Grocery Shop to Save Money
With the rising cost of food, many families are looking for more ways to save money. Saving money on groceries involves more than the traditional method of clipping coupons from the Sunday paper. . It involves a multifaceted approach. With a little planning and effort, you can save a substantial amount of money. Below I share my strategies that save me an average of $200 a month for my family of two (three including my dog Bella).
Get organized! Develop a formatted grocery list using a word processor. List the categories in the order of the aisles in your supermarket. This will ensure you limit the time running back and forth. Print several copies of these lists to keep handy in a kitchen drawer. Place one copy in a central area so you can write down items as soon as you use them. This will help avoid forgetting items that need to be purchased. Click here to download my grocery form. Some supermarkets offer an online application where you can build your list online then print it out or access it on your phone through an app. The one I use automatically organizes my list by the order of store aisles. It includes a description of the item and a picture. I find this especially helpful when I am sending my husband to the store.
Plan ahead! If you shop once a week, make sure you have enough supplies for at least 8 days worth of meals. This way, if you aren’t able to go to the market on your designated shopping day, you will have enough on hand and avoid having to order take out. If you shop twice weekly, aim for 4 days worth of supplies. Planning ahead also helps your family to enjoy healthy nutritious meals. It also solves the last minute dilemma of what to have for dinner.
Coupon, coupon, coupon! Couponing has changed a lot over the past decade. In addition to the traditional paper sources, coupons can now be found online! Here are some links to popular couponing sites:
In addition, many individual manufacturers offer coupons on their websites (for example, Campbell’s). A lot of stores will double coupons that have a face value of less than one dollar. Combine store loyalty discounts with manufacturers’ coupons for the highest amount of savings. Be aware that using a coupon on an item that is marked up is not the most cost effective. You want to pair coupons with the lowest price possible. Also be careful with buy one get one free sales. Often times, the item is priced so high that there are little or no savings.
Recently, there are several websites that allow for paperless savings. Some of these allow you to submit a photo of your grocery receipt while others enable you to load savings electronically on your store loyalty cards. Here are links to some popular sites:
It’s all in the comparison! Comparison shopping is one of the biggest weapons in fighting rising food costs. Every Sunday, the newspaper has a multitude of weekly ads. Study these thoroughly for the best deals on items you use. Even if you aren’t exactly low on a particular item you use regularly, there is no harm in taking advantage of a great sale to stock up. Combine sales with manufacturers’ coupons and store loyalty discounts to maximize savings. Often times you can walk away with items for rock bottom prices, or better yet, free!
Go generic! One of the best ways to save money is to buy generics. Many generic brands are of comparable quality to major name brands. if you do this the majority of the time, the savings allow you to splurge on those major brand items you really must have.
Bulk up! As the old adage says, things are “cheaper by the dozen.” Whenever possible, buy in bulk. Join a wholesale club like BJ’s Club, Sam’s Club or Costco. The yearly membership fee more than pays for itself.
Track your savings! Keep a written record of your savings each month. Designate columns for date, store name, purchase amount, amount saved with coupons, amount saved by comparison shopping and comments (to note extra fab deals!). Excel has a great sum function that keeps a running total of all your amounts. Keeping a log helps you document your savings and see where improvements can be made.
Until next time, happy homemaking!