Never Pay Full Price: Groceries

Is anyone else as adverse as I am to paying full price? Since I haven’t been blogging very long, people may not know that I am a first generation American. My parents come from a culture where you haggle everything. I spent time in my parents’ homeland and experienced first hand how it works. I’ve seen my mom haggle about food. My dad once got $50 prescription glasses for me at the optician. My parents have haggled the price to get the house painted. It’s almost a game to see how low you can get a vendor to go before they give you your walking papers.

Personally, I am an avid coupon clipper and discount seeker. I am always on the hunt for the next promotion, the best deal and the highest savings. I really don’t like paying full price! I just don’t like it… It’s an illness lol. This doesn’t mean I never do. At times, we have no choice. If it’s a grocery item that I need, we won’t go without it, hoping it goes on sale soon. But if I have a choice, I will stretch my dollar with every discount available.

Here are my dollar-stretching tricks:

Be ready to go to more than one store. Not everything will be the same price everywhere. You’re really short changing yourself if you do your grocery shopping in one location. Stores aren’t always competing with each other because they may not be the same kind of store or trying to attract the same clientele. For example, Walmart will not be looking to match Costco prices. If you think mayonnaise will be the same price in both places, you might be missing out.

Know your stores. I shop at the same 3 places every time: the ethnic food store, the regular grocery store and the club warehouse store. This means I usually know what the staples cost at each location. As a result, if a one of them is running a great sale, I know which store will or won’t beat the sale price.

Be prepared. BJs sends their members a new book of coupon at the beginning of every month. This means before I even leave the house, I know everything they’ve discounted. That preparation allows me to go to BJs last because I can compare the prices from the other stores to their sale price. That way, if the regular store doesn’t have a great deal, I know I’m likely to be saving more at BJs because of the bulk pricing.

Look for value, not for cheap products. If a 24-pack of Brand A bottled water cost $4.50 and a 12-pack of Brand B bottled water costs $3.75, the 12-pack might seem like a better deal but you’d need to spend $7.5 to get 24 bottles of Brand B. While you might think you’re saving 75 cents, you’re actually over paying. This may seem like a “duh” kind of tip, but this was a simple example to help illustrate my point. The difference in quantity may not be as obvious. You could be looking at 2 bottles of mustard, with one being 28 ounces and the other being 32 ounces, only 4 ounces more. It’s much easier to miss the value when the difference is that small.

Non-perishables are your friend. They’re the best things you can stock up on. They don’t go bad and you’ll always need them. This weekend alone, I scored 4 gallons of laundry detergent at $5 each, which are normally $9. Sure, we now I have to find somewhere to store them, but they won’t expire and we’ll always need clean clothes.

Ask for a rain check or ask that they honor the price. Sometimes, a deal is so good that those who came before you will wipe out the shelves. You can ask for a rain check that allows you to come back and get the item at the sale price when it’s in stock again. If it’s something you need, you can ask to talk to a manager. From my experience, every time I’ve tried it, the manager on duty has always been willing to give me a comparable item (in nature and size) for the sale price advertised.

This is how I keep the pantry stocked at the best prices possible. What’s your key to good bargains?

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