Thursday, July 29, 2010

Before you Shop

Dear Big Giant Enormous Grocery Store Chains,

I'm on to you; I know that you intentionally put your milk and eggs all the way in the back of the store to make me have to go by absolutely everything on my way to the necessity items that I have to have in my house. As I think about it, Publix keeps them in the back left corner of the store, Kroger in the back middle for milk and back left for eggs, Food Lion in the back middle. Wow, they were talking about this on the Today show yesterday and I had no idea. Now, don't get me wrong I remember studying the marketing strategies that stores use in college and I remember the placement on the shelves, the impulse buy items that are there when you check out, but it never occurred to me that when we are out of milk and my husband and kids are in the car, I am jogging all the way to the back of the store to get a quick necessary item. Thankfully I normally have my running shoes on in these situations, and I literally jog to the back corner of the store with my small green basket, but that just irks me that this is a ploy to get me to spend more money. Well guess what Publix, I've got your number!



Now that you are aware of that too, take notice of store placement, and the other gimmicks that are set by the highly paid marketing executives of these chains to help that money come out of your wallet a little more quickly. Here are a few things to do and know before you do your weekly shopping:

1. Always buy the Sunday paper and clip the coupons, you are buying the items anyway - it's free money
2. Browse the weekly ads, usually you can get most of them in the Sunday paper, but any that you don't have are readily available online
3. Take an inventory of your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This is a good way to control wastefully spending on something you already have or it helps you to use those items that might be expiring soon
4. Create a menu for the week based on the food in your house and the sale items in the weekly ads
5. Go through your coupons and see if there are any items that you have coupons for that are also on sale (Double Bonus)
6. Make your list and check it twice; by this I mean go back through your menu recipes and make sure that you have everything you need on your list or in your house, you don't want to go to try to cook the meal only to find out that you are missing an ingredient. Rest assured this has happened in our house many times, and somehow we always end up eating out on those nights.
7. Know your grocery budget for the week; Go to the ATM and only withdrawal that amount. If you are strong enough, only bring the cash into the store with you, that way you will be forced to stick to your budget. No running out to the car for that wallet with the credit cards!

I can tell you that as I breeze through the Publix ad that we will be having homemade pizza for dinner once this week, with the cheese at $2.00 for the bag, sauce at $0.75, and dough at $1.79, that could easily feed the whole family for $4.54; but you know that I am a Farmer's Market pizza dough advocate so my pizza dinner will probably cost more like $4.75 this week. And here's the other bonus, I normally look for my toppings from leftover items from my other planned meals, for instance tomatoes are on sale this week so I am bound to include them in something I cook, so I definitely have leftover tomato and I already know that there is ½ of a green pepper in the fridge.

Now just from looking through the ads this week, I will most likely be visiting 2 different grocery stores to get the most for my money this week. With all the back to school savings and sales that are starting, I will be stocking up on those sale items that I also have coupons for. I also only need one package of diapers this week which leaves me with $100.00 for my grocery shopping.

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