Friday, May 16, 2014

Frugal Shopping Habits

Preparation is the key when it comes to saving money on food. It's smart to plan meals and to make a shopping list before going to the store. This can help prevent forgetting items, having to make additional trips, spending money on unnecessary items, and failing to take advantage of discounts or sales. Follow these steps to make the most of your shopping trip:

At Home
Make a budget and stick to it!

Make a list of items you have on hand. This will help you plan a menu and help you not buy an excessive amount of something you didn’t think you had and get home and already have a lot of.

Plan your weekly menu around items that are on sale and you have coupons for if you use them.

Pull the coupons for the items on your list and the sale items. Make a note of how many you can use in the same trip/transaction.

Eat before you go shopping. Anyone that is shopping with you needs to eat at very least a snack. Being hungry will make you want to buy what sounds good at the moment. This is a fast way to blow your budget.

If you are ad matching and using coupons, be sure to read How to Plan a Shopping Trip.

Track needed items by making a list that is easily accessible in the kitchen/pantry.

Grow your own herbs and vegetables if you can.

Learn to make homemade snacks and mixes.
            I will make another post with recipes shortly

Eat at home instead of restaurants. Going out every now and then is ok IF you budget it!

At the Store
Know the unit price of items you are buying and compare. Sometimes the larger one is a better deal, sometimes not. If the store doesn’t show the unit price on the tag, it’s easily calculated.
            If something costs $3.90 for 12oz., then you will take 3.90 ÷ 12 = Unit Price

Find your clearance isle or markdown shelves.  You can usually find really good deals here.

Don’t waste time in the store. Take a list and Stick To It. If you find something that you want, write it on a piece of paper. If you still want it the next time you then work it into your budget. Only do this as you are starting out. It will get easier to say “no” to things.

Don’t always buy name brand. If you have a coupon and/or can ad match it for the same price or cheaper than the store brand, they by all means get the better deal! If you don’t have coupons and you’re just getting items on your list, then don’t be afraid to get the store brands. You need to compare all brands though. Sometimes the name brand is cheaper than the store brand.

Always know the prices of items you buy most often. I carry a price book with me when I go shopping and when something hits the rock bottom price, I will stock up enough to get me through to the next sale. Most often, the store has a sale cycle.

Know what is on sale each week. Sometimes the items on sale are not always a good deal.
            Ad match and stack with coupons to get a better deal.

When you are checking out, watch the register and make sure the prices are ringing up correctly and all discounts have been applied. The cashier doesn’t always know what’s on sale when and where.

Shopping midweek, around Wednesday, is usually the best day since that’s when most stores start their sales.
            Closing is the best time to get deals on deli and bakery items.
            Opening is the best time to get deals on meats.

Take your smartphone with you! Favado is one of my favorite apps to use when I am out. You can search for something you want. It will list each store that has it on sale and what the sale price is. This helps you maximize your savings and time!

Sign up for store discount/loyalty stores. You can usually get a better price if you have one, plus most stores will allow you to load coupons to them so you don’t have to clip.

Buy fruits and vegetables in season. They will be cheaper then. Read How to Save Money ofFresh Produce Here.

Skip the junk food isle all together! You’ll spend more money and it will just go to  your hips.

Buy “whole” items and cut them up at home. Why pay the butcher to do what you can at home. Example, buy a whole chicken and use it all. You can use the carcass to make stock and freeze for later.   
            This is true for herbs and produce too.

Plan, organize, and be prepared to shop in a smart and frugal manner. This can help families maintain a healthy diet and manage their time while watching their wallets.

You can also read:
How to Save Money on Groceries
18 Tips to Save $$$ on Meat

How do you shop frugally?

My PR Policy is here.
Please keep in mind that sale/clearance items may be regional and can vary by stores. It's always best to check your local store.
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