I have written a Beginner’s Guide to Saving to help teach people the basics to shopping with coupons. There are other tips I feel are worthy of a mention since they have helped me to save additional money beyond just savvy coupon shopping.
Here are a few tips to consider to be an even savvier shopper and save your money!
I have an entire section devoted to Planning. Since I think it really is that important, I just want to stress again just how important it is :) Planning takes your shopping to a completely different level. You are preparing yourself to save a TON!
I rarely go out and just *shop.* This is for a few reasons. I don’t like to walk aimlessly just looking and waste my time. I also want to save as much as possible. Planning properly helps me achieve both of those goals. And, as a mother with 3 very energetic and LOUD children, it’s just a nice service for other customers shopping next to me :)
How many times have you gone to the store with a plan ONLY to find that the item isn’t in stock? It happens a lot, especially at the Drugstores. Rain Checks can help you leave less disappointed because you can purchase that item again when it is in stock.
Grocery stores like Kroger and Meijer offer Rain Checks that last for 30 days. I have found that if those expire and the product isn’t in stock, these stores will just give you another one. CVS and Walgreens will offer Rain Checks too.
Walgreens Rain Checks typically expire in 30 days. I say typically because if it doesn’t have an expiration date on it, how can that be enforced? But, most rain checks are supposed to expire 30 days from the date you received it.
CVS Rain Checks NEVER expire! This is actually great, because if you hold on to the Rain Check and that item happens to come up with an ECB deal, you get the Rain Check price (assuming it’s lower) AND the ECB’s!
Meat Mark Downs
Many stores mark down meats that are close to or on expiration. Just ask the meat manager when the store typically does the mark downs. For my stores, I have found it’s always in the morning. I always do a stroll by the meat fridge even if meat isn’t on my shopping list.
Another area to consider is the Deli section. Every night after 8p, our Meijer will mark down pre-sliced deli meats, rotisserie chickens and other deli items to 50% off. I find this to be a great bargain because it’s not going to expire anytime soon, it’s still great…even cheaper meals for the family!
We love fruit. We always have fresh fruit in the fridge. But, when the fruit isn’t on sale or in season, it can be very expensive! I like to take fresh produce and freeze it to use later.
This Guide to seasonal fruit and vegetables is a good reference to know when the sales will be right for produce. Right now, for example, the sales for strawberries, blueberries and grapes have been a plenty. It’s because they are all in season. But, now is the best time to grab those items to freeze ahead for the winter. The frozen bags of fruit are crazy expensive anyway.
My best tip, wash, slice (if necessary) and flash freeze. Bag in freezer bags while the fruit is still frozen. By doing this, you won’t have the fruit all clumped together. Nothing worst than a huge strawberry that won’t blend!
Discount Grocery Stores
Thanks to stockpiling, there are weeks when I just don’t need to hit the sales at a Mass Grocery store like Kroger or Meijer. That’s when I love to do my shopping at the discount grocery store, Aldi!
Aldi is a great place to get either everyday items or, as I buy, basic essentials. Their philosophy is to provide “incredible value every day.” I hit Aldi at least onth a month. The produce prices are usually the best around.
As I mentioned, since I do shop for basic essentials, I find their prices on butter, milk, eggs, breads and chips (not an essential for most, I know) to be way lower than any other store. And, the quality is great too! See my previous post on Aldi Store Shopping for more details. You’ll need a quarter to shop there – that post will tell you why!
There are other discount grocery stores as well. In our area we have a Save-A-Lot too. You can even get a $5 Coupon when you register on their site (thanks, Janet!). Both Aldi and Save-A-Lot are national chains so you can check to see if they are in your area.
Those are just a few more tips I use. Do you have other tips that help you save even more? I’d love to hear them – who doesn’t want to save a few bucks at the store!