Make a list of your local groceries stores, and see which ones you get flyers for in the mail.
Yes, you know those flyers you just pitch in the recycling bin? Well get them back out, and take a look at which groceries stores they are for.
When trying to save money on groceries, the first thing you want to keep in mind, that running around from store to store to save a dime here and there does not work. What you need to do, is look at these flyers, and see which foods that are on sale, are ones that you would use.
Flip through those flyers, and pick a flyer with the best sales, and more than one featured item. There is no point in running off to a high priced specialty food store for the sake of a few cents off their special loaf of bread.
You need to get familiar with a grocery store that carries the foods you are most likely to use. Once you have flipped through the flyer, get rid of the rest. Most groceries stores flyers show up in the middle of your local newspaper. If you don't get the paper, they will most likely get stuffed into your mailbox at the end of the week in time for the following weeks sales and features.
Now get yourself a pad of paper, and now you are going to plan some menus based on what is on sale. If chicken is on sale, then you are going to get enough chicken for at least two dinners. If other meats are on sale, the same thing. Now you have at least four meals taken care of with meat that is on sale.
Check out the veggie section of the flyer, these are the veggies you are going to use. Whether in a salad or cooked. Make a list of all these items, or simply bring the flyer with you.
I have seen some pretty hard core grocery shoppers, when I go. One of the first things they do, is pick a time when it is not too busy. They don't go on the day the features start as quite often the grocery store is behind the eight ball a bit, and still stocking, but they will usually go the next day. Many hard core grocery shoppers tell me that Tuesdays are the best day to get your groceries. Even in the evenings or after work, the store is no where near as busy as the end of the week.
So, maybe take a look at doing your groceries on "Tuesdays" Check your groceries stores hours to see if it can fit in with your schedule.
These hard core shoppers, will have the flyer with notes in the margin on what they are going to make and the other ingredients they will need to create this meal. They will be armed with a calculator, and they take the time to check the labels and the price per pound or ounce to make sure they are getting the best deal.
You don't have to be this hard core, but if you can stick to the list you make that is based on the featured items in the flyer, then you will be ahead of the game and will see grocery savings for sure. A quarter here and a dime there add up in savings when you get to the cash register.
Make sure you are not hungry when you go grocery shopping, as it is easy to add extra items to your cart that will add to your bill that you don't need.
If you can, leave the kids at home, they are notorious for adding items to the cart and if you are tired, it can be hard to refuse.
If you decide that you like this grocery store and it has the most featured items each week, then get to know the layout. This way when you make your grocery list each week, you can mentally imagine going up and down the aisles and write your list in order. This way you are not running around all over the store to get your items. This only works if you are trying to get a workout at the same time!
Try to have most of your list pertaining to the outer aisles, which is where all the fresh foods are. Most groceries stores, have great cookie displays and goodies on the end of the aisles as you are on your way to the fresh foods. They are trying to attract your attention so that you will buy more packaged foods.
Remember the further into the center of the store you go, this is where all the packaged foods tend to be. This is where you will power will have to be strong. But if you need to get spices for example, or coffee, you may need to venture into parts of the packaged aisles. By having your list, and sticking to it, you are going to be better prepared to ignore those shiny displays!
You can save money on groceries, you just have to get creative. Once you see which items are on sale that week, get onto the internet and research some great recipes. Take a look in your cabinets, and make a mental list of ingredients you already have, and then come up with a list of what you must have to create this great meal.
If your nights are busy, then try and make a double batch and freeze some for a night when you are really running around late. This will stop you from eating out, and save on both groceries and meals out. This is a win win. So don't throw out those flyers this week! Set them aside, and get your creative cooking side thinking about what you could do with all those chicken breasts that are on sale, or the salsa you can make with those tomatoes that are on sale!