THRIFTY SHOPPING or BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME
We all shop for something and the object of this game is to save as much as possible. Since my grandmother and mom did a large portion of their shopping in grocery stores, let’s play the grocery store game. By following a few easy principles we can save a lot on our food bills and reduce the number of times a week we have to eat out because there isn’t anything ready to fix for dinner. As with the previous games, add the savings to a “piggy bank” so we can have a concrete measurement of how we are doing. This time, we are using a separate “bank” from the previous game so we can chart our progress in each area.
Here are the guiding principles of this game:
1. Read and use the weekly grocery ads.
2. Always shop from a written list.
3. Never shop when hungry.
4. Shop alone.
5. Be flexible.
6. Use manufacturer’s coupons when practical.
7. Shop a maximum of 4 times a month.
8. Resist impulse buying.
9. Take a re-useable shopping bag.
These principles look simple and they can be but it usually helps when we understand the pluses and pit-falls of each one so let’s analyze them.
Read and use the weekly grocery ads.
This is the few minutes a week that can really pay off big time in the grocery shopping game.
Loss-leaders: Now stores have items called loss-leaders that they use to get us to come to their store instead of the competing grocery store. We want to use this competition to our advantage. The loss-leaders are items that are selling way below the normal price and often below the wholesale cost. IF this is an item that you use often and it will keep (canned goods for instance) this is the time to stock up.
For instance, say the sale item is canned tomatoes and you know that you frequently use two cans a week, and there isn’t a limit on how many you can buy, you might want to buy 3 months worth (8 cans a month times 3 months equals 24 cans). If the tomatoes usually sell for $1.00 a can and you can buy them for 2/1.00 then you have saved $12.00 and you won’t run out of tomatoes for 3 months.
You save in a couple of ways using this method AS LONG AS you don’t let any of your purchases spoil. First, you have the tomatoes on hand whenever you need them so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store to get some. Second, you have paid half of the regular price for the tomatoes. Third, this form of saving is a short-term hedge against inflation. In three months, the price of tomatoes may have increased to $1.05 a can so over the three month period your savings have grown without you having to do anything.
Now, compare the various grocery store ads and decide on which store has the best sales this week on the most expensive items you need to purchase. It is only time and cost effective to go to one or two grocery stores a week so it is important to decide where your will make the greatest savings.
Make a list for each store and note the items with special prices. Be sure to watch when you are checking out and verify that the scanned price is the correct price. Frequently the scanners are incorrect on sale items and often on the regular priced items as well. Some stores will give you the item free if you catch a scanner error but even if they don’t, you receive the benefit of the correct price every time you catch an error.
Always shop from a written list.
But my memory is fine, you say. Well, so is mine – most of the time. However, it isn’t fool-proof and I’m usually the fool that has to go back to the store to get the key ingredient for the main dish that I forgot because I didn’t use a shopping list. The other problem I frequently have when shopping list-less is buying the same item repeatedly. We had to eat our way through 40 pounds of potatoes one month because every time I went to the store I thought I needed potatoes so I bought 10 pounds. It was quite a while before the family wanted potatoes again after that fiasco!!! LOL.
The picture of the pizza notebook is from a Trashion Team member’s shop NatureMadeScents Think Again Notebook
The Trashion Street Team specializes on creative thinking and making useful items from “trash”. This is just one example.
Next time we will continue with this discussion.