Grocery prices are affected by seemingly everything. The weather. Commodities. You name it. They all can have an impact on the price you pay at the store for groceries. It’s a fact; we are paying a lot more for groceries each year. Manufacturers have taken an unprecedented number of price increases over the past year and our friendly grocers have been forced to pass the higher costs on to us. As with anything we all want to shave a few dollars, anywhere we can, right?
How to Save Money on Groceries
Since we all want to save a little extra on groceries, here are a few suggestions to do so:
• Use Coupons Wisely. If it is not a part of your normal grocery list, including it as an incremental item and not as a substitute means a larger tab. It’s ok to try some of the new stuff, just make sure you take something else off the list to keep you total grocery bill in check.
• Larger does not always mean a bigger savings! Make sure you are looking at the cost per ounce or equivalent on every item that you purchase. The more popular sizes are cheaper on a per ounce basis than the larger bulk items. In fact, be careful in the cereal aisle and the detergent aisle.
• Keep an eye on those ads. Many grocers will match advertised specials of their competitors. For instance, Walmart regularly matches competitor’s ads. Just bring their circular in with you and they will match it.
• Speaking of Walmart, they are not always the cheapest. Walmart advertises the lowest possible price, yet they are not always the lowest on all items. Make sure you are comparing prices especially on milk, eggs, meats, cereals and beverages on a weekly basis.
• Don’t go shopping all over town to save a few dollars – the additional gas cost can eat up any savings you experience.
Other Ways to Save
• Buy the traditional loss leader items. Loss leader items are items that grocers are willing to sell at a loss to attract customers to their stores. Items such as milk, Miracle Whip, and Crisco shortening along with a few others, have been traditional loss leader items. Just remember that if it is a popular item, it is on special somewhere. So, shop around.
• Vinegar is vinegar is vinegar. There are certain items in the store that are the same no matter what brand is stamped on them. Sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, most spices, do not differ in quality very much. By buying the store brand you are really not sacrificing anything. You are though, saving money.
• Some store brands are the same as the major brand. Many major manufacturers produce store brands for retailers. In some instances, they use the exact same formula for their brand and the store brand. We tend to believe that store brands are a cheaper, less tasty version of the original. This is not always the case. While it takes some experimenting, over time you will build up a significant line up of very good store brands. In the long run, this could save you a bundle.
• Weigh your produce. Quit eyeballing and ‘gestimating’. Believe me, it always weighs more than you think and if you don’t take advantage of those scales, don’t be surprised if you end paying seven bucks for those apples.
Become a Smart Shopper
• Buy short dated meats. Short dated meats can be a significant savings, providing you are going to prepare your meal right away. For instance, steaks can easily cost you double digits on a per pound basis. However, keep an eye on those coolers because often, when steaks become short dated, retailers will significantly reduce them for a quick sale. I’ve saved up to 70% on steaks. But again, the key is to prepare them right away.
• Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Shopping for groceries on an empty stomach is a surefire way to run up your grocery bill. Eat a meal or healthy filling snack before going to the grocery store.
• Shop the damage cart – Many stores offer damaged items at t reduced savings – dented cans, damaged consumer goods like toilet paper and paper tiles, crushed boxes and so forth. They are perfectly safe. You save money by doing so. However, beware of those ‘dated” items stores that sale product that has passed its manufacturer suggested dating. Perishable items that have a code date have that date for a reason. It is ok to eat short dated product, provided you prepare it before the expiration date, eating expired product is like playing Russian roulette.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. Stay tuned, there are lots more money saving tips to come.