Having just returned from my local grocery store with what appears to be a very unbalanced shopping trip, I thought I would share the method to my madness; a proven method of consistently slashing our grocery budget by hundreds of dollars a month.
The art of stockpiling groceries combines coupons, rebates, and the understanding of loss leader priced items. Consumer consultants and grocery chains operate their stores on the premise that most households only have a three day supply of food. Americans are impulse purchasers, and that is most evident in people’s food budget.
The goal of stockpiling (buying items in multiple quantities at rock bottom prices) is to create a personal mini-mart of staples, so that there isn’t the need to grab a few things at the store for a recipe.
Typically, consumers run to the grocery store throughout the week to grab 3-5 items that have been forgotten. Those few items every week, multiplied by 52 weeks can equal thousands of dollars. I saw this first hand when we were hosting our recent family reunion. I had been out of town leading up to the visit and so my food planning was not what it should have been. We ran to the store too often for a few items that were needed for that day’s meal, but they were not on sale. I was paying top dollar instead of loss leader prices. and my typical budget was blown. Some of the items that I purchased full price for $3-5, were $1-3 just one week later.
By understanding the sales cycles, holding onto your coupons until the loss leader prices come around, and then pairing the coupons with the rock bottom prices to stock up, hundreds of dollars a month are freed up into cold, hard cash. Some of you aren’t up for clipping and organizing coupons yet, well I have begun highlighting coupons to print a few times throughout the week. Start there. I know the sales cycle enough to understand what coupons will soon be loss leaders. 75% of the ones I highlighted, I have already used.
Pictured in this post is a perfect example of a typical stock pile grocery trip for me, so let’s walk through it and see if it makes sense. Poptarts are a child’s dream treat which I “never” buy, unless I get them for free, which I did. Trust me, this is one way to get to my teen boys heart…;) Our kids will enjoy these while they last because they know I won’t buy them again unless a deal like this comes around. Delayed gratification is one of the building blocks of stockpiling and has been a great life lesson for the kids.
Nationwide, Kellogg’s is running their big back to school promotion which is typical this time of year. For about one month, there is a BUY 10 Kellogg’s products, receive $10 (OYNP – on your next purchase.). Most of these kind of deals are advertised once (when the products are NOT on sale), but then never mentioned again, and that is the problem. People forget and then NO WHERE in the store is this extra Catalina deal mentioned. Unless you read a blog like mine that reminds you, or you save old sales fliers, most shoppers will miss out on free food.
Often deals like this are very specific. Since all ten products need to be in one purchase, I did my first days transaction of 4 boxes of Poptarts, and 6 boxes of cereal. I had coupons for six out of the ten items. My total for those ten items after coupons was $8 OOP (out of pocket), but I received a $10 Catalina Coupon for my next order, so basically, all items were free with $2 to spend on my next order.
The next day, I shopped and bought six boxes of Poptarts (yes, I know they are full of preservatives and horrible for you, but with five children, these are a treat every once in awhile) and four boxes of Cereal with coupons for six of the items, again, making it nearly free, PLUS I used the $10 Catalina from the previous shopping trip and received ANOTHER ten dollar catalina which I will use tomorrow. I keep rolling the $10 Catalina. Tomorrow, I will stock up on more cereal, but this time some Cereal Bars for quick snacks.
My goal is to always have at least ten boxes of cereal in my stockpile at all time. My price point is to never pay more than $0.75 for cereal, but I will average between $0.25-0.50 on these boxes. I recommend new couponers shoot for $1.
I am able to get items nearly free with my coupons, but even if you don’t have any coupons cut, there are often deals to be had by stocking up on the loss leaders. This week, those Poptarts are on sale for only $1.09 at Harris Teeter. If you were to purchase ten boxes of Poptarts, your total OOP would be $11, BUT you would receive a $10 Catalina Coupon good for your next purchase, so in reality, you paid ten cents a box with no coupon cutting at all. Is that clear as mud?
When I wrote the post, “Are Coupons Worth It?” (please read that first for a complete understanding,) I detailed the statistics of how, when and where coupons are beneficial.
Coupons are only beneficial 8% of of the time. Yes, you read that right. 92% of the time, coupons are NOT worth it, but this is a prime example of that 8%. Obviously, this is not all we will eat this week, but it’s a shopping trip I took to specifically stock pile on Kellogg’s products.
While I was there, I also took advantage of some more peaches, marked down produce, marked down Organic Chicken and three marked down roasts. You know I love saving money on meats. Scroll up to the first picture and notice all that I purchased. The total out of pocket cost for all of this food was only $30, PLUS I have a $10 Catalina Coupon to use tomorrow.
Real Cost? $20 for basically the fruit, meat, butter and bagels. Yes, this works for me!
Have I peaked your interest into the world of Stock piling?
In my next stockpiling post, I will share a list of items that area MUST for stock piling such as deodorant and toothpaste, cover some of the common misconceptions, as well as how you can stockpile in a small space.
This is just brushing the surface, and I have lots more to share, but I’d love to answer any questions that you might have in the comments.