Grocery Shopping: Tips to Saving Money

Let’s face it the world today is requiring people to make more and more money in order to just get by. Everything seems to be expensive, especially groceries! For some families, just purchasing groceries can break the bank! There are many ways to save money on your grocery bill, you just have to be able to implement these ideas into your grocery shopping.

1. Use Coupons: Coupons are money savers if used correctly. So many people clip coupons only because the coupon looks like something they could use, not something they need to purchase. If you see a coupon for something you would normally not buy at the store, then don’t clip it out. If you are clipping coupons just to use for items you don’t normally buy or need, then you aren’t really saving money, you are just adding to your bill. Also, only using coupons for items that are already on-sale is a good idea.

Most of the coupons you clip out of your Sunday paper are for name brand products. Most often, these products are the most expensive. If the product is on-sale AND by using the coupon, the product is cheaper than a generic one, using the coupon is a good idea. If the product is on-sale, but a generic item of the same type of product is cheaper, than obviously it would not make sense to use the coupon to purchase it. Why use a coupon and still spend more when you can buy the exact item, but in its generic equivalent for less? If you live near a grocery store that doubles coupons, this can also be a great thing. Many grocery stores will double coupons up to a certain amount. Be careful though, often times you can still buy the generic equivalent for less than the name brand, even with the coupon doubled.

2. Buy Generic: There is a trick to this, because many grocery stores set out the more expensive, name brand items right at eye level. The reason being, if you see the expensive brand name item first, you are more apt to just grab it off the shelf and move on. Congratulations! You have just allowed the store to make more money off of you! If you take a bit of extra time, and look around, you will find a generic version of that brand name item, often at almost half the cost. Stores will most often place lower priced, generic items on the bottom and top shelves, because they don’t want you to purchase the cheaper items. The generic versions of the brand name items are often just as good, for half the cash. Matter of fact, I usually only purchase generic items and I can’t tell a difference on any of them compared to their brand name counterpart. Now, it isn’t always cheaper to buy generic, there are times when you can use a coupon to bring the brand name price of an item to even cheaper than generic. That doesn’t happen often though. If you take some time, look carefully and comparison-shop, you will save money.

3. Shop at Discount Grocery Stores: I will admit, I had never before set foot into a discount grocery store until this year. I always had a bit of an aversion to these types of stores, thinking they would be dirty and without any decent food choices. I was wrong. I recently discovered that discount grocery stores are a great way to save money! Yes, they don’t have all of the choices that the bigger chain stores offer. Yes, you have to bring your own sacks or boxes. Yes, you need to pay a quarter to use a grocery cart. What you get as an end result is: huge money savings! I have been shopping at our local discount grocery store chain since they opened early this year. I spend around 100-120 dollars every two weeks there for groceries for my family of four. I once only spent 80 dollars for our bi-monthly big shopping. Now, if you compare that bill to the bill I received at the large grocery store chain I normally use, I had saved almost 100 dollars. There are times at the large grocery chain that my bill had been close to 200 dollars for my shopping. I have never gone over 120 dollars at the discount store, and am buying all the same types of items. I highly recommend trying out your local discount grocery store if you are trying to save money on groceries.

4. Always Have a List: I make a menu of what I will be serving for the two week time span in between grocery visits. From this menu I take items that I know I will need to purchase in order to make the food on the menu, and I place them on my grocery list. This way, I know that I will have all the supplies I need to make my meals. I also add essentials that I know we will need for that two-week time span. I then take the list to the store and get groceries. What you need to do with your list is make sure you stick to it! Don’t buy items that aren’t on the list. The donuts in the bakery may look really good, but are they on your list? No! Don’t buy them. You are just spending money on things you don’t need if you don’t stick to your list. One good thing about the discount grocery stores: they don’t have a bakery or a deli that will tempt you to spend money on items you don’t need. So, make a list, and stick to the list. You will be surprised at how much money that can save you.

5. Stay away from Prepared Foods: These types of food tend to be more expensive. Yes, being able to buy a pre-made salad kit is a lot easier than shredding that head of lettuce and putting in some salad fixings. However, it is also more expensive. You can buy a head of lettuce for about 2.00 dollars cheaper than buying the already cleaned and washed lettuce in a bag. It just requires you to do more work. If you want to save money, then you will need to sacrifice a little extra work for more cash in your pocket!

6. Don’t Purchase Non- Grocery Items: Don’t buy non-grocery items at the grocery store! These items are going to be much more expensive at the grocery store than anywhere else. This will just add extra dollars to your bill! Try purchasing your non-grocery items such places like a dollar store or a discount store. We purchase the majority of non-grocery items at the Dollar General and we save quite a bit of money. Again, you must be willing to sacrifice name brands, but it is worth it. You can buy name brands at the Dollar General, but the store brand is much cheaper and just as good!

Groceries are a necessity in life. Every family needs to put food on their table. What isn’t a necessity is spending large amounts of money while trying to do this. These simple tips can help you to save money. It is up to you to try them out. You will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome!

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