Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saving Money in Groceries by BOGO and Perimeter Shopping

A few weeks ago, I posted on my facebook page a question: Would anyone be interested to see how I do my grocery shopping?" I got an overwhelming "YES!"

You see, I don't do the coupon shopping. Well, let me rephrase that. It's not that I don't do couponing, I just don't do it all the time. I honestly just don't have time to sit down in front of the computer and the papers to get all the coupons I need. We don't get the newspaper at our house (you can get it all online, now), so every Sunday I made a point to run to the store to get a paper. And that didn't always happen...and I began to get frustrated with the coupon thing. AND to top it all off, when I did do the coupon thing, I either forgot the coupons at home, I bought things I didn't really need (or want), or I would forget I had a certain coupon until it was too late to use it. So couponing just wasn't my thing.

I had to come up with something else. 

I decided to try BOGOF (Buy 1 Get 1 Free) shopping. And THAT works for me. Not only do I get what I need, but I average between 30-50% in free groceries. I love it, and am proud of how I save my family money. Check it out:

Step 1: Pull out the circulars of the grocery stores you actually go to...and the ones that you have a customer card for. Rack up those savings, greenbax, fuel perks, etc. Make a list of all the BOGOF you actually need or will use. Be firm in your choices. Yes! It does look like a good deal to get two apple pies for the price of one, but do you really need those two? Unless you are going to a party, or are seriously craving apple pies, I'm guessing no. So choose wisely. 

Step 2: Make a list in the order of the stores you are going to. If the circulars have the price of the "what you are saving" put that on the list as well. That will give you a general idea of what to expect in what you are spending. NOTE: I also put on my list things that are Buy 2 for $3 or similar to that, but only for things I really, really need. AND I also put on my list items I need from specific stores. For example, I get my milk, fruit, and meat from Piggly Wiggly (they sell local...really local...produce, meat, and milk. I want to make sure I support my local farmers). So when I am making my list, I know to go ahead and put those items on the  list with The Pig, even if Bi-Lo is having a great sale on apples (where the produce is not always local).

Step 3: Go shopping. If you have not heard of the envelope system, check out Dave Ramsey. My husband and I fought this at first. We just didn't think the envelope thing was for us, but since have started using it, it has really helped us save money. I have an envelope for grocery/dining and one for major expenses (like birthday gifts, doctor bills, etc). After I go to each store, I record how much money is pulled out to make the grocery purchase. This also helps me to determine whether or not that BOGOF bag of chicken nuggets is really necessary at the next store.

Step 4: Assess your groceries and grocery bills. How much did you spend? How much did you save? Did you load up on meats this time? If so, maybe next time you don't need to get so many packets of BOGOF shrimp next time. When I unpack my groceries, I immediately make a list of all the meats, and put possible meal ideas next to each item. This works great for 3 reasons: 1) I don't have to rummage through the freezer to see what I have; 2) If my husband decides to make dinner/breakfast one day, he knows what we have and can surprise me...hint, hint; and 3) I can determine if my next shopping trip needs to include a few meat items or not.
Once we have used the meat/meal/coupon, I mark it off the  list. 
Here are a few examples of my BOGO grocery trips:
Over $100 of this was free (and about 50% of my total bill)

On this trip 40% of my groceries were free 

On this trip, 30% was free. The only reason why this was so low was because I needed all those storage items to redo my kids' room. And although they were not BOGOF, they were pretty cheap at Big Lots. 

So it's Wednesday here, which means the circulars are in the mail. If it is the same where you are, give BOGOF shopping a try and see if it works for you! I would love to hear your savings!

A note about Perimeter Shopping:

If you have stocked up on your groceries but run out of milk, bread, and fruit as much as I do, try perimeter shopping. I do BOGOF shopping every other Friday and Perimeter shopping on the other Fridays. I pick two stores (Piggly Wiggly and Publix) for my milk, eggs, bread, and fruit. Make sure you stay on the perimeters. Don't go down the aisle unless you really, really need to. Otherwise, hold off until the next week.

Good luck, and happy shopping!

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