A great way to save moeny at the grocery store is to keep track of coupons and sales.
The grocery store always seems to be the black hole of our budget. Keeping track of coupons and sales may seem a bit cumbersome at first but the payout is worth the short time it will take to essentially get organized.
These tips should help save money at the grocery store:
• When on sale, buy non-perishables in bulk. This is true of paper products as well. Be sure to watch for the sales though since bulk is not always better.
• Read the sale signs carefully. Often our local store will have noodles on sale 10 for $10. However, unless it is noted specifically then you do not have to buy 10 items to get that deal. You can buy two for $2.
• Bigger is not always better. Often we might think that bigger container would last us longer. Unfortunately that bigger container may not always be the best deal and the food industry is hoping you do not stand there and do the math. Giant grocery stores, as one example, will often include on the price tickets the cost per pound or per ounce. This is the figure you want to compare.
• Ask for rain checks. If the store is out of something on sale, ask for a rain check. Giant, for example, will honor the sale price with a rain check that is good for 90 days.
• Use coupons wisely. Not only is it a good idea to clip coupons but you should save them to use once the products go on sale. Merchandisers rarely run sales the same week they run coupons in the Sunday papers. Keep an eye on the expiration dates. Trade coupons you do not use with a friend or neighbor.
• Preview the sale flyers. Locally here, the Sunday paper includes a sale folder for both Weis and Giant. Make up a shopping list for both stores if needed.
• Use your store rewards cards. Most grocery stores have reward card which save you money on certain purchases. Often you can save elsewhere too. For example Weis gives you points towards discounted gas at Sheetz. Giant does the same for the Giant to Go stations. Many stores also give free turkeys and hams as part of their rewards program. Points do have expiration dates though so you will need to pay attention, just as if it was a regular coupon.
• Take a list. As you run out or low on something, write it on the grocery list on your fridge. Remember to take you list shopping with you. Another way to make a list is to plan out your meals for the week or two weeks – however often you go shopping – and include what you need to make those meals.
• Never shop on an empty stomach or when you are having cravings. I can not count the times I’ve gone to the store for just milk and came away with $100 of food! Likewise, do not shop when you are tired or you may tend to pick up extra costly sweets.
• Use your freezer wisely. When meats and dinner meals go on sale, buy several and freeze them. Milk and cheese can also be frozen. In regards to the milk, whole or two-percent freezes better than skim milk and you do need to have a glass first so it is not full. A full milk gallon may explode when frozen. In addition, a full freezer is more energy efficient than an empty one.
• Leave the little ones at home. Extra help leads to extra munchies and other non-essentials.
• Purchase gift certificates for other places while at the store. From time to time, grocery stores will run a special in which you buy x amount in gift certificates and you will be rewarded with either so many points on your reward card or a discount coupon for your next shopping trip.
• Before you leave the store, check your receipt. This may take a moment or two but consumers loose money every day from scanning errors. If you find a mistake, go straight to the customer service area and speak with a manager. At the very least they will refund the extra charged. At best, you may get the item at no cost.
These 13 tips are only a few of the tricks to saving money at the grocery store. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section. Include what works best for you. Happy shopping!