Today’s Lesson is : Retraining your brain.
For most people one of two things happens at the grocery store:
1. They go in with absolutely NO plan or list and wander the aisles dropping things into their cart as they go (which is EXACTLY what the stores want them to do!). They get to check out and are like “WHAT? $97.65? What did I buy?” as they look at their measly two bags of purchases.
2. They go in with a list that looks like this:
Again, this shopper went in with a short list of items but had NO idea what they would spend! Even if they brought coupons with them and knew that they would get the pasta for $0.25- they had no clue what the final total would be. And that is a big mistake.
BUT a serious strategic couponer’s list looks like this:
Notice the Final price listed is $30.57. Guess what this is one of my ACTUAL grocery lists!
See how crazy my list looks? Eggs, Coke, Pineapple, lip balm. Not much that could make an actual meal. That is because I ONLY purchase items that are on sale AND I have a coupon for them (in most cases). Each week I add to my stockpile of items. One week it might be canned pineapples and salsas. The next week is frozen veggies and chicken.
You have to change how you think about grocery shopping. Instead of shopping for what you want to cook that week; you want to shop based on what is on sale and what you need.
This takes TIME and patience. You will not be able to shop sales 100% of the time for at least 2 months…but you slowly get there. each week add the free and super cheap items to your list. But don’t just buy 1- if you have 3 coupons- buy 3. If it is something you family ADORES and you can get it 75% off buy as many as you can get coupons for!
So here is what your mindset NEEDS to be:
- I will only buy it if it meets one of these criteria: I NEED it (like TP), it is on sale & I have a coupon, it is on sale for more then 50% off its regular price,or it is a special occasion (like your child’s birthday and they REALLY want those overpriced chips for their cookout dinner- but even then with planning you could already have them on hand and have paid less!)
- I want to reduce my spending by half and I can do it.
- I will be patient and not be discouraged if I am not saving 90% each trip!
So here are some steps for changing HOW you think about grocery shopping:
1. Be patient if you are just starting out, it takes time.
2. Make a list of MUST HAVES for your house (these will be the items you will buy multiples when they go on sale and hit your stock up price (more on that later). If your family LOVES pasta- then that goes on your list. If they MUST HAVE PB&Js for lunch- PB and jelly goes into that list.
3. Know that your grocery bill may be a tad bit higher for the first month or so- don’t be discouraged! That is because you are shopping the OLD way AND the NEW way all in 1 trip! You can minimize this by reducing your “old” list to as short/small as you can.
4. Change your thinking about brand loyalty. Sure you’ve always used that brand of peanut butter or crackers or whatever- but if you could pay 50% LESS for the same quality, same amount couldn’t you change brands? Somethings you won’t and that is ok- in my house A.1. Steak Sauce MUST BE A.1. brand- but guess what- I ALWAYS have it on hand and pay 50% or less then regular price! We’ll learn how to do that together.
Ok, so start re-training your brain when it comes to grocery shopping.