Saving Money on Groceries in 20 Steps (2)

Diposkan oleh Poolo-nez | 1:10 AM

11. Time Your Trip Wisely
First of all, you never want to shop for groceries on an empty stomach. Try to shop around 10 o’clock in the morning to avoid not only a rumbling stomach, but also the afternoon crowds. Additionally, ask your grocery’s deli and bakery if they discount meat and bread on a certain day of the week. One grocery store I frequent sells all its week-old baked goods for one cent on Wednesdays!

Save While at the Store
If you plan well for your grocery shopping trip, your battle is only half over. There are many ways to save at the supermarket, and many pitfalls that need to be avoided.

12. Only Buy What You Need
This may be the most important strategy to save money on groceries, as well as the most difficult to implement. You need self-control to resist the temptation to buy items that are not on your list.

On average, impulse buys increase your bill by 20% to 30%. Avoid browsing the aisles and lingering in the store. Instead, find exactly what you need, make your purchases, and leave the store as soon as possible to avoid being tempted. If this is an area in which you struggle, start off slowly by avoiding one impulse buy this week and trim additional ones from your purchases each subsequent week.

13. Consider Buying Generic Items
When it comes to store brand vs. name brand, I tend to buy generics when there is an item I need, but I do not possess a coupon for the brand name version. In many cases, there are very few differences between most brand name items and generic items, and to be honest, I have found some generic products that I prefer to the brand name, such as cookies, peanut butter, and even cola. Remember, some stores do not offer many generic alternatives to name brands. You may want to stick to stores that stock many store-brand products.

However, you really have to know when it’s worth choosing generic over name brand. Some products from the generic lines go head to head with name brands in terms of quality, while other products are sub par at best. If you buy poor quality products, you may end up tossing them out and wasting the money altogether.Here’s a rundown of what to buy, and what to avoid, when it comes to generic brand products:

What to Buy from Generic Brands:
Food Staples. Your basics like flour, sugar, cooking oil, and butter will always taste, and work, the same regardless of what the label says.
Canned Produce. Any basic canned fruit or vegetable will taste the same in a generic brand can. However, you may want to stick to the name brands when buying the fancy mixed fruit cocktails – the generic brands never give you enough cherries.
Frozen Produce. Name brand frozen produce typically costs twice as much as the generic version, and the store brand often gives you more per bag.
What to Buy from Name Brands:
Meat. I’ll skip my slimy chicken story and just tell you this: If you’re a stickler for the quality of your meat, you won’t be happy with the generic brand. This goes for everything from t-bone steaks to frozen chicken strips.
Paper Products. Generic brand paper towels and toilet paper do not hold up as well as the name brands. You end up using twice as much for the same effect, which does not save you any money in the long run.

14. Check the Unit Prices
To ensure that you are getting the best available price on an item, check the unit price, which can be found on the item’s price tag. You need to not only compare different brands, but also different sizes. While buying a bigger package often costs less per unit, that is not always the case.

If you have a calculator – perhaps on your smart phone – use it to do quick calculations when you need to factor in sales and coupons. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean the cost per unit is less than another brand or generic.

15. Look High and Low for Savings
Grocery stores use many marketing tactics to coerce consumers into selecting the most expensive items. For example, stores often stock the most expensive items and brands at eye level, and place the cheaper items and brands on the higher and lower shelves. As you are going through the store, remember to check all the shelves for potential savings.

16. Skip Prepared and Pre-cut Items
It can be a great time-saver at home to use prepackaged and prepared foods. Many grocery stores also offer pre-cut or pre-sliced items, such as chopped green peppers or cheese trays. While these types of items are certainly convenient, they are expensive compared to non-prepared items.

Whenever possible, make your food from the most basic ingredients, or even from scratch. I have a friend who makes most of her meals from scratch – she spends only $40 a week on groceries for a family of five without the use of coupons!

17. Buy Aged Meats
Like wine, meat gets better with age. However, many meat departments sell the older meat at a discounted price. Even if a package has an expiration date that is quickly approaching, don’t be afraid to purchase the meat. In fact, you may agree that these clearance meats taste better than the newly stocked meats.

18. Leave the Young Kids at Home
This can be a challenge for me, as I would rather shop during the day and bring my son than go in the evening when I’d rather be relaxing. But the fact is that when I bring my son with me, I spend more money. As stern as I try to be, it’s easy to give in when he sees something he wants. Furthermore, I find myself rushing, and I end up quickly grabbing what I need instead of taking the time to compare unit prices and get the best deals.

19. Pay with Cash
When I go to the grocery store, I give myself a budget of $100 for the week. While having a goal is great, it means nothing if I can’t stick to it. Therefore, I bring cash with me when I go to the grocery store. Even though I always carry cash, I bring cash specifically designated for my groceries as part of my envelope budgeting system. If I only have $100 to spend on groceries, then I can’t possibly spend beyond my budget.

20. Watch Your Purchases Get Scanned
Items get mislabeled, and products don’t always ring up properly in the system. Sometimes coupons get incorrectly scanned, or cashiers type in the wrong codes. Notify the cashier if there are any problems, and if you are unable to watch the cashier scan your items, make sure you check your receipt before you leave the store to see if there are any mistakes.

Final Word
If you are not in the habit of keeping track of your grocery budget, now is a great time to investigate just how much money you are spending. The number may surprise you.
Like most people, you likely have a desire to save money on groceries. If you’re worried that it may be too time-consuming or too difficult to focus on your budget, just keep these 20 tips in mind – there are many easy ways to save!
What strategies do you use to save money on groceries?

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