My Wife’s Shopping Tips

This is a guest post from ‘frugal‘ and first published at 1stMillionAt33. If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing to his RSS feed.

Sometimes I am simply blown away by my wife’s creative saving tips when shopping. If you don’t know that merchandise at Costco is not cheap, then you don’t know nearly as much as her. My family doesn’t use the Costco executive card to get the 2% savings because we cannot justify 2% with our low amount of purchase. To break even on the additional $55 that we need to pay (from $45 to $100 for the executive card), we would need to spend at least $55 / 2% = $2750 a year. Even if we spent $2750, we would need to save an average of 1.6% on the price to justify the $45 basic membership card.

Okay, here are the tips from my wife:

1. Grocery shopping with coupons: When she buys grocery, she scans through ads first, and picks out the on-sale items that she wants. Then she matches the on-sale items with whatever coupons she has clipped. Also, the grocery stores (like Ralph’s) that have double-coupons are her more preferred stores. This process takes some time at home, but we’ve probably never walked out of a grocery store with less than 35% in savings from the regular price.

2. Stocking up: She stocks up on-sale items (with coupon savings) for the future (on a limited basis). She also pre-shops for gifts throughout the low seasons in the year.

3. Limit Costco purchases: When buying at Costco, you must understand that you are getting quality products at a reasonable price. Less quality products in general will cost less at other stores. And on-sale items at other stores can often beat Costco’s price. But the biggest saving that you can get by not buying at Costco is that you don’t end up buying more than you need. Either you throw away the additional quantities on what you cannot consume, or you stock them up and put away in no-man’s land such that you cannot find it when you need it again. However, Costco has regular saving coupons mailed out, and those are really good-priced items.

4. Placement of the coupons: Leave the grocery coupons in the car, and restaurant coupons in your wallet. Often you can’t find the coupons when you need them. Since you don’t go out without your car or your wallet, you won’t go out without the coupons this way either.

5. Clearance: Pay attention to clearance items/clothing in department stores. They are often very inexpensive as in Walmart, Target, Mervyn’s, or Old Navy. But the quality is much better.

6. Timing: Time your purchases throughout the seasons & holidays. If you are buying a new car and don’t mind getting the current year model, August is often the clearance time on current models. At the end of August, school clothes & supplies often go on sale. October is the best month for pre-holiday shopping, or you can wait until after Christmas and New Year’s, and stock up on all kinds of bargains. Also buying clothes off-season will save you some bucks too.

Oh, I have a shopping tip of my own, too. For those husbands out there, when you buy stamps, DO NOT buy those beautiful Disney stamps. I repeat, DO NOT buy those Disney stamps, because your wives will love them and won’t allow you to use them. Postage may increase to more than $1, and she still won’t let you use it. But DO use those stamps as a frugal, but romantic gesture.

By the way, I didn’t know a lot about grocery shopping tip #1 until I shopped for groceries alone once. That day in the supermarket, I grabbed several items quickly and checked out. When I paid my grocery bill, I was a little shocked. I only bought 6 or 7 items, but the bill was more than $20. I was more used to walking out with 5 or more big bags, and paying maybe $50 or $60. So I rushed home and told my wife: “Dear, inflation is REALLY picking up. Look, this cauliflower cost almost $4. That is outrageous.” And then she told me that it was because they were not on-sale. Whew! I thought inflation was some 20% on food items 🙂 .

2 Responses to “My Wife’s Shopping Tips”

  1. Anonymous

    For grocery shopping, I use the Coupon Mom website ( They do all the matching of coupons to sale items for you, and best of all, it’s FREE. I’ve saved quite a bit this way – assuming that I don’t get tempted to buy things I normally wouldn’t, just because they’re a “good deal” and cheaper than usual.

  2. Anonymous

    Yeah. But then you only get to eat cauliflower when it’s on sale.

    It’s all about what you’re prepared to do in order to save some money.

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