Tips to Save on Groceries

Date: August 2, 2016

While shopping for groceries is more budget-friendly than eating out all of the time, poor choices at the supermarket can blow those savings right out of the water. Using coupons and buying your favorite items only when they're on sale are good basic shopping strategies, but there are other tactics to maximize your grocery dollars, as well.

 

Think Outside the Grocery Store

For many years, your only sources for groceries were either local mom-and-pop stores or large supermarkets. In the current economy, competitors for your grocery dollars are everywhere. Many stores that were never traditional grocery stores, like Target and Walmart, now have large supermarket divisions. Even online retailers like Amazon sell groceries. 

Between traditional grocers, farmer's markets, local producers, online sellers and big box stores, you'll have lots of options when it comes to pricing out your favorite groceries. Take advantage of all this competition to comparison shop because no single store is the low-price leader on all items.

 

Share the Burden

Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club can offer big savings over traditional grocery stores. But to achieve those savings you'll have to buy in bulk. If you're just shopping for yourself or for a small family, you could end up wasting a lot of food, which costs you more in the long run. 

One way to take advantage of the savings at membership stores is to team up with family members or friends to buy in bulk and distribute into smaller, more manageable portions. For example, buy a 5-pound bag of spinach and split it into more realistic single-pound servings. This method also works with traditional grocery stores that offer bulk discounts. Leverage the power of numbers to stock up and get better prices for everyone.

 

Be Flexible When It Comes to Sales

Even if the item you want isn't on sale, keep you eye out for store promotions on similar products. For example, if you're looking for chuck steak but flank steak is on sale that week, give the flank steak a try. Similarly, if your brand of chili never seems to go on sale, but a competitor's brand does, try it out. Don't be afraid to try store brands either, which often offer savings of 10 percent or more off name brands.

 

Do the Math

Packaging can be tricky when it comes to grocery items. Often, there's less actual product in a large package than you might think. You might find that buying several smaller packages of a particular product will actually cost you less than buying one larger one.

 

Do the Work

When you buy food that is prepared ahead of time, you're likely paying for the convenience. To save money, buy fresh food and produce and do the prep work and cooking yourself. It's easy to buy pre-chopped vegetables and throw them in a pan for a quick meal, but you'll save money by doing a little chopping on your own. The same goes for microwave-ready dinners or pre-packaged salads. If you're willing to give up some time to do the legwork in the kitchen, you can save a lot of money on groceries.

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