To continue my Saving Money series on Works For Me Wednesday, today I'm focusing on Shopping the Sales. This is where the rubber really hits the road for me when it comes to seriously saving money on our grocery and household expenses. The main goal is to take advantage of special sales that stores have and then combine them with coupons in order to get items really cheap or free. Then stock up on the items that you can get at such a great discount so that you have them ready in your pantry when you need them.
I think living in a small town makes this easier for me, since I don't have a million stores to try to figure out which ones to go to or how to go to them all in one week. We only have four stores here where I buy grocery and household items: Wal-Mart, Woods, Aldi, and Walgreens.
I go to Wal-Mart for most of my shopping. Their everyday prices are lowest, so I do the bulk of my shopping here. Where we live, Wal-Mart doesn't publish a newspaper ad, so I don't know what's going on sale until I get to the store. That just requires keeping a sharp eye for sale tags and knowing what a good price for something would be. I do make sure to check their grocery clearance aisle every time I'm in the store, because they're always putting something new there, and I've gotten great deals before!
It's the other three stores that really take some planning. The advertisements for Woods and Aldi come in the Wednesday paper, so I usually go through them and make my plan of attack while watching LOST on Wednesday nights. So I carefully go through each ad and make a note of what's on sale that I want to buy and for how much. Both of these stores often have awesome markdowns on produce, which can really add up if you're just buying it at the everyday price. So I go to the stores and stock up on whatever is on sale, making sure to use any coupons I may have for those items. If some of the items I'm getting are perishable, but not something I can freeze, I just make sure to use it in my menu plan for the next week.
One other neat resource I use is Hot Coupon World. They have a coupon database that lets me know where I can find any coupon for anything if it's available. So if there's something that I'm going to buy that I don't have a coupon for, I just enter it into the coupon database to see if one came out in a recent insert or if there's a printable coupon I can print to save me even more money!
Walgreens is where it gets really fun. Their ad for the following week comes out in our paper on Fridays, so I have plenty of time to plan and figure out what I want to get. What's awesome about Wags is that it's a nationwide chain, and so other people do the work for me - I don't have to figure out what the awesome deals are because there are people who match the coupons to the sales and then blog it. All I do is go to the blogs and decide which of the awesome deals I want! There are three blogs that I check for Wags deals: Money Saving Mom, The "Cent"sible Sawyer, and Mommy Snacks. There are many that do it, but I've found that these three have everything covered. Each of these blogs have a way that you can sort for just posts about Walgreens, so you'll see their weekly Wags post, but also any special deals they may have learned about later. I tell you what, Wags is AWESOME for FREE stuff! I always get almost everything they're offering free each week... Even if I can't use it, I can donate it.
So I hit Wal-Mart on Mondays, Wags on Tuesdays, Aldi on Thursdays, and Woods on Friday or Saturday. That way, I have a freezer and pantry full to the brim with stuff I got great deals on, PLUS bags of items that I can donate that I got really cheap or free! Works for Me!
Next week: Price Comparison Notebook