Friday, February 08, 2008

Saving Money At the Grocery Store

Ok, this might sound funny, but I love working hard to save money at the grocery store. I really watch the sales at the stores here and try to buy only products on sale. If I have a coupon, it’s even better. This month’s Women’s Day Magazine offered several ideas for saving money on your grocery bill:

1. Add more days inbetween shopping trips. If you normally go once a week, see if you can stretch it to twice in three weeks or even every other week. I have a friend who only goes twice a month. She plans her list, buys what she needs for the two weeks and if they run out, they wait until her next shopping trip. I believe her ONLY exceptions are milk, bread, fruits and vegetables.

2. A few times per year, do NOT go shopping. Instead make a plan to use everything in your pantry and freezer. Even canned goods carry expiration dates. Use them up. We actually have fun once a month using only ingredients already in the house to make up new meals.

3. Plan your grocery lists around the items on sale that week at the grocery store. We get great deal here on both meat and chicken at different times. If I find them on sale, I stock up. We can often get salad dressings for $1. We just really watch the sales.

4. Use coupons. We subscribe to the Sunday only newspaper. We more than make our money back in the coupons found inside. If we use a coupon on a sale item, we often end up paying very little. Choose stores that double your coupons. I’ve never had my coupons tripled, but I do know others have told me they have markets that have certain days when they’ll triple coupons.

5. Look up and look down. Products are placed on shelves very strategically. You’ll often find items that cost less both up or down. The manufacturers put products at eye level that they want you to buy. You’ll also find generic items up and down versus at eye level.

6. Check brands and prices. For example, some times I’m better off buying a few small mayonnaise jars versus the large one. If the small one is on sale, the price per ounce is less than the larger jars. I’ve found this to be true with many items, including dairy products.

7. Use cash. Surveys show that those using credit cards and checks tend to spend 20 to 30% more. On a $100 grocery bill, you could save $20 or $30 by using cash.

8. If it’s not on your list don’t buy it. If you really want it, add it to next week’s list. If you still want it next week, go ahead and make the purchase. I always allow myself just one or maybe two things not on my list. Maybe something is on sale that I hadn’t noticed or maybe I decide that I really want something not on my list. But other than that one or two items, if it’s not on the list, we don’t buy it.

9. On those shopping trips where you’ve only come in for a few items, do not get a cart. If you truly only buy the two items, there is no need for a cart. I can not tell you how many times I went in for one item, grabbed a cart and ended up remembering all kinds of other things I needed. Leave the cart at the entrance.

10. If you live next to another city, check prices. Often the same store will have different price in different cities. Check prices. My mom and I will often make purchases for each other when we find something very much on sale in her city or mine, but not in the other city. An example is paper towel. She can often find it under a dollar with a coupon. She’ll buy enough for her and I both and save them for the next time I see her.

Enjoy these tips and the money you’ll save on your grocery budget by incorporating just a few into your routine.

Audrey :)


Marissa said...

Wow, these suggestions require organization. I'm somewhat of a stranger to that concept.
They all make sense, though. Especially the one about shopping with cash.

Carrie said...

Such great tips. I work hard to reduce expenses at the grocery too.