Pinching pennies shopping takes some time. As you learn everyday prices, you will know which stores to go to for certain items. If coupons aren’t your thing or you are looking to save even more money, some simple math can save you money in the long run.
After you’ve taken the proper steps in penny pinching on your groceries, you might wonder if there’s something else that you can do to further savings. At first I laughed when I saw my Mom take out her calculator to figure out how much each diaper was to figure out the best place to buy diapers, but then it became a way to add more money back into my budget. This freed up spending for other areas so I began to whip out my calculator to figure out the best prices.
Do not be misled into thinking that buying a smaller package is the cheapest way to go. You more often than not pay more per oz or pound in that packaging than if you bought a larger pack of the same item. I figured out early on that while the 1/2 gallons of milk were cheaper so could go within my budgeted grocery budget that week, I would always need to buy a second, which would exceed the price of had I just purchased a gallon of milk from the start. Not to mention the gas money I would save from not having to make another trip to the store.
At Wal-mart, I looked at three sizes of Lucky Charms. The smallest size was on sale and I was trying to figure out the best way to spend my money. I did the math on all three sizes and found it was cheaper per oz of cereal to purchase the great big box over getting the smaller boxes that were on sale. Then adding $1 coupon to it took the price even further down, it was a no brainer. The same held true to buy a great big name-brand bag of fish sticks than to go with the Great Value Walmart brand that was about 1/6 of the size of the big box. This was a surprise as you assume it’s always cheaper to buy generic over name-brand, which is why it is a good idea to figure out the price per unit to figure out which brand is the better buy.
However, the only time to go with the smaller serving is if it is an item you foresee not using before it expires, such as milk. If you only use milk occasionally, it might be in your best interest to just get the 1/2 gallon or even a pint versus throwing money away on pouring expired milk down the sink. Sometimes the coupons you have specify the smaller size, which also might make it the better deal to go with over buying a larger package. When in doubt, do the math.
If you aren’t a stickler for name-brand, go generic. There is no sense in paying $1 more for the same size bag of chips if you can’t tell a difference. This way that $1 saved can be used to other needs and necessities, or can be moved to the entertainment budget. If your entertainment budget is $1, you might quickly figure out you would prefer to go out to dinner once a month or go see a movie or two over having name-brand food items.
Don’t get sucked into buying more than you need to qualify for a free item. Many people buy $25 worth of participating products to get a free item, not paying attention to the fact that the items are full price. If you have to buy a lot of one product and you don’t use it by the expiration date, you waste money. You also might be upset if you get a $5 item for free, but find that you could’ve saved $6 on those same products if you had shopped at another store. Though more than likely you would’ve saved more because instead of buying $25 worth of the qualifying products, you may have actually only needed to buy $15 worth.
Always use your instincts when it comes to finding the best deal. Do the math, figure out where the best prices for the items you need are, and add coupons when necessary and you will quickly find the best deal on everyday goods. You will also find you save enough money to go out to buy electronics, eat at restaurants, shop at the mall, or participate in online shopping.