I have been a professional food buyer for hotels and restaurants for over a decade. Saving money is important in my job as it is at my home. I have brought a few proven strategies from work and altered them to fit my family. My family is a group of coupon superstars who haven’t paid full price for anything for several years.
How I Plan My Trip
This is the most important aspect to saving money. I plan exactly what I am going to buy and where I am going to buy it before I leave the house. I don’t buy anything not in the plan and stick to my budget. This is a tactic that I have brought into my home from my career in restaurant and hotel management. I prefer to play it like the pros and not deviate from the plan. In the long-run this is the biggest step when it comes to saving on my bottom line.
Coupons Are My Way of Life
The theory here is pretty simple. I don’t pay full price for anything. I comb my Sunday newspaper every week for clippers and keep them all organized so I’ll actually use them. It sounds a bit dorky, but I’ve got a little accordion organizer for my coupons so I know where they’re at and when they expire. By buying food this way, my family is able to save 20% to 50% on each trip to the grocery store. We spend about $200 each week on groceries. Over the coarse of a year, my family is able to save between $5,000 and $10,000 by using coupons for virtually everything we buy.
I Check the Web
I find it amazing that most supermarkets offer coupons directly on their website. The only real work I have to do to get these deals is check the Internet before I leave the house. While I’m sitting at the computer planning writing my list and planning out my trip, I check some of the other local supermarket websites and see who has the best deals for what I need that particular week. The Internet is not only a good source for coupons but sometimes advice from other users about where to find the best deals.
I Try to Use Competitor Coupons
I prefer to shop at supermarkets that accept all competitors’ coupons. Publix supermarkets are a Florida chain that accepts rival coupons. The best thing about these stores is I can get double savings by bringing in a coupon for something that is already on sale. For example, I saved tons of money when one of the other local supermarkets put out coupons for buy one get one free ground beef. I took the coupon to Publix where ground beef was already on sale for $2.30 per pound. At the end of the day, I felt like I time traveled back to the 1990’s because of my $1.15 per pound ground beef.
I Love Discount Grocery Stores
I avoided these places for years mainly because I didn’t want to make an extra trip to save a few bucks. For a while I thought I would spend more gas driving around than I would save at the store, boy was I wrong. I have recently started shopping at Aldi. It’s a good store for certain things. I usually avoid meat and dairy but things like chips, canned goods and bread are great buys. What I like to do is only go to the discount grocery store once every two weeks. There is a list of generic items that my family likes and I buy those on a two-week cycle so I’m not running all over town every week.
As I have become more money conscious it seems that other ways to save money literally jump out in front of me. Now that I have correct mindset the sky is the limit.
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Kristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando Florida. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida and has worked in food and beverage management for the past ten years. Follow him on Twitter @KrisEberwein