Savvy Shopping 101

As food prices continue to rise we all feel the pain in our wallet.  For me, higher food costs at the grocery store means a decrease in my creative budget – ack!  Being the type of person who works hard for her money and wants her money to work hard for her I’ve grown into a more savvy grocery shopper checking prices and clipping coupons.  Now before you start hating on the coupons take a breath and remember that all of those pennies add up.  Saving $5.00 in groceries through coupons is $5.00 to use in your gas tank, the craft store, and so on.  And when you combine weekly specials with coupons the savings can really add up!

I’ve been a dedicated savvy shopper for three years.  Before then I would say I was not opposed to savvy shopping, but I thought my time was worth more than the savings.  But when our household food budget was cut in half due to diapers and formula purchases I began singing another tune.  Immediately I began wondering where we could save some money, and thus my journey into the savvy shopping world began.

I am in no way a savvy shopping expert, but I’m learning.  Since I’m enjoying the whole blogging thing I thought that giving some insight into my shopping style might be interesting…and give my husband some additional insight as to why we do not always have his favorite brand of popcorn.  So here are some of the basics to get you started.  This is going to be a continuing theme through my blog so please check back for more posts about saving.

Here are three easy steps you can take toward savvy shopping:

1.  Join the customer reward programs! Yes I know that there are some of you out there that refuse to give out your personal information and join these programs.  I’m not going to let someone track my purchases!  Good for you for standing on principle, boo to you for spending roughly twenty percent more at the grocery store for basic items.  Seriously!  Grocery store reward programs can save you money even if you refuse to clip coupons and read store circulars for sales.

2.  Sign up to receive weekly specials via e-mail! If you are like me those paper circulars junk up the mailbox, always get wet even when it isn’t raining, and stick to everything!  Half of the time they go straight from the mailbox to the trash because they are such a mess.  Luckily for me, my local grocery stores allow me to sign up for weekly special e-mails that are delivered to my inbox at least one day prior to the new sales.  I love this!  One, because it gives me the opportunity to look at the sales from my iPhone and laptop sans icky paper ads, and two because I can decide if I’m going to shop before the sale begins to take advantage of previous sales, multiple times to take advantage of super sales, after sale prices go into effect, or not at all…yes there are weeks I skip a grocery store because there isn’t anything good on sale.

3.  Shop your comfort zone. I know that sounds a little odd, but hear me out.  There are a lot of discount grocery stores in our area including Wal-Mart, Aldi’s, Marc’s, and the list goes on…  I have a serious confession about these stores: they give me hives.  I hate maneuvering their parking lots and their aisles for the sake of a deal.  I get confused by their layout and by the end of the trip I am seriously considering running over the little old lady on the motorized scooter with my car.  I know that there are times when a really good deal cannot be passed up so I venture that way, but this girl knows her limits and the deep discount stores are it!  At this point I’ve been able to cut our grocery budget more than enough to keep shopping at our chain grocers (Giant Eagle & Acme) with some limited shopping at Sam’s Club (during business member hours because that place makes me want to pull a box of wine off the shelf during its busy time…but that is a whole other blog post)  Pick the two to three stores you shop at the most and get to know their prices on the items you use regularly.  For example, I know that at one grocery store Powerade Zero is 25 cents less a bottle at regular price than the other.

Well I hope this helps you take some steps to savvy shopping.  Next up we are going to approach the dreaded “c” word that all new savvy shoppers must deal with…coupons.

Until next time have fun savvy shopping!

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