Tag Archives: money saving grocery tips

Money Saving Tips for your Grocery Bill

1.  If you don’t get the Sunday paper call your local markets and ask to be on their mailing list for their ads. Read your local ads each week, with a sharpie, and circle what you think might be a good deal. Go back and compare it to your price book to see if it really is, then transfer it to your shopping list.

2. Shop more than one market if possible to take advantage of their sales. Identify 3 markets, with the lowest prices, and concentrate your efforts there. Only shop other markets, if their loss leaders make it cost effective for you to make the trip there
3. If your markets have double coupons combine them with sale prices to get things for almost nothing.

4. Make a menu first of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, go through your pantry, when making your menu, to make best use of what you have on hand. After you have done that, make up your grocery list, based on what your menu is, and what you have on hand. Be careful to stick to your list that you have made.

5. Take only the cash you need with you and leave your check book and credit cards at home to avoid temptation. Use the envelope system, taking out your food money each month/week this forces you to stick to a budget.

6. See if your community has a SHARE program. (you pay a small amount of money and get a certain amount of food in exchange for community service) http://www.sharewi.org/

7. Make a price book so you have an idea of what is the best price on your groceries. Here is a link to a price book page. For each item you use regularly, list the price per unit at each store you shop at. This way you will be able to always know where to shop for the best price.

8. If you use coupons make a coupon binder (it’s so much easier to use them if they are organized) keep them organized by type, and what you use most, to make them easy to access.

9. Keep an inventory, of what you have on hand. This helps you to know what you need to buy and not but, and what you have on hand, when deciding whether to stock up on a good sale.

10. Stock up on meat deals when they are on sale so that you are only have to buy the meat when the Price is good. If it is not on sale that week you won’t have to buy it if you stocked up on it. Set a price cap for what you will pay for meat, and try to stick to it. If you know that a certain meat only goes on sale below that price 2 times a year, try to buy enough to get you thru till the next sale.

11. If possible, leave kids and husband at home this will cut down on impulse buying and “please can I have that”. Stick to the list you made and don’t buy anything else.

12. Cook From Scratch -There are few convenience foods that cannot be made at home. Do a search on the internet, to find copycat recipes for your favorite, convenience and restaurant foods. It is amazing how much you pay for packs of cookies at the grocery store for instance compared to how many you can make for the same price from homemade (homemade tastes better too) Make double or quadruple batches of it. Freeze the extra, so you have some for the days you are too busy to cook.

13. Make friends with the butcher and find out when they mark down their meat so you can make sure that you plan your grocery shopping days for that day.

14. You can buy extra milk when it goes on sale and freeze it (just take a little bit out of it before putting it in because it will swell) Take it out a couple days before you are going to run out, because it takes a while to thaw.

15. Try using generics (most you can’t tell the difference) Try a few different brands, and find the ones you like best. Many are just as good as the name brands but cost much less.

16. Check your area for alternative shopping sources – there are more ways to save money than Grocery stores, and you should be on the look out for them. Canned food outlet stores, Aldies, Savealots, Warehouse stores, restaurant supply stores and co-ops are a few of the places you could try.

17. Buy in bulk but Bring a Calculator – It is amazing how much buying in bulk can save. Sometimes up to 75%. But you have to be careful, bulk is not always cheaper, and often buying in bulk only saves, if you will use what you buy.

18. Make your own Breakfasts – Don’t fall for the Cereal Craze, cereal is not the only nutritious breakfast, and most certainly not the cheapest. Make bagels, waffles, breakfast burritos, and granola and more. They are pennies per serving compared with cereals, and have a fraction of the sugar.

19. Shop for items before you run out of them. If you run out you are at the mercy of the store. Shop around for the best deals before you run out.

20. Don’t shop your corner grocery store – Convenience is something you will pay for, and making of a habit of stopping by your corner store will cost you extra dollars
21. Consolidate all your trips into a couple of month – the less you shop the better you are apt to plan, and stick to your list. The more trips you make in a month the more chances you will have to overspend. Consolidate your trips in to as few as possible in the course of the month.

22. Shop in the morning for the best chance at markdown items, from the bakery and meat counters. Most stores mark down yesterdays fresh items, first thing in the morning. If you shop in the morning, you are more likely to find these items.

23. Don’t shop when you are hungry – Very important, it is a well known fact if you shop when you are hungry you will spend more. Have a snack before you leave the house, to avoid this pitfall.

24. Plan a few meatless meals – meat is the most expensive thing on your list, so substitute eggs, and legumes, a couple times a week to save a few dollars.

25. Buy meat in larger portions and be your own butcher – buy whole chicken, pork loins, and roasts. Anything boneless can be cut into portions, steaks, chops, stew meat etc. Buy the larger packages, they are usually discounted 10 to 20 cents a pound.

26. Keep a pantry – the more you stock up the more you are able to wait for a sale. If you don’t have a pantry in your house, get creative, store in under your bed, in your closet, on a set of shelves in your spare room.

27. Take a calculator to the store with you- if you see something that you are not sure is a good deal, then do the math, see how it compares to another product you usually buy, or to the items on your price list.

28. Avoid Junk foods – you will pay for junk food, and it is not nutritious so why buy it?  If your family needs a treat make it. What you make is bound to be more nutritious, and will cost you much less.

Why I really need to plan grocery trips

Because I spent exactly TWICE as much as I usually do, that’s why.  Of course, my husband was with me, so I can try and pin some of this on him.  Fact is, though, he’s usually with me, because of his previously mentioned love of grocery stores.  The real reason for the overspending was poor planning.  At the last minute.

Let me explain.  I had my lists done.  Bakery outlet, high end grocery store, and regular grocery store – and assorted other errands that make Saturdays exciting.  Right before leaving, my son called.  He and his girlfriend were on their way into town, and would we be around in two hours?  Of course we would (but not if we went to all the places on the list)  And it was my mom’s birthday, and my brother was having a party for her that afternoon.

Now, on top of all this, I had a dream the night before that my son came into town, AND that we were late for my mom’s party because of all the running around.  I took this as a warning, and I decided to consolidate errands.  We would ONLY go to the regular grocery store.  Which we did.  Of course, my list had items that I had planned to pick up at three different stores.

Obviously, the bread was not going to be as cheap as at the bakery outlet.  And while the high end store had some good deals on fruit, the regular grocery store did not.  That continued to drive up the grocery bill.

Then there was the husband factor.  This particular grocery store, we rarely go to.  Well, make that, HE rarely goes to.  I walk there at lunch quite frequently, and had ordered the birthday cake there (which explains why we ended up at that store.)  Well, a new and different grocery store PLUS my husband equals the potential for higher grocery bills.  This was no exception.

Finally, because at least half the items I need were on lists for other grocery stores, and I organize each list by the way the stores are laid out, I ended up running back and forth and criss-crossing the store several times.  Which, of course, exposed both of us to unnecessary temptations.  The result, as I said, was a grocery bill that was twice as high as it should have been.  Unfortunately, there was nothing to warn me about THAT little fact in the dream…

Planning is great.  Sticking to the plan is priceless.


High End Grocery Stores can have Good Bargains

A couple of years ago, I was out with a friend, and we stopped at one of those gourmet, high end grocery stores.  You know the kind – the deli and bakery have you drooling; they carry varieties of cheese that you never heard of, and produce that you only read about.  I had never thought about these stores as a way to CUT my grocery spending – I thought they would just increase it.

Well, yes, they would increase my spending if I gave in to every temptation I saw there (and there could potentially be a lot of them!)  But since this hadn’t actually been a shopping “destination” – my friend and I did not say “Let’s get together this weekend.  We can go grocery shopping” – I really hadn’t planned on buying anything there.  It was more of a “hey, this store just opened, let’s check it out” moment (we knew it was more of a high end store than where we usually shop, so we figured it could be fun.)  What I didn’t expect to find were, well, BARGAINS.  They had a “reduced” table in the produce section.  Well, let me tell you, that “reduced” produce looked pretty fresh to me!

As I recall, I picked up 10 limes for $1 and some AMAZING cherry tomatoes for 98¢ a package (amazing because these tasted like I had grown them in my garden).  I know I bought other things, too, but it’s been a few years since my initial venture into this store.  Subsequent “markdown” deals have included packages of “gourmet” mushrooms – oyster, shitake, portabella – for 99¢ each (I’ll buy all the markdown mushrooms they have, when I see them.  I saute the extras in a bit of olive oil with a little chopped garlic, flash freeze, then bag them to store in the freezer for future use).  I could go on and on about what I’ve found (and probably would, if I remembered them all.)

The markdown table is a gamble – I never know what, if anything, it will have.  But I still go to this store regularly.  I check their loss leaders in the paper, and if I see some good ones (almost always produce) – I’m there!  This week they had several items I thought would make the trip worthwhile.  Having just returned from there, here are a few of the deals I found:

Fresh asparagus for 99¢ a pound.  Now, another grocery store chain – a chain that would be known as more of a “good deal” type store – also has asparagus on sale this week – for $2.49 a pound.  It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and cabbage is on sale lots of places – for 39¢ a pound.  Here at the gourmet store, it was 29¢ a pound.  Leaf lettuce was on sale for 79¢ a pound – and lettuce has been pretty expensive around here lately.  In the past, I’ve found red peppers for far cheaper here than anywhere eles.

As I said previously, the quality of this stuff is awesome.  And the moral of this story is, in the quest to lower your grocery bill, don’t automatically rule certain store out.  You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!