Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grocery Shopping the stockpile method with coupons

For those of you looking to save some money, I wanted to share this method of grocery shopping with you. You may have heard of The Grocery Game, and this is the method that they use. However, it's very easy to do yourself instead of paying someone to help you.

Basically, your shopping should revolve around the sales flyers at your favorite grocery store(s). I tend to shop at 3 different stores, depending on what is on sale. The best way to get started, if you are not familiar with how much you spend on items you buy repeatedly, is to make a notebook of sorts. Keep track of the regular items you buy, and how much you spend on them. Then keep track of those same items by watching the sales flyers. Write down the cheapest price you can buy the item for. It may take a couple of months to find the absolute cheapest price, as the grocery stores rotate what they put on sale. Your goal is to find the absolute lowest price for each item. You may find out through doing this, that one store usually has the lowest prices, or that you can find some items cheapest at one store, and others at another. Eventually, you will come to know a good deal when you spot it, because you will come to know what those rock bottom prices are for your regular grocery items.

The next step is, to "stockpile" items that are at their lowest price. Don't just buy one. Buy as many as you can store or use in a reasonable amount of time. By doing this, you will spend more in some months, and less in others, but overall, your grocery spending will go down.

To even sweeten the pot further, use bulk coupons or price matching. I hear all the time how people don't bother with coupons because they don't find coupons for items they use frequently, or what is the point of saving 10 cents here, 25 cents there. Well, when you shop the stockpile method, you use coupons in the stockpile method also. Don't use just one coupon when you are buying 10 bottles of ketchup because it's at that lowest price point. Use 10 coupons as well as getting the lowest price point. How, you ask? There are lots of place that sell coupons in bulk online. I prefer Ebay just because I am a seller there, and know how it works so it is most comfortable for me. Most coupon sellers on Ebay sell coupons in batches of 10 or 20 of identicle coupons. See my post on Electrasol coupons. If you find that prices are lowest at different places, see if your stores price match. I am pretty sure Walmart does. What this means, is that if you take in another stores sales flyer, they will give you the item at that price. This will minimize making multiple grocery trips to lots of stores and save you time and gas.

So for example, say the regular price of a large bottle of Ketchup is $2.49. Say you find the lowest price point near you, is $1.39. Say you have 10 coupons for -1.00 each. Normal shopping, you would have spent $2.49x10=$24.90 on 10 bottles of ketchup. The stockpile method, you will only spend (1.39-1.00=.39 each) .39x10=$3.90 for 10 bottles of ketchup. The difference is a LOT! $24.90-3.90=$21.00! Now, you will have to figure in the cost of the coupons, but still, this will most likely be less than a 1.00.

Some things to remember:
1. ALWAYS get a Sunday paper and scan the coupons or join a site like Refundcents.com to find out what the Sunday coupons will be. If they have ones you will use, shop for them in bulk on Ebay or other coupon clipper type sites online. Take note of the expiration dates on the coupons and set up some type of coupon storage system (I use a three ring binder with clear trading card protector sheets).
2. Learn when your grocery sales flyers come out and get them as soon as possible and review them. If there is a good deal on something and you need coupons to make it even better, order them immediately. My sales flyers come out on Wednesdays and the sales are valid from Tuesday midnight to the following midnight. I try and review the sales flyers on Wed and I've been known to order coupons early Thursday morning and have them come in on Monday, leaving Tuesday to still shop the deals before they are over.
3. NEVER leave the house without your coupons! You never know what you will stumble upon stuck away on a clearance rack!

Updating this post to reference another similar post I just found on GetRichSlowly here: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/07/24/save-on-groceries-with-strike-point-shopping/

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