Do you spend too much money at the supermarket? Looking to learn how to save money on groceries?
Well you’re in the right place! There are lots of ways to cut grocery costs, as you’re about to see. Now don’t get overwhelmed by all the savings plans you’ll read about. You don’t have to use them all at once. Instead, start off with a few of the easier ways to save on groceries and then add more a little at a time. Before long you’ll be saving a fortune!
1. Always use a list. Using a list is one of the easiest ways to start saving money on groceries. If you go into the supermarket with an organized list and only buy those items you will really cut back your spending. The trick of course it that you have to stick to that list! No giving into temptation!
2. Never shop when you’re hungry. It never fails, when I go shopping with an empty stomach I come home with all sorts of garbage that I don’t really need. Cookies, chips, twinkies, etc. The best time to go shopping is when you are full and well-rested so you have the strength to pass on those expensive impulse purchases.
3. Shop alone. When I go shopping alone, I’m in and out of the store quickly and efficiently. But if the kids are with me…oh boy. Too much temptation and too many people asking for stuff.
4. Shop fast. Have you ever noticed that milk and eggs are always in the back of the store? It’s not a coincidence…supermarkets know that you need those items so they make you walk through the whole store to reach them. The more stuff you see along the way the more likely you’ll be to buy extra items. Plus studies have shown that the more time you spend in the store the more stuff you will buy. Be smart…get what you need and get out fast.
5. Use Coupons. Yea, I know they can be a pain in the butt to cut out and organize, but if you are consistent you can really save money on groceries by using coupons. The trick is to time it so you can use your coupons at the same time the product is on sale. For example, if you use some online Walgreens coupons for an item already on sale you can compound the savings. But don’t ever just buy stuff because you have a coupon for it. If you’re not going to use it, it’s just a waste.
6. Clip your coupons to your shopping list. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the register and realized I had left all my coupons at home. You will never have this problem if you simply paper clip your coupons to your list before you head out to the store.
7. Keep an eye out for in-store coupons. Many supermarkets have automatic coupon dispensers right in the store. Plus they print out more coupons with your cash register which you can use the next time you shop.
8. Use store savings cards. Almost every store has those little savings cards that attach to your key ring. You usually need them to get the sales prices, and sometimes they offer unadvertised sales so you can really save on groceries by using them.
9. Shop at stores that double or triple coupons. Saving 50 cents on a box of rice is nice. But saving $1.50 per box is even better!
10. Pay attention at the cash register. You need to keep a close eye on the register to make sure your items ring up at the right prices. If an item is on sale but rings up at the full price you should speak up so you don’t get ripped off. Some stores will even give you the item for free! Also pay attention to the baggers to make sure nothing is missed. You don’t want to pay for an item and then leave it sitting there at the register.
11. Always get a raincheck. You’ve got your coupons in hand and you’re ready to combine them with a sale price to get your favorite canned soup at a deep discount, but the shelves are empty. Do you leave the store empty handed and curse the supermarket gods because you missed out on a good deal? Of course not! Just go to the customer service desk and ask for a raincheck so you can get the sales price when it is back in stock.
12. Bring a calculator. The best way to compare prices is to look at the unit prices on shelf tags. They tell you how are paying per ounce, pound, or count. This way you can compare various brands and sizes. But not all stores list the per unit price or some may be missing. If you bring a little calculator with you, you’ll be able to figure it out for yourself.
13. Shop at larger supermarkets. Large chains are almost always less expensive than the smaller convenience stores because they are able to buy in bulk and get a better price.
14. Buy generic store brand products. Store brands are almost always cheaper and the quality is usually comparable. Sometimes if you have a coupon the name brand might be a little cheaper, but you have to be careful because sometimes the generics are still less expensive even without the coupon.
15. Make friends with the butcher. No really, my wife is very social and she is always chatting up the butchers at the supermarket. They sometimes cut her a special piece of meat or trim away extra fat so she can save a few bucks at the register.
16. Look at your feet when standing in the aisle. Supermarkets place the products with the highest profit margin at eye level because they know that’s as far as many customers will look. But if you look down at the lower shelves (and up at the higher ones) you can find some real bargains.
17. Don’t fall for the “3 for $5″ ploy. Unless the signs specifically say that you must buy 3 of the item, you can still get the discounted price when buying less. Most people just buy 3 because they assume they have to, and that falls right into the supermarket’s hands.
18. Buy in bulk. Bigger is almost always cheaper, so skip the skimpy single-serving packages and buy the big bag instead.
19. Buy a freezer if you can afford it. When normally expensive items go on sale, it’s time to stock up. But you can’t buy too much meat or dairy unless you have a place to store it. A small freezer in your basement or garage is a great way to store extra meat and frozen products.
20. Buy your fruits and veggies at the farmer’s market. Produce is one department where the large supermarket chains can’t compete with the local farmer’s market. Our farmer’s market is always stocked with delicious fresh fruit and vegetables and the prices almost always beat the supermarket.
Readers, what tips do you have to help save money on groceries?