Thursday, February 19, 2009

Strategic Shopping 101

One of the other really great finds I have found this week is a site called Its a site created by a woman named Stephanie Nelson, a mother of two who launched the site years ago to show other shoppers that weekly sales and savings are available and how to "strategically shop" for the best deals. The web site's database tracks what's on sale at your local grocery store and matches it with what coupons are available. She suggests that you match up the weekly specials with coupons to increase your savings even more than you would had you just used the coupons whenever. She teaches you how to make a price book in which you track the cost of your commonly purchased items to see what is considered the lowest price (sale) and what is considered regular or higher priced. That way when you see a special on that item, you can see just how much of a saving it really is. Then you would use that opportunity to stock up.

Here is an explanation of how Strategic Shopping works....

Lets say you track your most commonly purchased items for four weeks. You are able to see which week you bought that item for. Now you know what a good deal looks like. If you notice that you have bought cereal for $4.49 the first week, $3.50 the second week, $1.99 the third week, and $4.49 the fourth- you can see that the regular price or highest price for your cereal is $4.49. A deal on the cereal would be any thing less that than obviously.

Usually it can take a few months of just recording what you have spent (or what you see the price listed as, in case you don't need to buy that item every week) so you can look for sale trends. The idea is to know when the price hits its lowest, in this case $1.99 for the cereal, and stocking up by purchasing four to six weeks worth of that item. When you take this approach, by the time you run out of that item, it will likely be at its lowest again! Just in time to stock up again.
Of course not everyone has the storage space to do this, any many items would expire before you can stock up so even if you purchase the items at a sale price, such as the time when the cereal is $3.50, you still win at saving money, even if its only a dollar.

Then there is the coupons. Many people, I included, never used coupons because they find that the store's generic brand is less expensive than the brand name item with the coupon. Yes, in many cases this is true...when the brand name item is at its highest (the $4.49 cereal for example). A Strategic Shopper uses coupons when the item is at its lowest.

So back to that cereal. Let's say you have a manufactures coupon for $1.00 off. If you use it when the cereal is its regular (highest) price, it would cost you $3.49. Not bad. But if you use it when it's at its lowest, $1.99, then you would be purchasing a $4.49 cereal for $.99! Now that's smart shopping! And if you happen to stock up on the coupons and the could have four boxes for what you would pay for one. If you ate a box a week, by the time you were out of cereal again, it could be at $1.99 again!

Sure, Strategic Shopping takes a little more time, a little more planning on your part, but the benefits in saving money is always worth it to me! Coupons can be found in many places now- not just the Sunday paper. Many stores have those "blinkies"- those little machines you see in the aisles that spit out coupons, online and in/on the actual products themselves. If you know you always buy a particular item, you could grab more than one of those "blinkies" coupons, or contact the manufacture's website and get coupons there. Thats how I got my Juicy Juice coupons. I went to the manufacture's website and printed out two coupons right online.

So tonight I get to try my first attempt at Strategic Shopping. I got a flyer for Albertson's in the mail on what I call "Junk Mail Tuesday" because that's the day I get flyers and well...junk mail. Or so I thought. Now I realize Tuesdays are "Jackpot Tuesdays" because most stores start their sales on Wednesday so the Tuesday flyers are sent out to entice people to shop at those stores. This Albertson's flyer's prices were effective for Wednesday 2/18 till Tuesday 2/24 only...and they are having a big Buy One Get One sale. That's when I saw Juicy Juice listed as part of the BOGO sale. We go through a lot of juice for Shaylee between our house and my grandmother's house and Juice Juice is one of our favorites since it's 100% juice. I have those online coupons for $1 off any two Juicy Juice products! So I got two bottles for $2.79! Pretty good!

Another wonderful cost saver was switching my monthly birth control pills to generic. My insurance changed so my original prescription that used to cost me $20 went up to $40! So I contacted my ob/gyn and had him switch me to a different brand in the generic form and was happy when the pharmacist rang me up for just $10! I just saved $30 a month! Sweet! Now I am giddy with excitement to see what other things I can save money on!

1 comment:

Neabear said...

This is great. I used to try to be frugal when the kids were young. We are trying to now also. We have been taking advantage of the Dollar Tree store to get some things. I have discovered toilet paper and soymilk are available there. It is also cheaper to get the 40 tablet container for a $1 there than to get the 500 tablet container at the drug store. So we are finding ways to save that way too. Good luck with your savy shopping.

Also did you read my post. I was intereviewed. I hope you got to the blog of the person who interviewed me and leave a comment there if you would. Thanks!