I think there are three primary types of grocery shoppers in the world. Identify yourself in this list as an Everyday Go-To, Sales Flyer or Stockpile Shopper and take note of my tailored advice for saving more.
Everyday Go-To Shopper
I buy what I want, when I want it and hope it is on sale.
You have one or two go-to stores where you buy things at their everyday regular price or sale price if you’re lucky. My friend, you need to figure out what the best everyday go-to store is for you.
My advice for saving more: Think critically about your beliefs about the stores you love. Do you believe they are lower-cost than their competitor? If so, have you ever proven it for yourself? Make a list of 15-20 things you routinely buy, then price compare them at a few places you’d be willing to shop. Be intentional not accidental about where you shop.
If a warehouse club is on your list of stores that you’re price comparing, be sure to figure in the membership cost. Convert the annual fee to a monthly charge and then add it to your price list for that store.
Sales Flyer Shopper
I plan my list each week based on what is advertised as on sale, but I don’t pay much attention to what the actual price is. If it is on sale, then I think I am getting a deal.
I apologize in advance for being the one to inform you that, well, you’re wrong. Sales ads are a form of marketing and marketers are salespeople to us as consumers, not friends. Marketers love you though, because all they have to do is label something as “on sale” and you’ll buy it, regardless of its actual price.
Did you know that any given product has multiple, even 4-5, different price points that are cycled through the weekly advertisements as “sale prices.” Cereal and yogurt are classic examples. Yogurt cups are on sale almost every single week. One week they are advertised on sale “10 cups for $4″ and the very next week they are advertised on sale at “10 cups for $5.” Same yogurt. Same store. Different week. It’s the same with cereal. One week their $2 per box. Next week $3.50 per box. Same cereal. Same store. Different week.
Yikes, that means shopping blind to the actual prices simply trusting the ad (made by marketers to sell lots of groceries, I might add) to guide you isn’t as great an approach as you once thought.
My advice for saving more:Pay attention to how much things actually cost, not whether or not they are on sale. Take 15-25 items you routinely buy and price compare them week-to-week based on the advertised price in the sales flyer. For full effect, compare advertised sale prices for two stores where you’d actually shop for those few weeks. You’ll be amazed what you learn – oh, and you’ll likely be a little angry too. That’s normal.
I stock up when I can get the best price and “shop” out of my own stockpile for daily menu planning.
I describe myself this way. I “came up through the ranks” after having been an Everyday Go-To, then a Sales Flyer Shopper myself for many years. I was mad after I realized I’d been duped by the grocery store’s marketing department for so many years. That inspired me to become a Stockpile Shopper and to teach you to do the same.
This is the way to go with grocery shopping. Honestly, your meals aren’t that creative and you likely eat the same handful of meals over any 4-6 week period. Start thinking about what ingredients you need for those things, then start stocking up when you see them at a great price. As you get started you’ll want to keep a small price book handy where you write down the best price for various items so you don’t forget between sales.
Stock up a little bit at a time, so you don’t break the bank. Consider adding $5-10 per week to your grocery budget earmarked for stockpiling the best deals. You’ll be amazed at where you end up in 6 months.
My advice for saving more: Make a firm decision to keep your money where it belongs – in your pocket. Faithfully read Pocket Your Dollars to learn everything you can. Ask questions by leaving a comment on any post or sending me an email. My passion is to see you save money in every area of life.
Your turn: How would you identify yourself? What are you going to do this week to save more money on your groceries?