The following is a guest post from Shaina at Food for My Family.
Photo by Rick
1. Browse the weekly ads online before you go to the store
Most major retailers (and even some smaller ones) post their weekly circular online. Looking it up before you shop will give you a clear goal when you get into the store. Plus, you’ll know what deals you’re going to find in each aisle before you reach the aisle, which makes you less likely to pick up that $5.00 frozen pizza for an easy meal if you know spaghetti noodles and sauce are on sale 2/$4.00 four aisles down.
2. Combine online printable and clipped coupons with specials
If you’re reading this, the idea of combining coupons and specials is probably not a new concept for you. Here at Deal Seeking Mom, Tara is well versed in the couponing arena, and she definitely covers stores in several different markets with the help of fellow bloggers. It is highly likely that she will do some of this legwork for at least one of the major retailers in your area.
3. Make a meal plan
Start by going through your cupboards and fridge to determine what you have on hand. After you know what you have, see what you can pair with the advertised specials and coupons to make a full meal.
For example, if you have leftover chicken and mushrooms in your fridge, you might be looking for a special on pasta, creamed soup or rice to make a casserole. If casserole isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you’re searching for deals on mayo and vegetables to make chicken salad.
You’ll save money by using every last bit of the food you purchased and not letting it go to waste, and you’ll breeze right past unnecessary items you purchased before because you were just buying to fill the fridge.
4. Avoid impulse buying
By walking into the store armed with the weekly ads, coupons and a meal plan, you’ll know exactly what you need to purchase. While these things already help with impulse buying by cutting down on browsing because you know exactly what it is you’re looking for, it can also keep you clear of other impulse buys. Knowing you don’t need anything in the frozen convenience foods aisle will stop you from adding ice cream bars and Hot Pockets to your cart and, therefore, your total bill.
5. Buy in bulk whenever possible
Having a box full of single-serving crackers to stick in your child’s backpack seems convenient; however, purchasing the family size bag is usually far more economical. You’ll reduce your bill, and you’ll also be reducing waste, which is better for the environment, and being environmentally friendly just feels good.
6. Shop at multiple stores
I’m not advocating driving miles and miles to shop at both major supermarkets in your area, but if you know when and where the deals are, it can be very easy to run in for a few good deals when you’re on your way someplace else.
Additionally, shop at competing businesses located near each other. For example, I can see my major supermarket across the street when I am at Super Target. Going into both stores is as easy as parking in the middle and walking back to my car in between. I save money by getting the best price on necessary items, and I also get comfortable with the regular price items in the stores to know which store has the lower price point to determine where I’ll purchase those items on future visits.
7. Talk to the supermarket employees
Different grocery chains usually have certain days of the week and times of day when meat and other items are marked down because of set delivery days for those items. Don’t be afraid to chat up your butcher to ask when they usually price cut their meat.
If you know that meat is generally marked down at the beginning of the 3:00 pm shift on Wednesdays, you may want to consider making Wednesday your grocery shopping day, or you may work stopping by on your way home from work or during after school activities to grab half-price meals for the week or to fill up your freezer.
Shaina is a busy mother of four. In addition to working full time from home as a transcriptionist, she finds time to prepare meals for her family and talk about it at Food for My Family.
monica @ living large on less
Thanks for the great tips!
I befriended the butcher at our local Kroger, which in turn led to discovering when they mark down the meat half-price each week. It’s saved us hundreds of dollars!
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Great tips! Not being able to take advantage of price cuts has been the hardest part of living in the boonies for us. I used to be able to get bags and bags of bananas for under $0.25 a pound by heading to the stores on the days they bagged the “overripe” ones, and I miss being able to take advantage of that!
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These are really great tips!
I think one of the biggest differences in my grocery bill has come from just simply having a meal plan. It is amazing how much less you really do end up coming out of the store with when you have a plan.
Before, I would go in the store and load up with anything that looked interesting, come home, and only have meals for five days instead of seven because I was still missing a few ingredients for one meal or another. Of course, that meant going back to the store and buying more.
This combined with coupons and meat deals really can save you scads of money.
Taylor at Household Management 101
I love these tips! I have found shopping multiple stores, all for their loss leaders, combined with coupons, really saves us a bunch of money.
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$ Money Savin' Momma $
Talking to the employees is definitely a good idea. They will give you lots of tips!
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I find your tips really practical and useful specially during this times. We have to stick to the budget and still save up for future expenses..
Great post! I have 2 Harris Teeter grocery stores in my town. I finally figured out that one is more aggressive in marking down baked goods/produce and meats. Both stores are about 10 minutes from my house. Can you guess which one I now shop at the majority of the time?
Just a note to those who stock up on meat sales. I have tried the Ziiploc vacuum bags (when they were on sale and with a coupon, of course) and have been impressed how they work. So much easier than my Seal-A-Meal. Also, I tried the “green produce and vegetable bags” (a good deal at Kroger Marketplace during the pre-Christmas discount days) and have really been impressed with them too. I found an excellent deal several weeks ago on cherry tomatoes (BOGO + coupons) and the tomatoes are still good as are the radishes purchased at the same time. Same with the cucumbers and broccoli purchased last week. These have made it possible for me to stock up during deals and not have foods go bad, wasting money. Hope this info helps. -Ann
loved this post! I worked as a meat wrapper thru college-wow-learned about buying different cuts of meat and how to cutup chicken. This has saved me so much money while raising my family. Also after the holidays or St pats look for marked down meats. Like corned beef brisket for .99 or spiral hams after easter for .99 asking clerks helps too. You can freeze alot of meats to streach your budget! Buy whole boneless porkloins at 1.99 or.99 cut into boneless chops saving 2.00 lbs
Great ideas. I thought for sure you’d say something about not going shopping when really hungry…. lol. I absolutely know my will power fades and my impulse buying increases when shopping with an appetite. I also find that I’m susceptible to ‘grazing’ when there’s free samples.
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Debbie, you’re ABOSLUTELY right about the corned beef! I found some great recipes to make with it already, and I’ll be looking for deals when I go shopping next.
Shaina´s last blog post..One Deal, Five Meals: Corned Beef
grocery shop every OTHER week instead of every week. I tend to notice that when I buy items more in bulk, I spend less. When I used to shop weekly, I spent about $90 per week. Now, when I shop bi-weekly, I only spend about $130 per week — that’s a savings of $100 per month!
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These tips are really practical and useful. Will try them out on my next grocery trip.
Thank you for the terrific tips, I recently wrote about your site on my blog..Im not aware of any sites in my area but many of the deals are the same as in your neck of the woods..Keep up the good work.
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A tip I did not see on your site. I live in southwest Ohio and we have Meijer stores here. They will match their competors sale prices (not on meat though).
I go through all the store adds and mark what I would like. I take he papers with me and give them to the cashier when I check out, and she makes the price adjustment. This way I usully only need to go to only one store(unless I need the meat). I did ask Kroger if they would honor the competions prices. They said NO.
sio guess who gets the bulk of my business, and I feed 6 people. Meijers also doubles coupons.
Talking to employees is a REALLY good tip!!
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