save money on groceries
Grocery shopping is expensive. Is this news to you??? I really doubt it. But… What if it were possible to save money on
groceries every time you went grocery shopping? I have a way to do just that. I’m sort of my own wholesaler/retailer. (My mom used this method when I was a kid, so it’s not a new idea.) It only takes a few minutes, and over the course of a year, it can yield a nice amount of extra-money. In this post I’ll show you how I save money on groceries.
Because I buy nonperishable food and paper items in bulk—ON SALE—I save money on groceries. I am my own retailer. By purchasing items on sale and stocking them, then paying myself full-price when I use them, I have created a system that gives me a profit. As I’ve put that profit to work—buying more staple items at sale prices—I save money on groceries by increasing my buying power.
The difference between what I paid at the store and what I pay myself is my profit, my savings, my extra-money.
Starting at the end
I have a storeroom (a large closet), in it I keep a stock of non-perishable grocery and paper items—items I purchased on sale. I’ve marked each item with its normal store price, plus tax. The room is organized first by packaging (boxes, cans, bags, etc.), second by content (fruit, vegetables, pasta, paper towels, etc.), and third by alphabetic order. I’ve also set up a way to pay for the items as I use them—an old coffee can with change and paper money in it. (I’ll talk more about the money later).
My system lets me save money on groceries. Initially I took $50.00 out of my savings (not my grocery shopping fund) so I could buy, menu items—on sale. As I use the items I pay normal store price plus tax, not sale price: The store doesn’t get that money, I do. (And yes, I make it a legitimate transaction—price, tax, any change due.)
OK, follow me on this: I put my savings, my profit, to work. I use the extra-money to buy more stock items at sale prices. I save money buying groceries, by increasing my money’s buying power.
Here’s how it looks on paper: The boxed macaroni and cheese I normally use sells for a $1.09 plus tax—$1.16 a box, total. If I find it on sale for $0.89 plus tax, it’s $0.96 a box. That is a $0.20 savings per box. If I buy 24 boxes of macaroni and cheese at that sale price, I save $4.80.
Am I talking about pennies???
Not really, if I had only one item (macaroni and cheese) in my storeroom—then yes, but I stock a bunch of menu items. I have canned tuna, canned vegetables, canned fruit, snack items, snack items for work lunches, and paper towels just to mention a few .
Start at the beginning
In my house meals are planned on a 3-week rotating menu. Every third week we eat essentially the same meals as we did 3 weeks earlier. We picked a 3-week rotation to allow enough time to pass between repeats so that we’re not saying, “Oh, that again.” too often. Of course, there are some seasonal variations and the whole menu changes for holidays and a few other celebrations.
Because our menus repeat, when it’s time to go grocery shopping, we already know what will be needed for the week. Putting together a shopping list is fairly easy. It’s rather like taking inventory and buying what we’re missing.
On the home computer I have the items (shopping lists) and quantities needed for each week. I print the appropriate list to start our inventory. As we do our inventory (It takes about 5 minutes.), we cross off what we have, or we write next to the item how many we need to buy. For example, we might need 3 cans of tomatoes and only have 2, so we would write 1 next to tomatoes on our printout. When I am done with the foodstuff inventory I inventory our paper needs (toilet paper, paper towels), I go to my storage room where I have my stock of non-perishable food and paper items. (See above: Start At the End.) I buy the food and paper items I have on hand from myself (I pay the price written on the item, pay cash, and make change.) I cross those items off the list as I go. At this point, I’ve “made” some money on the items I bought from myself, and I know what I need to buy for the week.
I shop the same two stores every week. It doesn’t make sense to run all over town—spending money on fuel—trying save a few dollars on groceries. (It also uses up time.) So, I look at the ads for those stores in the local newspaper and on the internet to find any items we have on our 3 week rotating menu. Also, if I’ve saved enough on the groceries I purchased from myself, I’ll take the cash along to buy more stock for my storeroom—either a good deal in the ads or something I come upon. (The caveat being: I have to stick to my menu and staples.)
When I find something on sale I make it a point to purchase as much as I can for my storeroom.
Just as a side bar: You can shop online but make you’re really getting a bargain. There are some companies that list a good price but overcharge on the shipping and handling. When I know how much I’ll be paying to include shipping and handling, I divide the total price (includes shipping and handling) by the number of whatever I am buying; that gives me the final price per item. I compare the price of the online item to the price I usually pay at the store. Is it still a bargain???
Now we go shopping. At the cash register I make 2 transactions: 1 for the groceries we need this week, another for stockroom items.
After putting away the groceries we need for this week. I put away the groceries for the stockroom. I’m careful to properly mark each item with the correct price (the usual price, not the sale price). I’m very careful to keep good records and keep the money straight.
Make it work
The way to make this system work is to shop the same stores every week, follow the menu, and shop for bargains.
You have a menu use it. Your stockroom will have a lot of food in it; if it is not on the menu to be used (this week) don’t use it.
When you go to shopping, know what’s on sale, and don’t be afraid to exploit the sale price: Buy as much as you can afford or as much as the store will allow.
I’ve shown you how I save money on groceries, how I make my shopping list, how I buy from myself, and how I pay myself.
I save money on groceries because I buy from myself. Initially I took $50.00 from my saving account and purchased menu items, on sale, which I later bought from myself at the not-on-sale price. I use the profit to purchase more on-sale-items.
I stay with my planned menu: If it is not to be used this week, it will not be used this week.
I use a shopping list; I never buy anything that’s not on the shopping list.
I have two stores I regularly shop. I don’t run all over town.
Because I save money on groceries, I increase my money’s buying power. That is super cool.