FRUGAL Shopping Tips
- Before you buy something, ask yourself these questions:
—Can I live without this?
—Do I need it? Or merely want it?
—Do I already have something I can use instead?
—Can I borrow it from a friend or family member?
—How long will I have to work to pay for this?
- To avoid impulse buys, imagine having to clean the item, or store it.
- If you can, avoid the middleman.
- If you need a ruler when you’re out shopping, remember this: a dollar bill is 6 1/8″ long.
- Make it instead of buying it.
- Substitute with what you already have.
- Make sure you wear out what you already have.
- Make sure you use up what you already have.
- Stockpile when items are on sale.
- Buy in bulk when it saves money.
- Learn the sales patterns at your favorite stores.
- Use generic when possible.
- Buy merchandise with the best unit pricing. Bigger or smaller does not mean cheaper.
- Avoid anything disposable.
- Shop alone if at all possible.
- Always check out the discount or clearance racks/bins.
- Know your merchandise: buying poor quality at any price is never a bargain!
- Why Buy? Use the 5 R’s instead
Use “5 R’s” for yourself, your loved ones and business.
- Buy with cash only, not credit.
- If you must use a credit card, at least use one that offers rewards for your purchases.
- Watch for local motels/hotels selling furnishings when they remodel. This goes for other businesses as well.
- Many stores have the policy to match their competitor’s prices. If you see something in the newspaper that you want, but don’t want to travel to that particular store to get it, cut the advertisement out and take it to your local store.
- Use coupons if you have them. Remember to bring them along!
- Send off for rebates to get items free, or nearly free!
- Always ask for a rain check. While you are waiting for the product to come back in, look for more of the coupons on that product.
- Shop the Sales! Get newspaper ads and sales flyers for the stores you frequent; compare prices of sale items.
- Some things are cheaper in a warehouse club, but not all. Check your prices.
- Shop garage or yard sales for things you are not in a hurry for.
- Do not be brand loyal. Be willing to switch brands.
- Honor your spending limit.
- This sounds silly, but don’t buy it if you won’t use it – even if it is on sale.
- Just because the item is on the end of the aisle does not mean it is on sale. The store just wants you to think so, it is called “end cap strategy”.
- Shop with a calculator.
- Check all product packages. Some may have special offers printed on or attached to them.
- Frequent stores that offer free product samples and in-store coupons.
- Watch while your items are being scanned and check your receipt before you leave the store.
- To save time, compare prices online before shopping brick and mortar stores.
FRUGAL Grocery Shopping Tips
- Check your pantry to see what you already have. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need.
- Plan your spending to avoid impulse buys.
- Grow it yourself and save!
- Prepare your menu for the week around what you already have, and what’s on sale.
- If your area has food co-ops, join up! A food co-op can reduce your weekly food bill by up to 50%.
- Shop for items BEFORE you run out of them. If you run out of an item you’ll have to pay whatever the store is charging that week.
- Due to volume discounts, larger stores are generally cheaper than smaller ones.
- Avoid trips to the “corner store”.
- Make a grocery list during the week. Take it with you when you shop. Stick to it.
- If you go to the supermarket early in the morning (before 9am) you have a better chance of getting mark down items.
- Shop alone – this will save lots of money and frustration.
- You have heard this before, but it is so true … don’t shop for groceries on an empty stomach.
- Clean out your refrigerator, it will be much easier to put away groceries.
- More often than not, the best sales are on the front and back of your supermarket flyer.
- Stick to what’s on your shopping list.
- Ask staff to help you rather than wasting time looking for items or better deals.
- Meat is a good source of protein but it’s expensive. Cheese, poultry, eggs, peanut butter, dried peas, beans, lentils, and some fish are less expensive and excellent sources of protein.
- Buy whole chickens. If you want only breasts, save the dark quarters, freezing for later use. Buying breasts alone is very expensive.
- Buy locally grown foods; they are fresher, more nutritious and ecologically smart. Buy and use in season veggies and fruit.
- Shop the sales! Take advantage of each store’s loss leaders.
- Most bargains are found on the higher and lower shelves. Most expensive brands are at eye level (to get your attention).
- Watch for unadvertised specials.
- Shop for items that you use regularly at all times. If you run out, you will have to pay whatever the supermarket may be charging when you need it.
- Stockpile, Stockpile, Stockpile! If a product you use is on sale, buy as much as you can afford and store, to last you until the next sale. This is a BIG money saver!
- Wait if you can until the item is on sale. If you know your products and stores, you can have enough to last until the item is discounted again.
- Use your freezer to stock up when there is a sale on frozen or dairy items, such as cheese, butter and milk.
- Buy in bulk when the unit price is less. Larger sizes do not always mean lower prices.
- Just because an item has the word “SALE” on it, doesn’t mean you are getting it for a lower than normal price. Know your prices.
- Use store specific savings cards.
- Don’t be afraid to try generic or store brands. Most stores will refund your money if you are not satisfied.
- Pretty packaging costs you money. You are not only paying for the product, but for the packaging (and advertising) as well.
- Always check the expiration date on dairy products.
- Convenience foods are more expensive, you are trading money for time. Slice, season, mix, and cook it yourself.
- Always check the day old bread basket, and the reduced merchandise cart.
- Create a “shopping pool”. Agree with family and friends to shop sales for each other.