One of the 1st things people say to me when I run into them in the grocery store is, “oh, I don’t have coupons with me for this trip.” I think it’s funny that you guys feel the need to preface our conversation with that. Here’s a shocker, there are times when I also shop without coupons……GASP! Shopping without coupons doesn’t mean you aren’t saving money. And even if you aren’t saving money on that particular shopping trip, saving the other 51 weeks out of the year, means you are STILL saving!
1. Know your prices – It’s important to have a price list of the items your family uses on a regular basis. If you stumble across clearance or an unadvertised sale, you’ll know whether it’s really a good deal or not. Also be sure to check the unit price, which is usually listed on the shelf price tag. This price typically shows how much you’re paying per ounce and can point you to the better deal.
2. Shop store brand item – Usually when you combine store sales with coupons you can save even more money than buying store brand items. But if there is not a sale, and you don’t have coupons, store brand items are usually the way to go. This also includes looking at the items on lower shelves. These are usually non brand name items and typically cheaper.
3. Stick to your list – This includes making a list or menu plan before you head to the store. Don’t fall for the grocery store advertising and marketing techniques throughout the store by picking up impulse items, as you will spend more money. I’m not talking about remembering you need cheese while you are shopping. Buying impulse items increase when you are hungry. DON’T shop hungry! Here is a great article on ways Grocery stores get you to spend more money.
4. Buy produce when it’s in season – The prices tend to be better on produce when it’s in season as opposed to off season. So rotate the fruits and veggies you eat based off the season. Even buying frozen organic vegetables can save you money.
5. Shop without a Cart – If you are only going in for 3 items, opt for the basket instead of the cart. You’d be amazed at what items you decide not to pick up, simply because it’s one more thing you’d have to carry.
6. Skip the prepared or convenience foods – Have you ever priced how much a pineapple is, then walked over and priced the container of already cut up pineapple? Yes it’s way more. So skip the pre cut up stuff or the pre-marinated meats and do it yourself at home.
7. Stockpiling – Stock up on items when they are a good price. Sales generally rotate every 6-8 weeks, so buy enough to last your family until the next sale comes around.
8. Get a Store Loyalty Card – If the store you shop at has a loyalty card, get one. There are lots of advantages to having it scanned when you shop. Everything from lower prices on items, to store perks like coupon mailers or money back offers. When were were on vacation in NC, it took me 1 minute to get a store reward card at the local grocery store, and having it for my shopping trip reduced the price of many of the items I purchases.
9. Priced to sell – Seek out the priced to sell meat, produce or bakery items. These items are typically reduced in price for a quick sale before they can go bad. Take them home and make it tonights meal, or freeze the meat or produce for a future meal. I love purchasing reduced packages of bananas for .69¢ instead of .69¢ a pound. Makes a big difference and in my family, we prefer the bananas with brown dots, makes them sweeter!
10. Shop less – This is probably the biggest tip I can give you. Make your list and shop once during that stores weekly ad. Instead of running in 3 times a week for items you forgot. You are more likely to spend more by running in several times.