Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Saving on Groceries: The Two-Store Solution

This week's tip is again for beginning couponers.  Veteran couponers, feel free to give advice as well! 

Last week, I posted about how you can save 75% or more on some of your groceries, by pairing a buy one, get one free sale (BOGO) with two coupons for that item.  But there's a problem with this strategy - if you also buy the other groceries you need at the same store, which are not currently on sale, you might spend more than you need to.

If you truly only have time to go to one store, my advice would be to buy store-brand items when you need to buy things that aren't on sale, and buy branded items when they are on a BOGO sale.  But if you have time to hit two stores rather than one, you can save even more!

Here's the strategy: Pick two stores to shop at.  One should be a somewhat high-end grocery store, which might have higher prices, but also has an advertisement full of great sales each week.  The other store should be an everyday low prices store which has a wide variety of store-brand items, but rarely has great sales.  In my area, ALDI fits the bill here; if ALDI is not in your area, Walmart also works well.  Or perhaps you have a smaller, cheaper grocery chain in your area that would work.

Each week, check a blog which covers your fancy store for which items are on BOGO, and get the coupons from your coupon file.  Once you've done that, see which items on your grocery list you still need.  Plan to buy those at the everyday low prices store.

When you shop, if it's feasible, go to the fancy store first.  That way, if a deal doesn't end up working out for you (perhaps the coupon is for the wrong size, or the blogger's deal isn't available in your area), then you can go to the everyday low prices store to pick up the item if you absolutely need it.

As you buy more items at BOGO sales, you'll find that you need less and less at the everyday low prices store.  Eventually, once your stockpile has grown, you'll only need to buy a few items at the everyday low prices store - dairy, produce, and the occasional item that doesn't go on sale or have coupons available.

Good luck in saving even more on your grocery bill!

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Heather Ortega January 18, 2011 at 8:04 PM  

Great advice...I am going to start using coupons so this was very good to read.

Coupon Teacher January 20, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

The closest Aldi and Walmart are over 20 minutes away from me, but I do have 3 other grocery stores within 10 minutes. Great advice for newbies!

Roxanna@Homemaking Mom January 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM  

I agree, this is great advice. Many weeks I will do the double coupon deals at Harris Teeter and then do a quick trip to Food Lion to get their produce, sale items, etc. Not only do I save more money this way, it also makes it easier shopping with a 1-year-old to break it into two shorter trips.

Jennifer Juniper January 24, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

I used to be so good at getting deals and clipping coupons...then I had kids. When will I get back to it!?!

Holly January 24, 2011 at 1:49 PM  

Thanks for the tips! We don't have any national chain grocery stores in our area other than Walmart, so our nice stores have really poor coupon policies since they don't have to compete. I do use the multiple store solution, though. Aldi and Walmart are my main stores.
Thanks for joining my party!

FrouFrouBritches January 24, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

Great advice. We don't have an Aldi, but shop at Wal-Mart most of the time. I buy the sale stuff at Kroger to help save $$. I'm here rom Holly's.

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