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How to jump on the 12-week savings cycle

Many people do not have the cash flow to stock up the way you do. The economy has really hurt the budget of the average family and they are no longer able to shop the way they used to (such as taking advantage of the sales and buying extra). Do you have any tips for us? I do use coupons but would like to take better advantage of my buying power. I just don't really know how.

I particularly liked this letter from a reader. It encompasses the way many people feel when they first start using coupons. It's a common misconception I spend a lot to stock up on quantities of the items that I buy each week. My weekly grocery bill for our family of five averages between $40 and $60 post-coupons. But for that money, I'm typically buying around $100 worth of groceries.

Supermarkets operate on a 12-week pricing cycle, so stocking up on the things we need when the prices of these items hit their low point during this period makes sense. When you know the items you buy are at their lowest prices just one time during that cycle, buying them only when the price hits that low saves us a lot of money, even without using coupons.

Let's take juice, for example. At my store, a bottle of grape juice can range in price from $1.99 to $3.99. Clearly, I want to buy the juice when it's at its low price. If my family drinks one bottle of grape juice a week, I'll need 12 bottles to get through the next 12-week cycle. While it's true the initial expense of buying that juice all at once requires more than one might choose to budget just for juice in one week, consider the savings in buying it at that low.

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