Saving Money on Groceries in 20 Steps (1)

Diposkan oleh Poolo-nez | 1:05 AM

Saving money on groceries begins before you step foot in the store. Take time prior to shopping to prepare for your trip – your time invested will really pay off!

1. Create a Menu
Although it may not sound fun, especially if you are the spontaneous type when it comes to dining, creating a menu for what you plan to eat between shopping trips is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. Making a menu ensures that you will have the proper ingredients to prepare a healthy meal at home every night instead of going out to eat or ordering pizza.

Additionally, creating a menu and forming a grocery list of necessary items will enable you to buy everything you need in one trip. This will keep you from forgetting to purchase crucial ingredients, which would cause you to waste time and gas money going back to the store.

2. Design a Standardized List
In addition to items needed to make dinner, you will likely need to purchase items for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and cleaning at the grocery store. Oftentimes, I find that I am so focused on getting what I need to cook meals that these items are forgotten. If I don’t leave them off my list completely, I buy far more than I need!

To avoid this problem, make a standardized list of what you buy on a recurring basis, such as several boxes of cereal, a loaf of bread, diapers, and laundry detergent. This is a great time-saver, as your grocery list will always be partially completed before you even start.

3. Check for Sales
The grocery stores put their weekly sales ad in the Wednesday edition of the local newspaper. They also post them online and leave a stack of ads sitting by the front door. Grab an ad when they come out and use it to put together your grocery list.

Every week I browse through the grocery store circulars before I make my menus, and I make mental notes of what is on sale. If chicken is on sale, I structure my meal plan around chicken dinner recipes. If it’s pork, then we eat pork. If nothing good seems to be on sale, I’ll focus my meals around rice and beans, which are an affordable alternative to meat.

By perusing the circulars, I also learn if there are any items I should stock up on while the price is low. Items generally go on sale in six- to eight-week cycles so if a certain item on sale this week, remember that it is not likely to be on sale again for another two months.

4. Purchase In-Season Produce
One way to stay healthy is by eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, fresh produce can be expensive. To keep the costs down on your produce purchases, try to stick to fruits and vegetables that are in season.

For example, pears are in season during November and December and are less expensive during those months than they are throughout the rest of the year. Therefore, pears make great Thanksgiving and homemade Christmas decorations as well as delicious, affordable staples in your holiday meals.

5. Utilize Coupons
Whether you are an extreme couponer or a causal coupon user, coupons are of immense value to any grocery shopper. Although the savings per coupon can be small, they do add up. For example, I was recently able to save $20 while grocery shopping, even though many of my coupons were for only 25 cents.

It is important, however, to exercise caution while using coupons. While they can save you money, they can also cause you to spend money on impulse purchases. Remember to make your grocery list prior to clipping your coupons. This will ensure that you are not buying items just because you have a coupon. Those extra purchases add up quickly, and can end up costing you more than you save.

6. Memorize Rock-Bottom Prices
If you are utilizing coupons and sales, your goal should be to always purchase every item at its rock-bottom price. To achieve this, you need to memorize the minimum price of an item after sales and coupons, not just the lowered price.

For example, with a store coupon utilized during a sale, you may be able to get toothpaste for 50 cents. However, this is just a lowered price for toothpaste – you may be able to get it for free by combining a sale, store coupon, and manufacturer’s coupon! This means that the rock-bottom price for toothpaste is actually zero.

It may take a while to figure out rock-bottom prices, so it is advisable to jot down what you end up paying for items until you commit it to memory. Once you realize which items you can acquire for free (or close to nothing), you will never want to pay more again.

7. Know Store Policies
I recently went to Kroger to buy some groceries, and brought with me a stack of Publix coupons to use. I usually do not shop at Kroger, but assumed that they would accept their competitor’s coupons. However, while my groceries were being rung up, my Publix coupons were declined and I was unable to save any money. Had I known Kroger’s store policy of not accepting competitor coupons, I could have gone elsewhere to use them.

Verifying whether your store accepts competitor coupons is only one aspect of knowing your store’s policies. It is also important to find out if a supermarket does rain checks, doubles or “stacks” coupons, and accepts expired coupons.

8. Shop Monthly
An alternative to combining sales and coupons is to shop the least number of times possible. The more you shop, the more you will succumb to impulse buys.
To keep yourself out of the grocery store and spend less, try to shop only once per month, and only shop at a maximum of two different stores. While it is more difficult to utilize sales and coupons, you can still take them into account. However, the primary focus of this method is to simply avoid the stores.

9. Choose a Budget-Friendly Store
If you feel pressed for time and can not afford to spend time clipping coupons and matching them up to sales, focus more on shopping at stores that will save you the money with their generally lower prices. Walmart, for example, offers prices that are 20% less than competitors. Aldi and Trader Joe’s are also known to offer everyday low prices. If this is your method for saving money on groceries, avoid costly stores, such as Whole Foods and The Fresh Market.

10. Don’t Forget the Dollar Stores
While many dollar stores do not carry a wide variety of foods, there are a number of items you should buy at the dollar store, and some great savings to be found. One of my favorite things to buy at dollar stores are spices. At supermarkets, spices generally cost several dollars, and I never seem to have coupons, so I simply head to the dollar store to get a stellar price.

However, there are many items at dollar stores that are more expensive by unit price (due to smaller package weight or volume) than a regular grocery store, so shop wisely.

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