Budget Bzzz: Stores

I keep a running list of toiletries, groceries, and other items I need to replenish and go through the weekly store flyers and coupons on Sunday to see if anything from my list is on sale. If there is a special, where I will buy it can depend on what it is. Will I buy the item at a drugstore, grocery store or a superstore? It depends on wherever I can get the best buy because there are little-known secrets on ways to save based on the various types of stores.

Grocery Stores:

Grocery stores are logistically laid out in a square. Most of your essentials are located on the outer rim of the store, such as dairy and produce. However, most of the time people will walk through the middle aisles, spending money on unnecessary items. Try to skip the aisles you don’t need and stick to your list. Never buy toiletries here, instead, buy them at a drugstore. Rarely do I buy toiletries with my groceries. Yes, it is more convenient, but it can also be more expensive. When shopping for items, don’t be afraid to buy generic and store brands compared to brand names. Just be sure to check the ingredients to make sure you are getting the right item. Lastly, remember that the most expensive items are located at eye-level on the shelves. Look up top and down below for better buys.


Drugstores can be a place to easily overspend. One of my favorite tips for saving is to shop when your essential items are on sale, not when you run out of them. I’m guilty of purchasing toothpaste, shampoo, etc. when I desperately need them and don’t have a coupon. If possible, wait until you have a manufacturer’s or store coupon to stock up. Always read the store flyers and cut out coupons before your shopping trip. Speaking of coupons, check to see if the drugstore has a store coupon book. These books include high-value store specials that can be used with manufacturer’s coupons, letting you double up on the savings. Also, use your points or bucks from the rewards program. Some stores have a kiosk when you walk in to scan your rewards card and print more specials. There can be time limits on when to use the points. If you don’t need anything during the time, as money allows, stock up anyway. You can give the items to someone else, donate them to a non-profit for a tax write off, or keep them for yourself. All the points and bucks are extra money, so spend all you have, and you’ll get more in return.

Superstores or Major Retailers:

Sometimes at superstores or major retailers, we think of buying in bulk. Well, be careful. Compare the prices of a bulk item to the item individually to see which is the better price. Also, pay attention to the quantity of the item you need. At the end of the aisles, there can be a fun display promoting an item with a special. This isn’t always the best deal, but the way the display is advertised serves to trick customers into believing they are getting a great deal. Another way to save is by downloading the store’s app. Sometimes there will be specials only on the app or additional coupons for you to download. Want to know if an item is going to be on clearance? Look at the price tag. For some stores, a price ending in 7 is usually the original, a price ending in 5 is the 1st markdown, and a price ending in 1 is the final markdown. For others, prices ending in $0.06 or $0.08 mean the item will be on markdown again, and prices ending in $0.04 are at their final clearance price. Lastly, research the store’s markdown schedule, because different items are marked down on different days of the week. Speaking with store managers can help you understand the schedule.

The next time you go shopping for essentials, pay attention to where you are going and where you can get the best buy. Shopping for the right items at the right stores will help you put more money in your wallet.