You Can Save Money at the Grocery Store

These days, money is tight and it is important to save wherever you can.  You shouldn’t feel traumatized and defeated every time you go to the grocery store, but with rising prices, it’s very easy to get discouraged. 

By utilizing the following tips, you may be able to trim a little bit off of your grocery bill and feel like you have some control over what you spend.

- Plan Ahead.  Check your local grocery stores flyers and advertisements every week and plan your meals ahead of time based on what items the store has on sale.  Make a list and follow your plan.  You’ll find that it will be much easier to stick within your budget.

- Use coupons whenever practical.  Coupons, if used properly, can be a great way to save money.  Remember, though, it is important to only use the coupons for things you would buy anyway.  If you buy something that you normally wouldn’t just because you have a coupon, you may actually end up spending more money than you would otherwise.  Check with your store to see if they have “double coupon” days.  This will allow you to get the maximum value possible for your coupons.  Use the coupons in conjunction with store sales and you may even get some items for next to nothing!

- Pay attention to the different stores in your area and keep track of what their prices are like.  Shop at the store that consistently offers the best bargains.  If a nearby store has a good price on some items but not others, you may want to plan an occasional trip there to stock up on those certain items, but it doesn’t make any sense to spend an entire day and a half a tank of gas driving around to multiple stores just to save a few pennies. 

- Consider buying cereal in bags rather than boxes.  They are cheaper when bought this way and taste just as good as the boxed version.  Invest in a proper container to keep the cereal fresh after it has been opened.

- Use the smallest cart possible or even a hand basket when you shop.  This will keep you aware of how much you are actually buying.  Many stores use larger carts to influence you to buy more.

- Look up and down when in the grocery store.  Many times, the higher priced items are kept at eye level.  By simply looking down towards the lower shelf, you will find the cheaper, generic versions of the same product.  Most of the time, the quality of these less expensive items is just as good and your family will never know the difference.

- Don’t buy vegetables pre-cut.  Instead, save money by cutting them yourselves.  Also, buy fresh produce when it is in season.  It’s generally less expensive then. 

- With perishable items, be careful to only buy what you need.  Something may be a good buy, but if you end up throwing half of it away you really haven’t saved anything.

- Cut back on the snack foods.  You can carefully plan all of your family’s meals, then blow the budget on expensive chips, cookies, and other unhealthy foods.  Simply cut back on your purchases of these items and you’ll not only save money, but your waistline will also thank you.  This is also the reason why you never want to do your shopping while you’re hungry.  You’ll be more tempted to buy high priced/high calorie snacks.

- Don’t always assume that the items displayed on the ends of the aisles are a good buy.  Many times, they are more expensive than other brands of the same product.  Pay attention to the prices.

- Take a calculator with you to the store.  This will allow you to calculate the cost of each serving of a product.  Many times larger sizes are a better value, but not always. 

- If you have the space, consider planting a garden.  You can grow a lush garden with very little money (just a little bit of physical work).  The taste of a freshly picked tomato will outdo anything you can purchase at the grocery store. 

- If at all possible, try not to take you kids shopping with you.  A child in the store will inevitably see something they want.  The unplanned item can completely blow your shopping budget.  Besides, even if you say no, you could lose your focus and lose track of how much you’re spending.

- If your local store offers a rewards program or a savings card, sign up for one and take advantage of the savings.

- Consider cutting out prepared beverages such as soda, coffee, or tea and drink water with your meals.  It will save you a considerable amount of money and is a much healthier option.

- Pay attention when checking out.  Cashiers are busy and may not notice when something doesn’t ring up for the correct price.  Keep a close watch and don’t hesitate to say something if an item doesn’t scan accurately. 

It is possible to keep your grocery bill under control.  Realistically evaluate your family’s needs, budget, and develop a plan.  You will find that you will soon be preparing tasty, healthy meals which don’t break your budget.