Many people are focused on all the things they NEED to do when attempting to be Frugal Shoppers , but how about the opposite angle? Why not focus on what NOT to do as shoppers should always be focused on this.
How Frugal Shoppers Save Money By Shopping With A Plan
1. DON’T Forget to EAT FIRST
Has the gnawing hunger in the pit of your stomach caused you to cave for that delicious end cap of Oreos? If you remember anything, remember this, “DON”T shop hungry!” If you are hungry as you walk down the aisles of delicacies you are much more prone to buy items that are not necessary. As you try to keep the trip short you spend extra time drooling over the Hot Pockets in the frozen section (which you know you don’t need anyways). Make sure to eat or bring a snack when shopping, make sure this is a regular part of shopping.
2. DON’T shop at PEAK hours.
Many of the most frugal minded shoppers may forget this one, but there is nothing worse than waiting in another long line on a busy shopping day. Think about all the time that you spend in line already and think about all that wasted time. All that perfectly good time leeched from your body like a vampire drinking the last dregs from his latest victim. Aside from draining you of perfectly good time, do you realize the effect that it probably is have on your pocket book? Do you realize that stores are designed to make you spend money you don’t need to and the longer you spend in the store (no matter where, even in the check-out line) the more likely you are to spend extra money. So next time as you sit there tapping away as the lines drag by step out and plan to shop at a different time.
3. DON’T DILLY DALLY (Give yourself a deadline)
For those frugal fathers like me it is easy to meander through a store after a busy day at work, but this goes hand in hand with grocery shopping outside of Peak hours. The Dilly Dally shopper is the type of consumer any store wants. The reason they offer samples is to keep you mulling through the store longer (not to say not to indulge in samples, but keep your game plan going) for lots of research has proven that the longer you stay in the store you are more likely to spend more… Say it with me, “I AM More likely to spend more if I stay LONGER”. I am a believer not because what I have heard, but because I have seen it, I have gone into a store for one item and while I meander for 15 minutes I have found 15 other items that “I Needed”. Next time you go shopping Get in Get Out & STICK TO A PLAN it pays off, it is easy frugality.
Frugal Shoppers Save Money by Being Mindful
4. DON’T SHOP at the End of the Aisle
Most time people become disillusioned by the ‘Great Sales’ at the end caps. Even ragging a family through a grocery store and passing many of the aisle we will see a “SALE” sign and go, “Maybe we need that, it’s on SALE after all”, but know the truth: “End Caps are not always goodSALES” These end caps are designed from Prime Product Placement. The stores have been designed and researched for Prime opportunities to sell product, not save you money. Pay attention & as a Frugal Dad I have found that by shopping for the same product in the aisles that I have actually found more flavors and options in the aisles than on these GREAT end caps. Don’t take the Easy Route, take “The Frugal Route”.
5. DON’T Forget to shop with a LIST!
(Always use one & STICK to IT)
STICK TO YOUR LIST!! I am not trying to be your mom or yell at you, but this is too important not to pay attention. Many times I have heard the, “don’t worry I know exactly what I need”, and I have even used that line myself. What I have found every time is our memories are fickle and forgetful which means we forget what we need and buy what we don’t. Making a List & Checking it Twice(Like Santa, but for groceries), & Saving yourself time. Make sure to use your list so you don’t have to make multiple trips and waste gas money as well and if you coordinate it with the layout of the store you can easily make the trip short and sweet.
Frugal Shoppers know when to quit!
6. DON’T shop at the Register
Once you’ve reached the register, just check out. No I am not saying to stop paying attention as they ring up the groceries, you want to make sure that the groceries are ringing up right. At the point you hit the check out line you need to stop shopping. Those checkout lines are traps for us as frugal shoppers, they are trying to suck every cent out of our pockets as we wait in those unbearable lines. Any item that you might need can normally be found before you reach here and if you buy them before you hit the checkout it is less likely to be a compulsive purchase but a planned purchase. These ‘great buys’ are normally the most costly for our budget. Come on! A 16 oz soda for over a dollar when you can pick up a bottle over 2 times the size in the beverages aisle for approximately the same price or CHEAPER. This isn’t a joke! Remember stores are not designed to save you money, they are designed to make them money and have spent time and money perfecting their product placement for prime sales.
7. DON’T buy based on brand/generic.
Quite often people will tell me that the only way to shop frugally is buying the generic, or that they have to have a specific brand, but as a frugal shopper that was raised by frugal parents I learned something much more important, ‘DON’T worry about the brand!’ Whether generic or Coca Cola most products have very little difference and I was even told by someone that worked at a bread packing plant that the same bread that was packaged for Sara Lee was the same used for the generic, exact same recipe different bag. NO, I am not kidding, companies can sell the same bread at 2 different costs for 2 different companies. Next time don’t worry about the brand and worry about the price. There are a few small situations where brand does matter (especially to a few kids I have met).
8. DON’T SHOP WITH OTHERS!
Why would it possibly matter if you shop with someone else? For some it may not make a difference and they might just not have a choice, but in this situation ‘the more the merrier does not apply’. If you can find a sitter or your spouse can watch the children they make for some of the most difficult frugally shopping. Like me they have some of the shortest attention spans and can easily find every sweet food in store and distract you from YOUR LIST. DON’T forget you want to follow that list so getting distracted may mean addition trips or extra items that weren’t needed. This method may not work for everyone, but it may be one of the easiest ideas to increase frugal shopping.
9. DON’T forget to COMPARE
Comparison shopping is not for the light of heart, so bring a calculator(aka a Smartphone now) and be ready to tackle comparison shopping. I have a knack for math so figuring out the base unit on two similar products and identifying the lower price per unit is simple and fun, and in many grocery stores it is even displayed on the price tag (HOW COOL IS THAT!!) When comparison shopping remember not just to compare with the current prices, but to keep a tally on normal prices, because a ‘GREAT SALE‘ could just be yet another sales tactic for a normal priced item. Identifying the bottom price for a product is so important I would like to encourage you to make sure that you track your most used products NOW (you can easily use this form here to track the price of an item). DON’T DELAY, not knowing the lowest price could be costing you tons extras a year for nothing!
Remember many stores allow Price Matching or have a low price guarantee as well check out the top 5 Things to Know When Price Matching.
10. DON’T USE COUPONS
Huh!? (that’s what you are thinking, right?) Yes I meant to say that, but I don’t mean that you can never use any coupons. If you have heard of a Crazy Coupon Clipper in your area this is typically what I am referring to. Everyone can get tons of great deals on groceries, but would you use the items regularly that you are purchasing? If it is not something that you would normally use, then DON’T use the coupon, it’s just a waste! If you are going to use a coupon then make sure you maximize it’s usage. Many stores double coupons or if not check your local dollar store, some accept manufacturers coupons. Does your store let you stack a store coupon with a manufacturers coupons? All coupons you use should be for something you are already buying. Timing the purchase with the best sales price and stack-able coupons increases your savings.
Use them or lose them, just NEVER abuse the use of coupons!
11. DON’T SHOP WITH PLASTIC
Most times once we have reached the point of paying we just whip out our little plastic card and swipe…. ‘Transaction Complete’. When was the last time you paid with cash? I just started paying with cash again and it hurts every time I get to that register and have to give up an of my cash in my grocery wallet. Don’t forget the stores ‘Convenience’ factors are designed to make us spend more, they are not to help frugal shoppers save money but to spend it! Stop accepting all their ‘convenient’ ways of savings, make every shopping trip hurt and you can frugally shop just like me.
When you grocery shop, which methods HELP you stop wasting money and which methods DON’T?