All Women's Talk

10 Ways to save Money at the Grocery Store ...

By Jennifer

If you’re going to eat, at some point, you’re going to have to go to the grocery store. Why not save money while you‘re there? There’s no reason it has to be a wallet-draining chore — just follow these ten easy tips on saving money at the grocery store.

1 Make, and Stick to, a List

Make, and Stick to, a ListPhoto Credit: JennKstep
Money Saved: from $10 up to $100 per week
Additional Time Spent: 20 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 3 out of 10
Before you shop, make a list of the things you want to buy. Check your cupboard, fridge, and freezer to see what you already have, check the circulars from your local stores to see what’s on sale, and look in your coupon bin to see what you have in there, too! Only buy what you need, bonus if it’s on sale, and double bonus if you have a coupon AND it’s on sale! If you don’t make a list, you’ll end up buying things you already have, and you’ll forget things you really will need.

2 Don’t Shop when You’re Hungry

Don’t Shop when You’re HungryPhoto Credit: -Sunny- *in hospital*
Money Saved: from $5 up to $60 per week!
Additional Time Spent: ... minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 0 out of 10
If I’m hungry when I go grocery shopping, I spend almost twice as much as I do when I shop after I’ve already eaten. When I’m hungry, everything looks delicious, and I just have to buy it! Fruits and vegetable, snacks, junk food, everything gets piled into the cart, and I regret it when I get home and have to balance my checkbook, and explain to my sweetheart why we have six bags of chips, four boxes of cereal, and seven varieties of apples.

Meream always works. To the point that I avoid the superm...

3 Shop Locally if You Can

Shop Locally if You CanPhoto Credit: *Cinnamon
Money Saved: from $0 up to $60 per year
Additional Time Spent: 0 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 2 out of 10
Every dollar you spend at a national chain or big-box store goes directly to them and their shareholders. You might save a little shopping there, but your local economy will benefit a lot more from your weekly grocery dollars than super-mega-ultra-Walmart, trust me. Also, when you buy your perishables, like dairy, meat, or produce from a local vendor or grower, it will be fresher, which means you’re a lot less likely to have to throw it out because it spoils before you’ve had a chance to eat it. Fruits and vegetables that are going to be shipped across the country are picked early, sprayed with a chemical that ripens them a little over time, sprayed with wax (to make it shiny and attractive), packaged, then driven for up to three days before it arrives at your store. Ick! Buy your produce locally, and it might be picked that same morning.

4 Buy in Bulk

Buy in BulkPhoto Credit: - ♥ Cherie ♥ -
Money Saved: from $60 up to $1,200 per year
Additional Time Spent: 90 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 3 out of 10
If you buy more of the same item every week, you may want to consider buying in bulk. It’s cheaper, and will save you the hassle of buying each week. For instance, buying a huge crate of juice boxes or Pop-Tarts costs less than buying one or two small boxes week after week. And you might not even need a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, since most grocery stores sell bulk crates as well as regular-sized boxes of a lot of products. It’s better for the environment, too, since less packaging is used in bulk containers. Sweet!

5 Clip Coupons

Clip CouponsPhoto Credit: JennKstep
Money Saved: from $2 up to $40 per week
Additional Time Spent: 15 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 6 out of 10
Most manufacturers have coupons for their products on their websites that you can print at home and use at the grocery store. Most newspapers and magazines have coupons, too, so be on the lookout for those! Then keep your eyes open for the triple-whammy: a coupon that can be doubled for an item that’s already on sale! Yippee!

6 Watch the Circulars

Watch the CircularsPhoto Credit: JennKstep
Money Saved: from $10 up to $60 per week
Additional Time Spent: 20 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 4 out of 10
Every week, look at the grocery advertisements that come in the mail. Consider what you need, versus what’s just a good price. You won’t save money if you buy something that’s a fantastic price, but just sits in your pantry. You’ll also save money if you’re not brand-loyal; if you’re willing to switch between brands of butter or orange juice, you’ll save money by buying whichever one is on sale. There are certain things I won’t switch brands on, like yogurt (I love Yoplait!) but on most items, I’m going to purchase whichever is on sale, or sometimes the store brand, which is often less expensive, too.

7 Make a Menu

Make a MenuPhoto Credit: Princess Tat of Tinkle Shed
Money Saved: from $10 up to $30 per week
Additional Time Spent: 15 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 3 out of 10
Before you make your grocery list, poke around in your pantry and fridge and make a rough menu for the week ahead. Add to the list only the things you need to make those meals, plus the staples you normally buy anyway. If you have a rough meal plan for the week, you’ll end up using most of what you buy, and you’ll end up buying less, which will certainly save you money!

8 Buy Only What You Need

Buy Only What You NeedPhoto Credit: shannonblue
Money Saved: from $5 up to $30 per week.
Additional Time Spent: 0 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 2 out of 10
A bag of russet potatoes might be about the same price as buying three large potatoes by themselves, but what good does that do if you end up throwing away half the bag because they spoiled before you could use them? Resist the temptation to save money by buying large bags or boxes of something you know you won’t use. You might save a few pennies, but you’ll throw food away, and that’s terribly wasteful!

9 Invest in a Chest Freezer

Invest in a Chest FreezerPhoto Credit: YarnMan
Money Saved: from $120 up to $600 per year
Additional Time Spent: 90 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 6 out of 10
If you have a small household, you may not want to spend $10 on a family pack of chicken breasts or pork chops or ground turkey. But you’ll save a lot of money if you buy the family pack and divide it into smaller servings, then freeze them. It’s a lot less expensive to buy a family pack and use it for three meals, than to buy three smaller packs.

10 Bring Your Own Bags!

Bring Your Own Bags!Photo Credit: Molly | Orangette
Money Saved: from $10 up to $20 per year
Additional Time Spent: 0 minutes
Additional Trouble Level: 1 out of 10
My grocery store gives me a nickel for each bag I use, instead of using their paper or plastic bags. I have eight canvas tote bags that I use every week, and while 40 cents a week doesn’t sound like much, it does add up. That’s $20 a year, and I don’t even have to mention how much better it is for the environment!

By following these ten simple rules, you can save hundreds of dollars on groceries every year. Start now, with this week’s shopping trip, and see how much you can save! Do you have any other ideas on how to save at the grocery? Please share them with me!

Top Photo Credit: Burt Youngsters

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