Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mom For A Deal's 30 Tips to Saving Money at the Grocery Store



Here are my 30 tips to saving money at the grocery store:



1. Trim your food bill by as much as 19 percent simply by shopping at a couple of different stores. I have a supermarket right down the street but if they are running a special at another store 20 minutes away and if I think it is a good stock-up item, I will make the trip!



2. Plan a weekly menu before shopping and watch your grocery bill shrink. I write my menu for the week on a chalkboard in the kitchen, it helps with planning my shopping trip and makes you stick with planned meals.



3. Don't waste money on prepared foods. Instead, prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them, or double a recipe when cooking, and freeze the second for a hectic day coming up.



4. Take the farmer's market approach: Buy produce that's fresh, inexpensive and in season. With fewer middlemen involved, you get good buys and your family gets the freshest food. Especially if you are planning on canning and jarring.



5. The highest markup items on the shelves are at about chest level. Reach up or kneel down to select the cheaper house or generic brands.



6. Try to shop when you're alone. Those little helpers can quickly boost your bill.



7. Shop early in the day. You get through the store faster with your list and spend less.



8. Avoid shopping for food when you're hungry; you'll buy more.



9. Read your newspaper's weekly food section for local grocery sales and menu ideas.



10. Clip and print out coupons. You'll also find coupons in women's and food magazines, such as All You or Kraft Food & Family magazines. Print coupons from product sites and places like Smartsource.com and coupons.com. If you’re a facebook user, some product sites offer coupons if you “like” their page.



11. Stay organized with your coupons. I use the binder method; it helps save time when you’re strolling through the aisles. See my post HERE on Coupon ABC's for more about organizing coupons.



12. Scout coupon swap-boxes, generally found at (surprise!) supermarkets, but also at some public libraries.



13. Take advantage of in-store coupon displays and the machines that spew them.



14. Log on to your supermarket's online home page for coupons.



15. Call the toll-free numbers on your favorite products' labels and tell the customer-service rep how much you enjoy them. Some reps will offer cents-off (or even free) coupons for the product itself; if not, ask.



16. Does your newspaper vendor just dump the inserts in unsold papers at the end of the day? If so, would he mind tossing a few your way?



17. Seek out supermarkets that will double -- some super stores even triple -- the face value of manufacturers' coupons.



18. Try to stack coupons when you can. If your store has store coupons, look to stack with a manufacturer coupon for even more savings.



19. Some retailers guarantee that if the item doesn't ring up at the correct price, you get it for free or at a discount. Pay attention to the details!



20. Avoid purchasing non-grocery items, such as painkillers, contact lens solution, etc., at a grocery store. You usually pay more.



21. Always get a rain check if a sale item is gone.



22. Know when your store marks down goods that expire, like meat and bread. Even if you don't use them right away you can freeze them.



23. Check your store for a small section where they discount products that aren't as popular as the manufacturer had hoped. This area can be a gold mine for bargains.



24. Shop with a calculator. That way, you can figure whether the unit price for a case lot is really cheaper than buying one of the same item.



25. Request price matching. Find a store in your area that will honor all competitors' ads. You'll save money, time and gas.



26. Beware of "discount store syndrome." Just because you're in a bargain store doesn't mean you're getting the best price on every item.



27. Don't be fooled by deals like two for $1. You don't have to buy two. If the ad says "Buy two for $5" and you want only one, you can still get it for $2.50. If the item doesn't automatically scan that way, point out the sale price to the cashier.



28. Check your receipts. No matter how careful you or the store staff might be, mistakes happen.



29. Always send in for the rebate on a purchase whether it's $2 or $50. It all adds up.



30. Put your savings to work. Whether it's a trip, a car or a savings account, have some specific goals for the money you're not spending on food.


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