Top ten tips to save money on groceries
How to save money at the grocery store?
1. Shopping: Do not go to the grocery store when you are hungry, tired or stressed out. Grocery shopping when you are hungry is the worst time and you are most inclined to buy anything that is edible. Especially, if the supermarkets give out free sample, they taste so good when you are hungry and you will most probably buy it on impulse. I remember once I was so hungry and went to a grocery store like Costco. I bought turkey patties, meatballs, chicken soup, cheese, guacamole, chips, cherries, nuts when I really went there to buy just some coffee. So much of it was wasted as it did not taste so well after coming home and that is too much food for our family anyways.
2. Use Coupons. Subscribe to the sunday newspaper and look for things you may need. Clip coupons and keep them in a folder and have the folder in your car. Websites like coolsavings.com, smartsource.com allow you to print coupons yourself. Join coolsavings for free and you will get a lot of valuable money saving free coupons. With little bit of planning and organization, you can save a lot of money using coupons. Go to grocery stores that double or even triple coupons. Also, manufacturer's give out coupons some on their websites, some in the mail. After applying all these coupons, you can get many things for free, sometimes they are free after rebate and even made some money. Be careful when using coupons though. Do not buy something at the grocery store just because you have a coupon for it.
3. Save on gas: Before venturing out to grocery shopping, have a plan and a map of your shopping trip. Plan your trip map properly so you make the shortest trip yet covering all the grocery stores you want to go to.
4. Check receipts for errors: Often times, the grocery stores put items on sale, but a bug in their database software may not recognize the sale price at the cash register. Some grocery stores like Kroger have scan-rite guarantee and if there is an error, they will give the item for free. so, dont forget to check your receipts immediately.
5. Buy in bulk. Wholesale clubs sell a lot of things including fruits and vegetables in bulk and you will save a ton of money. Oil, cereals, bread, fruits are so cheap and good quality and are at prices better than sale prices at regular grocery stores. Note that some wholesale clubs like Costco, Sam's and BJ's require membership and the annual membership fee could be anywhere from $35 to $100. Become an executive member as you will get the difference between the standard membership and the executive membership at the end of the year anyways. You just have to go and ask for it.
6. Use a list for grocery store shopping and do not buy unnecessary items. Disposable items like spoons, platic knives, plastic cups, paper plates are such a waste of money. Instead you should use permanent items that you can wash and reuse. This will save you money and more importantly it is good for the environment and you will help our future generations live in a better world.
7. Avoid wasting food: Don't buy more than you want. Plan your menu for the whole week and buy what you think will be enough for the family. Things get spoiled as time goes by and you will have throw them in the trash if you have not consumed them.
8. Raincheck: If a particular item that is on sale is out-of-stock in a grocery store, don't forget to ask for a raincheck and come back next week when the item is not on sale anymore and the item will be in stock. You can use your raincheck to buy it at the sale price.
9. Sales flyers: Check the sales flyers of the grocery stores before you leave the house for shopping. If you don't get flyers, check out the websites of grocery stores and they usually have the weekly ad up there. Make a list and a map of your trip so you can optimize your shopping trip and make it efficient. If you do your shopping on sunday, make sure you plan for lunch. If you are shopping during lunch hours, you will be hungry and will be buying more than you need plus you will most probably eat outside which is unhealthy and expensive. Consider making the grocery store shopping trip after lunch.
10. Shop at different stores: Sometimes a nearby farmers market is your best choice. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, it will be cheaper than the grocery store. Milk is such an essential item that has to be purchased every week. So, grocery chains usually use the trick of selling milk at a reduced price to entice the customer into their store. Once you go for milk, you will end up buying other stuff from the same store that may be expensive. Buy milk where it is cheap and go to a different store for other food that is on sale. A word of caution: Don't travel too far looking for deals. At today's gas prices it is not worth it and you have to keep an eye on how far you are traveling to get food.
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