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How to Save Money on Food in the Supermarket

Updated on December 17, 2012

There Are Many Ways to Save at The Supermarket

There are practical and easy ways to save money on your food bill. With commonsense ideas you can cut your costs and still feed your family nutritious meals. When you buy food that is pre-made, pre-cut, and pre-packaged, you are paying more for the same food you can prepare yourself. In a Consumer Reports comparison shopping test, the person who bought readily prepared food spent almost $80 more, than the person who did the work to chop and prepare the food themselves. Buying convenience packaged food can add significantly to your grocery bill.
Before you buy single serving sizes, bagged vegetables, pre-sliced cheese and ready made salads, compare the cost this convenience may add up for you. If you can save $80 on your food bill by chopping and preparing yourself, how long will it take you? Now think about how long it will take you to earn $80 after taxes? It might start to seem worthwhile to do the work and save the money.

Compare Prices

Another way to save is to look at the cost per unit prices.
The supermarket shelves list the price for the item and to the left bottom is the unit price. When you are looking to buy an item in the store, look at the per unit price and you can easily compare brands and sizes so you will know which item is giving you the better value. The trick is to make sure the unit prices are talking about the same unit. For example, make sure if one unit pirce is per ounce, that another brand is using per ounce, and not per quart prices. This way you can easily see which products will you can save money on. Sometimes bigger quantity isn't a cost savings

Be a Price Savvy Shopper

Buying store brands can usually save you money on the same products. Sometimes generic products are made by the brand name company they are sitting next to on the shelf. It has beeen extimated that you can save almost 33% by buying store brands instead of name brands.

You will also realize savings on your food shopping bill when you try to buy what you need, and avoid excess food purchases and leftovers. In a study done by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, they found that Americans throw away more than 1 pound of groceries per day. Food sitting in the refrigerator waiting to spoil is a waste of food and a waste of money. Try to anticpate and schedule when you will be making the food you buy. When you buy vegetables try eating them soon after you purchase them to avoid the spoilage factor. If you make a larger quantity of food than you will be eating, freeze the extra right away to keep it as fresh as possible for your next use. Try to turn those leftovers into other creations so that you get more meals from the food, instead of having to toss it. When you have leftovers, but don’t know what to do with them, you can go online, type the food into the searchs bar or go to a recipe website and get ideas of constructive and easy ways to turn those leftovers into a delicious meal.

Every week the local supermarkets send out flyers, or you can check online flyers. Check these flyers to compare who has the best deal for the week for the food you need. With the price of gas, it usually doesn’t pay to run from store to store, but one of the markets is bound to have sales on the items you are looking to purchase for the week. Be aware, when supermarkets advertise a low price on one item, they make mark up another item that you are not aware of, and your savings may not be as good as you first believe. The savings depends on what you are buying. As with everything, you need to be an alert buyer to achieve the greatest savings.

There are Many Ways to Save Besides Coupons

It is also a good idea to grocery shop with a list of what your needs are. This will help stick to a list of what you need and may help avoid impulse buying.  The list also helps you remember what you need, so that you don’t have to make a return trip to the supermarket, which would cost you more gas and make it inviting for you to buy more food.  The more you are in a store, the more you are likely to buy something else.

The wise say it is best not to shop when you are hungry.  That is because you are more susceptible to buying food you don’t need. You have less resistance to impulse buying and your food bill will certainly be higher.

Coupons are another obvious way to save at the supermarket, provided you are buying the products you need, not buying the products just to use the coupons.  You can get coupons from the newspaper, your magazine subscriptions, online, in the mail and on the back of your cash register receipt.  One of the first places to go online is the supermarket website where you shop.  They sometimes have printable coupons. Some supermarkets also match the savings or food store coupons to be competitive. If you use manufacturer coupons, it will obviously give you significant savings when the stores are offering double and triple coupon savings. Use the food store ‘s membership card. These cards automatically take the discount off of the sale items and you don’t have to clip any coupons.

There are better ways to freeze your meats
There are better ways to freeze your meats

Freezing Tips to Save You Money

When the food store is having sales on canned goods, stocking up on the food you use will save you money. Canned goods have a longer expiration date so you have more time to use it.

Items that are sold in bulk can save you money, but you have to do the calculations to make sure it really is worth it. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. You also want to make sure will actually be using the quantity you are buying, otherwise you will have more waste and could have possibly overspent based on what you actually ended up using.

Sometimes you can buy reduced fruits and vegetables that the supermarket is looking to get rid of because of imperfections. This is a great way to use vegetables in a soup or fruits in a pie. Dented cans will also save you money, look for the place your supermarket keeps the marked down food.

When you are standing in the aisle of the supermarket, very often the items below and above eye level will be cheaper. This is because the manufacturers know people who are in a hurry will grab the items at easy reach and can profit more from the non price comparing customers.

Don’t be shy. If there is a cut of meat that you are not sure how to cook, ask the butcher. They will be happy tell you jhow to cook it for the best taste. Cooking it the right way can make all the difference in taste, and save you money because the meal worked out well. Cooking mistakes can be costly.

Snacks, chips, cookies add up in calories and cost. If you can make the cookies or cake yourself you will see a major savings in your grocery bill.

Buy what is on sale, and freeze it. If meat is on sale as an example, you can either freeze it right away, or make it and freeze it so it is ready for you to serve. If you figure out your meals around the products that are on sale, you can eat for less for the month. As far as freezing meat, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service advises you to store meat in heavy duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or plastic freezer wrap to keep is fresher. It is safe to keep the meat and chicken in the supermarket packaging, however it is not air tight, so its freshness will not keep as long. When thawing meat it is best to defrost it in the refrigerator on a plate at the bottom of the shelf so the meat juices don’t contaminate on other foods as it drips.
Properly defrosting frozen foods will keep your food tastier. Preventing dripping on other food, will help you avoid throwing out contaminated food.

Make cutting costs  on your grocery bill a habit and your savings will add up
Make cutting costs on your grocery bill a habit and your savings will add up

Make Saving Money Natural and Easy

Refilling water bottles with tap water will save you more money than you may realize. Try to drink water instead of soda and sugary drinks to save on cavities, calories, and cost. Making your own iced tea and lemonade are also a great way to cut your food bill.

Trying to avoid the temptation and impulsive purchases are another way towards saving money. As you stand in the checkout lane, picking up a last minute buy can be more costly than you realize.  The displays are intentionally set up to tempt you into buying small items without thinking about it. You may think it is only a couple of dollars, but at the end of the year, resisting buying these items can add up to bigger savings than you think.

Saving money on your grocery bill can be a natural and easy process. Making conscious decisions and smart purchases will save you money with very little effort. Where you do put in the effort, like chopping your own fruits and vegetables, making your own iced tea, and checking the flyers for sales, you will also see significant savings over the course of months and years. Satisfying results will make you happy you worked a little to save the money.

Supermarket Savings for Everyone


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    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      Hi Tom, Thanks for reading this hub. With the prices of food going up and up, anyway we can save is a help. Thanks for your up votes. Have a great weekend too!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo, all great and much needed information and advice to save money at the supermarket.

      Awesome and vote up !!!

      Have a great weekend my friend !

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      With the cost of everything going up, we need as many ways as possible to save. Glad I could help.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      toknowinfo, great advice and tips. Great job.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      You are right Pam. People need to read everything better in order to be sure we are getting the bargain we are looking for. Marketers depend on us not reading carefully. All the best to you and thanks for stopping by.

      P.S. my hub about the History of Bathing from Ancient to Modern Times was nominated for the Top of the Class Contest. I sure would appreciate your vote. Thanks

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 7 years ago from Utah

      Excellent tips especially the Compare Price. While working, briefly, in retail grocery I saw so many consumers who do not read coupons correctly, or the tags under the products.

      You also need to make sure to compare your coupon to the tag on the shelf. Most of us need to slow down and breath when we shop.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      The tips are common sense but shopping is always a conscientious effort and saving while shopping is an inexact science.

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 7 years ago from Ireland

      There's nothing to it, but to do it. Well done for the advice.

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 7 years ago

      I like the suggestion to look online for recipes for leftovers. Gotta' remember that one!

    • Dusty Snoke profile image

      Dusty Snoke 7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      I like using coupons especially if an item is already on sale. I try to catch items on buy one get one free and then use a coupon. You can catch some good savings then.

    • gourownway profile image

      gourownway 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great advice. I find it tough as a single person to keep my bill low due to that fact that I end up buying pre-packaged. It's just easier, but it is no excuse.

    • Donna Janelle profile image

      Donna Janelle 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      These are great tips for saving money on your grocery bill. I already use coupons and they really do help on our grocery bill every month!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Excellent advice, now if only I could get myself to practice these great tips.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I've never bought a bottle of water,and buy and freeze when meat is on sale.;)