In these times of financial stress, there are really very few people who can consider themselves truly ‘stable’. At any moment, budget cuts may come crashing down on you and leave you jobless. Just because you can afford to live off of Jenny’s microwaveable meals and Udi’s Blueberry Muffins now, doesn’t mean you will always have such luxuries. Things happen, and all of the sudden just looking at the Whole Foods website makes your pockets cringe. The fact is, you shouldn’t wait until you lose your job or have your hours cut to start shopping smarter. Not only will you save money, but it will help you be prepared should you find yourself in a financial pickle.
Now, everyone has their own system for grocery shopping. And if you are in the mood to copy some awesome & frugal chicks, this is what you do:
- Cherish propaganda. You know those annoying ads that fill your mailbox every week and later end up in your recycle bin? Hold on to them. Spend time with them. Cuddle them. Then take a big red marker and go on a circling spree, comparing the prices of oranges at this store or that. Once you are done, make a list of the items at each store. Depending on where you live, you will end up with anywhere from two to five options to go shopping at. For the sake of gas and time, narrow it down to the top two stores with the best deals (or three if they are all close).
- Be an internet addict. You should never underestimate the power of a good coupon combined with a sale. Coupons.com regularly has coupons for things like Chex cereal or Glutino items. That $1 off 2 boxes of Chex coupon? It becomes far more magical with your local grocery story is selling them 3 for $6. Print off a couple coupons, and suddenly you are getting cereal at $1.50 a box. That is a sweet price for anyone, but for someone on a budget, it is a must-buy.
- Gear up for D.P. day. Many grocery stores have one fantastic day a week which we like to refer to as D.P. day. That’s right folks- Double Propaganda day. One day a week where the ads from the week before overlap with the new ads. Meaning twice as many discounts to choose from.
- Follow the ethnic people. For the most part, big grocery stores like Safeway Corp are not going to have great deals on produce. If you want to find affordable vegetables, you need to go to the smaller stores that tend to specialize in more ethnic items. They may not be able to compete with the big grocery stores for things like cereal and milk, but the produce costs at least half as much.
- Stock up for the Apocalypse. There are certain items that go on mega-sale once in a blue moon that you should pounce on. Like cereal. Or nuts. Or, if you are us, things such as seaweed, Israeli pickles & marshmallows. Buy as many of these things as you can easily store when these glorious sales come along. Just make sure that you’re not purchasing more than you can eat before they expire. You can also stock up on meat when it goes on sale– that is, at least, until you start having a freezer that looks like ours.