With the cost of living going up all the time, I try to save money every way I can. There’s not much I can do to save on gas except buy it at the lowest priced gas station near me and maybe, not drive as much.
I try to save in other ways to as I’m sure most of us do. I don’t turn on the air conditioner until absolutely necessary and then I keep it up to 78 degrees. We rarely go out to eat and when we do, I try to find a coupon for it.
The biggest expense next to the mortgage, is buying groceries for my family. There isn’t much I can do to reduce what I pay for the mortgage but there are things I do to get the most out of grocery shopping for the least amount of money.
Below are some of my money saving tips for your next grocery shopping trip.
You can get them online. I like CouponMom.com but there are lots of places to get them. Other sources are your Sunday newspaper, the mail and magazines. My rules for coupons are:
- Use it on something you already use or something you want to try.
- For extra savings use coupons on sale items and buy one, get on free items (you can use 2 coupons for that).
- Buy the smallest sized allowed to get the most savings.
- Only buy multiple items if they aren’t perishable or can be frozen. I’m not one of those “extreme coupon” moms, but I do save an average of 20% off my grocery bill.
Do not buy so many prepared pre packaged foods. For the most part, they aren’t that healthy, and are usually expensive. My one exception is if of course, I have a coupon for it and it’s also on sale. Buy more food staples and make as many things from scratch as you can. Many don’t take as much time to make as you think.
Some prepared foods are cheaper than if you buy all the ingredients to make it. You just need to stop and think about it when you go to pick up a prepared food item. Think about how much it would cost to make it from scratch and take see if it would be cheaper to make it from scratch versus buying it already prepared.
Buy in Bulk
As long as it won’t go bad before you use it up. If it’s something you use often and won’t spoil before you finish it up, you can often get it at a better price than the smaller sized items.
Check the label on the shelf that gives you the price per unit and then check the same thing for the smaller size and see if there is a savings. Usually there will be.
Make sure you eat something before you go shopping. And if you have a sweet tooth like I do, I try to eat a little something sweet before I grocery shop. Then I won’t be tempted to pick up sweets at the store.
Make sure you make a grocery list and stick to it as much as possible. Check out my article on meal planning if you want more information on that. I try to not buy anything that isn’t on the list but I will make an exception if I find something we use and can be stored for future use without spoiling, and on sale at a really good price. And occasionally I’ll see something in the store that I should have put on the list, but forgot to.
Where to Shop
To relieve frustration, shop at the same stores. Stick to a few that are close to your house. The way the cost of gas is, it isn’t much of a savings to go all over town to pick up the sale items at lots of different stores. Also if you stick to the stores you are familiar with, it will save you time because you won’t be searching all over the place. You will already know the layout of the stores and where to find things. If you have a Farmers Market near you, check them out for produce.They usually have better prices than grocery stores and their produce is fresher. Also look for roadside stands. We often have them in the Spring and Summer.
WIth a little planning before you hit the grocery store, you can keep your food cost as low as possible and still feed your family. Any tips you have that I forgot? Please share in the comments!