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.
KNOW YOUR STORES
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.
WATCH FOR CLEARANCE, MANAGER'S SPECIALS, SALES & COUPONS
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!
**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!