For some people, this may not seem like anything to take time to blog about, but a recent conversation with some coworkers during lunch made me realize that there may be people who need to hear this information. Shortly after I organized my fridge top freezer, Our upright freezer in the garage started to act up. While we were waiting for a repair man, we had to rehome the frozen food. I was sharing with my lunch buddies that some of the food went to my oldest son’s apartment, some went to my youngest son’s mini-fridge, some was shoved into the open spaces in my fridge top freezer, and some went to my neighbor’s house. They generously cleared an entire shelf for me. I have awesome neighbors.
As I was recounting this story, more than one of my co-workers asked why I had so much food in my freezer. I explained that having a well stocked freezer helps me to stick to my grocery budget. Certain foods are best purchased when they are on sale, and some sales are seasonal. Once you learn the cycle for the sales, you know when is the best time to buy certain items. When they asked what I meant, I used the example of hot dogs.
Disclaimer: Every household has different opinions about hot dogs and their place in a dinner menu. We don’t eat them often, but we do have them occasionally . In 2014, Americans purchased nearly 1 billion packages of hot dogs which worked out to more than 2.5 billion dollars in sales. Those are some expensive hot dogs, and my guess is that most of the people who read this blog will be people who eat hot dogs.
We will use the basic, most inexpensive, mixed meat hot dog in our example. These hot dogs routinely sell for $.99 to $1.59 at my local stores. There’s one more unrelated thing that I have to say about hot dogs. Has anyone else noticed that the packages no longer contain 10 hot dogs, and they no longer weigh a pound? The packages now contain only 8 hot dogs and weigh closer to 12 ounces. What’s up with that? Sorry, I digress.
There are several times of year when hot dogs go on sale. If you buy hot dogs at these times and put them into your freezer, you can save a considerable amount of money. I have found that my local grocery store routinely sells these hot dogs for $.59 per package before Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day, which is what all the other lists say, too. My local grocer can also be counted on to have a hot dog sale around Super Bowl Sunday.
Since I know when there will be sales, I can buy enough hot dogs to meet our needs until the next sale. By doing this, I save between $.40 and $1.00 per package. If my family eats one package of hot dogs every two weeks, this adds up to a savings of $10.40 to $26.00 per year. If I apply these same principles to other products that we routinely use, it can add up to hundreds of dollars per year in savings without clipping a single coupon. Of course, clipping coupons can help save money, too.
Small savings add up over time. I challenge you to keep an eye on your local grocery store’s sale paper. Keep a notebook or start a spread sheet to find out the best prices they offer on the staple items that you routinely use. Once you begin to seen the patterns, you will be able to stock up when prices are low and buy enough to last until the next sale. It’s very comforting to have a well stocked pantry that you can draw upon to ensure that your family’s needs are met. Of course, saving money is nice, too.
One other thing you can do to save money on groceries is to ensure that you aren’t letting things go to waste. The average American throws away between 10 and 40% of the groceries that they bring home. That’s a lot of money going straight into the trash.