Use Sound Investment Principles –
Very simple, buy low, sell high! Or in this case, buy low, buy when the prices are low so you’ll be eating sales priced food even when the prices at the store are higher. This is one of the hardest things to do, whether we’re buying stocks or food!
There is the danger of listening to your emotions, and not watching the bottom line, both with stocks and food! Figure your price per unit, find your “buy price”, organize your lists, and other ideas:
- Investors often give a broker a “buy price”, meaning if a certain stock reaches a certain low, the broker is to grab it for them. Identify and know your “buy price” for your regular items. Write it down in a book or in a spreadsheet or database. You’ll refer to it over and over.
- This buy price is your stock up price and it should become habit to pick up grocery items when they reach that price. Whether you need them yet or not, but of course only if you can use and store them in a reasonable time.
- Know your price per unit – figure out how many ounces to a liter, how many ounces to a pound, how many feet in the TP, how many loads in the laundry soap. Write it down in your book or spreadsheet so you don’t have to do it over and over. Know when a deal is good – not just because the store tells you, or because it looks like a low price, but because you’ve figured it out.
- Look for rock-bottom prices on seasonal specials, buy and store for future use: Apples on sale for 45 cents a pound in the fall? Consider baking a couple of pies and freezing them. Potatoes $1.89 for 15 pounds in the fall? Make a bunch of twice baked potatoes or other items and stash them in the freezer. Ham on sale at Easter? Turkey at Thanksgiving? Buy and freeze for later. Coffee is seasonal – cheapest around Christmas. Razors are seasonal – cheapest in the summer. This makes sense for so many items, once you really think about it, you’ll have endless ideas.
- Know how to compare a block of cheese (in pounds) to slices, shredded and chunk cheese priced in ounces. How to compare frozen juice to juice in a bottle or carton. Which is cheaper, Kool-Aid in a packet, premixed in a container or a ready to serve portion. Correct frugal answer: water is cheaper, but then we all have to have our little indulgences now and then! How ’bout tea? Is instant cheaper than bags?
- Consider your time and the cost of storage for items. Did you know the price of running a freezer for a month is less than the cost of a Big Mac? Consider buying larger quantities of items and splitting the item and the cost with a friend or family member. Sides of beef and pork, large bargain jugs of olive oil, and so on.
- Keep a list on a chalkboard or white board and jot down not only what you need to buy at the store this week, but in a separate area, items that are starting to run low, before you run out. This way you can pick up at your “buy price” and won’t have to pay full price because you need the item and it’s not on sale.
- Remember with sales and coupons, the price of almost any boxed, bagged or bottled item can be lowered. Are you really going to say, “No thanks, I’d rather spend MORE?” No time? Use a coupon matching site!
- Kids use something up? Train them to write it down so you’re not surprised when you need the item, which will save you time and money and prevent you running to the store.
- Do kids want something special? Start to train them early – if they want chips, ice cream or cookies, that’s fine – now and then. Have them find the coupon and watch for the sale rather than have it be an impulse item. Great way to teach them skills and responsibility. Great way to say “No” also! “Can we get chips? Do you have a coupon?”
A few of my “buy prices” as of September 2014:
- Chicken breast and pork: $1.69 to $1.99 a pound.
- Beef: $2.99 a pound
- Hamburger $2.49 a pound – which we buy very rarely as the chicken is so much better health wise and less expensive.
- Fresh Salmon $5.99 a pound.
- Tuna Fish 59 cents a can.
- Store cheese $1.00 for 8 ounces, with coupons.
- Crest or Colgate toothpaste: 50 cents a tube.
- Shampoo, name brand, less than $1.00 a bottle.
Links to The Twelve Strategies:
- Strategy One: Bank Your Foods
- Strategy Two: Pay Attention to the Bottom Line
- Strategy Three: Control Costs – Maximize “Profits” and Minimize Losses
- Strategy Four: Take Advantage of Cyclic Changes in the Market
- Strategy Five: Be an Investor, not a Gambler
- Strategy Six: Give Back to the Community
- Strategy Seven: Have a Business Plan
- Strategy Eight: Invest in Training
- Strategy Nine: Know the Products you Buy
- Strategy Ten: Know your Suppliers
- Strategy Eleven: Take Advantage of Special Offers & Incentives
- Strategy Twelve: Use Sound Investment Principles