This New Year, Resolve to Save Money on Grocery Shopping
It’s always a good idea to try to save more money. However, in this economy, with people losing jobs or employers cutting back on benefits, it may be more important than ever to watch your pocketbook. Since we’re uncertain if we’ll both be able to keep our jobs this year, my family has resolved to do the best we can and save money this year, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping. Here are some tips we discovered that have helped us lower our food bill:
Shop by Coupon: I’ve modified my brand purchases based on what brand is offering coupons. There are many sites online that offer printable coupons and many manufacturers send coupons via email if you sign up with them. The Sunday paper is often a coupon bonanza. Our local dollar store sells Sunday papers guessed it: $1! Sometimes if the paper has many coupons we’ll use, we buy multiple papers. For only a few dollars, the amount we’ll end up saving more than makes up for the cost of the newspapers.
Shop by Sale: Last summer, my local grocery store had a great sale on 3 lb. boxes of Tyson chicken, no limit. My husband and I figured out that once opened, we could fit 20 boxes, or 60 pounds of chicken in our fridge. Much to surprise of other shoppers (and the butcher), I filled my cart with 60 lbs. of chicken. Granted, on that purchase alone, I spent $135.00 but I saved $140.00! They didn’t expire for about eight months, so we figured out what we would typically use per month and made room for them. Likewise, at our local Target, they often have clearance food items on the endcaps of the aisles that face the back of the store. A few months ago, I found our favorite brand of boxed pasta marked down to $.43 per box. I bought all ten boxes and stored them in our pantry. Those didn’t expire for at least a year. So be on the lookout for sales or clearance items and stock up when you can! When you think about your long-term use of sale items and have the storage, you really can save over time if you can afford to make the initial investment.
Keep Your Eyes Open: Not only should you be on the lookout for great sales and stock up when you see them, but also pay attention to what you receive with your receipt. Catalinas are coupons your cashier hands you at check out. Not only do these catalinas offer money off on specific products, but sometimes manufacturers reward you for buying their products with a dollar or two off your next shopping trip, regardless of whether or not you buy their products. So don’t throw away your receipts before looking at the catalinas to see if they offer any future savings!
Spread Around Your Purchases: I don’t buy everything at one store. My local, “big-chain” grocery store is great for two-for-one deals and weekly meat sales. A smaller, family-owned grocery in our neighborhood has great deals on fresh produce and Italian foods: jarred pasta sauces, olive oil, cheeses, and lunch meats — that’s their specialty. We shop at Target because I really like their generic bath products and their prices are reasonable. We have found that shopping at Sam’s Club or Costco isn’t for us. While their prices are usually lower, we would often buy other items that we really didn’t need (I think that’s where they really ‘get you.’) However, I do know other people who have better self-control than we do and do well at such warehouse-type stores. Our Sam’s didn’t take coupons either, so I found that I was better off arming myself with coupons and heading to Target or Walmart for laundry detergent and toilet paper. It might take more time to shop at multiple stores, but if you calculate what you’ll save it each, it might make it worth your while (it is for us — all of the above stores I mentioned are closeby, so we’re not wasting too much gas!)
So there you have it! Just a few simple tactics you can use to help you save money on groceries. Good luck!