Why Can’t I Save Like I See Others Doing?

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One question I keep hearing over and over again is “Why can’t I save as much as I see others across the country?”  There are so many factors that affect your overall savings in addition to what you spend.

Cost of Living.  This one is pretty easy to understand.  Just as you see the price of gas per gallon is higher on the west coast, you will also see the price of food is also priced higher in many instances.  So, if your price starts out higher, your savings with your coupons and sales may not be as great as others across the country.

Sales Tax.  Some states, such as Texas for example, do not require you to pay sales tax on your food purchases.  If you spend $125 a week on food and your tax rate is 8.5%, you will have to pay $10.62 just in sales tax on your groceries.  Add that up and in one year, you will spend more than $500 just in sales tax to feed your family.  Unfortunately, there is no way to dodge taxes, unless you move or cross state lines to shop.

Double and Triple Coupons.  When you read stories of people who saved 80% off of their grocery purchases, many times they are shopping at stores that double and sometimes even triple coupons.  So, that means that $0.50 off coupon is now worth as much as $1.50 off – which is a huge savings!  If you would like to have double coupons at your favorite store, start talking to the manager and/or owners about adding this feature.

While the above are things that may be out of your control, there are some things you CAN do to help you save on your weekly grocery bill:

Shop Aldi or Local Farmers Markets.  I hear over and over again how expensive produce can be and how you NEVER get coupons for these items. It certainly is true – produce coupons are extremely rare.  You can shop at your local Aldi store, where prices are lower.  You might also see if you have a Farmers Market near you, where prices are also lower (and the produce is many times even better).

Stockpile. Stockpile. Stockpile.  This is really a great way to save.  When you find a great deal on an item your family will need, purchase several and build a stockpile.  Believe it or not, this includes produce.  For example, if you find a super deal on onions, you can chop them up into one cup bags and freeze them.  This not only will save you money, but also time in the long run as you will be able to pull them from the freezer and the chopping/measuring is already done for you. 

You might also consider purchasing a Food Saver system.  You could purchase hamburger in bulk, split it into smaller packages and then vacuum seal it to keep it fresh in the freezer longer.  Thinking ahead is such a great way to help you save on your weekly grocery store needs.

Find a Blog Near You.  I know many people use the Grocery Game for their matchups.  That is fine – if you like to pay for someone to do the work that is being done for you.  There are HUNDREDS of blogs around the country, many of which do what I do every single week in providing your grocery store  – for free.  While the blogs do not tell you your savings percentage, they do help match up the coupons with the sales to help you save. 

Did you know that you might actually find your store’s matchups right through this site?  I maintain a Grocery Store Database just for that sole purpose.  To help you save at your own grocery store.  If the store where you shop is not listed, just email me to let me know and I will try to find someone who does and get them added.

Make a Menu & Shopping List.  I find that when I plan my meals before I shop (based upon items I have in my freezer and pantry) and then also create a detailed shopping list – I spend less.  Again, I want to help make this easier for you.  You can check out the Menu Plan Saturday posts for meal ideas (if you are at a stalemate as to what to eat).  Not only can you find menu ideas on this site, you can also print a Menu Planner and Shopping List forms to help you save when you shop.

These are tips that work for me.  Do you have another great way that YOU save when you shop?  Please share!

Comments

  1. Amber Elliott says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I had a Rite Aid and a Shop Rite near me! = )

  2. I run a blog in Spokane, WA. One thing I always share in classes is a great way to save on produce and/or milk is to use the catalinas that you earn. Albertsons also let’s you earn points with your rewards card. So many points equals a $5 reward. That’s a gallon of milk and and a couple bell peppers. Remember too, the bigger you get your stock pile (though this takes time), the less you spend and the more you can wait for the best sales.
    { -Rachel- }

  3. One thing to keep in mind is the cost of transportation. The 2010 IRS milage guidelines were 50c a mile, and that’s as good a figure as any, So if you have to drive three miles to get a good deal, that deal had better save you $1.50 or you will be losing $$ in the long run.

  4. Amen to the Foodsaver! I love mine. Since the bags are boilable, you can also save time by cooking more than you need and freezing. I make meatballs in huge batches and bake in the oven, then freeze on a cookie sheet, place in bags and vacuum seal. When you start the water for pasta, drop in the meatballs and they will warm up and be ready to drop in the sauce.
    I made chicken pot pie last night (cheap pie crusts around thanksgiving!) and made a double batch of filling: froze it in a foodsaver bag so next pot pie will be super easy. Also great to be able to give stuff to a new mom or other who may not want to make it right that moment.

  5. Below are a few of the things I do. Most of tips I have gotten from your site or others similar.

    -Maintain a Price list so you know when a sale is really a sale or just a flashy display.

    -Take green bags. Many stores will give you a 0.05 credit for each bag. The savings adds up.

    -Take your coupon book with you because you never know when you will see an unadvertised sale or discount.

    Thanks for all the tips! You have helped me save loads!.

  6. Sara ODonnell says:

    We have saved lots of money by doing a 2-week menu. I’m not buying things that are going to be wasted, and my husband loves knowing what is for dinner before he even leaves for work. I’ve also watched the prices on our weekly favorites, and know where they are always least expensive, even without a sale. It makes a big diffence when you can save $1.50 on a pack of cheese, EVERY time you need cheese. Thanks for all you do!