Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thought Provoking Thursday

Are you a grocery store lingerer? Do you stroll the aisles to ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing, and how much you will be spending- right down to the penny?

Truth be told, I'm a mathematical (genius?) NERD!

I feel like I'm really stretching my weekly grocery budget if I take a few seconds to figure out which product is least expensive in which quantity... basically, what is the Price Per Unit?

I made a quick visit to Costco a few weeks ago, because Costco is amazing at labeling
their products with how much each individual unit costs.

In all honesty, I don't squat in front a each grocery shelf to read every single shelf tag to ensure that I am making the best possible price! Here is a list of my own personal "best practices" when it comes to purchasing:

1. Let the sales flyer be your guide!
I read the sales flyer to almost every store in my area each week. (Hey, some weeks Aco has $.99 All laundry detergent!) Sales flyers, by design, are created to tempt you to shop! I will flip cover to cover, looking for items that my family likes to eat and that are advertised as "on sale!" Meat purchases, specifically, are notorious for announcing that a particular item is 40% off the regular retail price! When I see 40% off, I take notice!

2. Let your coupons influence your purchase.
Many Manufacturer coupons state specific restrictions to size of purchasable packages with a particular coupon. I look to all allowable size packages before selecting an item to place in my cart. Often times, purchasing smaller packages (or several smaller packages with several coupons) will make the most financial impact.

3. Let the "required quantity" be an influencing factor.
If your purchasing community (your family, or those you feed on a regular basis) won't eat 96 ounces of Bisquick in the six months before it expires, than look for a smaller sized package. With or without the influence of sales and coupons, over-purchasing to eventually toss in the trash, is a waste!

Many savvy consumers make a list of their 25-50 most commonly purchased items, and annotate the list with the standard purchase price in the two or three most commonly visited stores (maybe your top three would be Kroger, Meijer and Walmart), and the best sale price that has been spotted at each store. It may be wise to even note which month, since sales often repeat themselves year after year, making it easier to remember what month should hold a good yearly stock up sale!

A Price List can be compiled over time, to help you remember where you normally prefer to purchase specific items like pasta, pickles and Parmesan cheese!

And lastly, don't be embarrassed to carry a calculator with you in the store... shoot, you've already gotten over your coupons spending, line holding up, 6 carton of orange juice buying... in a single transaction phobia, bring on the calculator... or at least learn how to use the calculator function on your cell phone!

Do YOU use any of the same grocery shopping strategies that I do? How else do YOU save at the grocery store?



Unless I'm just running into the store for one quick thing, I always use a calculator. I figured out a way to secure it in my binder so I can still have access to it. I use the calculator to keep a running total. That way I don't overspend if I come across some unadvertised deal. If I want to stock up on that unadvertised special, I have to choose to cross something off my list.
I don't know if keeping a running total is my most important piece of shopping advice, but it certainly would be in my Top 3.

Laura Webber

I try to keep a mental tally too! It really does help me from placing cheese balls or other non essentials into my cart...


To be honest I probably spend too much time checking my coupons and the products. I NEED DESPERATELY to find a way to organize my coupons so that I don't have to check and re-check to make sure I'm buying the correct product. I try and match up the coupons with my list but inevitably I end up buying a few more things and then have to dig around my shopping bag for the coupons that match up.
I do however always organize my coupons in a non-busy aisle before going to check-out.



I keep a calculator handy. I have a slightly fancier one than the $1.00 store special - when it turns 'off' after a little use & I hit the on button - it stores my previous amount (dollar store version does not do that). I also try to write the tally on my list as I go just in case the calculator gets dropped.

I used to go by the unit price only and buy things according to that (pre-coupon days). I'm learning that my oop spending almost more important than the unit price at times. (Coupons & sales are cyclical and unless it's something we use a lot of or if it's a rare coupon/rare sale for a certain item, I'll opt for a smaller package matched with a larger coupon price so my oop is less. Does that make sense?

I'm with Missy - I need to be quicker with coupon usage (I list out what I'm going to buy before the store, I double-check my stuff before, I double-match the item with the coupon, etc...I'm tuckered out many times & then of course standing in checkout lanes for quite a long time doesn't help.

I usually try to bring my coupons with me 'just in case' (aside from the items I have on my list), but this gets to be tiring too.

I guess a coupon break is needed every now & then!