As much as it hurt me to cancel the Sunday paper, it needed to be done. I used to read the entire paper, enjoying coffee while I caught up on the news, but that started to reduce, as it’s easier just to glance online on my phone or laptop. Then while I ignored the actual paper, I only looked at the ads, and pretty soon that became less important as well to me, and I only pulled out the coupons to look through to cut. When it finally became that I was starting put the entire paper still in the bag it came from, into the recycle bin, without even glancing at it, it was time to cancel a subscription that has been around since I was a kid. While clipping coupons can still be a huge money saver, there are plenty of other ways to save money at the grocery store.
Pick and Choose Where You Go
You know the stores that tend to be higher price, so avoid those store, bottom line. We have a market around us that has fantastic high-quality meat and produce, but the rest of the nonperishable groceries are top dollar, so unfortunately, I do have to make a couple shopping stops, but it’s worth it when I can buy the staples at the supermarket, and the fresh at another.
The Shopping List is Gold
It is true, you can really go into a store thinking you are going in for bread, milk, eggs, and tonight’s dinner, but come out spending over $100 on impulse purchases. Unless you have a list that you can stick to, the store is filled with items you may not want, might not need, and probably are not healthy for you. If you can keep your head down and stick to your shopping list, you will have significant savings at the register than you would otherwise on a shopping free for all, spending a couple hours going all over the store.
Frozen Produce is Just Fine
Fresh produce is nice if you intend on eating relatively soon, but can be a pain to cut up, which is why they charge top dollar for prepared, probably almost 10x would it would be normally. A great option is buying frozen. Now normally you don’t think of frozen foods as being good, but the good news is that the frozen produce is flash frozen, cut up, and is available in your freezer whenever you want to throw a meal together to mix into a stir fry, quesadilla, or even a side dish to a grilled chicken breast.
Use Rewards Card for Sales, Coupons, Fuel
Sure, grocery stores might make the prices look inflated to those that do not use the shopper’s rewards card, but in addition to having many “sales”, you can also take advantage of other promos such as “10 for $10”, or better yet, if you buy a certain number of the same ticket items you can gain additional money off of the already sale price. In addition, you can load digital coupons to your card that will be taken off at the register, although you may have to print off the sheet so you remember which coupons you added. Every time you use your card you can also accumulate fuel points that will take money off each gallon of gas, usually 10 cents or so, but if you save them up before they expire you could be saving up to 50 cents a gallon.
Eat Before You Leave the House
Never go shopping when you are hungry, trust me, you will come out with way more than you need. Once you are out of your food cravings, you will see all of the junk you bought and wasted money on that you will not only be mad at your budget, but may have to add a couple more days to the gym to make up for the impulse buys.
Leave your kids at home. Leave your spouse at home. Not only is going shopping alone a nice mental break from home life, but it is less pressure on “can we get this?”, throwing off your shopping list and your food budget. This way you can take your time, find all of the best deals, and go aisle by aisle to make sure that your list is complete. Try shopping during the week after work, you will not find nearly the crowds that you would on the weekend, and you may even find more sales, trying to lure people into the store.