Friday, June 3, 2011

How I Save Money - Grocery Shopping

Let me start this post by saying that my grocery budget is pretty large, I have a 20 year old son and a weight lifting husband who eats A LOT.  I don't have time to coupon or run from store to store.  This post is mostly geared to those who are looking to save what they can without a lot of effort.

Now that I've got my disclaimer out of the way, I do have a few ways that I save money on my grocery bill.

  • Find the lowest priced store possible and stick to it.  I know this seems like a no-brainer but I'm surprised by the number of people I know who willing pay a lot more for their groceries.  Years ago (I was a newly wed, my oldest is now 20) I was spending $125 - $150 at the grocery store.  That was sheer madness and I needed to find a way to trim that budget.  They were opening a new grocery store a few cities over that I heard was super cheap.  We tried it out and saved $50 - $75 per shopping trip.  I periodically take my receipt to stores in my city but am appalled at the price difference.  I would even go so far as to say shop at that store even if you don't like it.  The store I go to is huge and a lot of people don't like it for it's size.  I'm OK with it's size since I'm saving so much money!
  • Determine what you want to eat.  I'm not a huge menu maker but I do jot down several meals I'd like to make and buy the ingredients for them.  If you walk into the grocery store without any ideas for dinner you are in trouble.
  • Make a list and stick to it.  This gets to be a little bit of a struggle since my husband likes to grocery shop with me and likes to throw things in the cart.  When money was very tight and we had no wiggle room I would tell him how much we had to spend and told him if we went over it at the check out we'd have to put something back - that worked (I still use that every so often if he's going crazy with impulse buys).  Unless it's a phenomenal sale that I don't even buy things that I find on sale.
  • Take advantage of coupons offered by your store.  One of the ways that my grocery store keeps costs down is that they don't have store cards and they only accept checks, cash or debit cards - no credit cards.  They do however tape coupons to the shelves.  I definitely take advantage of that and will generally have 3-5 coupons to use at check-out, even if I didn't bring any with me.
  • Take advantage of easy to find coupons.  I don't cut or chase coupons but I do go online and check out Swagbucks for any available coupons while I'm making out my list.  Doesn't take much time and I can usually save a couple of bucks.
Do any of you have ideas to save money without extreme couponing?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if all stores do it, but the one I use the most (Stop and Shop) lets you search their on-line circular. So I gather my coupons and try to match what I have with what is on sale.
    I'm an avid couponer, but I could never be an 'extreme' one. I have a reasonable stockpile (thinking maybe 3 months ahead) that I've built over a few years. I don't see the need to keep 75,000 rolls of toilet paper! I buy plenty of goodies and snacks, but you'll never see 10 bags of chips in my pantry. And, honestly, some of those people on "Extreme C'rs" don't look like they need to be eating all that junk food, anyway.
    The best tip I ever heard for saving money on purchases, whether or not you use coupons, is this: Don't buy it when you need it. Buy it when it is at it's rock-bottom cheapest and stockpile it! Better to reach for a 1.99 jar of peanut butter that you got on sale a month ago than to be stuck paying almost $5 for the same jar!