Items you will need
- A sharpie-type marker
- A Wednesday paper
- A desire to save your hard earned cash
Most of us spend way more money on our grocery bill than we need to. In America's fast-paced, on-the-go, fast food society, we've been trained to buy pre-prepared, processed, ready-to-eat meals. You can feed your family better, healthier food for much less than you're paying now. Check out these easy to follow hints to save up to 50% on your grocery bill.
Forget about Sunday's coupons. Check the Wednesday paper for the weekly ads at all of your local grocery store chains. The vast majority of what you buy should be pre-determined from these ads. Circle the items you NEED and then don't buy anything not circled. NO IMPULSE SHOPPING!
Spread your money and your savings around. Visiting multiple stores on shopping day may cost you a little time, but will save you plenty of cash. If an item is 10 cents cheaper at the other store, wait until you're there to buy it. Every little cost savings is worth the wait.
Always check out the Manager's Mark-Downs. Don't be afraid of clearance meats and other marked down items. Check your ads to compare prices and be willing to buy bulk meats. These can be re-packaged into smaller servings and re-frozen to wait until Pork-chop night. You get the idea. The key here is that the only things you'll be willing to buy that aren't circled in your ads are marked-down items that sell for less than similar advertised items elsewhere.
Store brands are your answer. Forget about Nabisco, GM, Kraft, and other name-recognition brands. Store brands are just as good and can save you up to 50%.
Shop the store's periphery. This sounds weird, but you'll quickly notice that all the necessities are located on the edges. Produce, Meats, Dairy, Bread. When you have to enter the aisles to search out a sale item, such as noodles, remember to move your neck. Look up and down. The cheaper options will never be at eye-level. Try knee level or well over your head. It's amazing how good grocery store managers are at taking your money. Know their tricks to develop your own.
Buy ingredients & learn to cook. Buying the basic staples in bulk can save you tons. Make your own pancake batter, cake mixes, oatmeal, etc. Two great books I've found incredibly worthwhile in this regard are Doris Longacre's "The More with Less Cookbook" and Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything".
Leave the kids. Kids are impulse shoppers and the marketing ploys aimed at children work amazingly well. If you must shop with kids, one ploy I've found helpful is this. Have the child read the ingredient list of the item she wants to buy. Invariably she will run across a word your college English professor couldn't pronounce. Then simply ask the child, "wouldn't you rather eat food than some chemical we can't even pronounce?" It may sound hokey - but it's proven effective with my own kids.
Sign-up for all of your stores' membership cards. If you are willing to give your personal information, many stores will mail you special sales ads based on your personal shopping history in their store. Many of these deals will be tied to your swipe-card, so the hassle of coupons is a non-issue.
If your grocery item is packaging heavy - most of the price is paying for the packaging. Buy produce in-season only. There's always something in season. Check out ads to find out what's in season now. Believe it or not - specialty stores can save you money on certain items. Example: compare Trader Joe's price on olive oil to your local grocery chain. Check out my other article with the same title - Part 2
Never go shopping when hungry. Impulse buys will eat your grocery budget. If at all possible - don't take the kids. See step #7 above for ideas to save money if the kids are present.