*Note:This may seem like a sponsored post for Walgreen’s but it is not. I just really want to share the tips I find effective*
Going to the grocery store is like preparing for battle.
You got your list which is like your weapons, your armor.
Then, you make a battle plan thinking about each aisle. If you are like me, then you go to the same store and the layout is engrained in your mind.
But then, you get up to the check out counter and you want to cry after seeing the total.
You feel like a failure. How can that total be? “I just bought the basics, ” you say.
We have all been there. When I was a kid, I would watch my mom plan the meals and I would always go to the store with her. It was our “thing.” I have great memories shopping with her but I also remember that she was a normal mom who struggled to come up with meals and save money feeding our family of 4.
After years of feeding and supplying my home with the necessities, I get it from her point of view. I am just like her, always looking for ways to save and at the same time fulfill all the household needs.
So, here are 3 ways I found to be effective. I am not an expert. I am not a coupon queen or even good at it, but this is what works for me. In 2015, I decided to get serious and experiment with saving and finding the best deals. I feel like I have found a good system that works for me. Maybe it will work for some of you too!
I used to always shop at Wal-Mart because I thought they had the best deals in town. Their prices are low, that is true but I wasn’t happy with their meat or produce all of the time. Also, I found myself buying things I don’t even need because I would look and see clothes, electronics, home stuff. It is sensory overload and too tempting so I needed a change. You may think Wal-Mart has the best deals and the BIG grocery chains do not. It isn’t necessarily true but always remember to shop effectively and where is most convenient. That is the main thing!
In my town, I have either Wal-Mart or a grocery store that didn’t seem to have the best deals, so this got me thinking. I started noticing the Walgreen’s weekly ad.
Just so happens Walgreen’s is on the same street as the grocery store, so I wouldn’t be driving all over town. Bonus!
One of my other challenges and maybe yours is, I also like to stock up on certain items so that my house always has them. Such as toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, trash bags, etc. When you buy some of these every week, it may seem expensive at first but after doing it for a year, I have saved so much money and I have a house always stocked up.
I do this by buying each week a combo of these items. Just switch off every week. Maybe its a good deal on toilet paper one week, but the next week trash bags are a better deal. I just buy every week on items I stock up on. A little at a time and you always have them on hand. So, if there are weeks that you don’t have the money to buy or you want to save for something else, you are ok. Because you have it stocked up. Make sense?
So, let me show you how I do this by avoiding Wal-Mart and only shopping at Walgreen’s and my local grocery store.
Here is how I do it with 3 effective ways to shop and other tips:
1) Break down your list– Break it down into categories like
Now, you have a battle plan. You need your armor!
2) Look at ads and Match Up– Now, I look at the ads for that week. I look at Walgreens and my grocery store. In the Walgreen’s ad, you will see all of the deals they have and do not miss the coupons. They are in there!
Also, Walgreen’s takes coupons from manufactures. So, look at all of the coupons in the paper and pair those up with items you want to buy. You might get an extra $1 off an already on sale item.
For example, Zip lock bags. Walgreen’s may have these on sale and you find a coupon, match them. That is extra savings.
After I buy my items that I need at Walgreen’s, I head on over to the grocery store and this next tip comes in handy.
3) Only shop the perimeter of the store– Before you go into battle, you have to know the landscape, right? So, let’s think about it together. In the perimeter of the store is bread/bakery, dairy, meats, produce.
So, knowing that, I buy only those items. The rest I get at Walgreen’s with a few exceptions.
Sometimes, if Walgreens doesn’t have cereal on sale, I will buy at the grocery store and even better if they have it on sale. The same for pasta/pasta sauces. Also, spices or extra ingredients for the meals.
But most of the time, I can get away with just shopping the perimeter because I have stocked up on the other items after shopping at Walgreen’s.
– Be consistent shopping and add up the points for a discount.
Walgreen’s offers reward points. You just sign up for free and get discounts. After I consistently shop, I will go in and get $10 off my total bill. I love that! Those points add up and look in the weekly ads for the coupon that adds 500 extra points. They put those in from time to time and I always take it with me.
Combine your manufacturers coupons and you can SAVE BIG!
– Like I said before, stock up
The items I stock up on are:
toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, cat litter, cleaning supplies, cereal, diet coke, pasta, canned goods, zip lock bags, trash bags.
Walgreen’s has these items on sale all the time. Usually 2 or 3 for a certain price or buy 1, get the other half off.
I try and buy a combo of these items every week and I still keep my monthly grocery budget low. The trick is to buy a little each week. So basically, whatever is on sale for that week because I know the next week, my other items might be on sale.
Most importantly, just think about what items your family uses all the time and make a plan for those. Meal ideas change but the necessities are consistently there. This makes meal planning more fun because you took care of the non fun part.
Divide and Conquer!
That is how we win this grocery store battle, my friends!
This is the best system I have come up with. It may not be for you but I wanted to start this new year sharing what helps me because it might help someone else. I am no coupon expert but I try to shop smart, stay in budget and plan. This helps me. After a year of doing it, I am happy to have a stocked up home and saving money.
Hope this helps some of you! I am grateful that my mom always took me with her to grocery shop because even though it is a chore for me and not my favorite, I just remember doing it with her and it doesn’t seem so bad.
Now, if only someone would come unload the groceries and fill my pantry so I don’t have to.
I guess we can’t have it all!
Always remember to Create, Share and Inspire!