Put it all together
So far, we’ve learned the rules at all the area stores and begun slipping coupons. We’ve also found a system that makes sense and will help us stay organized. Now what?
Review the sales fliers: Take the sale fliers for your favorite stores and review the sale items. Then see if any of the items you want to buy also have a coupon. If you have the coupon and the item is on sale, you could get a double discount! Example: Sue loves the EatSmart soy chips. They retail for $3.99 a bag. Occasionally, they go on sale for $3 a bag, which is already a good deal. But there is also occasionally a 75-cent coupon for those chips. Since Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents, that 75-cent coupon will be worth $1.50. So I’ll get the chips on sale for $3, minus the $1.50 from the coupon, and walk of the store with the chips for $1.50 instead of $3.99.
Shop multiple stores: If you are willing to shop two or more stores a week, you WILL save more. Period. Take advantage of the store’s loss leaders.
Loss Leaders: These are the super-discounted items that stores sell at below their cost in order to attract you into the store and are your number-one friend when you do your weekly grocery shopping. While the store will lose a bit of money on the particular loss leader item, grocery stores know that most people won’t purchase only that one loss leader item. Once in the store, people are likely to do all their shopping there and grocery stores make up for the loss of that particular item with all the other items you purchase.
Loss leader items are typically discounted at more than 25% of the product’s normal price, and often much more. 50% off in the form of buy one, get one free are also common in these promotions. If you are able to combine a loss leader with a coupon, you can often save more than 75% off the original price and sometimes get the product for free.
Build your overstock: While Sue is at Harris Teeter and those chips are on sale, chances are very likely that she will buy three bags instead of one while she can get them for $1.50.
With things you use all the time, when you find them at a really good price, use the chance to stock up. Couponers call their stockpile of extra goodies their overstock. If you’ve found you have a ridiculous amount of one item that will expire or will be impossible to use all of you should donate them to charities! You can also donate expired coupons to military families overseas.
Meal planning: So, once you have a cupboard or a pantry full of nonperishable goodies you’ve gathered up at a percentage of the retail price, planning meals becomes easy. You simply think about what you have in the pantry, look at the meats on sale that week and plan a meal. Many meals can be done this way for less than $5 for a whole family, many can be done for less than that.
Use your freezer too, for deals where meat is BOGO or when you buy a larger value pack of something.
Batch cooking: Some folks like to do batch cooking, either on the weekends or one night a week. If this works for you go for it! Some people also share batch cooking with friends. (i.e. you cook two lasagnas, your friend cooks two batches of chili and you each keep one and give one.)