Money Saving Monday – Knowing a good deal when you see it

Money Saving Monday-Keeping a good deal book

Be sure and check back every Monday for money saving tips for your family

I was in a store (which shall remain un-named) last week picking up a few sale items. As I was walking down the aisles my eyes were drawn to the bright red signs advertising this major grocery stores sales for the week. One such sign read: Butter 2/$6. My initial thought was, “butter I need butter I’m so glad it’s on sale”. As the red sign drew my hand toward the product it suddenly occurred to me that $2.50 was not a good deal for butter. I had almost fallen prey to the pretty red tag. This week saw an add for the same butter 3/$5 or $1.66 each a much better deal.

There is a simple way to avoid these marketing schemes if you are strategic. I recommend being intentional about keeping a “bargain book” for the items you usually buy. Grocery stores pay entire marketing departments to research and implement the best ways to get you to buy their products even when they are overpriced so a strategic plan is needed to counter this.  My recommendation is carrying in your wallet a small list of “good deals” so you will know a good deal when you see it.

Where do I start?: Make a list of items you buy on a regular basis (that aren’t seasonal).

My personal list is as follows, it is a bit small as I started tracking good deals and found that WINCO carried all the bulk items for cheaper then I had ever seen elsewhere so I no longer “track” the sales on those. Winco is just cheaper period:

Chicken-whole

Chicken-boneless, skinless

Beef

Milk

Cheese

Butter

Cereal

Keep track of prices for about a month: Stores tend to cycle through their sales about once a month. So for one month just jot down on those items what prices you see for the month. Be sure and use the price / unit not the total cost. For example for cheese do the cost / lb. so you can figure out if those smaller blocks really are a good deal. Use your store ads that come to your home or your favorite store that you shop at.

An example would be:

Cheese (price/lb): $3.82, $2.49, $2.84, $3.22, $2.32, $2.84

Determine what a good “sale price” is for each item. Beside each item decide on what a good sale price is for each item. If your store was running a big promotion during your tracking and is not likely to run it again you won’t want to use that price but most store prices get cycled through at least monthly. Each persons list will vary by region and store. What a good deal is for me may be a terrible deal for you or vise versa. The important thing is being able to pull that list out of your pocket so you know if you are looking at a good or bad deal. My list is below Please remember though this is for my region based on the stores I choose to frequent yours could look quite different!

Chicken-whole: (just started tracking this don’t have reliable numbers yet 🙂

Chicken-boneless, skinless: $1.99/lb buy it —- less then $1.99/lb stock up

Beef (we always buy the cheap stuff):  $1.99/lb buy it —– less then $1.99/lb stock up)

Milk: $2/gallon buy it — less then $2/gallon stock up

Cheese: $2.49/lb buy it —- less then $2.49/lb stock up

Butter:  $1.66/lb buy it  —– less then $1.66/lb stock up

Cereal:    .75/box buy it      —     less then .75/box stock up.

Only buy your item if it is at the sales price (or really close): Like I said each item should go on sale at least once a month (milk usually every other week) so you can just stock up when the item goes on sale. All the items I listed can be stored up to a month (milk can be frozen as can cheese and butter and meat), Cereal lasts so long we just organize it by exp. date. If I see a sale where I can get something for cheaper then my normal “good deal” I “stock up” or buy as many as my budget allows because it saves money in the long run.

Store marketing departments are using your “club cards” and even sensors on carts (in some stores) to determine your buying patterns and discover the best way to get you to spend more money in their store. By simply knowing a good deal when you see one you can save yourself hundreds in your grocery budget without ever clipping a coupon or even going to lots of stores to get your deal.

Your turn, let me know what you do to keep from overpaying for your groceries

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