Save money on groceries with simple tips that reveal the secrets of smart shoppers. Start slashing your grocery bill today to save hundreds, even thousands, in the checkout line each year.
1. Keep a Price NotebookKnow a good deal when you see one. Keep a notebook that tracks prices of the products you buy the most.
Visiting all of the local stores and researching their prices for your top purchases helps you get a perspective on who's got the best deals in town. You'll become a savvy shopper who can spot a bargain.
2. Clip CouponsBetween online coupon sites, manufacturers' websites and your mailbox, you can collect a pile of coupons. From diapers to deodorant, there are a number of creative ways to find coupons for almost everything your family needs.
Also look for stores offering double or triple coupon incentives. For extra savings, many stores accept store coupons on top of a manufacturer's coupon.
3. Study Sales CircularsBuy one, get one free deals. Deep discounts on meat. Grocery stores fight for your business with special savings each week.
Always check sales circulars before you leave the house to grocery shop. Ask your local store managers how you can get on their mailing lists, or check your Sunday paper. Most stores also offer their sales papers on the company's website. Using sales circulars to help plan your family's meals for the week saves extra money because you know which store has the best deals right now.
4. Strategize Your Grocery ListWe all buy items we didn't expect and forget items we were planning to buy when we shop without a grocery list. Smart shoppers are armed with a grocery list, including a shopping list that's always ready to go.
Start making your list several days before you go to the grocery store. This gives you plenty of time to add last-minute items and plan a family menu for the week based on your coupons and local sales.
5. Take a CalculatorIs that deal on the 12-pack of toilet paper going to save you money? Take a calculator and price out three 4-packs to see if it's a bargain.
Many times you'll discover it's no deal at all. It's just a clever marketing ploy to make you think you're saving money. When you bring a calculator along on your grocery shopping trip, you'll never have to wonder or stand in the aisle trying to do math on each unit's price.
6. Shop at Different StoresYou may have a favorite store but you're probably missing out on huge deals if you're not shopping around. Rotate grocery stores each week to take advantage of what each one does well.
One store may have a larger bakery. Another may have better tasting store brand products. You might find a great deal on produce this week at a store where you don't normally shop that would cost you double at your preferred store. You may also find stores that have big price tags on items that aren't on sale, which will encourage you to pick up the sale items but hit another store for the rest of your shopping list. Grocery shoppers who save the most money are very well aware that the grocery game plays in their favor.
7. Weigh Price Vs. ConveniencePicking up a bag of shredded cheese is easier than buying a block of cheese and having to shred it yourself. Getting prepackaged veggies is tempting so you don't have to slice fresh vegetables when you get home. But you could be overpaying.
Weigh price versus convenience before you buy. The convenience factor usually costs you money in the checkout line. That convenience could be taking hundreds of dollars out of your pocket per year.
8. Stockpile Your StaplesStockpile the products your family uses regularly when they go on sale. This is another advantage to tracking prices and checking sales circulars every week.
You'll benefit from deep discounts by purchasing more than one item that's price has been cut. Stocking your kitchen pantry will be cheaper and you'll never overpay because you needed one of those staples in a pinch.
9. Compare BrandsBrand loyalty could be costing you money. Keep an eye on the foods your family uses most and compare those brands in both price and nutrition.
Don't rule out store brands either. They can save you $1,500 a year and, in some cases, their labels have better nutritional values than the name brands.
10. Befriend the ManagersThe managers at your local grocery stores are your new best friends. Each department manager can tell you when produce, meats, dairy and seafood items are going on sale.
Getting to know them is easy. Simply ask about the upcoming sales every time you go into the store. They know the dates and times specials are starting and ending and will give you the inside info so you can save money. The more you ask about future sales, the more they recognize you and tell you about savings, coupons and other ways to walk out of the store with as much money in your pocket as possible.
11. Use Bonus CardsGrocery stores with bonus cards can save you big bucks. Most offer discounts, two-for-one specials, savings only available to members and reward points that go toward future purchases.
This is where tracking prices and checking the sales papers give you an edge over shopping blindly. If you walk into a store that requires a bonus card and pick up all the sales items, you could fork out several dollars more on your grocery bill if you don't have a card at that store. Just keep all of your bonus cards on a keyring and throw them in your car's glove box so you'll have the card for the store you're visiting this week.
12. Know Each Store's Program RulesBuy one, get one free rules vary per store. At one store, you don't have to buy two to get a discounted price. At another, you do. One store may require a bonus card. Another gives you a discount just for stepping foot in the door.
When you know each store's program rules, you know if that half-price bottle of juice requires you to actually buy two to get the deal and if you need a bonus card to take advantage of the savings. Write the rules down in your pricing notebook to reference them before you plan your shopping list for the week. This way, you won't be surprised at the checkout line.