One of the popular topics of discussion right now is Extreme Couponing. This show, on TLC, highlights the efforts that some people make to get items for very cheap — or for free. The idea is to use coupons and sales (combining coupons and sales is especially important) to get multiple items, building up a stockpile of products bought for cheap. It takes a lot of planning and effort: Some extreme couponers spend 20 hours or more each week looking for deals, clipping coupons and shopping the sales. On top of that, the stockpiles can take up quite a bit of room in your house.
Do you really need to be an extreme couponer to get good savings? Most experts agree that it isn’t necessary, since while extreme couponing can work for some people, the reality is that many of the items stockpiled aren’t food items. Instead, one should focus on food items. Here are 4 simple strategies for saving on groceries each week.
1. Plan Your Meals around What’s On Sale
Most families plan meals, and then go buy the ingredients, hoping that the items they need are on sale. Instead, you should look through the sales fliers, and look for coupons, and then make a meal plan around what’s on sale. That way, everything you buy is on discount.
2. Stick to Your List
My husband and I used to just wander the store, without a list, grabbing things. Now, we stick to a list. Create a list and stick to it. We keep our list in a visible place in the kitchen so that it is easy to write down what we need when we notice that we’re running low. If we want a treat, we add it to the list. That way, we’re sticking to the list. Since impulse buys can really impact your budget, we try to avoid them by using the list as our guide.
3. Keep a Price Book
If you do want to do a little stockpiling (without going to extremes), you can use a price book to your advantage. Keep track of when certain items go on sale. Pretty soon, you’ll see a pattern emerge. My groceries store has a case lot sale twice a year. I know when it’s coming, so I stock up inexpensive canned goods and other non-perishables. Then, I can use those items over the coming months. Similar examples are everywhere, my friend knows that the chicken at her grocery store goes on sale every other week. So, when it’s on sale, she buys enough for two weeks, and freezes some of it. She doesn’t end up with too big of a stockpile, either, because she knows when chicken will be on sale next.
4. Know Where to Look in the Store
The higher priced items in the grocery store are often placed prominently. Items at eye level are often more expensive than those shelved higher and lower (although in some aisles, pricier items are placed at children’s eye level to entice them). So, go ahead and look higher or lower to see if you can find some better deals, and consider generic brands of some items.
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