After you have learned the rotation of sales cycles for items that you normally use (by working with your Price Book), you will be able to anticipate when they will run. By using this tip, you can look for manufacturers’ coupons to match to the items you will get when the sales run. This is a perfect time to stock up your pantry.
A study published by Marketing Science Institute stated that many shoppers who stop off at a grocery store “just to pick up 1-2 items” usually purchase 54% more than they had planned. Supermarket managers bank on that concept.
In fact, they gamble by using “Loss Leaders”. Loss Leaders are products that they put on sale for 3 or 4 days and charge less than the store pays for those items. The reason managers use Loss Leaders is because they know that once a customer enters their store, that person will almost always buy more food items than just those on sale. Those extra items will cover their Loss Leaders.
You can beat supermarket managers at their own game by purchasing ONLY the Loss Leader items that match your menu and then leave the store.
Take it one step farther and match manufacturer coupons from rewards programs with sales cycle prices.
Take it another step farther and use a credit card that pays double points for buying food at grocery stores and supermarkets.
As you know, supermarkets have a huge variety of products to sell. One way for them to move those items off their shelves is by rotating sales for those items. The rotations are normally every 12 – 15 weeks. By using a Price Book, you will learn the rotation of the items that you normally use. By knowing that information, you can watch for manufacture coupons to match with those sale items to increase your savings.
Compound your savings by paying with a credit card that provides either cash back or double reward points for purchases in grocery stores and supermarkets to increase your savings even more.
Do your homework before you leave home. Keep in mind psychographics. Sometimes a 10 for $10 sale is not worth it when you calculate the unit price. Many times, when I calculated the unit price of items I normally use that were included in those 10 for $10 sales, I discovered that the items I used were either the exact same price as normal or even a little higher. Store managers know that many people are primed to think that “10 for $10” means a great deal.
Some stores will match their competitor’s prices if their prices are higher than their competitor. They want to keep you at their store. You will have to provide a sales flyer from their competitor to confirm that the competitor’s price(s) really is(are) cheaper. This also helps you because you might be able to eliminate stopping at different stores. Just do your homework before leaving home.
If a store runs out of a sales product, unless it is advertised that there will be no rainchecks, you can ask for a raincheck (usually good for up to 90 days after the sale). By doing that, you will still can get the products they sold out of at the sale price.
Set task reminders so you are on the lookout for those sales and then to match up coupons. I also include the website links in the task reminders that I set for myself.
Another “thinking out of the box” way of thinking is to learn what drives your favorite stores to offer sales. You probably know that stores track your buying habits through their loyalty programs. Another source where store managers get their information is from credit card companies that provide dynamics of purchases they make at all stores. For example, before hurricanes and snowstorms, Walmart surprisingly discovered that Pop-Tarts and beer sold significantly more than flashlights and other emergency items! Revelations such as that let them begin to “predict” what would sell the most, which let them capitalize on that by increasing their stock of toaster pastry-type items and beer, and then putting those items on sale! Knowledge such as that catapulted Walmart in front of other stores.
So, with this knowledge, two can play that game! In the above example, those type of sales are not a regular rotation-type sale. You can use the same philosophy by watching the kinds of items that go on sale before potential nasty storms and also prior to holidays. By doing that, you can look for manufacturers’ coupons for those types of items. You can almost always combine store sales with manufacturer coupons.
Holidays are another great time to stock up on items at great prices. Better yet: immediately after a holiday is a great time to buy those items when merchants clear their shelves of holiday stuff to make room for new inventory.
- Halloween is a great time to get fresh pumpkins, canned pumpkins, brown sugar, ORANGE-colored pancake and bread mixes, spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, etc.
- Thanksgiving is a great time to get turkeys (get one for the holiday and freeze another one for later), brown sugar, some seasonings, confectioners’ sugar, canned pumpkin, fresh cranberries, etc.
- Thanksgiving is one holiday that I rarely see items on sale after the holiday. Therefore, it the items you want are a good deal, get them before Thanksgiving.
NOTE: you can keep brown sugar much longer if you put the plastic bag that the brown sugar comes in inside a re-sealable bag. If I get enough brown sugar to last for an entire year, I put that in a 2nd re-sealable bag, just to be on the safe side. By doing that, the brown sugar stays soft all year long. Be sure to store the brown sugar out of sunlight.
- Cinco de Mayo: Even though most Mexicans do not celebrate this holiday, we do in the United States. It is a great time to find sale prices on avocados, corn tortillas, rice (to make Horchata), and dried pinto beans (to make your own refried beans).
- Valentine’s Day: the day after Valentine’s Day is great for getting RED pancake mixes, quick bread mixes, etc. If you really must match red food items with a holiday, hold it until July 4th. If I can get a mix that normally costs $2 before a holiday for $0.25 after the holiday, I do not care what color it is.
NOTE: you can prevent bugs from growing in any mix that has flour as an ingredient by stashing it in your freezer for at least 3 weeks. After that, you can put it on your pantry cupboard and use it months later with no concern about bugs. By the way, all grains have weevil larvae in the packages. That is why many times that you bought flour or mixes when they were on sale, only to find bugs in them when you were ready to use them.
- St. Patrick’s Day: great time to get green cabbage and corned beef at rock bottom price one or two days immediately before the holiday. I do not like cooked cabbage but I love cabbage salad, so I make a point of making cabbage salad around this time of year. If you like corned beef, get an extra one and put it in your freezer. Also, any GREEN-colored pancake or bread mixes will be significantly slashed immediately after the holiday.
- Summer, when raspberries, blackberries, blueberries are in season, when the prices are the lowest, get several and freeze the berries. Fresh fruit cobbler tastes GREAT in the winter!
- Some supermarkets provide senior discounts on certain days of the week and usually only with a minimum purchase (sometimes not including sale-priced items). That works for me because I just schedule the day that I will shop at that store for the day that the store offers the senior discount.
Did I miss any tips? Do you know other tips that are available? If so, please leave a comment so your tips can be shared with others.
TAKE ACTION #1: After you have worked with your price book for two months, take a trip to a supermarket and look at the items that you normally get and prove to yourself that you will automatically know the regular prices.
#2: Make a point of lifting up the BRIGHT YELLOW sales tags and see for yourself how many items have the exact same price underneath as that which shows up on the yellow sales tag.