Tips For Cost Effective Grocery Shopping

September 24, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

Grocery Shopping Tips

The cost of food and feeding your family is one of the most expensive aspects to your budget.

For those looking for tips to save money at the grocery store and stretch your food budget further, you can save lots of money grocery shopping if you follow any or all of these tips…


 
Make a grocery shopping list. Buy only what’s on the list. If you go grocery shopping without a list, you’ll buy things you don’t need and forget some of the items that you do need. This will result in paying more money at the register. Keep the list handy at home, and add to it throughout the week.

Plan your meals. Planning your week of meals ahead of time will help you focus on the items that you will need when you make up your grocery list. This will help eliminate buying extra food as a result of not being sure of what you’ll be eating through the week.

Check sales flyers and look for coupons. Take advantage of sales (and coupons) and plan some of your meals around them. Sales flyers are often found in the newspaper, and online.

Don’t stop and look at other things. Only shop for the things on your list. This can be tough to do, but sticking to your list will save you money.

Don’t go when you’re hungry. It is definitely true that when you’re hungry, you will end up spending a lot more. Eat a meal first, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your list.

Buy in bulk when it makes sense. Although more up front cost, if you are truly going to use it before it spoils, it will be cheaper to buy in bulk. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will use it up though. Be realistic.

Buy frozen veggies. Fresh veggies will taste a little better, but frozen veggies are almost as good, and usually costs less (and will keep in the freezer).

Avoid name brands. Store brands or brands other than well-known names are often less expensive and tastes nearly as good. Be willing to experiment. You may have a favorite brand of diced tomatoes, for example, but does it really matter?

Cut back on meat. Meat is more expensive than other foods. Avoid meat that has been handled for your convenience (skinned, etc.), it will cost more. Do it yourself. Better prices in family packs. Just freeze what you don’t need.

Cut back on your “one-item” trips. The cost of gasoline is a factor, and each trip may cost you lots more than you realize when you factor it it.

Avoid watery items. Things like broth, pre-mixed drinks, and all other items that are laden with mostly water are relatively expensive. Much of this you can make yourself from scratch for less money.

Buy produce in season. Fresh produce is always cheaper in-season. This gives you the opportunity to buy lots, and to preserve (dehydrate, jams, canning, etc.)

Rain check. If an item is on sale but the store has run out of stock, ask for a rain check.

Drink water. Not bottled water, but water from home. Buy a filter if your water tastes bad. If you regularly drink iced tea, sodas or other types of drinks, cut those out completely and just drink water. It’s much better for you, and much cheaper.

Stick to basic spices. When you buy pre-mixed spices, they are simply blends of basic ingredients which you are paying a premium for. Learn to combine your own spices from the basics. Check online for spice recipes.

Avoid “pre”. While pre-cubed, pre-diced, pre-sliced, pre-pounded, pre-seasoned, (pre-anything), processed, packaged foods, etc., may be more convenient, it costs LOTS less to make these things yourself, and is often healthier. Learn how. Make it from scratch.

Don’t give in to the kids. If you allow them, kids will eat the most expensive and worst least-healthy foods possible. Be disciplined. Don’t let them steer you to buy sugary sweets, and all those marketed foods that they see on TV. Be strong. Just because they really like this one thing or another, does not mean that they will starve to death if you buy healthy balanced meals for them. If they’re hungry, they’ll eat it. Who’s running the family… you or them?

Shop on the edge. Health-conscious shoppers know that the perimeter of the store is where the good stuff is. The baked goods, dairy products, fresh meats, and fruits and vegetables are generally placed along the outside edge of the supermarket, while the processed stuff can be found up and down the aisles. But shopping the edges isn’t just healthier — it’s cheaper too.

Check your receipt. Make sure your prices are scanned correctly. Make sure your coupons are scanned correctly. Sale items, especially, have a tendency to be in the computer wrong.