Let’s face it; many monthly expenses are fixed. You can’t easily reduce your mortgage, rent, insurance or car payments. But there’s one expense you can control: grocery shopping.
Here’s how to save 40% or more off your grocery bill.
Shop your refrigerator and pantry first. Make plans to use what you already have. Keep a list of pantry staples to always keep on hand and stock up only when they go on sale. This also helps you rotate your cans and freezer foods so you use them before they go bad. Check waaaay in the back of the fridge too. Use it up!
Plan your weekly meals. Read the ads and plan your meals around what’s on sale. Know what you’re serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week. This simplifies your life in so many ways.
Plan to buy the right amount of staples like milk and bread so you’re not going to the store mid-week. I sent my husband for milk and a pumpkin pie followed him home. He walked in the door begging “can we keep it?” He promised to take care of it, what could I say?
Before you shop always make a list and stick to it. Seriously. Do this.
Read the weekly sales ads for all the stores in your area. Look for the “loss leaders”. Those are the bargains, often sold at a loss meant to lure you into the store. The hope is you’ll also buy milk, bread and other staples at full price to make up for the loss. So get the bargains and leave the rest of your shopping for the store with the best shopper rewards.
Shop on Tuesday. Most store sales run from Wednesday to Tuesday but the ads are delivered on Tuesday. This means you can see what’s on sale next week to be sure you’re not buying something that’s about to go on sale tomorrow.
Get rain checks. If you see a sale item that’s out of stock always take time to get a rain check even if you didn’t plan to buy the item. This way you can get the sale price for the next 30 days. Call all your friends and tell them so they can get rain checks too. Quick! Before they restock. They’ll ask how much you intend to buy, always say the maximum amount allowed. You can always buy less at the time of purchase. The exceptions are items advertised as “while supplies last”, they won’t issue rain checks for those.
Don’t pay for convenience. Sorry busy people everywhere. You can’t buy for convenience and still be frugal. Instead of purchasing precut vegetables, fruits and meats; allow a few minutes each day to prepare those foods yourself. Pre-packaged lunch sized crackers, individual servings of cheese, puddings in cups and juices in pouches cost more than double their homemade counterparts.
Check the “Oops, we baked too much” section. This is usually at the back of the store. Any bread, cupcakes, cookies or bagels you purchase today will be day old tomorrow morning anyway, so why not get it at half price? Breads freeze beautifully, so if you find a bounty just pop it in the freezer for later. You can adjust the rest of your shopping with your day old goodies in consideration. You may find pizza crusts, hamburger rolls or French bread to inspire you.
Check the clearance and dented can sections. Look for out of season and discontinued goods on clearance up to 90% off. Depending on store policy sometimes you can still use coupons and get items for free. Just because the store is selling it cheap, doesn’t mean it is bad, it just means it didn’t sell well, has been discontinued or the packaging is being changed by the manufacturer.
Don’t be too afraid of expiration dates. There are times manufacturers use expiration dates on packaging to force the grocery store to discard perfectly good items and order new stock. Items like cake mix, cereal, canned and jarred items are examples of this.
People who apply these tips can easily save 40% or more on their grocery bills.