Posts Tagged ‘everyday money saving advice’

32 Ways to Save on Groceries

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

A few weeks ago I surveyed my friends on Facebook to see how much money people were spending on average at the grocery store each week.  The wide range of responses was truly surprising, but what wasn’t surprising was that everyone seemed to really want to save more money.  I decided then that I’d compile a list of ways to save money on food (that don’t require starvation or extreme compromise on your favorite items).  I’ve come up with 32 ways to save money on food, so that even if you only implement some of them you’ll still enjoy significant savings.  If you have a successful strategy that you don’t see here, please let me know!

  1. Shop at stores that double coupons, and you’ll get double the savings.  Not sure which grocery stores in your area offer coupon doubling? Check out this comprehensive list.
  2. Search for high-value coupons and BOGO deals. You may not be able to double a high-value coupon, but you may be able to save more than you would have with a lesser coupon (even if it’s doubled).
  3. Only buy the freshest produce buying gently aged produce will ensure that it’ll spoil faster and go to waste.
  4. Don’t buy produce in bulk. Approximately 20-30% of produce purchases end up in the garbage – don’t let your purchases become another statistic.
  5. Check your eggs before purchasing them. Why pay money for an egg that is already cracked?
  6. Use cash instead of credit. If you’re trying to stick to a strict budget, shopping with cash is a great way to make sure you don’t overspend.
  7. Shop alone. Shopping with children or friends provides an easy way for unnecessary items to wind up in your cart.
  8. Don’t shop hungry. If you’re hungry in the grocery store chances are good that you’ll end up purchasing frivolous items in addition to your necessities.
  9. Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Everyone likes to feel as though they got a deal, but if you don’t truly need something you can save money on food just by not buying it.  Of course, if you’ll be purchasing the item the next week you might as well take advantage of the sale…
  10. Be wary of expiration dates. When purchasing dairy products, the items in the front are generally the ones that expire first.  You’ll get a longer shelf life out of your purchase if you take the ones from the back, and reduce your chances of throwing away spoiled food.
  11. Shop by unit price, not by sale price.  There are times when economy-sized products are not the thriftiest purchase.  Compare the unit price of small packages vs. larger packages and determine which one is truly a better value.
  12. Look low.  In most stores, cheaper brands are located below eye-level, so don’t hesitate to look down when you’re shopping – you never know what deals you’ll find!
  13. Follow your list.  Enough said.
  14. Plan a menu in advance.  Sticking to your menu is a great way to stick to your list, which will save you money on food.
  15. Plan your menu based on sales.  This week’s menu may already be set, but you can plan next week’s meals based upon what’s on sale this week.  Not only can you take advantage of sales but you’ll be able to cross menu planning off your weekend to-do-list.
  16. Keep a small notebook with acceptable pricing in your purse. This way, you’ll be able to discern between good deals and those that aren’t truly worthwhile.
  17. Ask for a rain check. If a sale item is out of stock, don’t be embarrassed to ask the customer service counter to extend the deal when the shelves are restocked.
  18. Buy generic products. You probably won’t notice the difference between generic oil and brand name oil (or most other products), so why pay more for a brand name?
  19. Only buy produce that is in-season. Not only does produce taste best when it’s in season, but it’s also cheaper when it’s grown in abundance.
  20. Try doing only one monthly shopping. Reducing trips to the grocery store will allow you to save money on gas and to avoid impulsive purchases.  You may need to sneak into the store for some milk or eggs, but you may be able to find these items for a comparable price at your local convenience store or gas station – it’s definitely worth checking out.
  21. Comparison shop. If your neighborhood has multiple grocery stores, make sure you know how much your favorite items cost at each one, so you’ll know you’re getting the best deal.
  22. Don’t shop when you’re tired. You may forget items (and need to return needlessly) or throw things into your cart that you don’t really need or want.
  23. Scan your pantry before leaving the house. Knowing exactly what you’ve got at home will prevent you from throwing extra items into your cart “just in case.”
  24. Ask for a price match guarantee. If you find an item advertised elsewhere for less, ask your grocery store to match the price.  Not only will you save money on the item, but you’ll also save on gas since you won’t need to go to another store.
  25. Plant your own vegetable garden. Even if you’ve got a brown thumb like I do, don’t laugh – gardening is good for the environment, extremely economical and a great educational opportunity for children.  If you don’t have a garden plant some produce such as tomatoes and leafy greens indoors.  Just make sure they get enough sunlight (6-8 hours a day) and water.
  26. Check out dollar stores. You can often find convenient snacks and other foods at dollar stores for…you guessed it…only $1.
  27. Opt for do-it-yourself instead of pre-packaged foods. Why spend $1 on a single packaged cake when you can make several of your own mini-cakes for a similar price?
  28. Freeze your milk. Many consumers are surprised to learn that milk can survive in the freezer for up to 3 months.  If your milk is about to expire, freeze it and take it out when you’re ready to drink it quickly.
  29. Take advantage of freebies. It only takes a few moments to sign up for a freebie, but the savings can really add up.  Free diapers, for example, can save you 25 cents per sample, while a free deodorant can save you $1 over the life of the sample.  Subscribe to freebie newsletters (including mine!) and let the free stuff come right to your door.
  30. Check your Catalina coupons. Most shoppers ignore the coupons that come with their receipt, and shove them into their purse or a grocery bag.  You can save money on groceries by using these coupons, so make sure to treat them responsibly!
  31. Look for discounts at the meat counter. Oftentimes the deli counter will offer deals on meats that are about to reach their sell-by date.  As the butcher if he’s got any specials and throw the meat in the freezer either before or after you cook it.
  32. Review your final bill to check for pricing errors. Why pay more as a result of a cashier’s mistake or scanning error?

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