Monday, March 12, 2012

Thrifty Time

In this economic time, we are all needing to pinch a penny to make it by. My food budget went from $400 a month to $200 a month, and I was still struggling. So, I decided to take a look at what I could do to get the most out of my dollar. I figured you should now this stuff too. If I'm hurting, a lot of you are too.

Now, I know I posted this one before, but Grocery Guide has your weekly ads online. No more going through the ones that come in the mail every week. I just pull up this website, type in my zip code, and boom! I'm good to go. Now I will note that not all the ads are up. For example, in Clearfield Utah, there is this store called Kent's that I love for the price, but hate for the distance from my apartment. It sucks too because they don't have Kents' add on their website So I had to contact the Post Office to reestablish my weekly ads just to get this one store. As you can imagine, I wasn't thirled with that.

Anyways, I use this site to check out their ads, see what's on sale that I need, and after writing them down, I give them to my husband. He plugs them into a spreadsheet with all the quotations, and figuring and what not. I wind up with two sheets. Sheet one is what's on sale, where, what the price is, and what unit that price is for, (like lbs or each or whatever). On sheet two, I have how much I can get of each, how much they should run at the register, and what the total for everything is. I take the lists to my local Walmart and do a "price match" on EVERYTHING.

Here's some stuff to keep in mind. Warn your cashier that you are price matching before hand. I like to do it right as I get there so they are prepared. Second, keep your price matched goods and regular price items separate. I used to be a cashier at Walmart for about a year, and they are always talking about IPH. That's Items Per Hour scanned. The faster they go, the better off they are. Price matching takes a minute to complete, and when they can go faster and get you out of line, they will. Third, make sure you know 100% for sure the dates the sale ends along with the store they come from. They will turn you down if it's not within the the dates of the sale.

Fourth, be prepared to get a manager (CSS/CSM: Customer Service Supervisor/Manager) called over if the item is more than half off, if it's more that $5 off their price, or it's anything non-grocery like bedding. They will grab their big book of ads and check that you're not just making up prices. You'd be suprised how often someone tries to pull a price out of their ear. Did I mention you can't just name a price off the shelf? That is has to be printed in a circular? There's that too. Next, some Walmarts are picky. If they store you are matching is not within so many miles of you, or there is another Walmart closer, they can, will, and have said no. Ask them straight up if they price match to your store if you are not sure. One example of this for ya: When I cashiered at the Orem Utah Walmart, they told us straight up that we could not price match to Allen's Market, and that they would have to go to Lindon (about 20-30 mintues further north) to get that price. That makes sense though, because when I transfered to Lindon, I found that Allen's market was right up the street, and they didn't even mail ads within the Orem zip codes.Finally, don't fall for the Gimmick. Walmart will say "No Gimmick Pricing" which means no 30% off or 2-for-1 deals. If it's a percent off, go to the store that originally posted that price and buy it. If it's a 2-for deal, just say the price that it would be. And please DO NOT mention you have to have your club card, or Fresh Market card to get that price. They will turn you down flat. Also, you can't price match off a website, even Walmart's website so keep that in mind.

Now, I'm not a fan of Walmart's tactics to get their low prices, (I will say more on this later), but I do need to feed my family so it's a give and take. As a disclaimer, Walmart is NOT paying me to post this information (but they should, hehe). I'm just giving you the information, and you can choose to use it however you want.

Okay, moving on. I know this is a long post, so I will try to keep the next part quick. is a great site for the bargain hunter in us all. I'm not thrilled with the fact that you have to install a program on your computer in order to use this site though. After I'm done, I usually run a virus check and/or remove the program just to be safe. I'm paranoid like that. They have VERY specific deals most of the time, like Nature Valley B6 vitamins. I tried using it on other kinds from the same company, and I was turned down. Lately though they have between 75 cents and a dollar off of cheese and milk by the gallon. Any brand too. I think the cheese has to be at least 2 lbs, but that' the size I like to get. I do likes my cheese. So after you price match that milk down to $1.99, throw in a coupon too. I have gotten gallons of milk for 99 cents before.

And you know those coupons that put on the bags of food in the store? Take them. Even if they're not on the bag that you are buying. If it matches the coupon, you are golden. I have used a bag coupon, an in-store coupon (one from those machines on the shelf that pop out a new coupon after you take one), and a price match before. They wound up paying me money for that. A lot of people will put a coupon on the shelf if they've found a better deal, it's about to expire, or they can't use it for whatever reason, so watch out for that kind of thing too. Plus, check your Sunday paper. A lot of papers will allow you to subscribe to just the Sunday or Weekend Edition for a reduced rate. Sites like will often have people posting coupons that they didn't need. (More on freecycle later, I promise). You can potentially bring your grocery price down from $100 to $75 or even less. Also, even if it has a logo from another store on it, check for "Manufacturer's Coupon" on your coupon. It should be listed in a banner, usually on the top, and usually in yellow. If the manufacturer, and not the store listed it, they will take it at any store. You might have to point that out though if they cashier is ignorant of that fact.

Well, that's enough for now. I will save my other pearls for later. Keep checking back. My mother was frugal, and growing up that way, I have a lot of pearls to share. Please let me know how I have helped. I'd be interested to find out. ENJOY!


  1. Would you be willing to post which items you are getting for what cost as a regular feature?

  2. Sure. So I went to Walmart to buy cheese. A two pound loaf of medium cheddar would cost about $12.00 (give or take 50 cents) at Walmart. I price matched it to Kent's for $4.99. Then I used a coupon for $2.00. I saved over 80%, and walked away with cheese for $2.99. That's less than half the price of a one-pound block.