Save Money on Groceries
Whether you live alone or have a large family, grocery shopping can be one of your biggest expenses.
During these tough economic times we’re all looking for ways to save money and the grocery store is a good place to start.
Prepare a menu
Plan what you and your family will eat for the next week or two. Factor in leftovers and use this menu to create your shopping list. Buy fresh foods as you need them, to avoid spoilage.
Have a list and stick to it
Prepare your shopping list while you are at home and start by taking inventory of what’s in your fridge, freezer, cupboards or pantry to assess what you will need. Avoid buying items that you will not use in the near future. It’s good to remember that grocery stores are places of high impulse shopping. Take the list to the store and stick to it.
Shop the perimeter
Fresh foods (healthier and less processed) — fruits, veggies, dairy and meats — tend to be around the perimeter of the store. The milk aisle is typically placed in the far end of the store so you’ll have to walk through aisles where most of the processed foods are kept. If you’re trying to stay away from processed foods, avoid the aisles and stick to the outskirts of the grocery store.
Don’t shop hungry
When you grocery shop on an empty stomach, you tend to pick up a lot of junk and things that you really don’t need. Everything looks good when you are hungry.
Leave the children at home
Unless your children are trained not to harass you in the grocery store, leave them at home. Most often children will pester you for some sort of junk that is not on your grocery list and you will more than likely give in after telling them no repeatedly.
Look high and low
Grocery stores rarely randomly place items on shelves. They have a strategy. Items at eye level are usually from those companies that have leverage, and more importantly, money to stock their products in the perfect place. Take a few minutes to check the shelves above and below eye level – you may find the same things by different brands, cheaper.
Watch those specials
First of all, do you need it? Would you buy it if it weren’t on special? Is it really a savings if you can get a different brand cheaper? As well, watch those 2 for I deals or specials that offer multiple items cheap. If you’re not planning on sharing the extras they will most likely end up in the trash.
Use your arms
If you are just going in for a few items don’t use a cart or basket. This will help you stick to your list and avoid impulse shopping for items that you don’t really need.
Know the butcher
Don’t be afraid to ask the butcher to cut up large pieces of meat – especially if they are on special – so that you can freeze it for future meals.
Eat in season
Finding fresh quality produce can be challenging and it’s good to know when fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. There are generic charts available on the internet but your best bet is to speak to local farmers. Get to know their schedules and prices as well - buying produce directly from local farmers is a good way to enjoy fresher produce and can some-times save you money.
Watch the price scanner
Mistakes on price scans are common at the grocery store and can cost you additional dollars. Watch while your grocery prices scan and verify their accuracy.
Keep your receipts
Every time you go to the grocery store, save the receipt. Create a spreadsheet and record every grocery purchase. This will help determine your budget and develop a price list. When you get to the point that you remember what certain items cost you can better determine deals and specials. It’s also a great way to comparison shop different grocery stores. Your spreadsheet is a good checklist to use when you’re putting together your shopping list.