23 Ways To Use The Grocery Specials Newsletter

By on May 5, 2013

At first glance it might seem obvious what to do with a list of grocery items on sale.  However, there are many more benefits. 

Here are 23 ways to make good use of the Happy Little Shopper Grocery Sales Newsletter. 

Got a suggestion to add?  Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

1. Weekly shopping list made easier

This is the obvious way to use the Newsletter. Sorting through newspapers to find the weekly deals can be time consuming.  Multiple newspapers, smudged ads, rainy days, pen and paper – it can make grocery shopping a dreaded task.  Happy Little Shopper helps out by compiling the specials from the area newspapers and circulars into a single list making it super easy to see all the specials and find what you need at a glance.

2. Compare sale prices between stores

One of the many benefits we discovered when first starting to compile the data from multiple stores is comparison shopping between grocers.  Sometimes the same item is on sale at multiple grocers and the prices can vary.  Or, very similar products varying only by size or brand can be identified. This is not easy to see when looking at the store ads in the paper, but it really jumps out when looking through the compiled list in the Grocery Specials Newsletter.

3. Walmart Ad Match guarantee

Walmart has a very attractive price match program where they’ll match locally advertised prices right at the register when you check out.  Just tell the cashier the lower price you found and they’ll honor it right there.  You don’t even have to have the ad with you.  A lot of people find it hard to believe the ad is not required, but that’s exactly what Walmart says. “We do not require customers to have the ad with them to honor a competitor’s ad.”  Walmart does have a few guidelines and limitations but they are very reasonable and easy to understand.  All the details are on their website at:  http://corporate.walmart.com/ad-match-guarantee

4. Weekly meal planning

According to the Mayo Clinic’s Nutrition and healthy eating section, meal planning can help us eat healthier and spend less by eating at home more often and cutting down on unplanned trips to the store.  Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Just use your favorite recipes that include sale items.  What if what’s on sale this week is not in your plan?  No problem.  Stock up your pantry now for a future week.

5. Cooking classes

Perhaps you are such a great cook that friends and co-workers want you to show them how you make the magic happen.  Why not hold private cooking lessons in your home?  Or, better yet, go to a client’s home and teach them there.  Incorporate items on special into the menu and increase the bottom line.  Knowing how to get the most savings is a great reputation booster and will impress your clients.  Share your Happy Little Shopper secret with them!

6. Restaurant owners

If you own a restaurant and are not taking advantage of low prices at local grocers out of loyalty to one food vendor then it may come as a surprise to learn that your competition has a bigger bottom line because they shop local when it makes sense.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask your primary vendor for price matching if local stores are cheaper for the same items.  Why not create daily specials using what’s on sale locally? Not happy about patrons seeing you shop where they do?  No problem.  Just send an employee to a neighboring city or town instead.   Use the Newsletter to stay abreast of deals in the area.

7. Make your donations go farther

Many towns and cities have food pantries, meal kitchens, and meal delivery services for the elderly.  If you donate to one or more of these organizations then why not stretch your donation dollar by purchasing items on sale?  The Grocery Specials Newsletter is a great way to do just that.  

8. Last minute shopping for unexpected guests

How many times have friends or family from out of town stopped by unannounced and you have nothing in the pantry to fix for them?  Time to go to the store, but what to buy? Having the local specials handy can help reduce stress, limit how much time it takes to put a meal plan together, and keep the cost as low as possible too.  

9. Inspiration for cooking and recipes

Don’t know what to fix for supper tonight and need something new? Thinking outside the box requires fresh ideas for the brain.  Sometimes just reading the Grocery Specials Newsletter can spark a memory of an old recipe or family favorite.

10. Bulk buying

My mother used to keep a chest freezer for buying more than she needed when staple items were on sale.  When fryers or hamburger or fish were priced low she’d stock up for those busy days, holidays, or unexpected guests.  Not only did she pocket some cash when the items were on sale, she also saved on gas money later.  Since what she would need was right there at home in her freezer, she’d saved herself a trip to the store.  Gas for the car is a big piece of the food budget.  Buy more now in a single trip and reap the travel savings later.

11. Bereavement meal preparation

We almost never get a warning that someone we know is going to pass away.  The shock is especially hard on the family and we want to do something to express our sympathy so we cook a dish or a meal for them.  Use the Grocery Specials Newsletter to buy what’s on special and use the savings to buy a little something extra for them – perhaps a serving dish they can keep.

12. Teaching kids to spend wisely

Children are very carefree with their parents’ money, but when it comes to their own piggy bank the penny pinching gene kicks in!  They’re always looking for ways to stretch their allowance.  Why not show them how you do it by showing them the value of looking for what’s on sale?  It’s a great way to inspire our kids with a teachable moment.

13. Share the savings with friends and family

Don’t keep the Happy Little Shopper all to yourself!  Let your peeps in on it too.  (peeps = people closest to you.)  Maybe grocery shopping will turn into a weekly car pool event and result in even greater savings!  If your friends are in a different county than Happy Little Shopper covers, then let us know on Facebook.  If enough people want it we’ll include other counties.

14. Movie nights

If your family or friends enjoy getting together to watch a movie at home, then you probably want snacks and drinks to go along with it.  Before heading out to the store, check the specials.  Chips get expensive.  Popcorn too.  Knowing what’s on sale can help save enough to rent two movies instead of one!

15. Romantic dinners at home

A romantic dinner date doesn’t have to be at an expensive restaurant or dinner club.  Staying at home away from public distractions and high prices allows a couple to focus on what matters – each other, and not break the budget while doing so.  Planning tips include selecting a favorite dish or recipe, choosing the perfect clothes to wear, and deciding what happens after dinner.

16. Camping Trips

Spending time outdoors with friends and family is one of the most enjoyable experiences we can have.  The campfire is my favorite.  Searching for firewood, building the fire, roasting marshmallows at night.  But, the anticipation of a carefree time together can spark a carefree mindset at the grocery store when buying supplies.  A tip to remain a little more spend thrifty is to print out and take the Grocery Sales Newsletter with you to the store as well as to the campsite. Use the savings to buy more marshmallows!

17. Sporting events (i.e. tailgating)

How many times have you overspent buying food for a tailgating party?  Plenty.  If you’re going to over spend, might as well do it right.  Make a list and allow for plenty of over indulgence.  Then check your wallet, the store prices, and your credit card. Time to shop!

18. Storm stock ups

Have you ever noticed the craziness at the grocery store when it rains?  It’s zany, but predictable.  I worked at a grocery store in high school and we hated the rain because people came out of the woodwork.  And, if there’s a hurricane in the immediate forecast, forget about it!  What that really tells us is that people aren’t keeping an emergency preparedness kit ready and stocked. While there are plenty of companies with emergency kits for sale, it’s much cheaper and quicker to make your own because most of what’s needed is at the grocery store.  Ready.gov has a great section to help you stay prepared called “Build a Kit“.  Check it out!

19. Donations to disaster hit areas

It’s going to happen someday. A disaster, usually weather related, is going to devastate a location you care about.  It’s a natural reaction to want to donate as much assistance as you can.  The first thing to do is find out what’s needed (don’t just assume), where it needs to be delivered, and then do your buying. Stretch your dollar by knowing where the best prices are in your area.

20. Police and firemen

Okay.  Some of you are laughing at this one.  But, public servants carry a pretty large burden in our society and they deserve to be recognized!  Seriously, many thousands of police officers and firemen are on duty right now as you read this, no matter what time it is.  Try taking a lunch break at 1 a.m. and find something nutritious.  Not gonna happen.  So, if you’re a public servant, the Grocery Specials Newsletter should be printed out on your kitchen counter every week because you have to plan ahead.

21. Restock after extended power failure

We don’t give modern conveniences like refrigerators and freezers a second thought until the electricity goes out for several hours.  Then it’s panic time.  If the worst happens and all of your perishables perish, a big dent in your budget is about to occur when you restock.  Might as well make the best of it and hunt for every special and bargain you can find.  Even better, only buy what’s on sale this week.  Then next week.  Then the next until you’re resupplied.

22. Cooking show recipes

Many decades ago when the godmother of television cooking, Julia Childs, began showing America how to really cook, she would call for ingredients that were sometimes not available at local grocery stores.  There had not been a demand for them before then.  Thanks to her we can now get almost any ingredient we need – including those you see on your favorite current day cooking show.  Flank steak? Yep.  Marinated pork tenderloin? Of course.  Alaskan crab legs? You bet.  Just check what’s on sale first!  Well, maybe crab legs was a bad example 🙂

23. Road trips

Whether it’s a leisure trip to the mountains or beach, a business trip to another city, or taking a Ryder rental across country to pick up a church organ (did it!) you need to make good travel time.  Having cold drinks on ice, dried fruit and cold cuts in a cooler, and other “essentials” makes the trip go by faster as well as cut down on stops due to hunger or boredom.  

Well, there you have it!  Almost two dozen ways to use the Grocery Specials Newsletter.  Have you thought of another?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.  We really want your feedback on how to best help you save money.

Until next time…

About Mr. Happy Little Shopper

Mr. Happy Little Shopper (aka Mark Conger) is a Mississippi home grown and self taught computer nut and internet marketer. He's addicted to Starbucks, has a gold Starbucks card to prove it and is married to the greatest woman in the world, Mrs. Happy Little Shopper. For more information check out his LinkedIn profile.

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