Thoughtful Spending: Grocery Store Sales

When we started feeding my allergy kid, we spent a small fortune on groceries. It was so expensive that my husband and I tried to feed her the "good stuff" and us the "regular" food. There were two problems with that method: first, it gets confusing to remember who's eating what (and dangerous when outsiders come in your house to babysit), and second, once you start to learn why the good stuff is good, you don't want the other stuff.

So what were we to do? I got serious about the grocery shopping. Unfortunately, where I shopped and the food I was buying didn't have many coupons. They weren't a good solution for me. Then I remembered the age old secret to grocery shopping: there are sale cycles. If I could figure out the sale cycles, I could stock up on some products that were on firehouse sales! Since the prepared foods tend to be most expensive, I focused my time on the them.

For example, Nature's path cereal is usually almost $5 a box here. I kept buying one box a shopping trip until finally I saw a sale. I stocked up with boxes of cereal for $3 a box! Like we've discussed before, this meant I had a huge expense in cereal that month, but it was okay for my style of budgeting. Likewise, Annie's bunnies (the big box) goes on sale for $3 a box, compared to it's normal $4.19 a box. I stock up on the bunnies! I've figured out that these products go on their lowest sale price about every 12 weeks.

Other sales are weekly: my Whole Foods has a buy-one-get-one pizza sale every Tuesday. While I'm not huge on prepared pizzas, they make my daughter excited because she feels she's eating like everybody else.

Some sales are seasonal: On grilling holidays, stores like Whole Foods will offer a coupon for meats. For example, if you buy $40 in meat, then you can save $10.

If you get to know your sale cycles, you can save a bunch of money! Pay attention, though: often times, stores will tempt you with pre-sales. Example: the bunnies may go on sale for $3.89 a few weeks before they drop down to 2 for $6. Oh, and you know you don't have to buy two for the price, right? Just one box will ring up at $3. Buy one get one free, though, won't; you need to buy two for the savings.

The other good option: if you're two busy, tired, bored to do this sale study, you can always just hop onto Amazon. The corn flakes turn out to be $3.70 a box and the bunnies are $3.82. Both of these prices are less than Whole Foods' prices so you'd still be ahead of the game. Just make sure you have the space to store them!

Check out your local stores to find out their sale schedules!

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