Thursday, April 11, 2013

100 ways to save on groceries, part 2

11. Know your prices.  At first, you may actually want to keep a price book where you keep track of both the regular price and the best sale price at each of your favorite stores for each of your favorite items.  It's a lot of information to keep track of, but if you don't know the  prices, you won't know whether you're saving. After a while, you will just *know* which sales are rock bottom sales and which aren't.

12.  When something is on "sale," but isn't a rock bottom sale, buy a few of them if you need them, so that you won't have to pay full price, but don't go crazy.  When it is at its lowest price, buy enough to get you through to the next sale this good . . . which could be six months to a year away. (Within reason.  If you have the money and storage space to do this.)

13.  Learn the sales cycles.  Certain items are on sale at certain times of year.  Barbecue items, for example, tend to go on sale at the beginning of the summer and cereal in the fall.  If you can buy enough during these sales periods to get you through the year, you will save a ton.  Most stores also have a 12 week sale cycle.  There will be some kind of sale on a particular item every 3 months or so.

14. Consider shopping at more than one store if you have time.  Most areas have a cheaper and a more expensive grocery store.  The more expensive store will tend to have better loss leaders and promotions, while the other store will have cheaper everyday prices.  If you just buy the sale items at the expensive store, and everything else at the cheaper store, you will save a lot of money.

15.  Try a discount store. Stores like Aldi, Bottom Dollar, or Save-a-lot can save you a bunch of money, particularly on items that don't tend to have coupons, like produce and milk.

16.  Try a warehouse store.  Some items are considerably cheaper at a warehouse store, like Sam's Club or Costco.  Yeast, spices, meat, and bread products come to mind.  Just make sure you know your prices (see above) because not everything is cheaper.  And consider whether you're saving enough to cover your membership costs.

17.  Try the drugstore game.  Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS typically have some of the best sale/coupon deals.  Sign up for a membership card at each of them, read a good deal blog (like Money  Saving Mom), and pick up these free or nearly free items every week.

18. Check out Amazon.  With free shipping for subscribe and save products, often you can get a better deal on paper products and certain bulk food items by buying online.

19. Consider buying your cleaning supplies and beauty products at a big box store like Target, but be careful of groceries which are often more expensive, at least than sale prices.

20. Be aware of the coupon policy for each store.  Do they double coupons?  How many of each coupon will they accept?  Can you stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon?  (More on coupons next week.)