Do you want to save a few hundred dollars a year? Well, I think a better question is, who wouldn't want to?
Most of us want to save more money, but many people don't care to sift through flyers and look for sales due to the time and effort it takes to do so. However, I'd argue that neglecting to do this can be costing you hundreds of dollars a year.
Is it worth it to skip the flyers and just pay full price? I'd argue no, and here's why.
Shopping for items when they're on sale can save you a few hundreds of dollars per year on your groceries. This estimate is based off of a single person's grocery expenses, so the potential is there to save even more - depending on how much you buy.
In this post, we're going to dive in to some of the ways you can start to see the benefits of sale shopping in your own life, and also go over a real life example of just how this money adds up in your pocket.
1. Many Items Go on Sale
It sounds obvious, but it's worth stating - many items at grocery stores go on sale at one time or another. Some items tend to go on sale at certain times, but it really can be as simple and straightforward as checking weekly flyers to see what is on sale for the upcoming week.
One of my favorite apps for this is Flipp, a very helpful app that allows you to view flyers online, save items, and make a list of items you need. I would highly recommend it if you are someone who would rather organize this on your devices instead of sifting through paper copies.
Now, if an item is on sale and its not the brand you usually purchase, you really have two options: buy this other brand, or wait and hope that the brand of your choice will go on sale soon. This is where doing this on a weekly basis comes in handy, as you will become familiar with sale routines and "regular" sale items. However, chances are that the item(s) you're looking to buy in the brand of your choosing will be on sale at one store or another in the near future.
Keeping an eye on different stores and sale patterns can be a very helpful way to manage sale purchases and ensure that you're getting everything you need for a good deal. Especially while you're starting out, checking a few different stores' flyers can really help you dive deep into this process, learn a TON that will save you a TON, and feel confident in your sale shopping abilities!
2. Bulk Buying on Sale = More for Less
SO many items can be bought in bulk, and if you're not doing this, you're missing out on a TON of savings for the following reasons:
even at regular price, buying a bigger package/bulk quantity of an item is most often cheaper than a smaller quantity
bulk buying a sale item can be a GAME CHANGER with the amount of savings you can score
For example, lets say that the pack of granola bars which you buy on a weekly basis is regularly $4, but is on sale one week for $3. For each box you buy, as long as you will eat them by the expiry date, is actually saving $1. So, lets say you buy 5 boxes - great, you've saved $5. But that's only one product.
If you can find almost ALL of your items on sale and stock up on them when they are, imagine the total savings in one week, two weeks, a few months, an entire year...
The most important thing to keep in mind when you're considering a bulk purchase is to ensure that the item will last, if there is a date that it is "best before". That being said, bulk buying fresh items while they're on sale is not out of the question as long as you properly freeze it to make it last much longer.
3. Utilize Sales & Rewards Programs
Many stores offer really great rewards programs that provide points or rewards for being a "regular" shopper there. For example, a store might reward you with a certain amount of points if you spend over a certain amount of money at their store, on a specific item, etc.
Points and rewards programs are a great savings opportunity as long as the following are considered:
you regularly shop at the store and therefore will be able to utilize the rewards without having to make a "just because" purchase
you're not purchasing items you don't need just to get the points (ex: adding items on to get to the required purchase amount; if you do get into a situation where you need to do this, think bulk-buys that will last rather than random items)
you're not purchasing items that are more expensive at this store than another store (ex: full price where another store is offering it on sale)
Points and rewards programs are usually AMAZING savings opportunities, and it feels great to be rewarded for buying well-priced items that you need to buy anyways. However, but do be wise with them!
4. Generic Brands On Sale = The Ultimate Jackpot
Generic brands are an absolute GAME CHANGER. Many times their regular price is close to or even cheaper than a brand name's sale price. So when generic brand items go on sale, they are usually quite cheaply priced.
For example, as I'm writing this post I am doing calculations of various items to see the difference in savings, and here's the most impressive one I noticed today. An item that was $1 per 100 ML for the brand name was less than $0.30 per 100 ML of the generic brand on sale. That is a HUGE savings, and only one example!
From personal experience, most generic brand items have been no lower in taste or quality than brand name items, and in turn were absolutely amazing deals. However I do caution you to be wise about this in the case that you or your family has a love for a specific item. While for most items the brand name won't make or break it, the last thing you want is to end up wasting a product and re-buying the brand name.
And if you are specific about the products you buy, don't sweat it - read reviews, read ingredient lists, do whatever you need to do to ensure you have the research you need before buying!
5. Store vs. Store Sale Comparisons
Comparing sales between stores is another helpful way to ensure you are getting the best deal on an item. Some stores' sale prices are another store's regular price, so take a good look around.
I would highly recommend shopping around at a few stores to get the best deals. That being said, you can still achieve great savings without doing that. Check out a few stores' weekly flyers and compare it to what you need to buy - consider the store that has the most savings in line with your needed items. Cha-ching.
As well, some stores regularly place certain items on sale whereas other stores don't. The more you regularly look at weekly flyers and shop around, the more you get to know different things like these and can feel more comfortable with your deal seeking routine!
6. Getting to Know Store Sale Routines
This ties in greatly with the last point, but this is more specifically in regards to getting to know a single store's sale routine. If you really love one store (or are closest to one store, or for whatever reason prefer to shop at one store), get to know it really well.
Get to know the sale procedures, make note of regular sale items and prices, research any points/rewards programs, join their e-mail list, check out their weekly flyers, and really make the most of all the information you can soak up about the store. After all, if you're going to be spending thousands of dollars there a year on groceries, you should be as informed as you can be about that place!
This way, you can get to know what is considered a good deal at that store, and what is not. It also gives you a chance to learn what items usually go on sale and might be worth waiting for a sale on, and which items don't usually go on sale and might need to be a bit of a "splurge" item. Again, the more you do this, the more you'll get a feel for it.
7. Price Match
Price matching can be another wonderful, often missed opportunity to save on items.
Many stores do offer price match, which makes it much more straightforward to save on more items without going from store to store. If you're only looking to go to one store rather than a bunch, making "your store" be one that offers price match is a golden idea.
If you're not sure what stores near you offer price matching, Google is a great tool for figuring it out. There are many websites which offer lists of stores by area that offer this service, and is a great place to start.
Again, doing your research, checking out weekly flyers, and keeping an eye on sales are great starts to the whole process of learning what each store is about and who offers what services to its customers.
8. An In-Depth Example
I understand how intimidating, time consuming, and minor it can seem to save a few dollars on an item at the store. But I believe in the difference it can make over time, because I've seen it. So, I wanted to share this example to show that even a few dollars each week can add up to big savings over the course of the year.
Let's say you are buying for one (yourself), and typically buy 15 items at the grocery store each week. Let's say that those full-price, brand name items total up to cost about $60. This averages out to $4 per item.
Now let's say that you switch to shopping sales and generic brand items (or whichever is the better deal of the two). Say you can find, on average, each item for 25% off. Maybe some are more, maybe some less, but averaging out to be 25% off of your groceries. Your average $4/item is now $3/item. Multiply that by your 15 items, and your $60/week grocery purchase is now down to $45/week.
Now, let's say you can keep this up for the year - shopping sales, buying generic brands, buying in bulk when you can. Your $15/week savings quickly turns in to about $780 a year. Again, that is ONLY based off of a 25% weekly savings.
If you're using these methods, I've seen first hand that you can save much more than 25%. This is also only based off of a single person, so if you're buying for 2, 3, 4, 5, or more people - imagine what you could be saving in a year!
In fact, the thing that inspired this post was putting together a grocery order, and then switching some items out for generic brands / sale items, and buying in bulk...and then seeing the savings that resulted. I couldn't think of anything more exciting to do than to encourage you to do the same!
Feel free to utilize our free printables including a grocery list, meal planner, freezer meal log, and more to get you started :)