Shopping is one of the necessary evils. One way I make it more fun is to save as much money as I can doing it. It is a challenge, so if you enjoy challenges, here are some ways to work the system.
1. Use sales flyers and shop for the best bargains. You can plan your menus around the bargains, or use your shopping list. Always use coupons.
2. Shop loss-leaders. These are the items the store loses money on but they draw customers. They are usually placed on the ends of the aisles. Again, you can plan your weekly menu around these items.
3. Shop at Wal-Mart. They will match the prices in the sales flyers and it is one stop shopping. Keep a notebook with prices of items you buy most often to help keep track of bargains and to compare prices.
4. If you shop in bulk, know prices. Just because it is bigger, doesn’t mean it is a bargain. And they don’t let you use coupons at Sams and Costco.
5. Know which stores use Rainchecks and use them for sales items. If they run out of the item during their sale, they may let you have that same item later when it is in stock.
6. I will repeat it. Use coupons, but use them effectively. Take a calculator with you if needed, but always work out if you are getting a better deal with the coupon or another brand without the coupon. Don’t use coupons just because you have them. If it is an item you don’t normally use, don’t bother with the coupon.
7. If you find refund/rebate coupons, these are also good. You can use them to get free items or free coupons.
8. Use a shopping list and stick to it. Plan a menu and take stock of what items you need. Clean out freezer and refrigerator before you shop so you will have room and see what items you have on hand. You might not need another chicken or package of hamburger.
9. Write a list on an old envelope and keep the coupons that go with it inside the envelope.
10. Don’t shop for groceries while you are hungry. You will buy more and most of it will be junk.
11. Shop with a notebook, listing clothing sizes. Carry swatches of color samples and measurements for decorating projects. This would be handy for when you come across unexpected sales or go out to yard sales.
12. When shopping for a large item such as a house or car, take pictures of your options to review at home, when you’re not under pressure.
13. When shopping for pre-bagged produce, always weigh and choose the heaviest ones. The weight marked is the minimum weight required, so always try to get the most for your money. If you are buying a head of lettuce or broccoli, for an example, for a set price, weigh to find the largest one.
14. Buy pasta sauce in cans rather than in glass jars. They weigh the same and the cans are cheaper than the glass.
15. Buy bags of frozen vegetables instead of boxes. You will get more for the money.
16. Avoid high prices for small containers of spices and herbs. Buy large containers and share with your friends.
17. Buy large turkeys when the prices are low. Ask the butcher to cut them in half for easier storage and less waste for non-holiday meals.
18. Contact manufacturers with complaints or compliments. You may be rewarded with coupons for free or discounted products.