Getting the Lowest Food Prices

The Sunday newspaper can be a great source of information about the cost of products in the stores in your area. Before you peruse the sale flyers, write out your weekly or monthly shopping list.

Then look through that week's advertisements, noting on your shopping list which store has the best price on the items you need. Then make a quick stop at each store to buy only the items on sale that week.

Price Matching

If you have a store in your area that price matches — and most now do — you don't have to do all that running around. You simply inform the checkout clerk that you're going to price match an item, and you get the least expensive advertised price on that item.

Don't forget to take the ads from other stores with you when you shop. Some stores absolutely will not honor price matches without checking the competitor's ad.

Buying Sale Items in Quantity

If you see a great sale price on an item that you use a lot — and if the item isn't perishable and you have the space to store it and you have enough money in this month's budget to pay for a large quantity and you're sure beyond a doubt that you will actually use this item up — buy a lot at the sale price.

Suppose you make a tuna-fish sandwich for lunch every day and usually pay 98 cents for each can of tuna. If you see it on sale for 49 cents, buy as much as you can store and afford, because you know you'll use it.

But if you see bananas on sale, buy your usual amount. You can't possibly use up a large amount of bananas before they go bad.

Some wholesale clubs offer memberships only to employees of small businesses, schools, churches, credit unions, and other groups. They also sometimes offer memberships to family members, friends, and neighbors of members. Others are open to the public. To join, call your local wholesale club to find out the membership requirements.

Joining a Wholesale Club

One way to get sale prices every day is to shop at a wholesale club, such as Sam's Club or Costco.

If you decide to go this route, make sure you're saving more money than the annual membership fee, and be sure that you don't spend more than you should in the name of “But it's such a good deal.” Wholesale clubs can ruin your budget, so beware!

If you do buy at a wholesale club, apply the same logic that you would for buying large quantities of any sale item at your regular store: Buy bulk quantities only if you have the storage space, are sure you'll use it, can keep it from spoiling, and have the money in your budget to pay for it.

How much do wholesale clubs cost to join?

Most wholesale clubs cost from $35 to $50 to join, and you must renew your membership annually. Make sure you're saving more than this amount on your purchases, or the membership won't be worthwhile.

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