Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Save Money on Groceries, part 2

Look through Store Ads

I know I briefly covered this in my last post, but I thought it deserved its own post.  Grocery ads usually come in the mail on Saturday and Wednesday (those days may vary depending on your location).  The day they come is typically indicative of when their sales last.  Typically the ads that come on Saturday are good from Saturday-Friday where the ones that come on Wednesday are good, you guessed it, Wednesday-Tuesday.  That is just a generality, however.  Always check the advertisement itself to see what days those prices are good for.

For example, Sunflower Market in Orem is good Wednesday-Wednesday.  That means every Wednesday you get double the deals.  (In fact, they list both weeks' ads on their website, putting the new one up on Tuesday, so that you can plan your shopping for Wednesday and get twice as many good deals.)

Some stores offer certain deals only on certain days.  For example, Buy Low in Provo offers amazing deals on produce on Wednesday and meats on Friday.  Yesterday, for example, they sold cabbage heads at 6 lbs. for $1.00  That's just less than 17 cents per pound.  That's a great deal.

You'll notice that the various stores usually seem to be offering the same things for sale for almost exactly the same price.  Just because you see a great deal on your favorite ice cream at one store doesn't mean you need to buy it there.  Make sure you look for that specific item in the other ads as well.

Use the ads to see what is on sale.  Specifically look at meats, if you like to use meat in your cooking, as those are typically the most expensive things you will buy.  Build your menu around what is on sale that week.  In fact, if something is on an awesome sale, stock up in your freezer.  Sure, you'll spend more this week, but you'll save a lot more in the long run.

Lastly, don't be afraid to go to different grocery stores.  You don't have to do all of your shopping at one store.  Especially if all of the stores are close.  If one store is significantly further than the others, then the $1 you'd save on bread might not be worth the trip.  But if they're all relatively close together (like most of mine are) then the money you'd save by going to 2-3 stores is worth it.

When I make my weekly menu, I list the menu on the left and the ingredients I'll need to buy on the right.  Next to the ingredient I write what store I want to buy it at and at what price.  (If I've seen a good deal in an ad.)  That way I know at a glance what I need to buy at each store, and if I happen to spot a better deal at a different store, I can buy it there and cross it off my list.  If I'm really feeling organized, I'll actually organize my ingredient list by store to begin with.

Lastly, don't be scared to price match.  I'll get more into that tomorrow.  This post is long enough as is.

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