How to Save Money on Everyday Items Part One: Price Matching and Lists
One of my all time favourite topics is how to save money – especially on groceries and toiletries.These items tend to use up the majority of our budget so I like to focus on these items when I am developing my grocery list. My co-workers know me as the “couponing lady”. But how can anyone resist saving money??!!! Why pay full price when you can purchase two items for the same price as one.
Price matching is where I see the majority of my savings. I love my coupons but the area that yields the most savings has always been in price matching. I know a lot of people that become overwhelmed at the thought of price matching, the amount of work involved, organizing and not wanting to make anyone angry at the cash register. Rest easy – I felt this way too when I first started and have developed my own tips for organizing my shop to ensure I save as much as possible each time.
First Step: Make a list
This is so important! Don’t purchase items because you can not remember if you have them in your pantry or fridge. Take the five minutes needed to go through your cupboards, fridge, freezer and pantry. It is important to become familiar with what products you have, what you are not using and use this time to purge items that are expired. Now start a list of what you will need. I like to prepare my list based on two weeks worth of meals – taking into consideration I will need to purchase buns before the second week starts for lunches. I include how many of each items I will need as well.
Step Two: Get Out Those Flyers!
The second step is a two step process. When I start to price match I first visit my favourite site – Save Big Live Better
. They organize all the stores for you with the best deals and the amount it is on sale for. I quickly go through the list, match it up with my own grocery list and record the price on my list along with the store. I then go through the flyers myself (I enjoy this part the most!!). I tend to find items that I need that may not be on her list but it is on sale for a better price then I would have been able to purchase it for regular price.
Step Three: Re-Write Your List
This step may seem a bit redundant but trust me it is well worth it! I re-write my list starting with the stores I am going to price match from. My header for each one is the store flyer I am price matching it to – the columns that I record are the item, size of the item and the sale price. Including the sale price is important so that when you do get to the store you are not fumbling to compare prices (a little preparation goes a long way!!). Once everything is complete I put it all in my Dollar Store folder, tuck it in my purse and off I go!
Step Four: The Actual Shop!
I personally feel this is where a lot of individuals end up frustrated and give up. I know myself I have wanted to give up especially when it gets stressful in store with two children! What I realized was that I was doing it all wrong! Just like preparing before you shop – you need to organize your cart.
I personally enjoy shopping at Walmart. Their price matching policy is the easiest to follow (if you are confused check out Save Big Live Better’s website where they outline price matching policies or ask in store). Wherever you shop just make sure they will allow you to price match – otherwise all of your work will be lost. Walmart has those fantastic two tier carts that are perfect when you are combining regular shopping with price matching. I use the smaller top part for the regular items on my list and the bottom area for all price matched products. I also group the items by store with the flyer underneath to make it easier when I pay.
Step Five: The Transaction!
Find a line where you don’t feel rushed to put the items on the line. I find this is important because I like to organize how I put them on the line to make the process not only easier on myself but the cashier as well. I always group the regular priced items first. Then remove each price matching group and place them together (ex. all Frescho items first, followed by Fortinos, etc..). Make sure you keep the flyers in order as well along with your list for easy reference. It is also nice to give your cashier a heads up that after a certain item the rest will be price matched.
Above all enjoy your shopping and saving money!
Do you price match differently? What are some techniques that work for you?