Save Money On Groceries
Don't go to the grocery store hungry. If you do, you will be like a kid in a candy store and everything is going to look delicious and you are going to want to buy all of it!
Plan meals, and make a list. But, if you haven't strategically planned out your meals according to what's on sale, allow for some flexibility. You might have planned to have chicken on Tuesday, but then find out that your favorite store is having a great sale on beef.
Look for fresh meats that are on their last sale date. These are often discounted. Either use the meat that day, or put it in the freezer.
Try store brand and lesser known brands. Some of these items are of comparable quality to the big name brands and they cost less.
Use store loyalty cards to take advantage of savings. Also, check to see if the store has a website. The big chain store where I shop has a website where you can sign up to have a "personalized page." On my "personalized page" I can view my store's weekly flyer, a list of special buys on items I've previously purchased, and a list of "Things I Buy" and whether or not they are on sale that week. This helps plan grocery trips!
* Bonus - My purchases add "points" to my loyalty card which, when they reach a certain level, can be used for a discount on the purchase of gasoline at the store's gas pumps. Extra savings!
Shop at smaller discount stores. You might have to look around for these because they usually aren't in the prime real estate with the big chains. They might be tucked away in a less popular shopping center, or on a side street in a small town. Look for them in your town, or go online and do a search for grocery stores in your area. These smaller stores often have great prices! The store where I shop has canned veggies for about 20 cents less per can than the big chains store brand, and they are of comparable quality. The store has also been carrying frozen 2lb. chubs of ground chuck for $3.98 - that's $1.99 a pound for ground chuck! Then there are loaves of bread for 88 cents, smoked sausage at less than half the price of the same item at the big chain, and $1 for a box of toaster pastries that taste just as good to me as the $1.59 per box name brand.
These are just examples and your local store may not have the same items at the same prices, but take a look and you might find your own great savings.
* On the down side - at the store where I shop, I have to bag my own groceries. Another store I visited, you have to pay 25 cents to use a shopping cart. But you might find the savings worth the inconvenience.
Check out dollar stores. They often have good prices and great sales. Also make sure to check out their websites - sometimes they have printable coupons to use in store. One coupon I saw listed recently was for name brand 2 liter soda - with the coupon you could buy up to 4 bottles at $1 per bottle. These sodas were $1.29 and up at the other stores - a 29 cents per bottle savings is nice!
Also, dollar stores are a great place to buy household cleaning products - that's what led me to visit a dollar store for the first time - I needed dish "scrubbies" and cleaning sponges and I discovered the dollar stores have great prices on these items. I told my sister, who lives closer to a big city, and she took a look for herself. She found the items she needed and they cost a lot less than what she'd been paying at the grocery store.
Using Coupons -
Check your stores coupon policy - they vary, sometimes from store to store. Ask the manager!
Some stores double coupons, some stores don't.
Some stores accept coupons printed off of the internet, some stores don't.
Some stores have limits on the number of a particular item you can buy using coupons; some stores don't.
Overages - Some stores allow "overages" which means if you buy an item on sale for 70 cents, and you have a 50 cent coupon off of 1, which doubles to $1, then you would have a 30 cent "overage". Some stores will take the overage off of your total bill, some stores will put overages on a store gift card. But a lot of stores don't allow overages; so, in the above example, your item would still be free, but you would not get the 30 cent overage.
Don't buy things you don't need just because you have a coupon! Saving $1 on body wash is great if you do, or will, use the product. But if you're not going to use it, don't buy it! Then you will have "saved" the whole price of the item.
Use coupons wisely! If using a coupon drops a name brand product to $2, but the comparable, lesser known brand is $1.75, then buy the lesser known brand.
50 cents off of 2! $1.50 off of 3! A lot of coupons require you to buy 2 or more of the product to get the savings. 50 cents off of each product is great, but not if buying the required 3 products will take a large chunk of your weekly grocery budget. Look for coupons good for 1 item!
Or consider finding a shopping buddy - a friend, your Mom, how about your brother? He needs orange juice, you need orange juice - the coupon is 50 cents (doubles to a dollar!) on 2. Divide up the groceries later. He gets one of the juices; you get the other. He needs 2 boxes of the "$1.50 off of 3" cereal; you need the other. You'll save on groceries, it's terrific bonding time, and you can complain about rising prices together.
Look for coupons for "splurge" items. If you are over the moon for fresh baked, name brand cinnamon rolls, or if your sweetheart's eyes light up over a particular salty snack mix, keep a watch for coupons for those products. Watch for the items to be on sale to get extra savings!
If you have a favorite name brand item, see if the company that makes it has a website and, if it's available, sign up to join the site. A lot of brands send out email newletters that contain coupons and/or information about special promotions. Some of the companies even send you a coupon just for signing up!
Current idea - Everyone seems to be baking something this time of year and baking supplies are on sale and some companies are offering coupons! It's a good time to stock up if you can afford it. But remember while colored sprinkles are lovely on cookies, simple supplies like flour, sugar, baking powder and yeast will be useful beyond the holiday season. Warm biscuits or fresh baked loaves of bread are wonderful on a cold January day!