs. If it isn't on your list, don't get it. This minimizes the affects of GADD (Grocery Attention Deficit Disorder) and your chances of walking out with unnecessary items that cost you money.

I know my tips hear aren't Earth shattering, nor will they probably save you thousands of dollars (if they do, by all means you can send some my way), however, hopefully you've picked up some interesting strategies to try out. Make sure to keep me posted on your savings!


Post a Comment