With gas going up, everything is getting more expensive today. Our hard-earned dollars are challenged to stretch further. Now, we may be able to ride a bicycle around town if we can’t put gas in our cars. But, we have to eat. There’s no getting around that. So, we have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families. Here are seven money saving tips to try the next time you go grocery shopping.
1. Clip coupons. They put those in the newspaper for a reason. If there are new items you want to try, use a coupon to get it at a discount. If you like it, you have saved some money. On the other hand, if you don’t take a liking to it, you didn’t pay full price. For me, coupons save an average of ten or more dollars per visit. That’s money in my pocket that I can put towards gas for the car.
2. Print coupons. Even easier than clipping from the newspapers is printing offline. While I really do love the old school coupon clipping, I can’t justify buying a huge newspaper just to get the coupons. Just go to coupon.com and you can see a bunch of new coupons added daily for printing. You won’t miss a single deal.
3. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a box of macaroni and cheese, but is it more economical? A large box of macaroni and a block of cheese will make more servings for your family than one box of prepared macaroni and cheese. The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.
4. Buy in bulk. Consider the food items that you use most often. Cereals, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club. If you have a coupon, you’ll save even more money. Make sure you are checking the bulk sections at your local grocery stores as well. I buy staples such as flours, sugars, and noodles from Winco or Fred Meyer for at least half the price of pre-packaged items. All I have to do is bag it myself. Well worth the huge savings.
5. Don’t shop when you are hungry. This is a definite no-no. Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that bag of chocolate chip cookies or 3 bags of chips when the growling gets underway.
6. Take a grocery list with you. This is another protection against picking up things that are too costly. Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down. Remember, the goal is to stick to the list as much as possible. Better yet, join the Once-a-Week Cooking club and have your weekly grocery list emailed to you each week.
7. Shop at the same stores. This is more of a frustration reliever. In a new store, you spend most of your time looking for things and walking up and down every aisle, which oftentimes leads to forgetting an item or two. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list.
Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to shop the sales and put together a weekly list.
But why go to the bother? Let me put the lists together for you and then you just find the best deals at your favorite grocery store. The Once-a-Week Cooking club sends out your weekly meal plan and shopping list to save you money.
Photo credit: gmnonic