Here are 15 tried and true tips for saving money on groceries. Use these tips and save!
1. Always make a list ahead of time, and avoid impulse shopping. Grocery stores put those higher priced items at the front of the store and the staple items at the back for a reason.
2. Watch the supermarket sale circulars. Certain items, such as milk and eggs, will often go on sale on a regular cycle. You can sometimes get a feel for when these items go on sale and plan accordingly. Check to see if your favorite supermarket will match the prices of other stores. If it does, then you can take all the sales circulars with you and get the items at one store, all at the lower price.
3. Use rebates and coupons when appropriate, but often you can save even more money by buying store brand items instead.
4. Buy store brand or generic items unless you are certain the name brand item is really better. For example, in my opinion, I haven’t found a decent substitute for real Cheerios, but 100% Colombian Coffee is always good no matter whose can it’s in.
5. Compare unit prices and make sure you are getting the lowest price per pound, liter, gallon, ounce, or what have you. Often the unit prices will be marked on the store shelves, but if not, you can always bring a calculator. While the larger size is often a better buy, this is not always true, especially when it comes to sale items.
6. Shop at warehouse clubs like Sam’s and Costco for bulk items. Buying in bulk can often save you money, but don’t buy more of a perishable item than you can consume before it spoils.
7. Bulk cooking can also save time and money. Cook large batches of your favorite meals and put these in the freezer.
8. Avoid purchasing pre-packaged convenience foods, which are not only expensive, but are usually loaded with salt and fat. Instead, consider fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and dried grains, pasta, peas, and beans.
9. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season. They are cheaper and taste better during the growing season instead of when they’ve been in storage for awhile.
10. Take advantage of clearance items that are reduced for a quick sale. My wife has found good deals on steak early on Monday morning, but they don’t last long.
11. If you have local bakery, check to see if there is a “day old” bread store. A local bakery store provided many a cheap loaf of bread during my college days.
12. Monitor your children’s television viewing, and be careful when taking your kids shopping. A lot of overpriced groceries are marketed directly to children. Sometimes, though, you can use these as learning opportunities. My daughter once excitedly pointed out to me a Dora the Explorer branded yogurt. I asked her whether she’d rather have the small Dora yogurt, or one that was twice the size for the same price. She loves Dora, but likes yogurt, too, and wisely chose the bigger one.
13. Never shop on an empty stomach, or you will end up buying a lot of stuff you don’t need and shouldn’t eat.
14. Pay cash! You will spend less if you use actual money instead of a credit card, check, or debit card.
15. Don’t forget – growing your own groceries is fun and helps save money, too.