If you’re like most of us, one of your biggest expenses is food. You don’t want to eat ramen noodles all week just to keep to a budget, but you don’t want to spend all of your money at the grocery store either. There are many ways to keep your grocery bill down though, and you’ll still be able to eat really well! Here are 7 ways to get you started:
1. Design your menu based on the sales circular. Each week stores will have what they call “loss leaders”. Many times the grocery stores actually lose money by selling these items at such a low price, but they do it to get you into the store, hoping you will buy a lot more to more then make up for the loss. If you plan your weekly menu based on the sales circular, you’ll mostly buy what is on sale, and you will spend a lot less money than if you had to buy things that are at full price.
2. Use coupons. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have heard people say that it isn’t worth spending all that time cutting out coupons to save a few pennies. I really don’t think people realize how much you can save with coupons! Each week in the Sunday paper, there are anywhere between 1-3 sections of coupons. They can be anywhere from .25c to over $1.00 each. Many grocery stores offer double coupons, and once in a while a store will have a promotion of triple coupons! This will make your .75c coupon be $1.50 most of the time, and even $2.25 sometimes! If you use coupons on items you find in the sales circular, you can end up getting items for free!
Of course, if you can get one item for free or for a very good price, why not get more? Many grocery stores will let you use up to 4 of the same coupon. So, get your friends and family to give you the coupons they don’t use each week. If you still want more coupons, you can go to eBay and you can get more coupons. You can’t buy coupons, but you can pay someone for the time and effort it takes them to cut them out and mail them to you. When you think of eBay you might only think of auctions, but you can also just buy an item.
So for example you can get 10 of the same coupon for something (let’s say you use a lot of cereal for example) and for .65c you can get 10 coupons giving you .75c off of each box of cereal. If you only use one of the coupons you have more then made your money back on it…and if you use all 10 coupons, if you have double coupons you will have saved $15.00 (minus the .65c). Isn’t that incredible for a few minutes of work?
3. Don’t be brand loyal – but don’t necessarily buy only store brands either! Another thing I hear a lot is that store brands are always cheaper, so they buy that and then don’t have to “waste time” cutting coupons. Well I have news for you. When an item is on sale, it can often be cheaper than a store brand! When you use a coupon on an item, it can be a LOT less expensive than a similar store brand item. Also, we all have our favorite brands on certain things…but a lot of time you can’t tell the difference. So it’s always worth trying out a different brand if the price is right. Sometimes with a coupon you can get an item for free, or very close to it. So even if it’s not what you normally buy, it can still be worth trying!
4. Keep track of prices. Just because your grocery store is having a sale on an item, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good price, and time to stock up on that item. Sometimes a grocery store will only cut the price by a few cents, and call it a “sale” item and put it in the circular. But if you know what the prices usually are, you’ll know that the item does go on sale for a lot less, so you should wait. Also, different grocery stores have different prices. So even when an item is on sale at your regular grocery store, it might still cost more than the regular price at another grocery store. If you keep track of the prices on at least a few of the items you buy regularly, you’ll soon be able to tell when it is a good time to buy something, and when you should wait for a better price.
5. Consider going to multiple stores. It sounds like a lot more work, but sometimes by going to a second grocery store during the same week, you can save a lot of money. Like mentioned above, different stores have different prices and different items on sale each week. If it’s not too far out of your way and if the prices are better on some things at a different store, it can save you a lot of money to buy the other items at a different grocery store. If you can buy the loss leaders at each store, you will end up saving a lot of money!
6. If it’s a good deal, get many. A lot of times the expiration dates of something you are buying could be weeks, months, or even years away. If you know that a sale is a very good sale (by tracking prices as noted above), then why not get a bunch of that item? That way you won’t run out and have to buy it again when it isn’t on sale – or when the sale isn’t as good. This will also help your budget in later months when you don’t have to buy any of that item since you already have a lot of it on hand…and it didn’t really break your budget at the time since you got it at such a good price.
7. Make a list. A lot of times as you go through the isles things start to look good, especially if you are hungry. You might end up throwing in a bunch of items that you didn’t plan on. Not only does this inflate your grocery bill, but also a lot of times you end up having to throw uneaten food out because you bought more than could be eaten, and certain foods went bad. If you make a list of what you need for the week and stick to it, you will notice your grocery bills will go down, and you will also have less to throw out.
If you follow the above suggestions, you will see a huge difference in your grocery bills. It’s great to be able to spend just a little bit of time and be able to save so much! Be sure to check other posts to see more tips about what’s going on at a grocery store near you and other ways to save at the grocery store.Here are some similar posts you may be interested in:
- Ziploc Bag Coupons & How I get the Best Prices
- Eating Healthy VS. Eating Cheaply…Can You Do Both?
- Everything is on Sale – Buy Now or Wait?
- Saving when Spending
- Price Matching
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