Welcome to my 5-part series: The Five W’s of How I Shop. As a former newspaper reporter, I often focused on the Five W’s of writing – Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Since I often get asked about how I shop, and I’ve decided to share this series with you in the hopes that it will make you think about how you shop. Consider your own five W’s and it will help you become a better frugal shopper.
What I Shop For
What I shop for varies a lot from week to week based on the sales of the week and my current needs. I am a stockpiler by nature – I purchase things on sale in bulk and stockpile them for times that I’m not able to go town to shop (such as during an illness, busy schedule, or winter snowstorm). Because of my stockpiling tendancies, I’ve had more than a few people raise their eyebrows at me at the store. I really don’t care because I know that I’m saving a lot of money by stockpiling. And if the stockpile gets out of hand, I donate the excess, which makes me feel good to know that being “cheap” helps others!
Each week we always make one trip to the store for fresh fruit and milk. I occassionally slip up and realize I’m missing a key ingredient, so I may add that to the list, too.
When it comes to grocery shopping, I am always on the lookout for deals on produce, cereal, and meat. I use my coupons to get free (or nearly free) snacks and convenience meals (for busy days). I shop my bread outlet store every couple of weeks to get bread products at a great bargain!
In the household goods department, I have twins who are not yet potty-trained (making slow progress), so I am still watching for diaper sales. I also watch for sales on paper products like toilet paper, paper towel and facial tissue. I’d love to reduce my use of paper towels, but until my kids get out of the very message stage, I’ll wait. I’m also on the lookout for household cleaners, but if I can’t find a terrific deal, I just make my own.
I did such a great job of stocking up on personal care items, that I actually haven’t shopped for those in a long time. I still watch for the sales and then donate my deals when I find them!
Ultimately, what I shop for is value. It’s important to me to get the most value for the money. I examine clothing to see how to care for it before I buy it (no “Dry Clean Only” in my house!). I pull kids’ electronic toys from the back of the shelf so that their battery life lasts longer. I want to know that something is going to last a long time, that it will be durable, and that I got it for the best price possible.
Please share what you shop for and check out my other posts in The Five W’s of How I Shop series.