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’ll run – before they run. That helps because you can look for manufacturer coupons to match to the sale items and capitalize on the sales – the real sales.
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” (several food items they put on a 3-4 day sale and the items are actually less than what THEY pay for the items) because they know that once they get a potential customer into their establishment, that person will almost always buy more food items and they make up the difference with the additional items. The next tip that you will find very useful is how to use “Loss Leaders” to your own benefit. This one takes willpower.
You can beat supermarket managers at their own game by purchasing ONLY the items offered in a “Loss Leader” (when the item(s) match your menu), matching manufacturer coupons from rewards programs with sales cycle prices, and using a credit card that provides either cash back or points, and then leave the store.
Additionally, most grocery stores offer weekly specials and rotational sales. When you learn their sales cycle, you can match the sales item(s) with manufacturer coupons (that you printed or uploaded from a rewards program), and pay with a credit card that provides either cash back or points.
Many stores will match an offer of their competitor if their price is higher because they want to keep you at their store, provided that you have a copy of the sales flyer of their competitor to confirm that the price really is cheaper. This helps you, too, because you might be able to eliminate stopping at a different store. Do your homework before leaving home. Also, save yourself some time by finding out which stores will match and which will not before you go to any store. The store might not match a “loss leader”; however, it pays to inquire.
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, spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, etc.
NOTE: you can keep brown sugar much longer if you store it in a glass jar (recycle your jars), put 2 sheets of plastic wrap over the top before screwing on the cap, and store the jar of brown sugar away from the sun, in a cool place and it will last for months.
Thanksgiving is a great time to get turkeys (get one for the holiday and freeze another one), brown sugar, some seasonings, confectioners sugar, canned pumpkin, fresh cranberries, etc.
This is one holiday that I rarely see items on sale after the holiday, so I always get any extras on Thanksgiving Day.
Cinco de Mayo (even those most Mexicans do NOT celebrate this holiday, we do in the United States on “behalf of Mexicans”) is a great holiday to get avocados, dried pinto beans to make your own refried beans. Check out recipes that I learned from a dear friend (Francisco Jimenez, was from Yahualica, Jalisco, Mexico) friend years ago for Refried Beans, Guacamole, Horchata (rice drink), and Huevos Rancheros.
Valentine’s Day is great for RED pancake mixes, quick bread mixes, etc.
St. Paddy’s Day: excellent time to get green cabbage at rock bottom price. 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. I also love corned beef, so I buy one for St. Paddy’s day and one to freeze for later in the year because the prices are the lowest they will be for corned beef all year.
- 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!
- Winter squashes last for months. Get them when the price is the lowest.
- Stock up on “super foods” such as cabbage, cranberries, watermelon, oranges, apples, strawberries, etc., when they are in season.
If a store runs out of a sales product, unless it is advertised that there will be no rain checks, you can ask for a rain check (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.
Other GOTCHAs to watch for:
- Get 10 for $10
- Buy 2 get 1 Free
- Less than half price
Supermarket managers know that people tend to acquiesce to “call to action” sales. Most people will automatically get all 10 items when they see a “get 10 for $10”; however, most often, you do not need to buy all 10 (watch the sales “fine print” closely to be sure).
Even sneakier is when they tell you to “Mix and Match – get 10 items for $10” because some of the items that can be “mixed” cost LESS than $1 regularly!!!
Again – if you know what the regular prices are, you will be able to mix and match all the items that normally cost more than $1 and take advantage of the sale.
It is a fair guess that you have heard about the tip to look high or low on supermarket shelves for the best prices. I find that more often, the best prices are on the bottom shelves. Brand name items are usually in the middle shelves – where it is easier for people to see without looking up high or down low. My guess for that reason is some people might not be able to reach the items on the top shelf and everyone can reach items on the bottom shelves.
Some supermarkets provide senior discounts on certain days of the week and usually only with a minimum purchase. That works for me because I plan for Mondays, particularly around when I know their sales cycle will be running.
Take advantage of rebates. When you combine sales with coupons and coupon codes along with rebates, it is possible to make money on products! This only works if you use the products that you purchase. There is no sense in buying a product that you will not use. Rebates can be found on the websites of the manufacturers (in promotions), store displays, customer service counters, in some weekly sales circulars, and sometimes are printed on Catalina coupons (those nifty slips that print with your receipt
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, Part 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.
TAKE ACTION, Part 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. Submit a comment detailing how many sales tags you looked under and how many prices underneath were more than the sale tag (meaning was the sales tag a real sales).