Monday, 9 September 2013

MY SHOPPING BINDER - A Frugal Shopper's Organizer.

A couple of years ago, after once again going shopping and leaving my reusable bags at home, I decided it was high time I organized my shopping so that wouldn't happen again. Through trial and error I came up with a simple to use shopping binder that has become a most valuable shopping tool, saving loads of time and aggravation.

I picked up the binder itself for nothing at the library when they were getting rid of a bunch of them. The binder has clear plastic sleeves on the front and back covers along with pockets on the inside of both covers, which was great as I put all of that to use.

I then made a list of all the things that had created problems in the past. In addition to forgetting the bags, I had at times forgotten my loyalty cards, or to redeem coupons when checking out or to grab the flyers for Admatch (I don't care what store policy says, having them handy at checkout saves a lot of frustration). I also found hanging on to a calculator annoying - half the time I forgot to enter something or else erased everything I had entered, so that had to improve.

I started by making up a checklist that would become a permanent part of the front of the binder. On this I put all the things that I would need when going shopping - like my purse and wallet, cash, debit and credit cards, my cell phone, the loyalty cards I planned to use, coupons and flyers, and finally, my reusable bags and cooler.

I typed up the checklist in a fairly large, bold font so that it would be easy to see. Once I was happy with it, I enclosed it in a text box near the bottom right-hand corner of the document and printed it off. That sheet was then inserted into the plastic sleeve on the front cover.

Right above where the checklist is located I glued on a calculator I had found at Dollarama. The only glue I had on hand was No More Nails so that's what I used and it worked fine. I made sure to let it dry well so the calculator wouldn't fall off. Having my hands free, with the calculator fastened to the binder, makes it much easier to keep a running total - especially useful at Shoppers where you must spend a certain amount to qualify for the bonus points.

Tip: Once you've finished shopping at Shopper's Drugmart, and before checking out, buy a gift card for the amount you've spent. This is an easy way to pick up extra points. Gift card purchases qualify for regular points - they do not qualify for bonus points. Then use the gift card to pay for the purchases, again picking up points, including all eligible bonus points. If you buy the gift card with a cashback credit card you can pick up save additional savings.

Getting ready to go shopping:
  1. Insert a prepared grocery list into the plastic sleeve on the front cover. The list is set up by store with things like AdMatch, Coupons, and other Money-Saving Information highlighted. In the picture shown, AdMatch is green (top) and Coupons and Points are pink (bottom). Since 1/3 of the cover is used for the calculator and checklist, I have to cut off 1/3 of the sheet I use for the grocery list but that still gives me lots of space to write down what I need. If I ever needed more space, I would just add a second list to slide behind the first one and make the switch when needed.   
     2. The flyers for the stores where I planned to shop. Shown below was for an in-between shopping trip, just to pick up some 'waited to buy until on sale' products at Shoppers 20x sale, plus a few other sale items at WalMart. I placed the WalMart flyer, plus the NoFrills and Food Basics flyers for AdMatch, in the front pocket and Shoppers 20x points flyer in the back pocket.


The coupons are next. If there are just a few coupons, like shown below, I lightly tape them to a sheet of paper to keep them in place and insert that sheet into the plastic sleeve on the back of the binder. If there are a lot of coupons it works better to place the coupons in an envelope with the pertinent information - coupon name, amount, expiry date - clearly written on the envelope, then that envelope is inserted into the plastic sleeve.

Finally, I refer to the checklist to gather everything I need for the shopping trip and I'm good to go.

The shopping is organized and I can best plan my route since I know what stores I'll  be going to. At the store I place the binder in the child seat of the cart and with the list and calculator right in front of me I can stay focused on my shopping. At the checkout I just turn the binder around so that I don't forget the coupons. I no longer forget anything and by having the information right where I can see it, I stay on track, which saves time but also eliminates impulse buys, which saves money.

Amazing how a small thing like setting up a shopping binder can make such a huge difference to the shopping experience.

Something Extra. Thanks to one of my readers who passed on this recipe for me to share, claiming it makes a product that's much superior to the canned stuff available in stores.

With corn now in full supply, and therefore at its best price, this is the best time to stock up. So head to a Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning and make this recipe in the afternoon when the hydro rates are the lowest. Save every which way.

Cream Corn: 
30 cups corn, cut off cobs (about 4 dozen)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 370 ml can evaporated milk (or cream)
1 Tbsp. salt (optional)

Put corn into large roasting pan and then add everything else.
Cook 1½ hour, stirring occasionally.         Cool and bag for freezer.

Talk to you again next week,


If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your social media friends. 

No comments :

Post a Comment

I want this blog to be interesting, informative and current. Your comments let me know if I'm on track, so comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks - Lenie