9 Ways to save money on groceries
- Sign up for the stores reward card. A lot of stores offer customer reward cards which allow you to take advantage of the sales and specials they have around the store. Not only do they offer better prices to reward customers, they usually have digital coupons that can be downloaded directly to the card. That means less clipping for you.
- Coupons. This might be the most obvious trick but I had to include it. My best advice for coupons is to clip only the coupons for items you actually use. There are so many articles and websites about clipping coupons and saving tons on items and stocking up. I’ve seen people buy $40 worth of groceries and only spend $0.04!! Clipping coupons are really helpful. Some stores let you double coupons, allowing you to have $1.00 off a particular item instead of just $0.50 as advertised. It’s important to do your research and make sure you know exactly what your spending before you go buy a bunch of items. I recommend looking up The Krazy Coupon Lady. This site offers all kinds of deals and tells what stores are offering what. but I also should advise you not to go out and spend $100 on laundry detergent and garbage bags just because you found coupons. My husband was not pleased when I did that. He said I spent too much money and didn't even buy anything. It was an interesting conversation. But it’s taught me a lot about the couponing world. If you are interested in an easy way to clip coupons I recommend Coupons.com. Its super easy to clip digital coupons or print them if you prefer. My favorite part is the ability to submit your receipt for items you already purchased because they give you the money back for matching coupons. This eliminates buying things you don't need just because you have a coupon.
- Have a budget set before you arrive at the store. I budget out our finances each week and have a specific amount in my head that I don’t want to go over. When I’m putting my items in my cart I keep track of my running total. I like to buy a couple days worth of food at a time so I usually try to stick to $50-75 which ends up being around $100-$150 for the week. I think that’s a reasonable budget for a family of three. And yes, I also include items like paper towels and household goods as “groceries” because it’s still something that has to be budgeted for. The best way to not go over my set total is to get the important items first. Which brings me to my next tip...
- Make a list and stick to it. Often I find myself moseying around the store looking at all the items for sale and if my mother taught me anything, it’s how to spot a good deal. But when it comes to sticking to your budget only buy the things you really need.
- Think like a minimalist. I always think to myself before I buy anything “how has my life been without this item? Will it make it that much better or will I be ok without it?” More times than not I don’t need that item. These questions prevent me from spending too much on things that would be wasteful for me.
- Don’t buy an entire weeks worth of groceries if you don’t have to. I find myself at the store multiple times a week no matter how much I buy on my first trip. I also know that on Monday, when I go shopping, my husband doesn’t have any plans for the week but then Wednesday comes along and he is suddenly going fishing with his buddies after work to “catch dinner”. When he does bring home dinner then I have to buy stuff for the fish and then put off what I already planned for Wednesday night to the next night. And then on Friday whatever I planned on making will now be made on Saturday, however I bought that food on Monday so who knows how fresh it will be. I don’t like wasting food, or anything for that fact. But food especially goes bad pretty quick so I only buy a couple days at a time so I’m not wasting food or money.
- Buy non perishable goods in bulk. As mentioned before, using coupons on items like laundry detergent and paper towels is super helpful when cutting costs but think about how much you save when buying bulk at stores such as Sam’s, and Costco’s. Sure $0.75 off a $20 pack of toilet paper doesn’t seem like much but it adds up. Another way I save on things like meat is buying in bulk. I buy a large pack of ground beef and when I get home I separate it into 1 pound freezer bags and freeze it. You get a lot more for you buck at wholesale stores. You also have to keep in mind the members fee. If it costs you more to sign up than you think you will save on items then it may not be worth it.
- Shop for markdowns in the morning. I find that when I get out really early in the mornings not only are there less people (smaller lines) but there are more options. When stores mark down things that are going out of date soon you are more likely to find the better options in the morning. Finding some steaks with a $2.00 markdown all because someone didn’t buy it yesterday is going to sell fast. The earlier you get there the better your options are for marked down foods. I’ve noticed that the foods marked down when I shop at the end of the day just look like they aren’t good quality or they are going bad quickly.
- Buying generic. Most stores offer their own version of products you love. I am not super picky when it comes to most of my food and household products. I guess that’s the frugal side of me coming out. The only time I buy brand names is when I see a real difference in quality and feel the price is worth the value. For example I use Hefty force flex garbage bags and pay a lot more than the generic garbage bags but I never have any leaks with the brand name bags and that’s a huge deal for me. I always give the generic versions a chance before making my mind up that it’s not worth it. I always buy the stores brand of sandwich bread which is usually around a dollar, whereas all the other brands are around $3 for a loaf. That’s more than double! I don’t think brand name sandwich bread is worth paying three times more. There’s some fine and take but if you have a small budget you’re trying to stick with, buying generic can really help you get more for your money.