Win at the Grocery

Over & over, in order to win at the grocery, I hear budget “experts” preach that you should figure out a grocery budget of $$.$$ and stick with it. Every week or every payday or every month. Do not deviate, they say.

That simple budgeting strategy sounds like common sense, maybe because:

  • We hear it so often it’s like a mantra. It must be true?
  • It’s simple. We won’t overspend.
  • It’s easy. There is nothing to think about.

except it’s just not right



Now, to clarify, a budget is a great idea, but it should be a flexible budget. In order to get the most groceries for your money and win at the grocery, you need to be able to:

  • See groceries as what they are: a commodity with shifting pricing.
  • Realize that there are cyclical patterns to low pricing. (They happen on a regular basis.)
  • Identify when the low pricing is and when it is likely to happen again.
  • Spend more money and take advantage when prices are low.
  • Buy enough quantity to last until the next low.
  • Store said groceries until the next great low pricing.

Just as if you were playing the stock market, you’ll want to “buy low.” It’s a basic concept and one we all have some difficulty with because most of us don’t see the “cycles.” We’re too busy living our lives, buying week to week and replenishing what we’re low on when we need it.

While there are several cyclic lows to watch (seasonality is one) pricing is seldom lower than pre (and sometimes post) Holiday sales. Either way, the highly competitive grocer wants to get you in the door with a few great specials, wants you to pick up one or two of the items on a deep special, and wants you to pick up all the items you’ll need that aren’t at a great sales price.

They bank on the fact that you won’t want to spend more money by stocking up on those deep sale items, especially if they are big-ticket items. They especially bank on this during a holiday when we might be already overspending, overstressed and/or just tuckered out from preparations and all that you have to do pull everything off.

Beat the grocers at their own game! Win at the Grocery! Instead of passively being drawn in to pick up one or two specials and then buying whatever else you need for the week, buy as much as possible of the seasonal specials or specials for the Holiday week to use for weeks (or months) beyond.

When an item is at a low, whether it’s during a holiday or not, always try to buy enough to last to the next great sales cycle. Many (probably most) items are on sale once a quarter, others, only a few times or even only once a year.



Think of it as “skipping along” from sale to sale, from Holiday to Holiday, stocking up, and knowing there are plenty of both seasonal and Holiday sales to get you by. Then fill in with other items as they’re on sale and plan ahead as needed.

Now, if only you had an idea of what was going to be on sale and when! Then you can really Win at the Grocery! Remember, your mileage may vary, and I’d love to hear what you stock up on during holiday weeks!

check out what might be on sale at your store during a specific holiday


Win at the Grocery by ignoring most "budget" advice. Learn to maximize your dollar by spending more when the price is less! Buy Low! #SaveMoneyAtTheGrocery

7 thoughts on “Win at the Grocery

  1. You are absolutely right! Stock up with items when prices are low and if you do this a few times, you may be able to skip the heading to the store for a week or two! 🙂

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Exactly. There are some weeks when I don’t buy anything other than a couple of fresh veggies or some milk to get me by, if that, when nothing else looks like it’s at a good price. I keep my freezer and pantry pretty well stocked so I can rely on those. 🙂

  2. Ron

    I’m with you Mollie, buy when stuffs on sale. Isn’t that way we have pantries and freezers. I’m one of those guys the grocer dislikes because I’m know to go to the market and just buy the sale items and nothing else. Recently, our local grocer had a sale on premium frozen salmon at a price about 33% less than normal. They had a limit of two packages per family. Well, I bought two and went back in a bought two more and then again. Now, it might seem normal to do this in the US, but it’s just not done here, until now. Great post.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      lol, Ron – you’re a rebel! Actually the first time I went back for something a second time I felt horribly guilty! I thought they might recognize me and stop me! Then I got over it.

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