Shop high and shop low are definitely the first things that came to mind. I once had a mystery shop where I had to price compare several basic grocery items. I was frequently amazed how the most basic, low-cost items were either on the highest shelf or the very bottom - and not necessarily in the same section as similar products of the same brand. For instance, if I wanted a basic 15 oz box of Cheerios, it might be on a bottom shelf and 5 feet to the right of all the other varieties of Cheerios. Tricky!
Be flexible. On your list, if you don't immediately need an item and it is priced higher than normal, skip it or substitute. For instance, sometimes butter gets really expensive - $4 to $6 a pound for organic. My price point for basic butter (non-organic) is $2 a pound and I'll pay $3.25 a pound for organic. If butter is horribly expensive, we just go without. Another example, let's say I planned broccoli for the vegetable that day. The fresh broccoli looks terrible and the frozen kind is unbelievably expensive. I'll switch to a different vegetable.
Be flexible - part II. If you find a killer deal on something you regularly buy, snap it up but only buy what you can use before it expires and reasonably store. This DOES NOT include optional items like snacks or treats - that would be an impulse buy. But, let's say your favorite brand of jarred spaghetti sauce is on clearance for 50-cents a jar. Since you prepare something with jarred spaghetti sauce once a week, buy several jars.
Price compare your coupon deal. Just because you have a coupon, that may not make it cheaper. For instance, I had a coupon for 35-cents off a carton of Eggland's Best eggs - normally $3.35 a carton. I was about to grab some when I noticed the store was also selling locally grown, organic eggs - same size - for $2.80 a carton. I grabbed those instead and saved myself 20-cents over what I would have paid by using the coupon.
Edited by Cookie2 - 7/20/12 at 9:11am