I used to be what I call a “blind shopper”. What is a “blind shopper”? A “blind shopper” (according to me) is someone who buys the same things every week or because they are on her list and fits into what she wants to eat that week. A “blind shopper” is the person who gets to the check-out line and says, “How did I end up spending that much?”.
I was a “blind shopper” for many years. My mom was never a grocery couponer so I didn’t have the art passed down to me. I would buy things at the grocery store, like condiments or spices, not because I planned to make a recipe that called for them, but because I remembered my mom having them in her pantry and figured that I should have them as well. I would buy things like chicken breast and ground beef because they were on the list. I didn’t know what a good price was for these items, and I didn’t think to buy a second package because it was at a really good price so I could save money and not have to buy it the next week. I didn’t have any concept of sales cycles or how changing seasons and holidays influenced what was on sale. I would, on occasion, buy a second package of a non-perishable item if I saw it on sale. It didn’t occur to me to buy more than that so I didn’t have to pay full price for it again it two weeks.
I was a “blind shopper” who even tried to use coupons. I was the person who would say, “I don’t think the money I save with coupons is worth the effort.” I actually spent more money because of coupons. How? I would buy the item just because I had a coupon, not because I needed the item that week. I didn’t understand the concept of holding onto the coupon until the item went on sale and getting an even better price. I would sometimes go buy an item, like razors, because my coupon was about to expire. I didn’t realize that generally when a coupon expires the company introduces a new coupon with a similar face value. I also didn’t understand that you can stack store coupons with manufacturer coupons.
I also, for some reason, believed that Wal-Mart, Sams, and Costco, were always the best places to buy things. Thank goodness I have seen the error in my ways! I do still shop at Costco for some things, but I don’t do as much of my grocery shopping there as I did years ago. I try to avoid Wal-Mart, unless I can get items for free. I probably spent more money than I “saved” because of impulse buys or because I would buy a large quantity of a perishable item that ended up going to waste.
I began to see that by paying attention to prices, learning what a good price is for an item, understanding sales cycles, seasonal items, and holiday influences I can really save money. I also saw that by combining this knowledge with understanding coupons I can save even more money.
Please come back for Part II. I am planning to talk about understanding prices.