Store ads are the next "secret" of my shopping success. Every week I review the grocery ads I get in the mail and in the paper.
Before I can get the most from my ads, though, I have to know what the prices are at my regular store. The Coupon Mom recommends some reconnaissance. I've done that before. I've made a list of our typical grocery purchases and gone to every store in town to write down what they charge for that item. Now I know that my usual store has the lowest price 85% of the time or more, so I don't bother with the research.
What I do is keep my receipts. I can go back and see that the last time I bought Kleenex, I paid $3.98 for a three pack. I can tell if anyone is offering a better deal by just checking the weekly ads.
The regular price at my usual store is my baseline. If any other store has Special K on sale, for example, I know they have to beat $2.64 - and by more than just a couple pennies - for me to make a special trip to another place just for cereal. In general, I have no problem going to multiple stores for the best deals, but the savings has to be worth the gas and extra effort.
Come back tomorrow for one more "secret" before we put it all together on some real-life examples.