This is part of a continuing series.  Go here for Part I and Part II.

Many of us routinely check the prices of items to make sure we are getting the best price.  However, there are a few strategies to remember:

1.) Bigger is not always cheaper.  I have to continually remind myself of this, especially if I am in a hury.  I was buying diapers at CVS several months ago, and I automatically went for the big box of diapers.  I stopped myself and checked the price; the smaller package cost less per diaper than the bigger package.  This isn’t always the case, but it seems that manufacturers prey on this assumption.

2.)  Compare the same item at different locations in the store.  My favorite store routinely marks down meat about to reach the sell by date.  Last week I went to their clearance section and found ground turkey marked down to $1.99 a pound, which isn’t a bad price.  However, when I walked by the regular section for ground turkey, I found it on sale 2 for $5, or $2.50 a package.   Some of the packages there were close to their expiration date and were marked down 30%, giving them a price of $1.75 per pound.  These were the exact same brand of turkey as those in the clearance bin with the exact same expiration date, yet they were .24 cents cheaper per pound.

3.)  Watch the register.  It can be hard to focus on the scanner when the cashier is ringing up groceries.  (When I was single I found it much easier–fewer groceries and no kids!)  If I can’t watch the cashier ring up every item, I make sure to scan my receipt before I leave the store.  I have found several costly errors this way. 

Although this is not an example from a grocery store, it illustrates the principle:  My husband and I went to Gap after Christmas to buy some clearance clothes to save for birthdays and Christmas next year.  As is my habit, I scanned the receipt before we left and discovered that the first item was for $49.50!!  I went right back to the cashier.  The customer in front of me had started to buy a $49.50 shirt and then changed his mind.  Somehow the transaction was not erased; his shirt ended up on my receipt.  Imagine if I hadn’t been paying attention and paid $49.50 for a shirt I hadn’t even bought!

While you can save a great deal using coupons, at this stage of my life, coupon use is not happening.  Maybe in a few years I will be back to clipping coupons, but until then I hope to continue this series and illustrate other ways you can save at the grocery store.  Happy shopping!

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