Hey guys! I’m still a smidge under the weather but I’m here!
So you’ve got your container, you’ve got your coupons and you’ve done your match ups (or so kindly let someone else do the hard work for you) and you’re ready to head off to the store and snag all those deals!
Whoa there sister. Wait just a minute. How do you know that sale price is really a sale?
One of the big aspects of saving is knowing when to buy and when to wait.
Say you have chicken breasts on your grocery list this week and you’ve checked and hey, your store that routinely runs chicken at $2.99 per pound is now running it at $2.59 per pound. Major savings right? Maybe…but you may be missing out. What if another local store runs a sale on chicken breasts for $1.99 per pound once a month? That $2.59 isn’t looking so stellar anymore, is it?
In the beginning, it’s going to be a little more difficult because you probably don’t know what things run at every store in your neighborhood, and that’s normal. But as you take on this journey toward making better spending choices, you’re going to need to create a target list (target meaning goal, not Target a la Tar-jay) of prices.
Your target list will contain what you are willing to pay for certain items (in my case it’s the stuff we tend to buy most). If you are the primary grocery getter in your household, you may already have some numbers socked away in your noggin. Go with your instinct and begin to compare prices from the comfort of your living room. Grab some notebook paper and your weekly sales flyers and make a list of say, ten items you use most often. For the next month or so look for those items in the sales flyers each week and make a note of the sale price (and regular price if it’s listed). You might be surprised!
Here’s the hardest part though – if I can’t get those items at the price I want, I don’t buy them. Yes, really.
I remember one of the couponers I learned from saying that when I was just starting out and I thought they were nuts. Now I understand why and I’m just as religious about it. Stores generally run really good sale prices every 3 to 6 months. When the price drops to where I’m willing to pay for it, I snag enough to last at least that long and within certain space parameters in my pantry or freezer. No toothpaste rooms at my house! We’ll talk about how I shop more in depth next week.
Let’s take a look at my list (prices listed are the most I will pay):
1. Soda (12 pk.) – 4/$11 ($2.75/12 pk)
2. Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast (NOT Organic) – $1.99/pound
3. Whole Chickens for Roasting – 89 ¢/pound
4. Boxed Pasta – 10/$10
5. Frozen Veggies – $1 / 16 oz
6. Ground Beef – $1.99/pound
7. Fish (I generally buy Tilapia) – $4.99/pound
8. Fresh Corn on the Cob – 20¢ per ear
9. Tomatoes – $1.99/pound
10. Canned Soup (Progresso) – 10/$10
11. Milk – $2.50
12. Eggs – $1/dozen
13. Butter – $2/pound
14. Canned tomato products:
– paste or sauce (small can, not Ragu) 65¢ to 75¢
– diced (14 – 16 oz. can) 75¢ – $1
15. Paper Towels – 83¢ per roll
16. Dry beans – $1 per pound
17. Cereal $2 per box
18. Olay Bath Gel $2.99/bottle
19. Coffee 62¢/K-cup
20.Speed Stick and Edge Shave gel 89¢ per
Now for the reality – My target prices are gauged for my region of the country Maryland/DC/Virginia and I aim for even lower than what I listed above. It just depends on the season and time of year. Your target prices will probably vary and in some cases be even less. When we discuss fresh foods at more length in a couple of weeks you’ll see what I mean. My best friend and I can make each other jealous with some items!
You may even discover that as the economy changes you’ll need to make adjustments. My target price for ground beef used to be 99¢ per pound! Now the absolute best that I can do on GB is $1.88 per pound and that’s fantastic!
So, grab some notebook paper and take ten minutes a week to start tracking your sale prices. Or better yet – take that sheet with you the next time you run to the store and jot down your favorite store’s regular price and sale pricing. Soon you’ll start to notice what is and is not a sale and you won’t have to clip a single coupon to start saving (but if you do clip, you can get those prices down even lower)!
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be back tomorrow with more.