Grocery shopping is something I dislike. After you put the item in the cart, remove the thing from of the cart at checkout, put the bag in the car, take the bag out of the car and unloaded the groceries; you have handled the same item five times. Yet, despite my distaste for grocery shopping, it is something that must be done, and something I have learned to do frugally. Follow these four grocery saving tips to shave a bundle off your next bill.
1. Plan ahead
Before heading off to the market, plan meals ahead and create a list you can stick to. I like to use the Ten Dollar Dinners website from the Food Network to make my meal plan. This site is a excellent resource for moms, illustrating delicious and nutritious dinners that not only easily feed a family of four but also feed them in style for ten bucks or less-without a huge time commitment.
Once I have a meal plan in place, I make a grocery list to incorporate the ingredients I need for weekly meals, lunch foods and snack foods for the kids. It makes my shopping experience less painful and a lot less expensive.
Extra tip: While this is more common sense than “advice worthy”: never shop on an empty stomach. You will always put more food in your cart than what you need, padding the cart with junk food that also packs on the pounds. Always eat before you go. It helps you stick to the list and your budget.
2. Use coupons
Most grocery stores have in store coupons available, in addition to any other coupons you have clipped throughout the week. I always annotate my grocery list by writing a “C” next to items I have a coupon for; this way I know I have purchased the items required and make sure I use all my coupons before the expiration date. Never leave money on the table.
Another nifty tool is an online coupon website. You can download and print grocery coupons free from websites like www.coolsavings.com, www.smartsource.com and www.valuepage.com. This beats having to sift through the Sunday paper while-at the same time–decreasing your carbon footprint since you only print what you need.
3. Price matching
They don’t like to tell you this, but most grocery stores and even Wal-Mart Super Centers offer a price match guarantee. This is a little known fact that you should take into your penny-pinching arsenal. After you have completed your grocery shopping, review local ads comparing pricing for the items you purchased. If you see a lower advertised price, simply revisit the grocer within that same week, give them your receipt along with the ad, and they will pay you the difference. Viola, abundant savings.
4. Shopping times
Most grocery stores advertised specials are released on Tuesdays for the upcoming week. The best time to go grocery shopping-if possible-is on a Tuesday morning. Not only are you less likely to run into the hustle and bustle of fellow shoppers, but also you have a better selection, restocked shelves and plenty of in store coupons to use for items on your list.
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