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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Frugal 101: Loss Leaders

This is the 2nd post in my new series Frugal 101. Yesterday I mentioned that it is important to know what's on sale BEFORE you go to the store. Now we are going to learn why that can be so beneficial.

Today we are going to talk about Loss Leaders.

First off, let's address what the term "Loss Leader" means. These are items which are typically promoted on the front or back page of a store's weekly advertisement. These are usually rock bottom prices. They put the loss leader items and their prices right on the front page to catch your eye. It gets the term "loss" leader because a store may actually lose money on these items as they are often priced below their cost. Their hope is that a customer will choose their store (over another retailer) to shop for these items and pick up a few more things on their way out. Loss leaders will change from week to week and vary from store to store.

Shopping the loss leaders is a great way to get the best deals with no coupons required. I would dare to say that
you can save at least 50% without ever clipping a coupon. Of course, if you have coupons for those items it just sweetens the deal.

As an example, let's look at the front page for the Food Lion ad for this week.
{Middle Tennesee, Valid 9/1-9/7}

Right on the front page are some great prices on meat, produce and drinks. I shopped at Food Lion today and stocked up on ground beef ($1.79 lb), chicken breasts ($1.77 lb) and Mt. Dew ($2.25 ea.). I also grabbed a cantaloupe ($0.99) and an avocado ($0.79 - found on the back page).
I spent $25.44 with a savings of $28.01 or 53%! (zero coupons)

My freezer is now stocked with some of my favorite chicken. I also divided the ground beef value pack into smaller, more manageable portions. Plus, hubby's soda stockpile got a maintenance dose on the cheap.

Now, I don't necessarily recommend driving all over town to shop the loss leaders at every single store. However, if you happen to have several stores close to each other (like I do), it's not a bad idea to hit more than one retailer. With my list in hand (or just the front page), I can be in and out in no time.

Using the meat and veggie loss leaders is also a great way to plan your meals for the week. More on meal planning soon.

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