Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thrifty Thursday:: Step 4 Plan Your Trip & Shop

Step 1:: Collect Coupons
Step 2:: Organize Coupons
Step 3:: Budget

Now that you've completed steps 1-3 it's time to plan your trip and shop. This is where you get to see your hard work pay off and really slash your grocery budget it half! It's the fun part. It's the natural high you get when you spend $25 and save $50. It's when people ask you to shop for them. It's when the cashier asks, "How'd you do that?!?". Ok, enough rambling, let's get started:

1. Understand your store coupon policy. The most important information to know is:

  • Do you double/triple?

  • Do you accept competitor coupons?

  • Do you stack store and manufacture coupons together?

  • What is your BOGO policy?

  • Is there a coupon limit per day?

  • How many coupons do you accept for like items? (Another words, how many boxes of cereal can I buy in one transaction?)

  • Do you have a reusable bag credit?
For easy reference, here is a list of common grocery stores in the South East. Click on the name to view their coupon policy.
2. Know where to find the lowest price.
  • Most stores are on a 6-8 week sales cycle. Items will hit their rock bottom price once during this time. Buy enough to get you through this period so you have a "Stock Pile". Never pay full price again!

  • How do you know if it's the lowest price? Use Practical Tool: Price Grid. Click here to see how to use the tool.

  • Price Grid
3. Create your shopping list.
  • Grocery sales begin every Wednesday. Tip: You can access the ad early online through coupon websites.

  • Match sale items with coupons to maximize savings!

  • Generate a shopping list. Use Practical Tool:: Grocery Store by Aisle. Click here to see how to use the tool.

  • Grocery List by Aisle
  • Pull coupons from your coupon binder or box, OR clip them from your filed inserts.

  • If you need something that is not on sale, search a coupon database to see if a coupon exists for that product. This should be a rare occurence because you should have most items in your stock pile

  • Coupons are rare for fruits, vegetables, and meat so stock up when they're on sale. Think freezer! Use Practical Tool:: Freezer List to view a list of how long items can be frozen.

  • Freezer List
4. Shop.
  • Use a clipboard to hold your lists.

  • Ask for a raincheck. If an item is out of stock simply request a raincheck from customer service which allows you to purchase the product at the sales price when it's back in stock. Advanced Tips: Shop at the end of a sales cycle to look for itmes out of stock. Also, hold onto the raincheck until a "super doubles" or "triples" promotion to maximize savings.

  • Hand coupons to cashier five at a time. This prevents anything from being missed.

  • Never go over your budget for the sake of a deal. It will come again! Use cash and stick to it!

  • Your ultimate goal is to save as much as you spend. For example, if you spend $50 you should save $50.

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