Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Grocery Bills got you down? Check this out

Cut Your Grocery Bills by Half
by Faye Prosser
Eight essential techniques for boosting your buying power

Want to buy much more for less? Imagine filling your cart with
your favorite groceries, but only paying a fraction of the
total cost. By mastering these eight essential techniques,
every shopper who buys groceries can get the most out of their
hard-earned money.

1. Learn the art of couponing. Smart shoppers know, without
question, that using coupons wisely is the greatest money-
saving technique when it comes to buying groceries. They know
how, when and where to use those little pieces of "paper gold"
and they know just where to find the best coupons for the
products they prefer to buy. Their coupons are well-organized
and accessible so they don't ever miss an unadvertised sale.
Smart spenders pay for a good portion of their groceries using
coupons and save more than 50% off their weekly budgets each
and every week.

2. Compare apples to apples. How do you know whether something
is really a bargain just because it is on sale? By developing
a Price Book, you are able to compare the price per unit of
one size package to another. This allows you to compare the
200-ounce box of warehouse club bran cereal to the 20-ounce
bag of the same type of cereal from the grocery store. Smart
spenders know the surprising news that often the smaller
container is less expensive per unit than the bulk container
when used in conjunction with coupons and sales.

3. Gain leverage from sales flyers. By reviewing the sales
flyers that stores issue every week, you can plan your weekly
menu, decide where to shop, determine what to include on your
grocery list, and choose the best money-saving coupons to use
at the store. Smart spenders realize that the key to the
greatest savings is purchasing the best sale items listed in
the weekly flyers and then using coupons for those items.

4. Be a proud card-carrying member. Sign up for the frequent
shopper rewards cards at the stores you shop. Without them,
you won't be offered the sale prices or special incentives and
you may lose out on thousands of dollars in savings a year.
Many stores will even mail great money-saving coupons to
members throughout the year. Smart spenders take advantage of
the sale prices by using their rewards cards every time they

5. Savor store brand savings. Companies have worked hard to
improve their private-label brands and often the taste is just
as delicious as the national brand. Store brand products are
generally 20% less expensive than the national brands, which
means everyone should consider them as a money-saving option.
Smart spenders understand that store brand items are another
effective tool to lower their grocery bills and they don't let
a little brand name loyalty stand in their way of savings.

6. Refuse to be overcharged. Many grocery stores carry 30,000
or more items. It is not hard to imagine that there may be a
price mistake or two at the register. Before you leave the
store, thoroughly review your receipt to make sure you weren't
overcharged. If you discover an overcharge, head straight to
customer service and explain the error. Many stores have a
price scan guarantee, which means that you will receive the
entire cost you paid for the item and get to keep the product.
Yes, this means you will take home the product for free! Smart
spenders never leave the store without reviewing the receipt
and requesting the price scan guarantee, when applicable.

7. Enjoy delayed gratification. Yes, it's just what you were
thinking. Rebates. You buy an item that offers a rebate, fill
out the form exactly as required, send in the UPC, receipt or
other necessary proof of purchase, and after a short delay,
you get your money back in the mail. If you are thinking that
it doesn't sound so difficult, you are right! Surprisingly,
many people don't take advantage of the amazing rebates
available for everything from beef to toothpaste to pies.
Smart spenders recognize that the savings opportunities are
huge, if they are willing to fill out a little form and wait
patiently for their gratifying reward.

8. Stick to your strategy and avoid the tactics. Do you smell
the fresh cookies baking in the deli? Did you taste those free
samples of cereal when you walked into the store? Welcome to
the world of store tactics. Their job is to make money
marketing the products they sell. Your job is to steer clear
of the tactics and stick to your grocery list. Don't be
enticed by the sale signs when you know something isn't a good
deal. Don't go to the store hungry and don't impulse-shop
(unless it's a good unadvertised buy, of course!). Smart
spenders come prepared to shop for the items that will save
them the most money and they avoid the clever methods designed
to persuade you to part with more of your paycheck than you

These aren't the only money-saving techniques used by the
shopping experts, but they are the basis for the very best

Faye Prosser is the author of "The Smart Spending Guide." Faye
regularly conducts college courses and workshops. With the Smart
Spending Grocery System, Faye's family saves well over 50% off
their weekly grocery bills!

Faye's motto when it comes to spending is "It's your money,
spend it wisely!" For more information on "The Smart Spending
Guide," see

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