Thursday, October 26, 2017

Shopping Strategies

I think everyone has their own shopping strategies.  No one thing works for everyone.  I totally know that I do NOT shop like other people.    I can't remember the last time a HAD to shop for a weeks worth, or 2 weeks worth of groceries!  I get things to fill in - but always have plenty of groceries on hand.  The pantry/freezers are my friends.
I have really been working hard to use what we have, instead of doing additional shopping this month.  It is working out pretty well.

There are so many things to think about when figuring out when, where, and what to shop for.

You need to know which stores have the best prices on certain items.  I know that Aldi is my best place for ANY dairy and for eggs. 
I know Kroger has the best clearance.  I know that Wal-Mart (in our area) has the best prices on soda pop and deli stuff.  (Although I very seldom shop there.)  I know WM and Meijer have the best cat food prices.  Dollar stores are best for health and beauty products and cleaning products.
KNOW who offers what.

You need to make friends with the meat manager, produce manager, etc. and find out when they NORMALLY mark down their items.  Many stores have great markdowns on Mondays - because they overstocked for the weekend.  Many have the best clearance on the first day the grocery ads come out.  It strictly depends on your stores policies.
COUPONS  & APPS can often be used in conjunctions with markdowns and sales - therefore you get the most for your dollar.
Take advantage of the coupons many stores send out for FREE products or FREE money.  B&BW send out coupons for free items and Kohl's (and others) send out $10/$10 coupons.
NEVER turn down FREE MONEY!!!!!!!!

CREDIT CARDS - Don't use UNLESS you are disciplined enough to pay off your bill every month.  Nothing is a bargain - if you end up paying interest on a card for it.
IF you pay your cards every month - then use them.  You can earn rewards, cash back, and bonus points which can give you FREE items, GC's or specials.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX - Your traditional stores aren't the only places to shop.  Learn to love your Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and even closeout stores like Big Lots and Ollie's.  There are so many bargains that can be found.  For example - I won't buy books for gifts until I have checked out Ollie's (super book prices) or Half Price Books.
Keep watch of Farm Markets, specialty grocery stores (Indian, Mexican, Asian, etc.), and even yard sales for deals.

MAKE A LIST - and stick to it.  Know what you are going to shop for and stick to your list.  The only time I deter from the list, is when I see absolute crazy clearance prices for things I WILL USE!  I will stock up on as many as I WILL USE in a reasonable time or buy for gifts.

SEASONS - know your season.  This is important. Many fruits and veggies are cheaper at certain times of the year.  You probably wouldn't buy a turkey in May - but November is the perfect time.
Linens, appliances, clothes, even cars have seasons that give up the best prices.  Summer items are best priced at markdown in fall, anything holiday related is best priced AFTER the holiday, winter items - buy close to spring.  Always be aware of seasonal sales and markdowns.

CLUB STORES - Sam's and Costco.  Not always the best prices, although there are some things that just make since to purchase there.  You need to be alert and careful.  A gallon can of chopped tomatoes is a deal at 2.28 - but some things cost more than when you watch for sales, clearance, and use coupons.
Bulk purchases can be split with other family or friends.  If you buy too much and it goes to waste - it was not a deal.
BIGGER  is NOT always better. 
This applies at all stores.  Be aware of UNIT prices.
I have seen 4 packs of TP for $1 each - yet the same product in a 12 pack is 4.99.  DUH!

Wouldn't it be nice to see these kind of prices again?  WOW - sadly, most of us probably remember these days!

**Many people MENU PLAN around the sales of the week.  That is a good idea if you are that disciplined.  I AM NOT. 
**STAY AWAY from buying at gas marts and corner marts.  The mark-up on purchases is huge.
**DON'T shop unless you NEED TO!
** NEVER pay interest on something you got on sale and NEVER let sale items (or anything) go to waste!  THEY ARE NOT DEALS if you do these 2 things!!!!!

Like I said above, I don't need to weekly shop.  I rely on the pantry and freezer for most of my meals.  I know a lot of you do the same things.
BUT if you need to shop every week (and many people do and that is totally understandable), make sure you use all the best strategies that you can.  You work hard for those dollars - work just as hard at saving as many dollars as you possibly can.

DO YOU have any great strategies for saving money?
Inquiring minds want to know!


  1. when I am good I am really good, but when I am bad I can be best strategy is to try to strike a happy medium between being a super saver or a super spender...over time it is sustainable for me

    1. Hahaha!!! What a significant statement! I well imagine that could sum up a lot of us!

      A happy medium should be quite right!

  2. We decided to skip Sam's and not renew for a little bit. It seems like we would be just fine without it. We always seem to spend a lot of money when we step in the door and then we still don't have everything we need for the week.

    1. I hear you. I keep threatening to stop renewing as well. You can spend a small fortune in a tiny bit of time.

  3. I know what you mean about Sam's. We have been given memberships to Costco the last 2 years for Christmas. Although we have gotten some good buys on things, I still, like you, have to go to the grocery store when I leave there. Also, because everything is a giant size, you can buy 5 or 6 items and be up to $100 in the blink of an eye. We're going to take a break from Costco next year.

    1. Well it appears your posting name is quite accurate. "Older and wiser"! Maybe that is what is happening with the rest of us. I may make one more run to Sam's before March - then I think I will set out a while too. I doubt that I will renew in March.
      You can't buy hardly anything less than $10 and most things are more than that! It does add up quickly.

  4. We have a Costco in the city nearest us, a 4 hr drive away. When it first opened you had to be a member to be able to view the catalogue. My daughter lived in the city at the time so when visiting her I became a member and went and looked. I wasn't over impressed with their supposed massive discounts. I never went back and wrote off the cost of membership. Bluey looks at all the catalogues as they arrive each week. I write on a blackboard the things we are getting low on. He checks the specials against what we need. As things come on special he purchases the product. He doesn't mind going from one store to another, and I hate shopping(anywhere other than Spotlight, a fabric and homewares super store)full stop. I also tend to gravitate to all things chocolate when shopping so letting Bluey do it all is a saving grace.

    1. That is just so cool that Bluey likes doing the shopping. You are wise to stay out of the stores - as much as you might like - one can not live on chocolate alone! LOL

      That is a great idea to keep a running list where it can be seen by all.

      You stick with fabric and let Bluey stick with groceries!
      Have a good day.

  5. I love all of your strategies. we do not have an Aldi or a Kroger here. I do the best I can. Our weekly sale adds come out on Wednesday and then I go stock up on whatever is a loss leader. I do go to the store at least once a week for milk and fresh fruit. I always peruse Albertsons meat for 50% markdowns that is when I buy my meat. The garden and the chickens keep us going much of the year. I just love your posts. So happy I found you here.

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment and I am glad you found your way here as well.

      Lost leaders can really save a lot of money! I hardly ever buy meat that isn't on clearance or at least on a fantastic sale. Great idea.

      Love that you garden as well. No chickens here - I think that is so neat that many people do have them.
      we all do our best - that is all we can do. Keep on keeping on!!!

  6. And then there is the problem of gluten intolerance and deciding what to buy organic and what not! Shopping is a challenge! Nancy

    1. I am really glad not to have to worry about that. So many places carry gluten free now. Aldi has a lot of products and it doesn't seem to be much more expensive.

      I try to stick with my home grown, or farm market or local orchard. All organic.
      Otherwise I wash really well.