January 12, 2010

My Top 10 Grocery Store Savings Tips

Everyone has some great postings talking about savings these days.  I figured this post might help everyone out as well.  Thanks Frugal Find

I recently wrote this article for a local paper, the Pleasant Hill Community Focus.  Check back this afternoon for special coupons thanks to the PHCF paper! 

10. Don’t drink away your budget. Beverages are costly and it’s just silly to pay for bottled water.  Plus you’ll be going green if you drink from the tap at home.  Sodas, juices, and yes alcohol have little to no nutritional value and the cost can easily make up 50% of your grocery budget.
9.  Plan for leftovers. In my meal planning I schedule in leftover nights.  I’ll make a larger batch of a particular dinner the night before and either have the same meal again or modify it a bit.  This is a great way to stretch the cost of meal while also saving you time.
8.  Check your receipt. I always double check my receipt before I leave.  You’d be surprised how often the prices are wrong or an item was scanned twice.  I highly suggest you do this BEFORE you go home, it’s much easier to deal with right away. I wrote about not getting my catalina coupons, it’s possible to get it after the fact - but not easy.

7.  Calculate & Review. Bring a calculator to the store with you and add as you go.  Being conscious of what you’re spending as you put items in the cart will help you to cut back.  Then once you get to the checkout lane, review your purchases…is there anything you should put back?  This is your last chance to cut out any unnecessary items.
6.  Shop the perimeter. The perimeters are where you’ll find the fresh produce, bread, milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, etc. – what I call the “real” food.  This should be the main focus of your meal plan and grocery budget.  If you start in the middle your money will be spent before you get to the items your family really needs.  Of course check the 99 Cents Store too!

5.  Stock up. With that said, I want you to be aware and carefully check the price per ounce, bulk isn’t always cheaper.  Often times, when I stock up it’s on an item that isn’t in bulk packaging.  If you’ve read my articles or taken one of my coupon classes, you’ll know that I don’t shop at Costco, and this is one of the main reasons.  Bulk isn’t always cheaper, know your prices and shop around.  You can see my fully stocked pantry to see what I mean!

4.  Leave the kids at home. Unless it’s an emergency, I never bring my kids to the grocery store.  I’ve tried it, I just can’t focus.  Any plan or list I’ve made goes out the window.  If at all possible, go alone.  You’ll be quicker and you’ll spend less.  Your family and your grocery budget will thank you.
3.  Use Cash. We use the Envelope Budget, you can read more about how that works on The Frugal Find, but the concept has been around forever.  It’s much easier to swipe a card, even a debit card, than it is to use cash.
2.  Clip Coupons. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it.  Clip those coupons!  I never walk out of Safeway or Lucky having saved any less than 60% on my groceries.  On average I save 75% and spend $45 a week for a family of 6, it is possible!  There are over 150 printable coupons available right now on coupons.com!

1.  Meal Plan. Planning for anything will save you time and money, especially when it comes to the grocery budget.  If you have a plan and stick to it, mysterious products won’t end up in your grocery cart and they won’t have a chance to eat away at your grocery budget.