When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, I will be the first one to admit that coupons really aren’t for everyone. They just don’t work for some people and I completely understand that. There are some things you can do, however, even if you don’t have time (or a desire) to clip those coupons. Of course, if you do clip, these are just some additional things you can do to increase your overall savings!
Stick to store brands. There is as common misconception that store brand means lower quality. This is not true. In fact, the majority of store brands are the exact same name brand product, just with a different label on the front. Stores don’t have time to make their own processing plants and foods, so they work with major retailers and are able to market the same product under their own name.
Shop high and low. When you shop, the most expensive products are usually placed at eye level. You will often find less expensive items on the very top or lower shelves. Just shop these areas to look for the best deals as they really may not be right in front of you.
Avoid the endcaps. Just because there are items sitting on the end caps of the aisles does not mean that it is necessarily a great deal. People are drawn here and when they see items, they often assume that because they are on display, it must mean it is a good deal. Check the original price, as well as competitor prices, to make sure that it really is a bargain before you buy it.
Don’t fall for sales gimmicks. There are some common gimmicks stores use to help trick you into spending more. Here are 2 you will want to watch for:
- Buy quantities for a set price. For example, if you see something priced at 2/$5, you do not have to purchase 2 of them, you can buy one. You will need to watch the store ad as if they require a multiple purchase, it must be in writing.
- Purchase limits. When you see “limit 3″ next to a display, it makes you think that if there is a limit, it is a must have item and you need to get your limit. This is a common tactic used to lure you into spending more.
Shop the right day of the week. Many grocery stores offer “short-sales” which are one, two or three day sales. If you shop on one of these days, you will not only get those additional discounts, you will also get the regular weekly deals as well. Doing this will put you in the store just one day a week which can absolutely help you save money over shopping several times a week.
Make a menu and a list. If you don’t know what you will cook for the week, you won’t have the items you need for your meal, resulting in additional trips to the store (where you may purchase other items you don’t really need). By planning a menu and a shopping list, you not only know what you will need to purchase at the store, you’ll feel more organized and less rushed when you get home from work and need to prepare dinner. You might check out my menu plan and shopping list forms.
If you can, shop alone — on a full stomach. I find that I stick to my list and do not add in additional items (aka spending more money) when I can shop alone. I realize that this may not be an option for a lot of families, so just make sure that you shop once everyone has already eaten as you’ll be less likely to buy on impulse if your stomach is not rumbling. You can also ask your kids to help you find certain items on the list, which will keep their minds on what you need and they will be less likely to notice other items in the store.
Shop in Season. When you shop produce, only purchase the in-season items. For example, black grapes are in season during the summer months. Sure, you might find them during the winter months, but you will pay a premium as they are more difficult to get into your store.
What tips do you have to add to this list? Please share them below by leaving us a comment!