Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stockpiling – The Easy Way

I’m a big fan of stockpiling and I make a habit out of getting things for free. Not just samples, but regular-sized items from my local grocery and drug stores. For example, I will never pay for toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, mascara, foundation, hot sauce, band aids, Excedrin, gum, BBQ sauce and marinades because I know that the manufacturers of these products frequently issue coupons in the newspaper and I know that these products will go on sale and I’ll get them for free when I use the coupons during a sale. I have a whole other list of items that I won’t pay more than 50c for.

Lately I’ve been posting sales at our local grocery stores so that you can take advantage of sales, use your coupons and get products at ridiculously low prices. The point I wanted to make is that if you’re buying a double bundle of your local newspaper every Sunday (here in Atlanta, the AJC), you’ll more than likely to have plenty of coupons to stock up on the things you need at crazy low prices. But, since it's time consuming and leaves less time for me to research other amazing deals for my Affluent Pauper readers, I'm going to leave it up to the experts.

There are three primary ways to getting products at rock-bottom prices:

1) Keep a coupon file, become familiar with your store’s sales flyer and stock up when prices are low. However, this can be time consuming and may cost you more in the long run if you’re already low on time.
2) Utilize a service such at The Grocery Game. The website tracks pricing on 10,000 items in 126 supermarkets and drug chains nationwide. The list matches manufacturer's coupons with weekly specials and unadvertised deals, and is color-coded and easy to use: green for items that are free when purchased with a coupon; blue for goods that have hit bottom and should be stocked; and black for products that represent a good deal but haven't quite hit bottom. It tells you which newspaper the coupons were in for the current sales, so the key is to save your inserts and label them with the date and pull out the ones you want to use (great method if you’re not in to carting around a coupon file everywhere you go!). Subscribers pay approx. $10 every eight weeks for a list of local deals and unadvertised specials from one store ($5 for each additional store). You can get a trial to several stores for 30 days for $1. If you run the report weekly and are organized with your coupons, the membership fee will pay for itself several times over.
3) Utilize Coupon Mom. This website has reports similar to The Grocery Game, except that the reports are free. However, with free comes a downside – the reports are not color coded and you may find that because of the report lacks the easy to use functionality of The Grocery Game, you may not save as much. Also, Coupon Mom tends to list all sales, whereas The Grocery Game lists only the really good deals. But if you’re starting out and really want something free, it’s a good place to start.

You can utilize several blogs to track sales, but keep in mind that if you’re reading a bloggers report from California and you’re located in Atlanta, the deals in your local store may be different.

You can cut your grocery bill in more than half by utilizing a service that tracks sales and tells you which coupons to use. Reading the report and clipping coupons will take about ½ hour each week, but you’ll be astounded by your savings. We used to spend $800-$1000 per month on various grocery store and Walmart runs. We now spend about $80 per week for our grocery needs (including diapers and formula) and we’re able to purchase the latest products on the market for less than other people pay for no-label items. Last night we had BBQ swordfish and tuna fish for less than we used to pay for chicken.

If you’ve saved on your grocery bill by utilizing coupon/sales tracking services, leave a comment so others can see how possible it is!

1 comment:

  1. I have been keeping the coupon booklets from my Sunday paper for a while now, but just in the last month have started the 'stockpiling' method. I have honestly been amazed - I live in Atlanta and primarily shop at Publix, with weekly runs to CVS and Walgreens (conveniently located right next to my Publix). I have started tracking what I have saved on my website, and in the last 2 weeks alone, for household and grocery items I have SPENT $111.49, and RECEIVED items worth $367.33, meaning I'm paying only 30% of the full price. I've also done some major stockpiling on cereal, juice, crackers and pasta as well as cooking 5 nights/week to feed a family of 4. It CAN be done! I consistantly read and to get the best drugstore and Publix deals, although comes in handy when I need an item not on sale, and am wondering if there is a coupon out there for it. I also print a lot of internet coupons. There are SO many blogs and resources and people who do all the legwork for you - all you need to do is the actual shopping! Hope this inspires some people, I have already had 5 friends approach me about wanting to learn more about my 'system'. :)


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