Coupons can save big bucks at the grocery store. They just do not fit the lifestyle of some shoppers. Or you might be like me, a well meaning Mom who wants to start using coupons again, but can’t seem to make the first step. Cheer up! Big savings can be found through shopping smarter without clipping a single coupon.
Most people only shop once a week. Choosing the right store can save you money right off the bat. Before making the choice of what store to go to, compare sales flyers or bargain websites. These glimpses will show the best values within that store. Pay close attention to short one day, three day or four day sales.
Make a List and Stick to it (Most of the Time)
Create a list of needed items from your freezer, refrigerator and cupboards. Allow yourself a little bit of wiggle room, but not unlimited. A good plan is to allow yourself 5 additional items or a $15 limit to items that are not on the list prior to entering the store. Make a note if there are additional items that you want to purchase beyond this limit. They can be purchased at a later date. Most impulse purchases will never be missed.
Buy in Season
Buy fresh produce in season for huge savings. In my area, cabbage runs for about $0.45 per pound. In season, I have found it for sale as low as $0.19 per pound. Sweet potatoes dropped from $1.00 per pound to $0.29 per pound in season. What is in season for fruits and vegetables are changing all the time. Variety will be endless for in season fruits and vegetables.
Stock up at Holidays
Each holiday has special sales where certain food products will be on sale. Memorial Day will have many foods that are great on the grill coming down in price; the week before the Super Bowl will be filled with party foods and snacks for sale. The prime season for holiday stock-up is the fall. From right before Thanksgiving to New Year’s, there will be week after week of wonderful sales. From specialty to common cooking items, some of the sales will be so low its worth stocking up for the entire year. Just store it carefully either in the cabinets or freezer.
Do Not Be Afraid of Discounted Items
Reduced price meat and vegetables can be wonderful cost saving purchasing. Just be certain to use these items quickly or place them in the freezer for later consumption. One of my favorites is mushrooms. I will occasionally run in mushroom packs that are down to $0.99 a package instead of the retail price of $1.99-$2.99. Many recipes taste better to me with the addition of baby bella mushrooms.
Pay Attention to Unit Costs
Each shelf label contains a helpful tool, the unit price. This is the cost of each item or the price of the product for each ounce. By reading these labels, you will quickly realize that buying a large quantities is not always the most economical choice. The large box of cereal may cost $0.40 per ounce, whereas the smaller box costs $0.35 per ounce. The smaller box of cereal is a better economic choice. That is clear cut savings. Even if you do not make any other shifts to your purchasing habits, looking at shelf labels can save you big money.
Do Not Be Afraid of Store Brands
Most store brands are of similar quality to name brand items. Experiment with one or two store brands per shopping trip. Also, never buy name brand flour or sugar unless the price is less than store brand. All you are paying for is the design of the packaging. There is not really a difference in product unless you are dealing with specialty flours.
Little changes can make a big difference during shopping trips. Start small and soon the bills will come down naturally.
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