In today’s economy, food is just so expensive. Unless you are wealthy, it can be hard to make ends meet. Next to rent or mortgage, groceries are usually the largest expense in households with more than 1 or 2 people. And fortunately, unlike your mortgage, you can do things to reduce what you spend on groceries.
Many people do not feel like they have time to clip coupons, make a meal plan and shop by what’s on sale each week. But if you don’t, you are throwing money away. If you have time to watch television, you have time to plan your meals and grocery shopping. In fact you can do most of it while you are sitting in front of the TV.
If you read my post on Meal Planning you know how I do my meal planning and grocery shopping. But my way is not the only way. Here are some tips I use or know others who do them:
- Many of those who are really in to couponing, (my sister in law does this) carry a 3 ring baseball card binder around when they shop. Each page in the binder has clear pockets where the coupons go. My S-I-L leaves a few of the pockets on the first page for coupons she plans on using on her next shopping trip. As for the other pockets, each pocket holds coupons for certain type of items. One pocket may hold shampoo coupons, another may hold yogurt coupons, and so on. She has these pockets organized by the way the store is organized. For example, she goes to the produce section first, so any produce coupons would be in one of the pockets on the first page. You could also organize it alphabetically or by more general categories such as all health and beauty items on one page, all meats on another, etc.
- If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of a binder, you could go more simply and just use an envelope. Get an envelope out of your junk mail, and write your grocery list on one side. Put a “C” by anything on your list that you have a coupon for. Then put your coupons in the envelope.
- Eat before you go shopping. And if you have a sweet tooth like I do, eat something that is sweet. Doing this keeps me from buying all the junk like ice cream, cakes, etc. that I don’t need.
- If you can go alone, do it. If you have to bring the kids, prepare them by making sure they are not hungry, If they are school aged and up, get them to help by retrieving items for you. If they are younger, bring a favorite toy or better yet, a toy they only get to play with when shopping with you. My daughters had their own little Fisher Price shopping cart that I let them push around. My son had a special video game for his Gameboy that he played with while sitting in the cart when I shopped.
- When walking down the aisles, look at the bottom shelves for cheaper alternatives. Also some of the top shelves too. The shelves at eye level will usually have the most expensive products.
- If you have a freezer, stock up on meat when it’s on sale. Stores have a sale cycle. I can count on every 4 weeks my local grocer will have boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound. I stock up with enough to last us until the next sale.
- Sign up for your stores mailing list and savings card. You will get a weekly circular with what’s on sale that week. Plan your meals around the sale items.
- Only buy what you know you will use. And only buy what’s on your list.
- Two of my favorite grocery sites are grocerysavingtips.com and couponsuzy.com. Check them out.
- One of my readers reminded me about keeping a price list. Get a small notebook and keep track of the prices for things you buy and how much each store is charging for them. You will get a feel after awhile of where to shop for certain things and if it is a good deal or not.
Those are my grocery savings tips. Any others you want to share?