Let Your Grocery Store Work for You

| March 17, 2009

Grocery list making has improved over the years. No longer do I make a shopping list on a sheet of loose-leaf or note paper folded in half lengthwise. The reason I made them on a sheet of loose-leaf or note paper folded lengthwise is because that’s what my mother did. It worked better for her because she had a small handwriting. It was tortuous for me because I write big…I digress….

Computerizing the List

Now, I don’t need loose-leaf paper to make my list. All of the grocery stores I go to have a website that allows me to pre-shop and make my list online. Once I’m done, all I have to do is print out the list and take it with me to the grocery store. What a concept!

The great thing about creating an online list is that once you print it out, most stores list the item size, price and sale stipulations. For example, if a product is buy 1 get 1 free, A&P lists it when I print out the shopping list.

Maturing in My Grocery Shopping

I’m only a little beyond 2 weeks into my becoming a frugal grocery shopper, but one thing I’ve learned. Utilize several grocery stores. In the past, in my days of drive by shopping trips, I would always shop at the nearest store. The prices weren’t always the best, but the convenience couldn’t be beat.

Now as I learn to play the grocery shopping game, I use several grocery stores. No longer do I sit at the kitchen table with the circular for each. I now go online and open a new tab in my web browser for each store. Once I go through the sale items and the items I need from store #1, I click on the other tab and look at the next store. If the prices are better in store #2, I delete certain items from my shopping list from store #1. I do this for about 3 or 4 grocery stores in my area.

Coupon Application

I’ve found that it’s best to use coupons in conjunction with store sales to get the most bang for my buck. There are times, however, when need trumps sale prices so if I need the item, and it’s not on sale, I get it anyway. After all, saving money is an aspect of grocery shopping, but bottom line, you have to purchase what you need when you need it.

Before I look at the circulars, I check my coupons to see what I have coupons for and which items I really need. My daughter so graciously created colorful envelopes for my coupons. There’s the “Food” coupon envelope with smilies on it, the “Toiletries” envelope with hearts and the “Cleaning Products” envelope with squiggly lines.

I sort through each and pull out the items I need. Since I don’t have too many coupons, this system currently works just fine. I try to weed out what I don’t want/need and get rid of the coupons (Lesson to learn: don’t let kids cut out coupons. You’ll end up with an envelope full of fruit snack, ice cream and cake coupons).

Combing the Circular with the Coupons

Once I’ve created and printed my shopping lists, I use a paper clip to clip the appropriate coupons to the proper store shopping list. I grab my lists, coupons and reusable shopping bags and I’m off to the grocery store(s).

Occasional Splurge

For the spur of the moment splurges, I carry a “Maybe” envelope. In that envelope are the coupons for things that we don’t really need, but if the price is right, I might purchase the item. I limit my “Maybe” purchases to two or three per trip. Usually I come home with all the Maybe coupons in tact (unless I have a child with me). The maybe coupons are usually for something unnecessary like gum or extra dog treats.

(This is another post transferred from my old blog to this one.  Check out this post for more info on the transfer process)

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Category: Grocery Shopping, Savings

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (2)

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  1. The question is how green this shopping concept really is. Increasingly I am realizing that shopping only for the best deals has a risk of (a) reducing the quality of the food we buy and (b) forcing farmers and food producers to cut costs to still make a profit by using lots of pesticides, herbicides and so on.

    I’m making more of an effort to buy organic, free range and Fair Trade rather than focusing so much on price.

    • Felicia says:

      You’re absolutely right, Richard. It’s all a matter of purchasing the right items on sale. I, too, prefer organic and stay away from processed foods, but when my store has a sale on toilet paper (organic or not), I stock up. 🙂