Save Money Grocery Shopping

8 02 2007

Shopping for groceries is sometimes a hassle and can get quite expensive, especially with a family of 5. Want 50 ways to save money on your grocery bill? Find out here…..

Thanks to Thrifty Mommy for this great article


grocery shopping1)  Check the weekly sales flyer.  Usually the items on the front page is where you’ll save the most.  I mostly try to shop the sales and for a few things that I really need.  It seems when I shop this way, I don’t need as much stuff because I’ve stocked up when the items were on sale.

2)  Make a list. Include the sale items on your list.  Making a list will help keep you focused and help you not to splurge on other things that you don’t need.   If I don’t make a list, then chances are I will forget something.  When I forget something I end up going back to the store to get that item and then I spend more money.

3)  Eat before you shop.  If you shop on an empty stomach you will more than likely spend at least $20 (maybe even $50) more than you had planned.

4)  Go alone.  You know you’ll spend more if the husband and kids are with you. 

5)  Use coupons.  Some people are embarrassed to use coupons and I can’t figure out why.  It’s like cash in hand.   I remember times when I went to CVS with my manufacturer’s & CVS coupons and saved more than I spent.  Use coupons!

6)  Buy store brands.  There are some name brands that I must have.  I must have my name brand ketchup and tea bags, but for other things, such as crackers, buy store brands.  I buy the Wal-Mart brand graham crackers for my kids and save over $1 a box!

7)  Avoid buying check-out items.  Those magazines and candy are there to entice you.  Don’t spend 85 cents for a pack of gum when you can get a multi-pack for just a little more.

8)  Check the prices per pound on items.  Just because it’s a larger size doesn’t mean it ends up being cheaper.  FYI, I get really annoyed when some grocery stores tell you the price of Heinz ketchup in ounces, but the Hunt’s ketchup price in pounds.  It certainly makes it hard to compare.

9)  Don’t buy toiletries and health items at the grocery store (unless they’re a good deal).  Sometimes medicines, hairsprays, razors, etc can be a couple dollars more per item.  Sometimes you can find toiletries buy 1 get 1 free, but that is the exception. 

10) Stay away from convenience foods.  Prepared foods can be very costly.

11) Look below eye level.  Usually the cheaper brands are on the lower shelves.

12) Buy meat when it’s on sale and store it in the freezer.  About once a year I pay full price for meat and about makes me sick.  I buy my boneless chicken breasts when they are less than $2 per pound.  All my meat is bought on sale and frozen with the purchase date written on the freezer bag. 

13) Get a raincheck for out-of-stock sale items.  I probably have 10 rainchecks in my purse right now.  I have one for hamburger for 99 cents/lb.  I’m waiting to use the raincheck for when I need it.

14) Check out the dollar stores.  Sometimes you can find some pretty good stuff in there.  I found some really great volumizing shampoo and conditioner at our local Dollar Tree.  Later, I saw the same brand at a drug store and it was expensive.

15) Shop during off-peak hours.  I get so annoyed when the grocery store is busy.  I can’t find what I need, I can’t seem to comparison shop because of all the people, and then I usually forget something (which means another trip to the store which costs more gas and more buying).

16) Buy produce from local farmers.  These are usually cheaper unless your local store is having a good sale.  Check the sales paper.

17) Check sales papers on-line if you don’t get the paper.  I do not subscribe to the paper, so I check the weekly CVS flyer on line.  (I’m looking for a good diaper sale.)  I also subscribe to the weekly Food Lion flyer.

18) Try to buy your produce when it is in season.  Yes, I know there are some things that you have to have, but otherwise buy the produce when it’s the cheapest.  If strawberries are buy one get one free, then freeze them for a cake.

19) Pay attention to the banners/signs above each aisle. Avoid aisles that don’t have something on your list.  I’ve been trying this one lately.  It seems to be working for me.

20) Make mental notes.  When shopping I make mental notes of how much my regular items cost.  I know that at Food Lion the applesauce is $1.99, but at Wal-Mart it is $1.35.  I avoid buying applesauce at Food Lion and then when I make my rare trip to Wal-Mart I buy 3 packages of applesauce.  (FYI – Food Lion is my store of choice.  They have great sales.)  Making mental notes keeps you aware of what a “good buy” really is.

21) Check your receipt before you leave.  As soon as I check-out I look over my entire receipt before I leave.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have been overcharged.  I try to watch as my stuff is being rung up, but with all the MVP stuff, sometimes it is hard to know what’s going on.

22) Buy your candy and chocolate after a holiday when it’s really cheap.  Stock up so you have enough until the next after-holiday sale.  Who cares if the M&Ms are red and green?

23) Check to see if your favorite store offers price matching. 

24) Look in the discontinued or reduced carts.  Sometimes you can find some really good deals there.  Sometimes the store manager will make a deal with you if you buy all of the cereal that is in the reduced cart.  Recently I had a grocery store manager offer me a deal on some things he saw me buying from his cart of reduced items.  Usually, they just want to get rid of the stuff.

25) Freeze leftovers and use them for lunch.  I’ve done this with pintos, spaghetti sauce, soup, etc.  You can freeze a lot of things.

26) Look for double and triple coupon sales.  If your store has one, then make sure you go at the beginning of the sale week before they run out of the items you have coupons for.

27) Pay attention to expiration dates.  Sometimes you can find an item that has a shelf life of 6 months longer than the others.

28) Buy store brand milk.  I can’t imagine paying 50 cents or more per gallon for a name brand milk.  Check your gas station for milk prices.  Sometimes gas stations have the best prices on milk.

29) Keep your emotions in check.  Sometimes people buy things just because it feels good.  Stick to your budget and your list.  If you have to, find an accountability partner.

30) Try to limit your grocery shopping to only 1-2 stores.  Driving around costs money.  If you’re only saving a few dollars, then it’s probably not worth your gas and time to go to another store.  Plus you know if you step foot in another store you’ll probably buy some other things not on your list.

31) Stock up on paper items while they’re on sale.  I never buy my toilet paper or paper towels from Sam’s.  I get those items when they go on sale at the grocery store.  I buy enough to last me a while.

32) Look your cart over before you leave to make sure you’re not being excessive with your purchases.  Do your kids really need a bag of chips, pretzels, and Doritos?

33) If you’re only shopping for a few items then get a basket and not a cart.  It will be hard to overshop this way.

34) Plan your meals according to what’s on sale.  If taco shells and lettuce are on sale, then you know we’ll be having tacos.

35) Plan your meals ahead.  Put your meat in the refrigerator to thaw 1-2 days before you need it.  If your meal is already planned then you avoid stopping by the store and paying full price for something.

36) Call food companies.  If you get something that’s bad, then call them and let them know.  They’ll send you a replacement coupon.  If you get something that’s great, then call them and give them a complement.  Sometimes they’ll send you some coupons for that too.

37) Check the produce to see if it’s in good condition.  Dented and scratched produce will go bad faster.  Also, don’t buy more produce than your family can consume within a reasonable amount of time.

38) Store perishable foods properly to avoid them going bad faster.

39) Shop with cash.  You can only spend what you have and you’ll definitely stay in budget this way. 

40) Consider how you’re going to use the item.  If you’re making a stew, then you can buy a cheaper cut of meat.  If you’re making a meatloaf, then you can use the generic brand of crackers or cereal.

41) Know what you have.  How many times have you bought a jar of Miracle Whip, but already had a jar at home?  Miracle Whip doesn’t have a long shelf life.

42)  Try not to shop when you’re tired.  Chances are you’ll buy chocolate and other carbs that will make you feel good.

43) Avoid your weak spots.  If you have a weakness for junk food, then stay away from that aisle.  If your weakness is expensive cheese, then stay away.

44) Avoid pre-packaged snacks.  I just can’t bring myself to buy these, even when they’re on sale.  I’m thinking in my mind, ‘Oh, these are on sale for $3.99.  Well, even at $3.99 that makes these snack packs about 35 cents each.  Geez, I can buy several boxes of cheese crackers for that amount and just put them into baggies.’ 

45) Try to cut back on your beverage bill.  Filter your water instead of buying bottled.  Make your own kool-aid instead of buying those individual bottles.  Add your own sugar to your kool-aid instead of getting the kind with sugar.  Buy generic soda.  Comparison shop. Buy what’s on sale.

46) Look for reduced meat sales.  Most grocery stores reduce their meat the day before it’s sale-by date.  Sometimes I use this opportunity to get meats that are already seasoned or things that I normally would not buy.  I get a splurge item at a sale price.  Of course, I use the item right away.

47) Bigger is not always better.  Sometimes economy size packages do not save you money.  Even if they are cheaper, you need to decide if it’s worth the extra money.  If you’ll use it then it’s a good buy, but if it will go to waste you need to rethink your decision.

48) Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale or because you have a coupon.  Sometimes it’s easy to get on a bargain high and buy things that we just don’t need.

49) Shop at bag-it-yourself stores.  We just got one here.  The stores don’t have to pay baggers and they don’t buy bags, so the food is cheaper.  Just remember your mental notes.  Always know if something is a good price.

50)  Get creative with leftovers.  If you have corn left over, then mix it with green beans to have another night.  If you have leftover grilled chicken, then have grilled chicken salads.

I hope that these thrifty tips have been helpful to you.  These are things that I was taught from my very frugal mother. I have to confess, I do all of these except #39.  I use my debit card when I shop.  I am very thrifty, so this one is not a problem area with me.  If you can take a few of these tips away and apply them to your shopping, you should be able to save a lot of money.



One response

30 10 2007

Yay! I went grocery shopping today and got $200.01 worth of groceries for $102.20!

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