Sunday, October 18, 2009

Savvy How To: Warehouse Savings (Part 2)

 Savvy How To: 
Warehouse Shopping (Part 2)

There are many great buys to be found at wholesale/warehouse clubs. However, if you are expecting a significant discount on all offerings found there, be warned that those buckets, boxes and barrels of food may be deceiving. Last week I talked about some good buys, but here is a list of a few goodbye items I leave off my shopping list.


Cereal: Cereal is first on this list for a reason. Those 2- to 3-pound boxes of cereal may seem like a great way to stock up on your children's breakfast of choice, but you'll pay for it in the end. Simply watching sale ads at local grocers and retailers will regularly buy the most important meal of the day for a lot less money. Not only will store sales make this buy a goodbye at club stores, but add coupons into the mix and we're talking 70-80 percent savings overall! Coupon heavy items (items for which you can often find high-dollar value coupons in your Sunday newspaper) should be left out of your shopping cart at these stores.

Meat: While quality is top notch at these locations, prices usually aren't. Watch for seasonal meat sales at local grocers and stock your freezer while meat is at the lowest prices. You'll still get great quality but at a fraction of the price! Make sure if you intend to purchase bulk meats that you know how to properly store it all. Freezer bagging, sealing or having your butcher freezer wrap your meat for free (not available at warehouse locations) is a must!

Canned Goods: Can the canned goods, as you can get these items at local grocers and retailers at significantly lower prices if you watch sale fliers. Case Lot sales are an especially great way to save money on canned good purchases. Case Lot sales allow you to buy bulk goods at discounted rates. When you buy more than one of any given sale item, you begin to fill your pantry with a variety of goods for future use at that same discounted rate.

Paper Products: Toilet paper and paper towels aren't regularly found at “on-sale” prices in warehouse locations. If you're stocking up on 500 forks or Ziploc baggies using an in-store “Passport of Savings” type coupon then you may have found a deal. But, in general, paper goods are one of the trickiest purchases in warehouse stores. You'll need a calculator to determine price per roll or cup on this one. Know your price points first (the price you're willing to pay for products) before you stock up in this department.

Snack Foods: If you need a sugar fix, these stores should be at the top of your list. The 3 lb bags of Swedish Fish will satisfy any sweet tooth. But, have you ever noticed that those oversized bags of candy, snacks and chips disappear just as fast as the regular-sized bags? We'd all like to think we can stop at one handful, but even manufacturers know you can't eat just one of anything. Once that bag or box has been opened rationing has gone out the window. As another coupon heavy item, buy these treats in smaller boxes at lower prices and you'll find the portion control and savings a lot easier to swallow.

Unfamiliar Products/Brands: I always encourage bulk buys in an effort to save money, but buying brands or products you are unfamiliar with is risky business! That No. 10 can of soup mix that's new to your family could turn out to be a major flop. If no one will eat it, you've likely just wasted $10-$15. If you want to try a new product, think small. Buying these products in smaller package sizes reduces your financial loss when the kids turn up their noses.

If you're a club store fanatic and find the thrill of the hunt a habit too addicting to break, take stock of what you're buying. Make sure you use in-store coupons and watch for store price tag codes like “C” or prices that end with a penny at Sam's club or prices ending in $0.97 at Costco or with a * for discontinued items that may be offered at a deeper discount.

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