Frugal Friday--Grocery Gaming, Part One (Basic Plan)

8:51 AMHeather

From the looks of Facebook this week, most of us have eaten our way through this week of being home bound. I know my stock of groceries has taken a much bigger hit than usual. And, this got me thinking about a little speech I once gave called Savings Seekers. I tried to sum up ideas of couponing and saving on groceries in a nutshell. That's sort of like trying to sum up War and Peace in one sentence or less.

I thought perhaps I should post my ideas for the whole lot of you. For the next few weeks, Frugal Fridays will offer YOU my wisdom and insight--FREE of charge. (And you get what you pay for!). Here's the basic gist. I personally follow the G.rocery G.ame, which entails sales circulars, coupons, and following a spreadsheet. But, I recognize it's not for everyone. So, let me offer you choices to fit your need and style. I've created a three tiered approach--the basic plan, the deluxe plan, and the premium plan. Today, we tackle what I call the Basic Plan.

This might be the plan for you IF:

  • You desire to cut your grocery bills and spending.
  • You have only a little bit of time to commit to planning and working toward cutting your costs.
  • The mere mention of coupons makes you break out in hives and gives you twitches. You are convinced that NO amount of coaching will ever sell you on the idea of couponing.

The How-To’s, Step by Step
  1. Know how much you spend per month on grocery bills so you have a starting point.

  2. Get the sales circular for your grocery store. It will come in the mail OR in your weekly paper. BE AWARE that sales run Tuesday through Tuesday—shop accordingly.

  3. Become a reward member at your grocery store.

  4. Study the sales circular. Look for loss leaders (this will be on the FRONT page)—the deeply discounted items to get you in the door. Circle these items, as well as other good sales prices.

  5. Make your grocery list and menu plan for the week (if you pre-plan your meals) based on these sales items. For example—the meat and produce on sale this week are the ones you will be eating this week.

  6. BONUS STEP: stock up on items on sale that you can freeze, such as meat or bread, as well as non-perishables. A deep freeze or extra freezer will be VERY handy!

  7. When shopping, don’t be brand loyal! Compare prices on various brands, and consider generic. Remember that the CHEAPEST price might not be the best value. A more expensive and larger size might actually be cheaper in the longer run. Most grocery stores have a price per unit (i.e. price per ounce)—look at this.

  8. To really kick it up a notch—consider looking at the sales ads from multiple stores. This does NOT mean you have to run all over town to different stores. (1) Wal-Mart price matches. You might decide that shopping at your store and/or Wal-Mart for some items might be worth it. (2) Every once in a while, you might make a second stop to take advantage of a great sale.

  9. The longer you watch ads and the more you become aware of how little you can pay for various items, the pickier you will be on what you’re willing to pay. Your ability to save WILL snowball.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Take a look at the ideas above and decide which steps are a fit for you. With just a little bit of effort you really can begin to cut your grocery bill. What will you begin to implement on your next grocery run? (I mean, when we can all dig out of the snow and ice and the bitter cold to once again venture out into the world).

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