Saving money at the grocery store requires a little time and a lot of discipline. With careful planning, a little preparation, and plenty of discipline, it is possible to save a significant amount of money when buying groceries.
However, one of the most common ways to save money on your grocery shopping is to start using manufacturers' coupons to get things a bit cheaper; this is not only time consuming, but it rarely saves you much money.
Even with the coupon, a given product is usually more expensive than a perfectly adequate alternative, such as a store brand version. There are better ways to cut your costs, and save money on grocery shopping, which includes;
Buying in Bulk
Buying in bulk can save money in the long run. Compare per-unit costs of bulk items with items sold in single units. Most of the time, there are significant cost savings associated with buying in bulk.
There are also plenty of sales associated with bulk items, so not only are there cost savings associated with the price of buying bulk, but there are additional savings when bulk items are on sale.
Make it a priority to stock up on toilet paper, condiments, cereals, pet food, and other non-perishable items, especially when they are on sale.
Invest in family packs of fish and meat and then divide them into single size portions at home. Wrap up the fish and meat portions in butcher paper, write the date on the outside with a marker, and store in the freezer.
Create a Grocery List
Grocery lists can help people save money because the items on the list are must-have items that are needed for meals and meal planning. Grocery lists can be kept on the fridge to be updated on a daily basis.
When household groceries items are used, the list on the fridge should be updated accordingly. Before heading to the grocery store, quickly scan the fridge and cupboards for items that are not needed to exclude them from the list.
Creating a weekly or monthly grocery budget and planning the meals carefully ahead will save a significant amount of money regularly.
Planning meals can be quickly and easily done by using a couple of great meal planning sites and grocery budgeting sites, including monthlymenuplanner.com and mealsmatter.org.
Cut or Print Coupons
Check fliers, grocery store websites, and popular coupon websites such as for sales and discounts. Clip and print the coupons and organize them in an envelope and post on the fridge next to the grocery list.
Coupons are a great way to save money, and there are often two for one deal and double coupon days, which provide shoppers with even more cost savings when shopping for groceries.
Buy Grocery Store or “No Name” Brands
Grocery store brands and no-name brands are often overlooked by many people shopping for groceries.
However, the products sold under these brand names are almost identical in ingredients and taste to the more popular brand name products.
The price difference between grocery store brand products and brand name products is significant, with the popular brand names costing much more than the no name-brands.
Save money every month on groceries by purchasing no name or grocery store brand products.
Buy Fruits and Vegetables from Local Farmers
Instead of buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, go to the local or weekend farmer’s market and purchase locally grown produce.
Buying produce at the farmer’s market is a great way to invest in the local economy and support the farmers in the area.
If purchasing local produce is not an option, try creating a garden in the backyard to grow basic fruits and vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Shop at the Dollar Store for Household Items
Another way to save money grocery shopping is to buy household items at the dollar store instead of the grocery store.
Instead of purchasing household cleaners, candles, soap, dishtowels, and scrub brushes at the grocery store, make a trip to the local dollar store for incredible savings.
Grocery shopping on a budget can be simple and stress-free. Take the time to plan meals, cut coupons, make a grocery list, buy in bulk, and shop at the farmers market and save money every month.
Go With Cash and Make Use Of Your Phone Calculator
If budgeting for groceries is necessary, then bring only what your budget allows for the week - and bring it in cash.
A debit or credit card makes it too easy to go beyond your budget. With just the cash for the week's needs, you'll have no way to spend a penny extra.
Of course, you don't have to tell the cashier to take half of your things back, so you need your phone calculator. Add as you go, and allow for sale's tax too.
Fresh Versus Frozen
Sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper, and sometimes the frozen versions are less. Buy where the value is if either will work.
If you are buying strawberries for "fruit smoothies" that you blend up in the morning, for example, it doesn't matter whether you use frozen or fresh, but sometimes the frozen ones are half as much for the same amount.
And the good news is that frozen fruits and vegetables may have more vitamins according to some studies, because they are flash-frozen shortly after picking, locking in the vitamins.
In contrast, the fresh ones travel for days in hot and cold trucks and then sit for days on the shelves or in the storerooms.
We laugh about this, but it is absolutely true that we tend to buy more when we are hungry.
Then, when we have more food to eat in the house, we tend to eat it. The type of foods we buy is affected, as well.
Go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, and you'll probably buy more snack foods that aren't as healthy.
Check Unit Price Tags
Many grocery stores, including the largest, are playing with prices on different sizes of products.
Don't assume that the larger sizes are a better buy, costing less per ounce. It isn't always the case.
The "family size" may actually cost more per ounce or pound. Who can say if this is being done on purpose, but it is common now, so check those tags to see which size is actually the better value.
Watch Pricing Patterns
Grocery store chains regularly change the prices of popular items for marketing purposes.
The 9.0-ounce box of Triscuit crackers in our local Wal-Mart is currently $2.56, which is the same as the 12.5-ounce box.
It seems strange, but there is a reason for it. I'll get to that shortly.
When watching those tags, you might just think you should always buy the big box.
In the example above, it comes out to 23 cents per ounce, after all, compared to 31.5 cents per ounce for the smaller one.
It's not that simple, though.
In about a month or so, the price will go back to $2.00 for the 9.5-ounce box, which is only 21 cents per ounce.
In fact, the price goes up and down throughout the year, making sense to buy an extra box or two when it is low and hold off when the price is up.
These pricing games have to do with legal and marketing considerations.
It helps sales have a "new lower price" on an item, but they can only legally say if the price was actually higher for time.
The law says it has to be at a given price for thirty days to call it the "regular price" or to say that the new price is lower; this is why some stores rotate prices from time to time.
Once the crackers are $2.57 for a while, they can be lowered to $2.00; it looks like a significant discount - and can be advertised as one.
Do this with enough products, and it can appear as though all the prices are always dropping.
Keep an eye on cycles like these and stock up during the lower-price times.
These few examples of how to save money on groceries should get you thinking and save you some money, and none of them require clipping coupons.