Grocery shopping …
I think this is one of those things that you either love or hate. You guys already know that I love it. I really do love walking through the aisles, looking at the food, finding new things to try. The part of it that I don't like as much is putting it all away when I get home! Having an organized pantry helps, though, right?!
Feeding my family well and yet, economically has always been of interest to me as it probably is to you, too. When we lived in Utah, I subscribed to a grocery shopping service. I seem to remember that it was called Savvy Shopper. Now, it would've been nice if this service actually went to the store for me, saved me tons of money, then brought my groceries home and put them away for me. But that wasn't part of the deal. The service was more research and it provided a complete breakdown of all the grocery items on sale that week, at which stores, and whether there was a coupon available for it. They said that using this system to purchase groceries would allow you to spend $100 or less per person on groceries and household items and save 50-80% each month. Since we have five in our family, I thought that would be pretty awesome! It took a little time to get into the rhythm of the system, but once I did, I literally did spend less than $500 a month on groceries and household items! I learned that I could actually spend $2 or less on a box of cereal! That service isn't operating the same way it used to … I did an internet search and found that Savvy Shopper is now servicing online and after playing around on their site today, I think they have a great thing going.
Sadly, the Savvy Shopper is unique to the state of Utah, in fact, to Utah County specifically. However, if you are interested in reviewing the videos that they have recorded just to learn a bit more, here's the link. Perhaps you can use what is taught to customize for the stores you shop at regularly.
And just because I luvya … I'm going to pass some of what I've learned and try to practice along to you.
- Have a meal plan. This is the most important part, really, because if you have no clue as to what you are going to the store to buy, you will end up with lots of impulse buys and nothing to eat when you get home. However, if you shop just for THIS week's meals, you will spend more than if you also incorporate #6 on this list.
- Know your prices. You should have a ball park idea of what a pound of chicken costs, or a can of tomatoes, or fresh produce. If you know ball park prices, then you'll be able to judge whether or not you are getting a good deal!
- If you cut coupons, only use them for things you would normally be buying anyway. If you never eat canned corn, but you buy it because there's a coupon for it, you are 'spending' money rather than 'saving' it. Unless you are buying it for the Food Bank. You can cut coupons from the Sunday fliers, but you can also order and print some online! Two sites that I came across today are couponclippers.com and thecouponmaster.com. I can't vouch for these because I've never used them, but they come recommended. In fact, today when I was on one of these sites, I saw friend's picture in the sidebar as a Site Fan! Two other sites I found that look great are boodle.com and smartsource.com.
- Only use coupons on sale items. If you have a $1 off coupon for $5 box of cereal, that's pretty good. But you've only saved 20%. If you hold your coupon and use it when the cereal is on sale for $2.50, you'll have spent only $1.50 on that $5 box, saving 60%! See how that works!
- Take advantage of the "Buy One Get One Free" (BOGO) deals! Put the extra away for a rainy day.
- Stockpile. Oh yeah, Baby! Stockpile. When you get the BOGO deals, make sure you buy enough to last till it goes on sale again. In the US, grocery items are on about a six-week cycle. So, if your favorite soda is on sale this week, then buy and stockpile enough for the next six weeks, even if you store them under your bed! ;P If you can use more than one coupon or get double off, take advantage of it! The beauty of doing this is that eventually, you'll have your OWN store in your own pantry and everything in it will have been purchased at sale prices, saving you literally thousands of dollars a year.
- Keep a running list of perishables that you need to replenish and watch the store ads and farmer's markets for the best and freshest items.
Now … I need to get back on this program full-force!