- Take advantage of loyalty cards. I loathe them and I love them. I feel that the store should sell to everyone at the same price - so the cards do tick me off, but I do use them. They do save you money on sales. They also often have extra perks, such as gas savings.
- If you are a 'senior', many stores have a certain shopping day that you get an additional discount. Call your store to inquire. Many times seniors also don't have to buy required minimum purchases to get to the best price.
- Be friends with your butcher. Ask what days they most often mark down meat nearing it's 'sell by date'.
- If items are out of season - buy frozen instead of fresh. Fresh out of season will cost a lot. Frozen is probably even higher in vitamins and minerals, as most fruit and veggies are flash frozen upon picking, where as fresh is picked under ripe and shipped. Frozen can often be had for a $1 or less a bag on sales.
- Know your sale cycles. Many items regularly go on sale every 6 - 9 weeks. There are also 'seasons' for sales. SUMMER HOLIDAYS - stock up on ground beef, hotdogs, sausages, condiments, pop, buns, chips, etc. BACK TO SCHOOL - cereals, lunchmeats, peanut butter, bread, snack foods, anything for a lunch box. WINTER HOLIDAYS - hams, turkeys, sweet potatoes, cranberries, baking goods (cakes, pies, cookies, candy), canned goods, etc. CHRISTMAS/NEW YEARS - corned beef, cabbage, citrus, after holiday markdowns.
- Stay away from the deli if possible. Meat and cheeses are almost always more expensive at the deli, that in the meat and dairy dept.
- Don't shop (if possible) the first 3 days of the month. That is when many that get assistance shop, and believe it or not, many stores INCREASE their prices at that time. Shame on them!!!!!
- Buy items at the right store. Dollar stores will most often have the best prices on cleaning products, health & beauty, and paper goods. Warehouse clubs often have better prices on fish and meat than grocery stores, except for a super sale. Dollar stores also are selling many brand name items now - so knowing if a $1 is cheap is to your advantage.
- Buy fish frozen. Watch where it comes from, as many countries export fish that comes from REALLY dirty waterways. (Do your research on-line). Frozen is generally frozen within minutes of being processed and it is most often cheaper than fresh. Next time you go to buy FRESH fish, read the fine print! I bet it will say "previously frozen". Whatever happened to the old adage - do not thaw and refreeze meat? Odds are if you buy fresh you will take it home and freeze it. You also don't know the conditions or how long it took to thaw! I don't want to take that chance.
- Shop alone!!!!! NO KIDS. This just makes sense if you can possibly do it.
- Keep a price book or log. Know who generally has the best prices for what and when. Keep track of sale cycles. This will be handy, unless you have an exceptional memory, or only shop 1 or 2 places.
- Try places like Aldi and Sav-A-Lot. They both sell many national brands, and they just have great prices on most items. Be willing to try store brands - many are just relabeled for that store and come from the same place as national brands.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to stretch your shopping dollar, and still be able to add to your stockpile.
That stockpile will come in handy when finances are stretched for whatever reason, or in the event of weather or worldly events that go down the toilet.
Be a smart shopper!!!!!!