Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Smart Shopping Tips That Really Pay Off

Grocery Shopping Tips That Pay
When grocery shopping, it’s amazing how quickly items in your grocery cart can pile up, along with your bill. But if you apply a little know-how to your weekly grocery run, you can save some time and money. And those are two things we could all use more of. Here are some tricks of the trade that’ll pay off on your next trip to the store.

Find Real Sales
Your local grocery store probably has a variety of items on sale at any given time. If you do your research and really get to know the prices in your favorite stores you will get to know what is the real sale and what isn't. And if you find something on sale, buy a lot of it, especially when you have coupons. It may take you a little over your budget, but will add up in the long run. Of course, only buy bulk items that you know you’ll use and have room for. 

Items To Buy In Bulk

  • Baby, flushable, hand sanitizing wipes: Trust me, you can never have too many of these handy little things. They are great for cleaning hands, rear ends, wiping up spills, changing diapers, and more.
  • Cleaning products: Whether or not you buy Lysol wipes or sponges or whatever other spray you know you are always going to need them so why not stock up while they're cheap?
  • Diapers: Speaking of diapers, buying diapers in bulk is always a great idea. There’s nothing worse than running out at 2 a.m. Just make sure you don’t underestimate how quickly babies grow. They are also great for little kids dolls and house training puppies, not to mention older dogs who occasionally have issues.
  • Shampoo, soap, and wash: This is something you will need for years to come that has a long shelf life. A truly great bulk purchase.
  • Other great products to stock up on: toilet paper, paper towels, non-perishable dry foods that don't have an expiration date (oats, plain rice, boxed pasta, tea bags, coffee beans, etc), light bulbs, AA/AAA batteries (smoke detectors and many remote controls use them- just don't buy too many cos they do have expiration dates and will eventually leak), identical dog/cat toys (if your pets are anything like mine they sometimes destroy their favorite toys so have that replacement ready), underwear, bras, socks, plain under shirts, school/office supplies, air fresheners, etc.

Another tip: When it comes to prepackaged bags of produce, buy the heaviest one. They are usually priced per package, so you won’t have to pay for that extra few ounces of food tucked inside.

Save Time
Keep an ongoing grocery list handy. Add items when you think of them, so you’ll be sure to pick up everything you need in one trip. Keep the list in your purse so you can’t forget it. And if there’s a recipe that you want to make, bring it with you. No need to spend valuable time writing down all those ingredients on your list.

Quickly go down every aisle, so do you don’t miss anything and have to go back to that section. This will save you time hunting-and-pecking around for items. And the best time-saving tip: Avoid grocery shopping on Sundays, especially Sunday evenings. It’s their busiest time and will guarantee that you stand in line longer.

Use Coupons Like They Are Going Out Of Style
If you’re not using coupons, you’re throwing money out the window. Take a few minutes each week to clip coupons and print off of the internet and keep them organized in your coupon box. An index/recipe card box works great. Other great options are expandable file folders and binders with sheet protectors and section dividers. It’ll take a little prep time, but will be quite handy once you get to the store. Keep your coupon box in your car, so if you’re running errands, you’ll always have it with you.

Share coupons with your friends, family and neighborhood. You can easily start a sharing program by setting up a coupon basket at your local library, child’s school or doctor’s office, where you can take the coupons you need and add extra ones that you don’t. It’s easy to do and everyone will benefit.

The Payoff
With a little strategy and preparation, you can save big. All you have to do is shop on the right day, bring your list, look for true sales and use your coupons. Eventually you'll have a pantry, garage, and/or laundry room full of supplies and stuff you use everyday if you shop smart. These little things will add up to big savings in time, money, and energy!