My Money Blog posted an article a few months ago talking about the theory of “price targeting”, where companies try to sell the same product to different people at different prices, hoping to come as close to an individuals’ target price as possible. In the use of price targeting, shoppers are generally broken down into three categories.
• Impulse shoppers that buy things when they see them
• Necessity shoppers that buy things when they need them
• Bargain shoppers that buy things when the price is right
If I were to be classified, I may have to add a 4th category for extreme money savers that ONLY buy things when they are on sale, preferably buy one get one free. To show you what I mean, I’ve attached my most recent Winn Dixie experience (that’s what they are) receipt, where I saved $79.07 on a $105 grocery bill.
Could I have done better? … absolutely. If it weren’t for some luxuries like dish sponges and dental floss I could have saved as much as I spent (which happens sometimes). Some people will think that I’m living a restricted life, only buying what manufactures tell me to buy, but I beg to differ. I think my method of madness is saving me thousands of dollars a year AND I’m still able to buy whatever I want and eat whatever I want. Let me explain.
Just because things are on sale does not mean that I buy them. Even though my girlfriend and I are not picky eaters, we only buy things we love, or things we’ve never tried before. For example, we just purchased Mighty Bites, something we’ve never seen or heard of before but at half price, definitely worth a shot. We’re lucky enough to have two major grocers in our area, Publix and Winn Dixie, so the carousel of sales never stops. Every week, we receive a circular, which tells us what’s on sale, and we plan accordingly.
The beauty about food is that it usually lasts a long time. Meats such as beef, pork and poultry, which are our main proteins can last 4+ months in the freezer. So when I see a sale for half price boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I expect to come home with at least 20+ pounds of it. I bag it, tag it, and slide it into the freezer for whenever it’s needed. The same is true for canned and frozen vegetables, pasta’s, drinks of all kind, soups, cereals and everything else that can survive after a couple of weeks. Pretty much anything that’s not in your grocer’s produce, dairy or bakery section will last a good while if you take care of it.
Even though I stock up on a large number of non-perishable products, I still buy an ample amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, bread right out of the oven and a wide variety of dairy products. I would estimate that we spend around $3,000 a year on groceries when you combine both supermarket chains, and I would also estimate that we save around $2,400. (The Winn Dixie receipt shows a savings of $1,185.15 so far this year). Grocers are always having sales on center cut chops, pot roasts, London broils, skewers and thousands of other high-ticket items that I buy and tuck away. Cooking at home often allows me to try new things at a reduced price, which always makes things taste a little sweeter.
While my method of buying groceries is certainly not for everyone, it allows me the freedom to save a little more for that vacation, while still enjoying the very best that food has to offer. I would suggest the next time you go to your local supermarket, be on the lookout for where you can save a few bucks. The savings over a lifetime of frugal grocery shopping could be as large as six figures.
This guest post comes from Michael, a contributing editor of the Dough Roller, a personal finance and investing blog, and Credit Card Offers IQ, a credit card review site.