How to be a Grocery Store Guerrilla

Greetings Savvy Shoppers!

I hope you are taking some of my savvy shopping experience to good use.  For those of you who are thinking that just shopping the sales and clipping basic coupons is not enough savings then let’s move onto the next lesson.

Before I start, being a grocery store guerilla does not mean you need to dress in camouflage and point an AK-47 at the stock boy when he informs you that they are out of bananas.  It means you plot out your plan ahead of time combining store sales with manufacture coupons and avoid impulse buys.  Here are some great steps to help you be a grocery store guerilla:

1.  Know Your Prices: Write down the items that are usually on your shopping list and then visit the three stores you frequent most.  Write down the regular price for each item.  The range of prices may surprise you!

2.  Combine Manufacturer Coupons & Store Sales: You know that stack of coupons that you have been amassing?  It is time to put them to good use!  Watch the sales for opportunities to combine your manufacture coupons with sales prices.  The savings can really add up!

3.  Get to Know the Store Sale Cycles: Does your grocery store have a meat sale twice a year?  Does chicken go on sale the first week of the month?  As you begin watching the sale prices you will notice a trend in when things go on sale.  Use that knowledge to your advantage.  For example, I know that every three weeks or so our store runs specials on Diet Coke.  Because of this I do not buy Diet Coke unless it is on sale and stock up when the time comes.

If you are still up for more, you can go even farther by instituting these practices:

1.  Get Over Brand Loyalty: For some people this can be really tough.  There are some things that I have learned are not worth the brand fight (like my husband’s deodorant and his beverage of choice – Powerade Zero)  But some things food items like milk, eggs, bread, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen veggies etc. for me do not require brand loyalty.  Because of this I’m able to stretch my dollar even further.  For example, I need to buy pasta sauce and two brands that I normally use are regular price, but I have a coupon for another brand plus it is on sale…do you see where I’m going here?  I’m willing to try something different if it means I’m going to save more.  And a key tip: when you use coupons to double your savings on a name brand it is often less expensive than the cheaper store brand.

2.  Stock Up: Anytime a store is offering a “stock up” sale it is worth the time to look at the circular.  These types of sales are meant to bring you in for those items and keep you in the store shopping for the rest of the stuff on your list that might not be on sale.  Stock up on the items you use regularly during these sale times.  If margins are tight in your house I suggest you take $5-$10 from your grocery savings each week and save it for those stock up sales.

3.  Shop More than one Store: Sometimes this is easier said than done, but if it fits in your schedule and doesn’t require a lot of extra driving it can be worth it.  Remember when I told you to price compare?  Make sure you are buying things at the lowest possible price.  But Chrissy, could this get to be taxing?  Of course!  If I know that only one item is going to be on sale at a grocery store and it is only slightly more expensive at the main store it isn’t worth it to me.  This is where your personal preferences come into play.  For me, I’m not the type of person who goes to three different grocery stores to save $3.00 but I will gladly go to two different stores if it means I can save at least 40% on items that can be stocked in my freezer or pantry.  Which brings me to the next practice…

4.  Make Friends with your Freezer: Frozen foods particularly vegetables, convenience meals, and ice cream can be really expensive if you do not shop sales.  That said, frozen foods are also one of those items that grocers use as super sale items to lure you into the store.  Use them to your advantage!  Make room in your freezer (and pantry) for costly items that go sale.  We just had a huge meat sale at our local grocer where Angus strip steaks were 60% off of the normal price.  Our budget does not normally allow for such an extravagance, but that price made them quite affordable.  So I bought enough to last us about four months and placed them in the freezer. I did the same thing with bacon.  Bacon is normally $4-5 a package depending on the brand, but during meat week it was only $1 a package.  Again, I bought it and packaged it for the freezer (dividing the packages into smaller amounts and wrapping them.)  I think we have enough bacon to last us to the next meat week in July!

There is so much more to talk about on this topic!  Stay tuned, and if you have any tips I would love to hear them!

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