Cut you grocery bill with these practical frugal grocery shopping tips. Eating well doesn’t have to be expansive!
You can save money on grocery shopping without lowering you lifestyle. You only have to adopt different shopping habits, and you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars off your grocery bills.
Let’s get on with the frugal grocery shopping tips:
As mentioned earlier, when you’re hungry every thing looks so delicious, and you’re likely to buy more than you need. Chances are you will also buy products that you don’t need at all.
Prefer shopping after a good meal, or at least grab a snack.
Supermarkets are often cold, and because cold temperature makes you hungrier – you shop more impulsively (i.e. buy larger quantities and more products).
As mentioned earlier, frugal grocery shopping is best done without your kids. Kids are wonderful at adding additional things to the cart, and you’re most likely to end up buying junk food products you didn’t intend to.
Remember – It is much easier saying no to yourself than to your kids.
If you have no other choice but to shop with your kids, learn to say ‘No’.
It’s very easy to capitulate to the demands of a screaming child, but don’t do it, at least not all the time.
Pick one up as you enter the store and spend a minute leafing through it. Look for coupons you can put to good use, but be cautious.
Use the coupons you find only if:
- It is for a product on your list, and you intended to buy it (or a similar product) in the first place.
- It is for a product you usually buy, It can be stocked and you’re sure your house is not already stocked on it
Some stores have scanner machines that will spew out coupons for unadvertised specials when you scan your loyalty card.
Both of the rules mentioned above apply.
When you scan the store’s magazine for coupons, don’t just look at the coupon’s picture. Read the small lettering.
More often than not, you will find out that the coupon is good not only for the specific product in the picture (say a certain cereal), but rather you can use it to buy any cereal from the same manufacturer.
You should also pay attention to multiple/quantity items at promotional price, i.e. two for $1 or three for $10. Unless the fine print explicitly states that you have to buy the full amount to get the sale price, you can buy only one item.
So if the store advertized two for $10, you can buy just one item at $5.
Grocery stores, drugstores and supermarkets are professionally organized to get you to spend as much money as possible.
As mentioned earlier, much of the buying we do is controlled by our emotions. You thought that the candy bars are placed near the registers by chance? Think again!
Nothing is left for chance. Every item is located at the very spot that will trigger your emotions and impulses the most. Most often manufactures and distributers are paying the store to display their products in a good position.
So what can you do in order to avoid this? Rule number one of true frugal grocery shopping is:
Before going on your weekly/monthly shopping trip go over the list and compare it to what you have in your pantry or freezer, making sure that you don’t buy stuff you are already stocked for.
Every rule has exceptions. Even this one. You may divert a little from your shopping list for three reasons:
- To utilize the store’s coupon magazine.
- To buy “Loss Leaders” (see below)
- To buy stuff at the reduced section (see on next page)
Be cautious however, and try to limit yourself as much as possible.
Put together a price list for all the stuff you buy on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A computerized spreadsheet is excellent for this job, but a spiral notebook will do just as good.
Have a row for each item you wish to track, and a column for each store you shop in.
While shopping at various stores, mark down the unit price of those items you’re tracking. You can do it while shopping if you’ve got the time, or later at home using your receipt as a reference.
In no time you will have a private database. Take it with you whenever you shop. Information equals power, and now you’ve got the upper hand. This is frugal grocery shopping at its best!
First of all, you now know exactly where to shop for each product. Don’t do your whole shopping in one place. Instead, divide it between 2, 3 or even 4 different shops. In each shop buy only the stuff they are the cheapest marketers of.
Second, and more important, now you have the knowledge to decide whether a sale, a three-for-two, a coupon or a reduced price is really what the shop claims it to be!
If the sale gets you better price than what your price list shows – buy it there. If not – disregard the sale and buy the item at your regular shop.
You’ll have to keep your price list up do date as prices keep changing all the time. It may seem a bit of a hassle, but it’s the best rewarding frugal grocery shopping activity.
Every store has at one time or another few “Loss Leader” products on sale. Loss leaders are products that the store is selling below the retail price, and are actually loosing money for the store.
Loss leaders are usually found up front, near the store’s entrance or at the store’s display windows, lurking to get you thru the door. They are also largely advertized in the store’s magazine and local newspapers.
Once inside, most people will buy the loss leaders, and much more…
Frugal grocery shopping takes advantage of these low-priced items, but unless this is where you usually buy groceries – your goal is to buy these item, and only these items.
Stock up on them according to the four rules mentioned earlier:
- Do you really need this amount? Will you ever use it all or will it end being thrown away?
- Doe’s the specific product has an expiration date? You don’t want to end up throwing away stuff.
- Do you have a place to store it all?
- Don’t buy a year’s supply, just enough to last until the next sale (two to three weeks).
Some stores will limit the amount of loss leader products you can buy at one time. Feel free to buy the full amount and come back later on for more. Even better – just put it in your trunk and do another round!
A small frugal grocery shopping tip:Don’t forget to check your price list. You may find that you can get the product even cheaper at year-round price where you buy it regularly.
Play your cards right and they’ll save you lots of money.
Almost every grocery store, drugstore and supermarkets give out free membership cards that offer special discounts, rebates, rewards, gifts and “chance to win” promotions.
Store’s customer loyalty programs are not, however, what they seem to be. After all, the first rule of money saving is to Shop Around, while loyalty cards are designed to make you do the Opposite of That!
Using loyalty cards can save you money if used the smart way. Make sure you read this to learn how and when to make good use of them!
Continue reading more frugal grocery shopping tips in Part-2 of how to save money on grocery shopping.