Save Money at the Grocery
You are on this budget and you are doing well sticking to it, until you go to the grocery store. Even though you try to stick to your budget, it is so hard with groceries being as expensive as they are. Sometimes just buying the basic foods can knock you completely off your budget.
Do not even think about buying the extras like all the really good things we like to eat. This can definitely kill your budget. You find yourself going to the store every week (or more) to buy groceries because you continuously run out of food. You are not buying enough groceries to last all week and you keep going over your budget on what you do buy. How do you buy groceries without going off your budget?
*Carry a calculator. Figuring out the total as you shop will ensure that you buy only what you need. Also, watch the scanner and go over the register tape carefully when checking out. Scanner errors cost customers millions of dollars annually.
*Compare costs. Prices vary for fresh, canned, and frozen versions of fruits and vegetables, as well as for different cuts, (whole, sliced, etc.) so consider all the options.
*Choose produce by weight. Use the scale to get the best value on fruits and vegetables. One head of lettuce may be larger but less dense than another; heavier grapefruit and oranges are juicier. Be sure to shake off any excess water before weighing fresh greens.
*Buy large packages of paper goods. Paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins are cheaper in bulk, so it is always better to buy more and store them.
*Avoid single-serving juices. The same goes for prepared gelatin and pudding. Even better: Buy large sizes and fill small reusable containers.
*Get a supermarket discount card. To entice shoppers, many markets offer cards that give substantial savings. The cards are free, and the discounts–sometimes as much as 50 percent–change periodically.
*Avoid packaged foods. They usually cost more. Instead, stop by the deli counter for cold cuts and cheese. Buy a head of lettuce instead of a ready-to-go bag. Check out the bakery counter too.
*Freeze your own convenience foods. Packaged pancakes, waffles and French toast can be costly, so make your own and freeze them.
*Avoid extras. Toppings displayed near ice cream and dips stocked near chips are far more expensive than options such as chocolate syrup or homemade dip.
*Always take a list. Impulse buying can destroy a budget. Post a list where other family members can add items as they are needed.
*Buy bags of frozen vegetables instead of boxes. With bagged veggies, you can measure out what you need and reseal the bag. You are not paying for the extra packaging.
*Buy a jar of popcorn. Instead of buying microwave bags, make your own popcorn, which comes out to be about 2 cents per cup.
*Consider shopping at a discount warehouse. Though you pay a membership fee, you can save big bucks. The same honey-glazed ham at a wholesale club may cost half of what it does at your local supermarket.
*Pass on purchased breadcrumbs. It is more economical to freeze bread ends and stale bread. When you have enough, make breadcrumbs in your blender or food processor. If you are not going to use them right away, freeze them.
*Compare alcohol prices. Many states permit the sale of beer and wine in supermarkets, but often you pay more for the convenience. Call the liquor store and check prices first.
*Eat at home. A restaurant bill for a family with children can be quite pricey. Multiple at-home meals can be prepared for the cost of one eat-out meal.
*If eating out, take home the leftovers and eat them the next day. Most American restaurants serve too much for one meal. Instead of overeating during the meal, save half of the adult meals for lunch the next day.
*Mix your own fruit drinks. Bottled fruit drinks are very expensive compared to the powdered variety that you mix at home.
*Use coupons and rebates. The Sunday paper has freestanding inserts of coupons almost every week. The Internet is also a source for coupons.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR COUPONS:
*Have the Sunday paper delivered to your door. When you receive the paper, cut out all of the coupons, even the ones that you don’t think you will ever use.
*Organize your coupons into a box with dividers, such as dairy products, meats, canned soups, canned vegetables, boxed items, cereals, etc.
*When shopping with coupons, go to the stores that offer double or triple the coupon’s value.
*Only purchase items when they are on sale.
*If you find a good deal, stock up on that item (hide it until you need it!)
The above tips and guidelines should help you cut your costs considerably the next time you go shopping for food. Always be on the lookout for new and inventive ways to save money at the grocery store.