My biggest challenge starting out was knowing what a “deal” was. I have to admit, I really never paid much attention to prices on groceries and household items before, because I needed them and that was that. I didn’t splurge. I didn’t buy unnecessary items. I was a “get in and get out” kind of girl.
I did all of my shopping at Wal-Mart because I assumed they had the best prices. I learned fairly early on that this isn’t always the case. Here are a few things I learned about Wal-Mart:
• Their “everyday” price is usually lower than a grocery or drug store’s normal price.
• But it’s higher than a grocery or drug store’s sale price.
The first thing I did to start determining if something was a good deal was to document Wal-Mart’s price on everything I spent for 2-3 shopping trips. Since we tend to buy the same things each trip, 2-3 trips gave a good baseline. I did this using an Excel spreadsheet, and I created different “sheets” in the same document for different categories (dry goods, dairy, freezer, meats, etc.).
Now, if you’re not an organized person and cannot see yourself doing that, just make a list of the items you find yourself buying most frequently.
(*Important note! Be sure and note the quantities of the packages! They can vary from store to store!)
Why is it important to get a baseline for the items you regularly purchase?
Because one day I saw a coupon for a can of soup in a Walgreens sale ad, on sale for $0.69. I cut out the coupon and went into Walgreens, but I completely forgot to buy that can of soup. My next trip to Wal-Mart, I saw that that same can of soup was $0.58 – not on sale. Lesson learned: not every “coupon” or “sale” is a great deal. Some of it is just old-fashioned advertising.
Bottom line: educate yourself on what you would typically spend on the items you buy the most. That way so you can keep your eye out for the “deals.”