Grocery Shopping, saving money, finding deals and being smart
Being Smart at the Grocery Store
My husband always laughs at me when it comes to shopping. He says that I can find a bargain anywhere. Well, I try. I mean I really try. I firmly believe that you won’t find a bargain or truly know you have one unless you have educated yourself. So here are some tips that I have to grocery shop and do it smartly (and if you are really smart don’t tell your husband and go shopping with the savings.)
1. Know your product. You need to know when a sale is really a sale. I know a lady that sees a sign that says sale and buys so much of it not realizing that that same product is the same price at the “normal” price closer to her own home. She just spent an unnecessary amount of money. If possible know how much the item is when it is not on sale. If you frequent the same grocery store, keep a list that shows you the price.
2. Comparison shop. This is another thing that many people don’t do. My mother-in-law is a prime example of this. She goes in to the store for canned tomatoes. She buys canned tomatoes. She does not want to compare each brand and see which one really is cheaper. She just wants her tomatoes and wants to go home. I will stand there in front of those tomatoes and check to see which one really is the cheapest.
3. Buy store brand. I try to buy the store brand whenever possible because most of the time it is the cheapest. Be warned though that when the brand names are on sale, check it out. I’ve found many times when the higher priced brand name was cheaper when on sale. If the store brand is not that good (once in awhile we find that), find the next cheapest. Don’t eat cardboard because it is cheaper.
4. Use coupons wisely. Just because you have a coupon for a product you should buy it if you weren’t planning on doing it in the first place. You are not saving money in the long run. You are actually falling prey to marketing schemes. (No offense, my marketing friends)
5. Buy in bulk. Only when it is smart. If it has a long shelf-life, and the bulk item is cheaper then get it. If chicken thighs are on sale only in the larger packages, go ahead and get them. Just freeze the ones you don’t need for future. Don’t buy the 50 pound bag of flour that will go bad because you don’t use it that much.
6. Check the ads before going in. I get the weekly ads in the mail every Monday. I then use that to help plan my menus for the upcoming week. What is on sale becomes an item on my list. Be careful when you find unadvertised specials. Our local store does that and they can be very good buys, but not when I’m buying on top of the list I already have. If you were not planning on buying the pork roast but it is so cheap that you shouldn’t pass it up, then cross off the beef roast that isn’t on sale and get the pork instead.
7. Watch your fruits and veggies. We want to eat healthier, yet the items better for us can be more costly. Only buy the fresh veggies and fruits that are in season. Ones that are not are more costly since they are being transported farther. The local produce is usually the cheapest. Then meander toward the frozen aisle to get the remainder. Ones you can’t get there can probably be found in the canned aisle.
8. No impulse buying. Don’t buy the items at the end of the aisle or next to cash register unless you meant to. These are marketing ploys and we usually fall for them like a charm.
9. Take a list. If you don’t take a list you will spend WAY too much. Keep to the list unless you are exchanging items due to incredible sales.
10. Join the grocery buyers club. Not all have these, but a few do and you can earn discounts and free items depending on the current promotion. The other week I got a free gas card. That was fun.
11. Don’t go hungry. This is nothing to most people. You go hungry and everything that looks good ends up in the cart, no carts after awhile. If you have to, eat a piece of fruit or light snack to ward off the excessive hunger.
12. Take your time. When you rush in and rush out, you don’t know what you just did or didn’t do. Unless you are going in only for a gallon of milk.
13. Take a calculator. Not all of us are good with math. Take a small calculator that fits in your purse or pocket and use that to help calculate the deals.
14. Don’t store hop. Don’t go from one store to another in one trip just because one had a sale on one item. You’ll end up buying a few extra things at that other store and the extra gas is probably not worth it.
15. Don’t go alone. If you are one of those people who can’t help themselves and you have to grab that special whether you need it or not, take someone who has control of themselves with you. When they slap your hand, you’ll think twice about buying it.
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Make it fun. Take your time and enjoy it. If you happen to go without your kids tagging along, then really take your time and enjoy it.