Monday, March 29, 2010

How I Save Money - Tip 1

I'm known by many for my frugal ways.
And, I'm getting frugaler.
(And, I'm verbing things willy-nilly, apparently.)

But, that's how I can walk out of my local Jewel Food Store with $163 of groceries having spent only $37.

I've been doing this long enough that it comes second nature. And, it's fun. So fun, in fact that when the Catalina machine at the check out prints my "Get $5 off your next shopping trip" coupons it pumps up my heart like a slot machine paying off.

It's adrenaline producing.
And, puts more money in my pocket.

So, I thought I might share a couple of my tips. These aren't a secret - loads of people shop this way everyday. You can find books, internet sites...heck Nightline did a feature just last week.

So here's today's tip.
Until your a pro, manage your time well by shopping at only one store.
Why? Well, many reasons.

First, you get to know the layout of the store. For a while there I was shopping regularly at a local Dominick's store and two Jewel stores. And, I started getting confused. I would walk right up to where I expected to find the Home Run Inn pizzas that are on sale and instead found Cool Whip. Dang. One store means I can get in and out quickly - even if I'm filling my basket to the rim.

Disclaimer: I'll go to a second location of the same store if there's a fantastic sale which is giving back free money coupons in the Catalina machine and the shelves of the first store are bare. Yes, you can get a rain check for the bare shelves, but you can't ever recoup the lost "free $5 off next shopping trip" coupon.

Second, you get to know the staff. Which checker is speedy. Which one LOVES that you have coupons because she uses them, too! (Score!) You build a trusting relationship with the service desk folks so that when you bring something to their attention they don't just look at you like your scamming the place. (They know you are simply trying to get the most out of their ads.)

Third, and most importantly, you save time. A full pantry and freezer is nothing if you don't have time to share a meal with your family.

Lastly, you get the most bang for your buck if you shop the same chain regularly. Why? Well, sometimes Jewel offers "$3 off your next purchase of $30. And, those coupons usually expire quickly. Well, if I choose to go to Dominick's the following week, I've lost out on the $3 coupon. (I mean, there's no doubt I will spend $30.)

Even more get to take advantage of deals like the one pictured above. "Buy a Jewel gift card for $250 and get another card for $20." Or, buy $300 and get $30. Really? 10 percent right off the top? I'll take that. After all, my store of choice is Jewel anyway.

I love saving money.
Check back for additional tips soon.
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