5 Tips for Saving on Groceries if You Don't Use Coupons

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5 Tips for Saving on Groceries if You Don't Use Coupons

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I'm not a coupon clipper. Even when my husband and I were ridiculously poor students, I didn't clip coupons.

Maybe that says something about me, but mostly, I just figured I could do an extra little bit of freelance work and that would be more valuable than the time spent clipping coupons.

But just because I'm not a coupon clipper it doesn't mean that I'm not interested in getting the best value for my dollar at the grocery store, though. While I don't penny-pinch the way I did when husband and I were both in school, I still try to be conscious of the grocery bill.

Here are 5 tips for saving on groceries, even if you don't use coupons:

1. Consider Where You Shop

Some stores have better overall prices than others on the things you actually buy. Think about what you prefer to purchase, and then compare your overall bill at different stores that offer what you want.

Interestingly, we discovered that we actually spend less when we shop at the regional grocery chain, rather than at Wal-Mart. Due to what we buy, and the fact that we make fewer impulse purchases at the regional chain, our bill is smaller as compared when we shop at other stores.

You don't have to get everything at different stores, either. Your time is valuable as well. If you can get most of what you need at one store, and get it for less, I think that's a net savings.

Also, don't get your personal care items at the grocery store. They cost a lot more there. I have one store I use for groceries, and one for personal care items.

2. Plan Ahead

I was shocked when I realized how much was being spent on impulse purchases. I was even more shocked when I realized how much of it was wasted because it didn't get eaten. Now, we make a list. We often plan out our meals and then buy what we need to make them. It also helps to plan meals around what's on sale. We look at sales fliers on Sunday, and then make our meal plan based on what we can get on sale during the week.

3. Don't Use Pre-Prepared Foods

Rather than buying the pre-cut produce, and the pre-shredded cheese, you can save money when you do the prep work yourself. A huge watermelon only costs about $5 at my grocery store, and it doesn't take long to cut it up. By contrast, a small container of it, pre-cut, costs $5.99. I don't get as much, and it costs more.

If you don't mind taking the time to grate your own cheese or cut your own carrot sticks, you can save a surprising amount over time.

4. Stock Up When It's On Sale

If you have room in your house, you can stock up when certain items are on sale. Twice a year, the grocery has a case lot sale on canned items and other non-perishable foods. Since we know when these sales will take place, we stock up when the items are on sale, and it saves us. Pay attention to sale cycles, and you can have a good idea of when to stock up.

You can also preserve your foods. I buy large bags of shredded mozzarella (since we use it a lot and I don't want to do it myself), since the per-unit price is better on the big bags than the small bags. I divide the cheese into appropriately-sized freezer bags and freeze the extra. This works with meat as well. Buy it on sale, and freeze the extra.

Make sure you pay attention to what you can use before it goes bad.

5. Avoid Items Stocked at Eye Level

Items stocked at eye level often cost more than those higher on the shelf or lower on the shelf. This rule also applies in certain aisles carrying kid-related items. (The most expensive breakfast cereals are often placed at eye level for those in the cart.) Take a few seconds to look around at your options, and choose something with a lower price.

Those are the strategies I use to save on my groceries. How do you save on groceries?

 

Miranda Marquit, Guest personal finance expert and blogger for leading provider of debt relief, careone services, inc.Miranda Marquit

Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in topics related to personal finance and business. Her work has appeared in, and been linked to from, a variety of publications, online and offline. Miranda blogs for a number of web sites, and has her own personal finance blog, Planting Money Seeds

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  • WOW awesome tips you have shared....please keep us updated..:)

  • I could not agree with you more, especially on the plan ahead part. I make a menu each week and use that menu to make a list. Yes, I do put each meal on each day but we often shuffle things around because we have what we need for all these meals. First, it saves us from that horrible "What should we have for dinner tonight?" routine. I have observed in other families that doing that ends up in eating out or eating poorly way more often. Second, we never "run to the store" mid week because we need something for dinner. The more times you go to the store, the more money you spend. Finally, it is a teaching tool for my kids. They are asked for input when I am making the list. If they don't get it on the list they have to wait a week until the next shopping day or pay for it themselves.

  • I recently attended a seminar which looked at the psychological reasons for folk going into debt..  One of the points raised, was that  people who go grocery shopping end up being less logical & careful with their spending when they shop whilst hungry!  Strange i know!  Its recommended that shoppers shop after having a quick snack. If their appetite is sated, they're in better state of mind with regards to shopping for bargains..

    It's also a good idea to make up a list as to where each item can be purchased at the best price.  Over time, you should have an idea as to what items you need and which stores those items can be purchased from that offer the best deals!

    Toby

  • Great tips, thanks

    Shelley

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