Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How I Grocery Shop

None of the ways I shop are anything I have created, however, its all information I have learned over the years from various websites and blogs. One of my FAVORITE frugal sources is Frugal Families . There is an annual membership but it is WELL worth it!

I try to menu plan each week and do my shopping on the weekend. Over the summer I was doing my shopping on Sundays but that will move back to Saturdays for the school year.

I start by collecting the grocery ads that come in the mail. I receive grocery ads from 4 different stores. I start with the Loss Leaders which are the big sale items advertised on the front page. These are the deals they use to draw you to their store. You can save alot of money by going store to store for the loss leaders if they are something that your family will use. I do NOT buy something just because its a good deal. I do buy things if its something I know our family will use.

Next I make a list of the best deals at each store. I may end up crossing something off a stores list if I find a better deal in another ad. For example, juice pouches. Store A has them for $1.97 with a limit of 2. However, when I got to the ad for store 3, they have them on sale for 3/$5 ($1.67 each) with no limit. Once I have gone thru and identified what the great deals are, I start planning my weeks menu around those items and fill my grocery list in with other ingredients I need for that week.

Coupons are also a GREAT option. Our grocery stores will list Store Coupons in their ads. Some will let you use both a Store Coupon AND a Manufacturer Coupon on the same item for even greater savings! Ask your store manager what their coupon policy is each is different. Coupons come in the mail but you an also order larger quantities online. There are quite a few coupon sites. The only one I have ever used (and NEVER had a problem with) is The Coupon Clippers . Using coupons can really add up. If you have a Kmart in your area, watch for their Double Coupon Weeks. We do not have double coupons in Washington on a regular basis. However, KMart does offer this occasionally. It can be a great way to stock up on health and beauty aids!

Check for clearance bins or markdowns. Often stores will discount things the week of their expiration date but those items are still perfectly good.

Make sure to check the per unit price. For example cheese. You can buy it in either the block or preshredded. It can vary as to which is the better deal depending on the per unit price not the total price! (NOTE I have taught my children to read the shelf tags and they are quick to find which is the best deal and its a great way for them to practice their math skills!)

Stock Up. I like to stock up for the winter months. I do not like to drive if the weather is bad and having a stocked pantry removes the worry of running out of things we regularly use. I sat down last week and wrote out a list of what we use on a regular basis and what I would LIKE to have in the pantry. For example, we use ALOT of french cut green beans, I would like to have 20 cans in my pantry for the winter. I put this list in excel. Over the next few months I will watch for sales on these items and stock up! Many grocery stores have case lot sales or 10/$10 sales which are a great way to fill up that pantry when things are on sale. Don't have a lot of room? Buy and extra 1 or 2 of those items that you use alot while its on sale at a great price.

Don't forget pets and health and beauty items, TP, cleaning supplies etc. You can stock up on any and all of these items when you find a great deal!

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