Last week, in my post on budgeting, I touched on how we save money by doing some smart grocery shopping. I received emails from readers asking for details on how to save at the grocery store, so I thought I would address that here. I have come to realize that it’s not just one thing that will bring big savings. But, there are many little things you can do that will add up to big savings over time. These ideas might not work for everyone, but they did enable us to reduce our grocery bill by 30%. I don’t want to overwhelm you with a lot of information at once, so this will be the first in a series on saving at the grocery store.
|Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
1. Shop With a List
When you walk into a store without a list you almost always spend more money than if you made a list and stuck to it. It’s like shopping while you are hungry. You pick up a lot more impulse buys which makes you spend more. Write a list before you go and stick to it! I always write a list. My problem occurs when I leave the list at home. If you will write a list, remember to bring it to the store, and stick to the list, you will see savings every month.
2. Store Specials
As you sit down to make your list, check out the store specials. Many grocery stores will mail out their sale circulars in advance. If you are not receiving these, I have found almost all of the larger chains have their circulars online.
Check if your store offers a free savings card. Some will give you reward points for gas and some just require you to have a savings card to get special sales. Safeway has personalized deals called “Just 4 U,” that you can sign up for online. Each week they will mail you dozens of special sale prices that are not advertised in the store. You just add them to your club card on Safeway’s website and the discount is taken off at the register. Every couple of weeks they even offer you a free item. Who doesn’t love free?
3. Shop the Sale
Stores put different things on sale each week and you benefit from buying items you use when they are on sale and avoiding them when they are not. As an example, lets use peanut better. Say your store is having a great deal on peanut butter. You know that you go through quite a bit of peanut butter at home. Stock up while it is on sale. Buy 3 or 4 if the expiration date is far enough in advance. Then, when the sale is over you won’t have to buy peanut butter at the regular price.
I try not to buy something unless it is on sale. I wanted to buy some ground turkey a few weeks ago and did not get any because it was not on sale. Last week when I went to the store it was on sale so I got a few packages and froze some.
If you are going to shop the sale you need to be willing to try other brands. My kids like Rice Krispies. If they are not on sale, I will look at the store brand or another kind of cereal that is on sale. Not only does this allow you to save money but it gives you the chance to try something new.
I hope you found these money saving tips helpful. Come back next Thursday for more grocery tips that will have you spending LESS and saving more.