Thursday 31 May 2012
Money Saving Tips for Grocery Shopping
This week I tackled how to save money on food and beverages, including grocery shopping. Lots of you probably clip coupons for your favorite products, and the items your family uses most frequently. You probably go to the stores you know have the cheapest prices, and who doesn't like to stock up on non-perishable items during a sale. A few weeks back I mentioned taking your lunch to work and making your coffee at home. Did you know there are still more ways you can save on food and beverages for your family? Well there are. I cover a few of them this week!
Make a List. The best thing you can do when grocery shopping (or any shopping for that matter) is make a list. By making a list you are going into the store armed with what you need. Make a list, and stick to it, to prevent yourself from buying too many things that you don't need. Once you enter the store with your list in mind don't wander the store. That is a sure fire way to pick up items you don't need and may not actually eat. Before making your list, you might want to even try planning your meals for the week.
Planning Your Meals For the Week. When you sit down and plan your meals for the week, you can ensure you have all the ingredients you need for your cooking before you go to the store, and before you go to cook your meal. This prevents you from buying products you don't actually need and will just throw out (especially perishable foods such as veggies and meat). It also prevents you from making extra trips to the store, which may result in you picking up more items than you actually need at the store, thus costing you money. Not to mention the time and money you will save on gas by not making multiple trips to the store.
Use Your Freezer. And Idon't just mean for frozen meals! Frezeeextra cuts of meat or veggies, even left overs can be frozen and stored in the freezer to extend their life. This is a great way to prevent the loss of valuable food and money. Take too much cake home from that birthday party? Toss it in the freezer and you don't have to worry about eating it all before it goes bad. Of course you will need to make sure that you find out the ideal length of time you can keep items stored in the freezer, but most things should be good for at least a week if properly sealed and stored. Another great way to utilize your freezer is to cook meals in advance and freeze them. This probably works better if you aren't feeding a family though. Cook two or three meals on the weekend and toss them in the freezer so you don't have to cook during the week. A great way to have a nice homemade meal even when you have a hectic schedule.
Avoid Vending Machines. This is the same logic behind making your coffee at home, bringing your lunch to work and eating out less frequently. Vending machines can easily suck your wallet dry. A dollar here, a dollar there, it adds up without seeming like much. If you find you just have to have a mid-day soda or snack, get some snacks from the grocery store and stock them in your office. If you don' have office or desk space to store snacks or soda, you can still bring some with you in your bag. You can either get prepackaged snacks such as crackers, cookies or granola bars or you can get a bigger box and dole out the right amount for your afternoon craving. The same goes for sodas and sports drinks. Bring a bottle or can of your favorite drink from home, or fill a water bottle with your favorite drink (just because it's called a water bottle doesn't mean you HAVE to fill it with water.) The best part of this deal, besides saving you money, it can also keep a few extra calories out of your diet!
Change how you shop. Part of this is related to making a list. Be aware of what you buy in the store. Make sure you get your essential items first. That is, get your breads, fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, cereal etc before picking up all the chips, cookies, sodas etc. Before you go to the store make sure you check the grocery stores weekly flyer, this is a great way to compare prices amongst stores. Even if there is a store you don't normally shop at, check out their flyer just to see if they have any incredible deals on something you need that week. You never know what sort of deals you might be able to get just by comparing prices. Along the way check the prices of essential items that might not be on sale. For example if you always eat a certain cereal, check the price of that cereal when you are out doing your shopping. Don't make special trips to all the stores in town, simply compare the price when you are in a particular store looking for other items. This also means you should consider buying generic or store brand products. Most of the storebrand products are made with the same ingredients as the brand name products but cost much less. Try it out, you might just find a great way to save some extra cash!
Stock Up. When non-perishable items are on sale, and you know you will use them, stock up. My mom frequently comes home with 5 or 6 cases of Coca-Cola at a time because my dad loves the stuff. So while they might have a week or two with boxes of soda taking up the back closeet, it saves money in the long run. If your family uses lots of ketchup, cereal, granola bars, or other such products, why not pick up multiple items at the store the next time you are there. This goes for products like facial tissue, paper towels, toilet paperand other personal care and home care products as well. After all that aluminum foil probably wont go bad while you are alive! If it is appropriate you can also try buying in bulk. Just make sure you actually need the product and that your family will use it. And also make sure you know what the item would cost at your regular grocery store, this will ensure you really are getting a great deal on all that cereal or ketchup.
Following these tips should help you save quite a bit of money, even if you start with one or two before going all out. Let us know if any of these tips worked for you or if you have any other money saving tips for grocery shopping.