As I continue on my journey of saving money and stretching my dollars farther I have slowly reshaped the way I shop and view my money. This attitude is constantly evolving but I am going to attempt to explain my thoughts, philosophy and methods in order to help you enjoy the benefits of saving money as I have.
This mainly refers to shopping grocery and household items but can be applied in other areas as well.
I regularly shop each week at 2 grocery store and 2 drug stores. Yes I know that is a lot of time and travel. This is only worth it if you have the stores all within a short distance and the time to do it. If you spend too much gas driving around the savings are not worth it. I am lucky and have Kroger, Giant Eagle, CVS and Walgreens all very close. Meijer is a bit farther but the deals are worth it for me to drive to.
Each week I look at the deals at my grocery stores and decide where I am going to shop at based on the store with the greatest number of applicable deals. All week I keep a running grocery list on my fridge which I update as I run out of basics. Then based on the items I have on hand and the deals running that week I make a meal plan and add the missing ingredients to my list. Next I take this list and add to it based on the items that are Great deals, these items are not necessarily for the upcoming week but are such a great price that they are to be stockpiled for the future.
I buy constantly for the future. By that I mean that by stocking up on items when they are on sale I already have them on hand when I need them. You should almost always buy when:
- it is a great deal
- you will use it at some time, now or in the future
- it is either non-perishable or freezer friendly
- it will not put you over your budget ( unless you have money to wiggle with)
A word of caution, if you wouldn’t buy it normally don’t buy it just because it is cheap. A great deal can suck you in but it doesn’t have to. For example I do not buy most snack foods. So even if cookies are very cheap I still do not buy them because it does not help me save money if I buy things I normally wouldn’t. I make snacks at home instead because it is cheaper and healthier for my family. Try to stick to your normal shopping list by saving money on those items you would usually buy, that is the best way to reduce your cost.
I also shop at both CVS and Walgreens for my household items and some grocery items. If the item is FREE I always get it ( as long as we will use it or it is good for donating). If it is cheap I check my stockpile and assess whether it is worth purchasing based on my future needs. Once again buying for the future is the key and not for now. Now should be already covered from past last weeks of shopping.
Hopefully this helps explain the way I shop and can help you develop your own shopping strategy.