Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Save Without Using a Single Coupon!

Can you save money in less than 10 minutes a week without printing or cutting a single coupon? YES! While I'm definitely a fan of coupons, many friends and family are concerned that they do not have the time or interest necessary for collecting and using coupons. If that is you, read on!

Most items in the grocery store are on a sales cycle that causes prices to fluctuate from regular retail (a.k.a. "price gouging") to rock bottom (a.k.a. "BUY NOW"). This cycle may last 6 to 8 weeks. A Cheerios example:
June 1-14: $4.49 (retail)
June 15-21: $2.49 (sale)
June 22-28: $4.49 (retail)
June 29-July 5: $2.99 (sale)
July 6-12: $4.49 (retail)
July 13-19: $1.49 (rock bottom sale) Run, don't walk, to the store and buy Cheerios!
July 20... Retail again and cycle repeats
While this is a fictitious example, most products follow a similar cycle.

Here's where you come in. Become familiar with what you spend on items that your family needs or wants. Check the weekly ads at your favorite store and buy enough of the items that hit rock bottom prices to last 6 to 8 weeks.

A Tale of Two Moms

Learning Lana's family consumes 1 box of Cheerios every week. She buys one box every time she shops. According to our fictitious cycle she would pay aproximately $29 dollars for 8 boxes of Cheerios over an 8 week period.

Savvy Sarah's family also consumes a box a week. She waits until Cheerios hits rock bottom then buys 8 boxes at $1.49. She pays aproximately $12 for 8 weeks worth of Cheerios.

Moral: Knowing the best prices on your family's favorite items and waiting until they hit rock bottom to buy results in big savings.

If you only have 10 minutes a week and no desire to mess with coupons, go through your store's circular and list all the items that your family needs that are at rock bottom (buy now) prices. Buy enough of those items to last the cycle (6 to 8 weeks). On perishable items that won't freeze, try to buy only the items that are on sale and plan your meals around those items.

This method may take a cycle to see savings. The first month or two of stockpiling may cost a little bit more as you purchase larger quantities of groceries, but savings will become very apparent as you don't have to rush to the store to buy more Cheerios at the mercy of that week's price. ;)

Quick Tips:
  • Get to know the rock bottom (buy now) prices of the items your family needs. You can either chart the items or keep a couple months worth of ads to track cycles.
  • Review the ad and buy the items that your family needs that are on sale. If any item is at rock bottom price, buy at least 6 weeks worth.

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