Are you mailed your local store’s circulars each week? If so, you can use these as a tool for saving your money, planning your weekly menu and helping your household run more efficiently. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your circulars.
- Note the start and end date for the sale period for each store you currently visit. Some stores begin their sales on Thursday, Friday or Sunday. Each store has their own sale periods -be aware of them.
- Start by knowing what you typically spend on your weekly food purchases. Look over bank statements for the past few months and add up all of the food related costs. You can include money spent eating out and running into convenience stores for extras. This step will help you track your progress over time.
- Keep a small notebook as a price journal. Write down all of the regular products that you typically purchase and write the lowest price that you find for each item. This will become the target price you hope to find each item for. Write your prices in pencil so that you can change the price when you find it for a lower price. You can pull this out each week when you look over the circulars coming to your house. Add an item to your grocery list when it hits or comes close to your target price. Create your menu using items that have hit your target price that week.
- Recognize “Loss Leaders” that are featured on the front and back pages of each store ad. Loss leaders are the “too good to be true ” deals that a store features each week. The store may even lose a little money offering such a big discount on these few items, but they bank on the hopes that you come for the loss leaders and leave with an overflowing cart full of full priced items. You dont HAVE to though!
- Be aware of your store’s coupon policy. Every store has a different coupon policy. Some stores double coupons, some do not. Some allow multiple copies of the same coupon and some limit the number that you can present.
- Once you begin to master the art of matching coupons to sales and shaving money off of your grocery bill, take it a step further. Set a target $ amount that you’d like to spend for each meal. For example, for a family of 6, your target price for each dinner could be ar0und $7 (I’d do around $5 for meat and $1 each for 2 sides). You could allow $2 for each breakfast and $3 for lunch per day. This would average $84 for food costs for the week. I personally round up to $100 to include other household items like paper and cleaning products. When you build a pantry you can reduce these costs even further. You can also allow yourself some flexibility so that if you snag a great deal on dinner for a few nights, you can order pizza on Friday.
- Begin to track your savings and use the extra money for savings or to pay down debt. Once you start to see considerable savings on your grocery bill, consider transferring the money that you didn’t spend to either your savings account or designate it to an extra credit card payment.