- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
How to Save Money on Groceries - Grocery Shopping Tips
Save on groceries
In today's economy, we can all use tips on saving money at the grocery store. You may already look for sales or use coupons, but perhaps there are a few other helpful ways that you can save money on groceries the next time you shop.
I'll share my tips, and you share yours!
Keep on ongoing shopping list
A shopping list will help you to keep on task in the grocery store. If you keep a shopping list at home that you add to as you run out of items, then you should have all the things you need on that list. There shouldn't be a need wandering through the aisles trying to remember what you have run out of--and grabbing impulse items in the process. Your list shows you exactly what you need.
I have a magnetized shopping pad on the refrigerator that I jot down needed items on as soon as I run low. That way I know that I won't forget them on my next shopping trip, and my jaunt around the grocery store should be pretty focused.
Many years ago, my brother and I scouted the store that we regularly frequented and typed out a shopping list with all the sections in order. We made lots of copies and used them to keep track of items we needed before the big shopping trip we would take now and then together. Weren't we clever? It was certainly great bonding time for us as we got everything we needed without straying!
Look through newspaper grocery ads
If you have access to several local competitive grocery stores, check out the weekly ads in the local newspaper. Compare deals at the different stores when looking at what you've compiled on your shopping list. For me, I buy the majority of my groceries at Aldi, which has the best deals around by far in my area. Using coupons in other grocery stores doesn't beat Aldi's regular prices.
Another way to save by pre-shopping is by signing up online for the weekly newsletter of your favorite stores. That way, you don't even have to spend the money for a weekly newspaper (unless you want the coupons).
Use only coupons you need
Save money with coupons by using them only on items that you would normally buy. Otherwise, you might end up spending more money on a brand that is more expensive even with the coupon.
I personally don't spend a lot of time looking for coupons, as my shopping at Aldi saves me more than most coupons could. At other stores, I do occasionally use coupons for items I regularly use when I come across them. If I am feeling ambitious, I will buy the Sunday paper and use applicable coupons I find in there. Sometimes I go online to particular websites to see if they have coupons available.
Don't go to the store at certain times
It is a really bad idea to go to buy groceries when you are tired, depressed, or hungry. If you're tired, you may grab the quickest things you see, whether they are cheap or not, you may forget things you really need (even though they are on your list), and you may be too weak to resist impulse junk food that jumps out at you.
Depression may lead you to the candy aisle. Or perhaps your comfort food is pizza. That's certainly one of mine. Before you know it, your cart could be full of sweets, pizza, and perhaps some chips and cheese dip to top it all off. Don't drown your depression in the grocery store.Your bank account will suffer right along with your belly.
Common sense will tell you not to go to around tempting foods when you are hungry. In the grocery store, you may spend more than you need--or even really want. Your stomach may do the talking instead of your brain.
To save money--and your waistline--just save your grocery shopping for another day if you're tired, depressed, or hungry. You will thank yourself later.
Grow a garden
If you grow just a few tomatoes in your garden or yard, or a few herbs in your kitchen, you will save money over grocery store prices. You can grow lettuce or spinach inside in pots all year long. Gardening is a whole other topic and just another way to save money on your grocery bill, even if you do just a little of it.
Buy foods in bulk that you will use
Buying in bulk is a very thrifty way to save money on items that you use. That's the key, though--items you use. Purchasing items just to save money is a big no-no if they are things you don't use often. Some foods go to waste quickly, so look at expiration dates to estimate if you will use everything up before it all goes bad.
I have a deep freeze, and I have to be careful about stuffing it full of great deals. Too many deals may get lost in a big freezer. They may get buried or forgotten. Even frozen foods don't last forever. The result of spoiled food is money lost instead of money saved.
Avoid Sales Tricks That Can Waste Your Money
Replace expensive items
Replace expensive items with cheaper items. Try brands that are cheaper to see if you can replace a more expensive brand. You will only know if you try, and it could save you many dollars in the long run.
Make your own gravies and broths. Learn to make brown gravy from meat drippings and white gravy with a little oil and flour.
Do the same thing with seasonings. Instead of buying expensive seasoning packets for chili, tacos, and spaghetti sauce, look up what spices typically go into these recipes. If you already have the spices, there is no need to buy expensive packets.
Continually be creative, looking for items you can replace with less expensive ones.
Shop dollar stores for certain items
Taking an occasional trip to the local dollar store can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Some of the better stores are The Dollar Tree and Deals, where you know that everything in there costs just one buck.
Dollar stores are great places to buy items such as party supplies, greeting cards, cleaning products, and various grocery items. You can often find household items such as dishes, towels, and picture frames. They have toys, books, and always have seasonal items.
The quality of certain items may not be up to par, but there are many name brand or other items that work just fine. So don't discount (no pun intended) these dollar stores.
Assess cart and put things back
Another trick that I do is to look in my cart before I check out of the store. Do I really need this? Do I really need that? Did I throw some impulse items into my cart? Look in your cart before you go to the check-out line. This is something I regularly do, and I often find myself putting something I really don't need back on the shelf. Try it, and add up how much you save when you do that.
Share your own shopping tips
Perhaps you have your own grocery shopping tips for saving money. I would love to hear from you as I am always trying to incorporate new ways to save money.