If you are new to this series you may want to start at the beginning HERE.
Way back when we we started to be aware of our money and where it was going we were crazy busy. I had finished my 4 year degree in 2006 and I had a baby about 3 months later. I was the typical new mom that wanted her child to be perfect, which means I was busy schooling him (at 6 months..*eye roll*), going to the park and giving him every experience out there and managing our money. (#aintnobodygottimeforthat).
While trying to have the perfect life we ended up going through the small savings we had very quickly. We were buying diapers and food and all the “normal” things that you buy for your baby. My husband was in school 16 hours a week, working 4-5 hours a day and doing homework. Not to mention spending time with his family.
Our days were full but we were trying to make our income stretch further and further. We tried to find ways we could stretch our money on food. As we looked at our shopping habits to try to find ways to save, we realized that there were things that wasted out time just as much as it wasted our money. And time is money right?
We realized that a huge time and money saver was to know the layout of our store. This does so much to help you to make the most of your money. If you know when your grocery store you know when they mark down produce or meats. you know when the best time to get the sales are so they aren’t out of product. You know who to talk to about how to cook meats and the best way to store them. Each of these things helps you save money by having the largest selection of clearance items. It also helps you to be able to cook what is on sale.
It also helps you avoid the pitfalls of the promotional items and the purchase of impulse buys as you walk around the aisles trying to find the item you need. This was usually me in the store. Walking around the store and glancing from side to side as I walked through. then I spotted the newest cereal and “oh look at that! ” I then pick up the box to check it out, turning it around a few times. Then decided to give it a try and would put it in the cart. Was I even there to buy cereal?… NO! But I bought it anyways because it was new and I HAD to try it!
You don’t know until you ask
To learn your store, remember to ask questions. You can’t learn unless you ask a few people when the clearances happen. You don’t know how to cook the sale meat unless you ask the butcher. You get to know them and their names and they get to know you. Then they give you first pick and talk to you like a friend.
The employees are your friends!
When talking with the workers of the store make sure you tell them a little about you so they feel like they know you and know what your goals. Tell them you are trying to learn about the different cuts of meat or the different ways to pick produce. Ask what they do with the produce they take off the floor. See if you can get things at a discount if you buy in bulk. This will help them to feel comfortable with you and trust that you aren’t taking advantage of them, just trying to get the best deals and feed your family on a budget.
Get your workout in while at the store
Another thing you can do is get to know how your store sets up promotional items. Get to know how your store organizes items in the store. The items on the top or bottom shelves that most people don’t see because they usually only see what is at eye level. Get to know how their end caps work and where to find the best priced items.
Don’t be a man, ask for directions
Lots of stores have physical maps that list what items are in each aisle. This can usually be found on the stores websites or at the customer service desk. This will help you make a plan so you can get in and out of the store faster and to help you to avoid the spending traps!
Do you have any other ways to get to know your store? Please share them in the comments!
Be sure to also check out how to save money on grocery shopping by reading your sales flyer