Choose What you Pay…Use the Strategies

I stood in line at the grocer’s today behind a woman and her teenage son, who were just picking up a few things in the fast lane. I gave a little gasp to myself when the total came up! $52.97.


First of all, I live in a very middle class neighborhood, and while it’s hard to tell by looking, Mom and son didn’t appear to me to me to be people who normally wasted money. Basic clothing, no name brands, t-shirts and jeans people – Mom had on cheap flip-flops, looked like she could use a good hairdresser, kid had on Target type canvas tennies.  Looked kind of like me when I was being run ragged by teenagers…minus the flip-flops. I think decent shoes are important.

I had difficulty believing she chose to pay so much for her purchases, but just like me, I think Mom was a little astounded at how much they added up to:  the Mom gave a little head jerk back when the amount was given, then shook her head and took out her little wallet and paid:

  • 5 packages of Oscar Meyer bacon $6.76 each, total $33.35 (could have paid $9.95 total as they were on sale with a store coupon this week.)
  • 1 package of Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix (could have paid around 50 cents to a dollar with coupons or made own mix – we did this for our Scout Troop all the time. Just put the dry ingredients in an empty milk carton, then add the liquid, shake and pour. Of course, at home one could just use a bowl.)
  • 1 box of Aunt Jemima Frozen Waffles (could easily have gotten free with a coupon or even omitted)
  • 1 generic 24 ounce Syrup (could have had stocked up and bought with a discount coupon or combo sale – buy mix, get syrup free)
  • 4 bags chocolate chips $8.00 (could have printed from the Nestle’s site and saved $3.00 this week.)
  • 1 20 ounce Pepsi $1.59  (could have picked up multiple 2 liters for free with a coupon. If thirsty now, there’s a fountain.)

I didn’t know the prices on the Mix, Waffles or Syrup, but I know she paid $10.03 because I know what the prices she paid for the bacon, chocolate chips and the Pepsi were. I estimate I would have paid about a third of this Mom, and maybe even well under that, on the Mix, Waffles and Syrup.

This Oscar Meyer Bacon is on sale this week for $2.88 with a store coupon sitting at the customer service desk. There’s a limit of 3, so it would have taken more effort to get all five packages. I would have sent my kid through another line with a coupon and had him buy two. I rarely pay more than $1.88 to $1.99 for bacon and throw it in my freezer.  Here’s the different price points look:

  • $33.35 for regular priced Bacon
  • $14.40 for the SAME Bacon with sale coupon this week
  • $9.95 at $1.99 a package with frugal shopping applying the 12 strategies, and using a manufacturers coupon with the store sales coupon.

She paid $52.97 total, I would have paid about $17.05, a difference of about $36.00. The difference between what she paid and I would have paid is $23.40 in just the bacon. Yep, that’s why I don’t have to wear $2.97 flip flops around. Of course, unless I was stocking up for the year, I wouldn’t buy that much bacon – I wonder if she was picking up items for a Scout trip or Church breakfast.

I wonder if I would have held out my hand and asked her for $36.00 if she would have given a little head shake and pulled out her wallet without a word and handed it over? Now for some people, that’s nothing, but for many that’s an hours wage, for others, three hours or more. (Just think about an extra investment of $36.00 and what that might be worth in 25 years?)  And this money was just given away to a major corporation.

The Strategies at Work:

  • Have a Business Plan:  This was obviously for some breakfast event.  If she had planned for it, she might have been better prepared to save money or buy on sale. We can’t plan for everything, though, but some of the other strategies might have helped. Think about your money and how you spend it and where it might be better allocated!
  • Bank Your Foods:  If Mom had a freezer stocked with bacon at the rock bottom sales price, she could have pulled from that. If she’d picked up multiple Pepsi 2 liters in the last few weeks, she’d have gotten it for 50 cents a two liter or even free…and could have stashed that anywhere the kids wouldn’t get to it – laundry room, garage, trunk…you can tell I’ve been there, right?  The important part is to have a bank or stash of rock bottom priced items to use when you need them so you don’t have to pay full retail.
  • Use Sound Investment Principles: Had the Mom been more aware of couponing and what a good price to pay for these items, she might have bought coupons with. She could have gone onto a coupon matching site and printed them out the night before. Regardless, you have to first of all have an awareness of what a good price is – and then the determination to NOT pay more than you have to pay!  It becomes difficult to pay too much when you know how easy it is to save.
  • Know the Products you Buy:  Pancake mix does have coupons now and then, but I usually don’t buy it.  Had Mom known, she could have mixed up a homemade pancake mix and thrown it in a gallon milk jug or two in about 10 minutes including cleanup. She’d have “ready to pour” pancakes. If she knew the waffles could often be gotten for free, and weren’t that great, she might have just not gotten them – let them eat pancakes…
  • Take Advantage of Special Offers:  Sales and coupons – I can’t stress that enough. I rarely buy things NOT on sale, and if I can combine the sale with the coupon, even better. I look every week and buy loss leaders and items suggested by my coupon matching site – it doesn’t take much time and saves me a LOT.
  • Invest in Training:  By invest, it doesn’t necessarily mean money – but it does take some time investment to figure the above things out and to even recognize them as possibilities.

Spread the word, folks! Spread it far and wide to all the harried Moms and Dads, all the singles, all the overworked, the underpaid, the harried, hassled masses throwing away their money! Spread it to those in need and those who want be smarter about their food dollars. Spread it far and wide.

Related Reading

Links for The Twelve Strategies:

3 thoughts on “Choose What you Pay…Use the Strategies

  1. Frugal Hausfrau, I am glad you say to spread the word. Today I “Pinned” you on to hopefully get your wise words out far and wide. You need more photos for people to “Pin.” I plan on making some of your recipes and photographing them and linking to here. I hope you don’t mind.

    Great article as usual. I always look forward to reading them.

    • Thanks! Photos are NOT my specialty, but a photo is worth a thousand words! I’d LOVE it if you’d do that, Lolly, and let me know, too, if you like how those recipes work. Be sure to track back to me so I know and can put up a link to your site! Thanks for the kind words, too!

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