Sometimes it seems that the hardest place to try and save money is at the grocery store. Prices for groceries keep going up and as your family grows up they tend to eat more. What’s a person to do? Here are 6 simple and relatively easy ways to save money at the grocery store.
1) Be careful of how much you buy at one time. You may have heard that buying in bulk will save you money, but that is only if you are buying non-perishable items that you use often. Purchasing too much of one food usually guarantees that most of it will go into the trash. Only buy in bulk if you know you will use that ingredient within the expiration date or if you have room to freeze it all.
2) Keep records – make a budget book. Keep track of the groceries items you buy frequently. Make a list of things like bread, butter, milk and all the other usual suspects, and write the prices for each one down after your shopping trips. This will allow you to see how the prices fluctuate from week to week, and you will also be able to compare prices between grocery stores. Keeping a budget book is also a good way to match savings with coupons and flyers using the average cost of these items, to see if you are really getting a deal.
3) Buy meat wisely. The meat department is where the bulk of your budget goes. Try making a few meatless meals to save money. If your family doesn’t like that idea, then buy cheaper cuts and make lots of stews and casseroles. Sometimes you can get a good deal at the butcher shop if you buy something big, like a side of beef, but keep in mind you will need a big freezer for this purchase.
4) Do your own processing. Buy products that save you time costs more money. Sorry, but in order to save, you may have to put a little elbow grease into your meals. Buy your produce intact and cut it up when you get home. Buy chickens whole and cut them up yourself. For a few weeks, use your budget book to keep track of the regular purchases, then buy your items whole and process them yourself. You will be quite surprised at the price difference.
5) Buy store brands. Store brands usually save you money. Even if you have a coupon for a name brand product, the off brand will often be cheaper. Compare the ingredients and you will see that there really isn’t that much of a difference between name brand and store brand. On the other hand, if you family absolutely hates the store brand, then you aren’t saving money if you have to throw the food away.
6) Always shop with a list. This may be the most important tip of all. Walking into the grocery store unprepared is a sure way to wind up with lots of food you did not need, and not enough of anything to make a complete meal.
There are numerous ways to save money at the grocery store. The six ways mentioned here are easy to implement and should show immediate savings.