Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shopping the Sales Get Your Groceries Without Coupons

A shopping trip to Dillons a few weeks ago reminded me of something I've been doing for quite awhile now and underestimated (or forgotten) how much this simple step was saving me money. That is I simply starting "shopping the sales". You may be wondering what that means! Well, it simply means that when my stores sale ad comes out every week I make my grocery list, and plan my meals around it. Instead of making my list, and if I was lucky one or two items were on sale that week; I go solely (well mostly) by that list. This may not save you 75% - 90% like using coupons, but it can still save you around 25% - 30%. Any savings at the grocery store translate to more food for the same cost, or the same amount of food with more money left over.
Let's say that you are the typical shopper, you make your list (probably the same thing it was last week), grab your money, and head to the store. Maybe one or two items on that list are on sale, but most you simply pay full price for. Then you walk out of the store mumbling about high prices. So let's try something different. You wait until your store circular comes out, see whats on sale for a good price, make your list, grab your money and shop. While you still think prices are high, you've manage to add another two or three bags to you trip! Example: pasta is normally 1.25 and it's on sale for $1, plus pasta sauce are on sale this week for .75 less than usual, so you go out and buy 7 of each. You've saved yourself $8.75, and hey that's the diapers you needed for the week. I don't suggest "stockpiling" with this approach, unless something is dirt cheap. There are two exceptions to this: meat and produce, so let's talk about that.
Here's a scenario: chicken breasts are normally $5 a package (yikes!) you notice that they're on sale for $3 this week. Decide how much you need for around three months, and freeze it when you get home. Meat is the one thing I've noticed that has sale cycles like clockwork. A sale cycle is how often something goes on sale for it's rock bottom price, like 3 months or weeks. In my area I've noticed that hamburger goes on sale at one store or another for $1.78 lb about once every month. That's .40lb less than I pay (at the cheapest) when it's not on sale. If I buy ten pounds that's $4 I saved on that items alone! The same principles apply to produce. Fruit and vegetables also tend to go on sale regularly within their season. Most can be frozen, made into freezer jam, and cut up to enjoy later when they aren't in season and twice as expensive.
One last thing to mention is that you will have to step outside your cooking comfort zone, and be willing to try new things. In this the internet is your best friend. There are tons of great sites that have millions of recipes; some even allow you to type in the ingredients, and it will pull up recipes that go with them!   
So how much can you really save doing this? Here is one last example for you: at the before mentioned trip, I gave my keys (with my loyalty card) to my hubbie to put our son in the truck during checkout. After realizing what I had done, I ran out to get them while the checker finished my order. Without my card being scanned none of the sale prices had been taken off, and I was a little surprised at the $170 total! Once my card was scanned though the price quickly dropped $40, and that was before coupons! I don't know about you, but $40 dollars is a lot in our budget tight house. 

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