Frugal Living 

How To Predict Supermarket Sales

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Learning how to predict supermarket and grocery store sales is so simple, a grade schooler could do it. All you have to do is pick up your Saturday circulars! Yeah, so I cheated a little, I hope you can forgive me. Typically supermarkets will advertise all their sales on Saturday when they won’t take into effect until Sunday so you get to find out if you should wait one day to buy that chicken because it’s not on sale this week but it will be next week.

One of the benefits of living within walking distance of the local Giant (a grocery store chain) is that it costs me nothing but time (i.e. no gasoline/car-related costs) when I go grocery shopping. With the Saturday circulars, I can see what’s advertised. Just the other week I knew, from that week’s circular, that a pound of chicken breast was going to run me $2.99 – a good price in this area and that itself was marked as a sale. Well, the advertisements that came with my Saturday paper clued me in on a sale that would start the next day where chicken breast was going to run a mere $1.66 (an unheard of price, at least for me) so I waited the one day and saved myself some easy money.

For those of you who thought I knew of a magic method of divining sales, I apologize.

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “How To Predict Supermarket Sales”

  1. TerriW says:

    Around here [Just southwest of Austin, TX], the nearest local “big 3” grocery stores send their circulars in the mail on Wednesday and Thursday. This gives me a day or two to construct the week’s menus based on what’s on sale, what’s in the freezer if none of the loss leader meats are appealing, and what needs to be used up. I have all my recipes in a program on my Mac, so I can search on “chicken breast” or whatever and menu-making is a snap.

    If I was a little more enterprising, I would track loss-leader sales on stock-up items over several months and discover things like, say, peanut butter goes on sale every six weeks, etc … then I would know to buy six week’s worth when it goes on sale.

    But I’m not quite that enterprising yet.

  2. FMF says:

    What a rip!!!! I saw the heading in Bloglines and clicked through thinking you had some sort of Suze Orman-like “talk to your money” or “love your money and it will love you” piece of advice Now I feel cheated. 😉

  3. Me says:

    Just wondering..have you tried the site I read about this in another finance blog(sorry dont remember which one). Supposedly has access to Grocery store’s dbs and cross checks it with the coupons in your weekend circular. I tried the free one for walgreens..somewhat usefull. They have $1 trial for 4 weeks. Unfortunately, I use peapod for time being until I move, so I cant really utilize it. They do have “giant” under their covered stores. really enjoying your posts.

  4. jim says:

    FMF – If you talk to your money, you are insane.

    Me – Thanks for the tip and thanks for the compliment!

  5. Lauren says:

    Also, try You can search for any particular ingredient, such as yogurt or chicken or whatever, and it will tell you where it’s on sale in local stores.

  6. chris says: is another site, like, that publishes lists of sale items and manufacturer’s coupons that result in major discounts, but it is free. I don’t know if they cover the ‘unadvertised sales’ that claims to cover, though.

  7. Michael says:

    I’ve been doing the Grocery Game thing for a week, and I’m already hooked. 61% savings including lots of stuff the stores basically paid me to take home…

  8. Jose says:

    Saving in gas, car maintenance, and time costs is important in any buying decission. A 10 mile trip may cost you upwards of $5 – so any savings have to be more than that.

    You may also want to keep old supermarket circulars. There is a pattern to some product sales.
    Also, buy fruits and veggies when they are in season.

  9. Lucky says:

    I’m very new at this. My family is diving head first into a frugal lifestyle…here’s my question: Generelly speaking, isn’t it more frugal to use the store brands instead of couponing? I have the feeling I’m going t learn a lot here!

  10. jim says:

    Lucky – In general you can get a brand named product cheaper after coupons than store brands without coupons because the brand is trying to get you to 1) get you into the habit of picking up their product; 2) believe their product is superior (and it may very well be better); so they are willing to make a little less profit or even take a loss in order to capture your loyalty.

  11. tk says:

    What is also great is that some big chains like Publix (since I live in fl) have their weekly flyers online. I don’t get the paper flyers for some reason, which is okay. It gives me time to sit at home, plan a list ahead of time and don’t have to throw it away.

  12. Deb says:

    I once worked at a supermarket and was surprised to learn that management would look at the ads from competing supermarkets. Then they would lower prices in the store to match or under-sale the competition’s price. Even though sometimes this practiced caused management to sale items below cost,they did it, unannounced. Customers would then think the store was a bargain place to shop when comparing prices.

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