Guest Post by Tracie from Penny Pinchin Mom:
The grocery store. This is the place where I know I spend a lot of money every single week. You can’t NOT get food. You have to eat. However, you can save some money when you shop, just by being prepared BEFORE you shop.
Shop coupons with sales. This is the most obvious and actually where I come in. It is simple to do to check the weekly ad and use any coupons you have to really save even more. I provide the matchups to help you do this. If you don’t live in Kansas City, you can also check out the Regional Grocery Store Database for a store near you.
Plan Ahead. Before you shop, plan your meals for the week. I plan five meals each week. This allows for us to have left overs, provides lunch for my husband and even accounts for us to dine out once each week. When you plan your meals, you can determine which ingredients you have on hand in your pantry or freezer. You can also make a proper shopping list and get all of your products at once, rather than making multiple trips to the store (which increases impromptu spending).
Shop after you eat. Whatever you do, don’t go to the store on an empty stomach. If you shop while hungry, you will find items in your bag when you get home,which you may not have normally purchased. By shopping after dinner, you will avoid those impulse purchases.
Shop the right day of the week. If you have ever watched your grocery store, most of them have 2, 3 or 4 day sales. Here in Kansas City, all of these sales will fall on Friday or Saturday of each week. If you can swing it, try to shop these days and you will always catch these sales and save yourself multiple trips to the store. Or worse — miss out on some really great deals!
Try the store brand. When it comes to staples such as flour, sugar and the like, go with the store brands. You can even use the store brands for items such as milk and bread. These products are usually produced by the names you normally trust – just has the store name on it. For example, I shop at Price Chopper. Price Chopper milk is produced by Roberts Dairy. So, it is the same product. Plus, it is around $0.20 – $0.30 cheaper per gallon (when I do not have a coupon).
Scan the entire shelf. Did you know that the most expensive products are normally at eye level? Check the upper and bottom shelves and you can often times, find the comperable non-name brands for a lot less. Sometimes, saving money means shopping a brand you normally haven’t used.
Stick to the list. It is easy to see a good deal on something or eye a new product you think you might want to try. By sticking to your shopping list, you will avoid spending outside of what you planned on needing and can really save.
Cash is King. I am sure I sound like a broken record, but when you use cash, you tend to spend less. Having to part with your green backs makes you really re-evaluate whether you need that box of donuts or not. This even includes using a debit card — you still tend to spend more when you pay with plastic.
These are tactics that I use in my weekly shopping excursions. If you haven’t used some of these before, try one or two and ease into a new routine. Old habits can be hard to break, so just take baby steps and you’ll eventually be a Grocery Store saving aficionado.
Tracie has helped her family eradicate over $37,000 in debt in 27 months. She shares her money saving ideas & tips at Penny Pinchin Mom. She lives in Missouri with her husband and 3 young children.