As shoppers, changing the way we shop is the key to saving money. Obviously, it's not easy to stock up on perishable produce and dairy items. But many other products are easy to store for long periods. If you start saving money on slow-to-outdate items - cereal, canned and frozen foods and personal-care items like toothpaste and shampoo - your entire grocery bill will start to come down.
Here's the challenge: We are just not in the habit of buying 12 boxes of pasta at a time. But why not? Pasta has a long shelf life. It doesn't spoil. It's easy to store. Yet, when we see it on sale we usually don't think, "That's a great price. I'm going to buy a dozen." When I became a Super-Couponer, I started seeing shopping in a new light. I started buying larger quantities of my household staples when they were at their lowest prices.
Die-hard couponers refer to buying in quantity as "stockpiling." When you buy more than you need because the price is low you can "shop from home" the next time you need that item, because you have stockpiled it in your kitchen cupboard. And you've avoided paying the higher price for the identical item in the grocery store this week because you purchased enough to last your household almost three months when the price was lowest.
And we haven't even discussed coupons yet! Imagine that during the pasta sale, I had coupons for 75 cents off each box of pasta. I would now be buying my pasta for just four cents a box. We'll discuss how to use coupons in conjunction with the 12-week sales cycle next week.
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Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.