Saving money at the grocery store can be a struggle for most of us. The state of our economy has dictated that we reduce the amount that we spend on all sorts of things, with food being high on the list. Here are a few tips that I found to help me with my battle for the savings dollar.
Use sales papers
In my area, every grocery store sends out sales papers every week on Wednesday. These papers come in the mailbox, and sometimes are also included in newspapers. Look through these sales papers carefully, jotting down a list of items from each store that you would like to purchase on sale. Be aware of the normal price of these items. Some items are placed in the store ads without having a reduced price, simply to feature them. If you are unaware of the regular price, you wouldn’t be aware that it isn’t a sale price. Stores sometimes include items that they price at multiple quantities for a single price, for instance, 10 pounds of bananas for $2.00. This might sound like a great price, and it would be if you actually want 10 pounds of bananas. Before you fall for this trick, make sure that you are not required to buy 10 pounds to get that sale price.
If you don’t find a list of at least 5 items that you would like to buy at a particular store, cross that store off your list. There is the exception of finding a really good sale on any particular item that would justify your trip. Spending too much of your time and gasoline traveling to a store for one or two sale items would greatly reduce your savings.
Buy larger sizes
Most items have a smaller price per pound or serving size when bought in a larger size. Meat, for instance, is usually less expensive by the pound when bought in large packages. You can divide these packages up into smaller amounts and freeze to keep longer.
Boxes of cereal are most often sold at a lower price per ounce in a larger box. You can also buy cereal in bags for the most savings. Avoid the trendy sugary cereals that are targeted at children. These cereals are expensive and so packed with sugar that they provide very little nutritional value for your dollar.
Selectively buy generic versions of some items. The money savings in buying generic versions is huge! Store brands and generic versions are usually made by the same manufacturers that make the name brands. The quality of these items is lower though, so you have to use experience to decide what you will buy generic versions of.
Some items should not be replaced with generic versions because the use of these will end up costing more money in the end. If you buy a generic hair conditioner you will save money on the initial cost. If you are like me, you will end up purchasing other products to make up for the deficiencies in generic or store brand hair conditioner. I would have to purchase a leave-in conditioner to reduce static electricity in my hair and make it possible to comb the tangles out and this increases the cost associated to this generic hair conditioner. Purchasing a store brand or generic toilet tissue, might result in having to use more. This reduces your savings.
The way to determine if a store brand or a generic product is worth your money is to try it. If you don’t like it, then you have learned one item that you must buy a name brand on. You aren’t saving any money if the lower price item causes you to use more or buy other products.
Make a list
I know this is advice that you see everywhere, but there is a reason for that; it works. Make your list carefully before you go off to do your shopping. Make a strict list for each store you plan to visit, and stick to them. You will save more money by sticking to your list and avoiding impulse buys.
More by R. E. Roe