Get more groceries, spend less money, eat well. Today, we’re taking a look at over twenty can-do ways for saving on your grocery bill.
- Seek out day-old baked goods: At many grocery store bakeries, day old baked goods are marked down 50% or more. If you are going to re-cook breads, such as by making toast, garlic bread, or bread pudding, day-old baked goods are as good as (and in some cases better than) fresh.
- Befriend the butcher: Ask what is done with meats nearing their expiration date. Some stores mark them down considerably and these are perfect for purchasing to prepare the day they are bought.
- Look for a dent and discount shelf: Often hidden in a corner near the access to the employee-only area of the store, many groceries have a shelf or rack dedicated to discounted dented can goods. Note that the contents of dented cans have not been damaged as long as the can is still airtight.
- Shop in the morning: Store markdowns on meat and bakery items are usually done early in the day, to open up space for new stock. Because they often disappear quickly, the earlier you shop the better.
- Understand and purchase loss leaders: Most grocery stores offer a few items at steep discounts each week, usually found on the front page of their advertisements, to entice you into the store. Buy the loss leaders offered by different stores, and stick to a plan for the rest of your purchases.
- Check store advertisements: Compare loss leaders and discounts in store circulars. You no longer have to subscribe to a newspaper to get these, as you can find the sales flyers for nearly all US groceries online here.
- Identify grocery stores on your way: Use road.li to identify grocery stores located along any route, whether from home to work, to visit relatives, or for a monthly doctor’s appointment. Try out different stores to comparison shop and take advantage of loss leaders and other discounts.
- Know your primary store inside and out: For one or two key stores that you use regularly, walk every aisle like a detective. Some stores offer special unadvertised deals, such as on items that are being discontinued. Learn the signage that indicates special offers in your key stores.
- Collect coupons, but don’t be seduced: Using coupons that provide discounts on items that you use every day represents an excellent savings strategy. But, they are only a good value if you would normally purchase that item or a parallel item at a similar price.
- Subscribe to the Sunday paper: Inserts in the Sunday paper are still a primary source for manufacturer’s coupons. Let any friends and relatives who read the paper know that you are collecting coupons and often they will save inserts for you as well.
- Find coupons online: Lots of websites, such as coupons.com, as well as smartphone apps, consolidate manufacturer’s coupons from multiple sources. You just select and then print the ones you want. Even better, you can print multiple copies of items where you need more than one.
- Double the value of your coupons: Some groceries double the value of manufacturer’s coupons, although often with some restrictions. Find stores that double coupons in your area via the Grocery Coupon Network list, then double-check to be sure that there hasn’t been a policy change and to understand any limitations.
- Combine coupons and discounts: For the greatest savings, hold on to coupons and use them when the items go on sale at the store to leverage two kinds of savings for one item. Warning! Keep track of coupon expiration dates to be sure that you use them before they expire.
- Buy in-season: In most cases, fruits and vegetables that are in season locally are both fresher and less expensive. This handy map from Epicurious can help you to find what’s in season by month in your state.
- Purchase what’s fresh: Fresh ingredients have a better taste and texture. When your family likes the taste and texture, more gets eaten and less gets tossed. Let Family Circle’s Choosing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables guide your selection.
- Try a farmer’s market: Sometimes your best store for fruits and vendors may not be a store at all. Try your local farmer’s market for great value for dollar on fresh produce and the opportunity to comparison shop among the vendors. Be sure to come armed with a knowledge of how much your favorite fruits and veggies cost at the supermarket.
- Understand Cost per Unit: Looking at the price per unit is a key to comparison shopping since the same product often comes in multiple versions. If you need a math refresher on calculating price per unit, this tutorial will walk you through it. Warning! Double check price per unit if it is posted at your store – they are not always correct.
- Leverage an App: Some smartphone apps, such as ValueTracker for the iPhone, have a unit comparison tool built right in. Look for one that considers coupons in its calculations.
- Compare prices on different sizes of the same item: Look at the price per unit on different sizes of a product. Don’t assume that a larger version will always represent better value. Be sure to include discounts from coupons in your comparison.
- Consider purchasing an alternate brand or store brand that costs less per unit: Many brands, including store brands, offer essentially the same products. Compare quality and then purchase the brand with the best price per unit. When feasible, try out versions of products that are new in your house via a small purchase to be sure that your family likes a particular brand.
- Compare prices between stores: Use notecards or a smartphone app to track prices by store on your repeating weekly purchases. Compare between stores to find the best value on staples. Price variation can be considerable and some stores specialize in competitive pricing on particular types of goods such as beverages or meats.
Fruits And Vegetables
Create your personalized savings strategy by selecting and combining the above tips to form your own personal grocery money saving ways; one that is feasible and doable on a regular basis for you and your family.