OK. So now that we’ve gotten all of that nasty math taken care of, let’s talk about how you can create even more savings by changing how you shop.
First, picture your typical trip to the store. I’m guessing (because I’ve been there) that you have a long list of all the things you’re out of – and have probably been muddling through without – scribbled on a piece of scrap paper. You gather up the few coupons you can find, along with one or two reuseable shopping bags and head off to the store. When you get there, you grab what you need, but oops you forgot you needed milk and eggs so you add that too, and oh look! pasta is on sale, so you grab some of that before realizing you haven’t taken anything out for dinner yet so you grab something you can nuke or reheat from the deli.
If you’re like me you probably also have a husband in tow who likes to say, “Look honey, chips are on sale – we’re “out of” chips…” 😉
Now wipe that memory clean and vow never to live like that again.
Here’s how I shop (Total honesty here: this is how I shop when I’m on top of my game…even I slip, and I’d bet all those “extreme” ladies probably have a bad day here and there – life happens, but don’t let it defeat or define you. Get back on the horse and get going!):
Buy only what’s on sale, and can be matched to a coupon.
When I’m really rockin’ it – I sit down with the sales flyers when I get them and circle the items I know are on a good sale and that I can combine with a coupon. I generally only do say two or three stores. I’m not driving all over creation to get a good deal unless it’s really good. Then those items become that week’s list. I do not buy out of necessity because I have a stockpile of items that cover me between sale cycles. I do buy certain necessities like bread and milk when we need them, but there are only a handful items I consider to be necessities (and chips ain’t it!). Everything else is a “would like to have”.
Here’s the truth: You won’t be able to shop like this in the beginning. Ouch right? But stick with me here. You likely don’t have a stockpile of three to six months worth of product sitting in your pantry…yet. (Do you even know what’s in your pantry? I didn’t.)
If you can afford to do so, make one last “big trip” to the store to make sure that you have enough to get you by. If not, continue buying your necessities and add in those sale plus coupon items weekly until you’ve got a nice little stockpile of food and supplies. Eventually, you won’t “need” anything because it’ll already be sitting in your pantry or freezer in a large enough quantity to tide you over until the next big sale comes along (we’ll talk about sale cycles tomorrow).
Whether it’s shopping trip size or product size, smaller is better. My shopping trips may only be 10 items, but I’m buying several of each item. Sometimes, I’m only buying meat or frozen veggies. My trips are not cart fillers and you will never see me pulling a cart train like those chicks on TV. That’s ridiculous.
Oddly, you’d think that buying larger size products with a coupon is better – you’re getting more stuff for less money! You’d be wrong…most of the time. Remember how I said you’d need to know a good sale and know how to calculate unit price? This is why.
Most of the time if you buy a smaller sized product that’s on sale and use a coupon your percentage saved is going to be higher and your unit cost is going to be much lower…but not always. Do the math!
Tomorrow we’ll talk about sale cycles and a little more about stockpiling all those deals.
Questions? Comments? I wanna know!