Monday, February 28, 2011

Saving Money at the Grocery Stores

The grocery store is by far the easiest place to get started saving money.  While I've found I save the most money at the drugstores, doing so takes a lot more effort and thought.  So, in my series about the basics of saving money, I'm going to start with the easiest thing.

Saving Money at the Grocery Store
You don't have to clip coupons or have (or start) a huge stockpile to save money at the grocery store, but you do have to put forth a little time and planning.

1. Get the Store Card - most grocery stores have switched to the loyalty card as their means of handing out discounts. Instead of just offering the sale price to everyone who buys a product that's on sale, they require you have a loyalty card and only give the full discount to those that do.

2. Make a List - Don't rely on chance when going to the grocery store.  We were very guilty of this. We'd have a few items on our list that we knew we were out of but then we'd just go up and down the aisles and throw things in our cart with no real thought for what we were spending or whether or not we needed them, or could get them cheaper.  If you only shop from your list you will save a LOT of money.  Going through the weekly ad and buying things that are on sale will allow you room for buying things you may not NEED while not spending the money you would if you just bought them spontaneously.

3. Go through your weekly ad - Most grocery chains put out a sale ad weekly and you can usually find it online at least the day before the sale starts (sometimes earlier).  Go through your weekly ad and circle the items you know you need or want to have on hand.  Just buying items when they are on sale can save you as much as 50% on your grocery spending.

4. Compare Prices -  Before heading to the stores, compare the prices at the different stores in your area and find the best deals.  You may find that by splitting your shopping between 2 or more different stores you can save even more.  Before we started watching the ads I was under the misconception that Kroger and even Target had better prices than Publix, but once I started watching the sale ads and comparing prices I found out I was wrong.

5. Use Coupons - Coupons are by far the most work you will put into saving money on your grocery bill but they are worth if you learn the ins and outs and do it right.  That's a whole separate article.

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