April 6, 2012

Sharing the Wealth: Finding your "buy-at" price

Now, I know that I have talked about "buy-at" prices several times before. The buy-at price is the price that you set as a price that you consider to be a good price to buy and stock up an an item at. When I stock up, I buy as much of the item I can afford on my budget to get me through to the next sale.

Though I have talked about using buy-at prices, while I was shopping yesterday, it occurred to me that I have never really explained how it is that I arrived at my buy-at prices.

Just to be clear, the buy-at price is kind of the key to couponing. People often ask me how couponing saves me money since the coupon doesn't typically make a brand name item with a coupon lower priced than the store brand. The idea is not to just buy an item because I have a coupon for it, but to use that coupon when the item is on sale for a great price. Since I don't have a crystal ball that tells me when that item is going to be at its lowest before my coupon expires, I use my buy-at price. So, for example, my buy-at price for cereal is $1.00. I typically will stock up on as much cereal as I can afford whenever I see it at $1.00. If I have a coupon for $1.00 off a box of cereal but that cereal doesn't go on sale for $2.00 or less before the coupon expires, I won't be using that coupon.

To start, I figured out what the best price I can get an item for on any day. This is typically decided by figuring out what I will pay for an item at Aldi or by buying the store brand. For example, the regular price for 3 pounds of chicken breast is $5.99. Since I don't tend to find a ton of chicken on sale in our area, I consider anything below $2.00 a pound to be a good price.

Another thing that goes into my decision is the necessity of the item. If it is an item that I do not consider to be necessity to keep in the house I will not purchase it unless it is free. For us, this is soda. Although I love to have soda around, we don't usually keep it around unless I can pick it up for free. On the other hand, milk is considered a must have around this house. Because I know that it is going to get purchased every week regardless of the price, my goal is just to find the best price I can each week.

Now that I have started couponing and deal hunting, I am constantly adjusting my various buy at prices. For example, I started out with toothpaste being a good buy at around $.25. Since then, I have figured out that I can keep my stock plenty full waiting until I can get it free. It also goes the other way- when I started couponing I stocked up on a bunch of body wash for free. Since then, the body wash deals have been few and far between, so I have would be willing to do any good deal now.

So I hope that better explains how I reach my buy-at price!

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