Grocery Shopping Tips

There are many ways to save time and money when tackling your household shopping. This guide contains grocery shopping tips.
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May 26, 2009 Flag

When at the supermarket, bring a little notebook with you, and a calculator. Write down all of your regular items (or something that you'd like to buy) and the price per ounce (divide the cost by the total number of ounces in the package). While the stores usually show that formula on the tags that show the prices, sometimes it shows "X" cents per ounce on one item, and "Y" per unit on another brand's item (that's why I suggested the calculator).
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Get the same information from all the supermarkets that you frequent. After a couple of weeks, write out a chart of your regular shopping items down the left side of a page, with the name of the stores across the top. Then put the price into the proper column under each store. You'll quickly see what store gives the best regular prices, and you'll be better able to cash in coupons or take advantage of sales without pulling everything out of the cabinet to see what it usually costs.

Update the lists from time to time, too. I use Miracle Whip. It's usually $3.49 here, which works out to $0.10+ per ounce. I always buy it at a super-discounted grocery store for much less, $0.07 an ounce. When you get a coupon or there's a sale on, make sure that store is offering a better price than you often pay.

I used to take the cost of mileage into account, until a third supermarket opened recently within a 2 miles of my home. Talk about heaven! Soon you'll know exactly where to go to get what, simplifying a shopping trip and getting you the best price on everything.

By Pollylev

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March 5, 2011 Flag

I have worked in the grocery industry for over 15 years, so I'm going to share little secrets of how to shop and save big in your favorite local grocery store.

By Ronda F from Mulvane, KS

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November 24, 2014 Flag

Calculator shopping was popular back when hand-held calculators first became cheap and easy to get. Nowadays, I rarely see anyone shopping with a calculator, but there are many good reasons to use one. Here's how to always get the best price with a dollar store calculator.

Per-unit Prices:

The per-unit price is usually posted on the shelf sticker below the product. This is helpful, but if you shop often, you'll find a lot of mistakes. For instance, a bottle of disinfectant is priced by the gallon. The one next to it is priced by the ounce. Neither is a one gallon bottle.

To figure this one up: There are 128 ounces in a gallon, 32 ounces in a quart, and 16 ounces in a pint.

The Produce Aisle:

I've seen produce priced per pound, per each, per bag, and priced by a variety of other containers and packages. The packages must be marked by weight, and you can weigh individual produce on the scales.

For this one: There are 16 ounces in a pound.

Package Pricing:

Pens, notepads, and all sorts of things that come in packages don't seem to come with the same number in each package. For instance, a package of crew socks contains 3 with a free bonus pair. Another bag contains 6. Start with the package price and divide by the number of pairs to get the per-pair price.

Warehouse Deals, Surplus and Odd Lots:

I've bought bulk, discount food markdowns, odd lots, overstock and surplus. Often all you'll get is a small price sticker on the package. Start with the package price and divide by the unit (ounce, roll, sheet, etc.) to get the unit price. This also works for clearance merchandise.

Once you get used to figuring up unit prices, get a little notebook and write down the best deals you find and where you found them. Take it shopping with you and you'll always get the best price.

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April 1, 2010 Flag

Did you know that the supermarket is dangerous? This goes for any cart-pushing, scooter-riding establishment. Ask yourself if you've ever felt at some kind of risk in the grocery store (besides being run over by some kid racing around with a cart)?

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August 16, 2011 Flag

Where we live, it's at least a 20 minute drive home from the closest grocery store. So it never fails, whenever I buy cold foods, they are warm by the time I get home, and frozen foods are melted.

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November 18, 2010 Flag

Shop stores during the dinner hours, 5 PM to 7 PM. The stores are less crowded then.

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh3 found this helpful
February 6, 2009 Flag

As grocery prices rise, we wait and hope for this economic trend to reverse itself. However, in the meantime there are ways to shop wise and save money at the grocery store.

a shopping list

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September 27, 2016 Flag

This guide contains frugal tips for grocery shopping. There are many ways to save money when buying food for your family.

Woman leaning on her cart thoughtfully at the grocery store

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February 8, 2016 Flag

As a self employed worker in a soft economy, I have learned to stretch every nickel to do a dime's job. One of my best strategies is to become acquainted with the department managers of my favorite grocery stores. These men and women have supplied me with valuable information regarding the foods in their departments.

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February 28, 2011 Flag

When I go to a big grocery store, it is such a time waster standing in line at the deli counter. Now, before I leave home, I write the order on the back of a business card. When I get to the deli, I just tell them I'll be back in 20 minutes.

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March 10, 2005 Flag

My tip for making grocery shopping easier. I bring my wife and follow her around while she picks the groceries. I find it to be a lot easier than going by myself.

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July 26, 2011 Flag

Have you noticed that all the fresh, least processed items are on the walls of the grocery store? Meats, dairy, produce, baked goods? This is where the majority of your healthy shopping is, along with the freshest seasonal items.

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November 7, 2015 Flag

This is a guide about grocery shopping strategies. Whether your goal is saving time or money, there are a number of strategies that can improve your grocery shopping experience.

couple reading canned food label at the market

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October 11, 2007 Flag

My grocery shopping is always a chore. We used to spend two to three hundred dollars a week for a family of five. I resolved to cut that back now that I have only one kid at home.

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October 6, 2005 Flag

I keep a large ($10 at Dollar General) cooler in the back of my van for cold grocery items such as milk and meats. It lets me continue my shopping and not worry about something spoiling.

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January 12, 2005 Flag

When I am shopping at a store that I know I will be making a purchase (grocery shopping) and not just browsing, I fill out most of my check information in the car as well as adding the info to my check register. Then when I am checking out, I can watch the prices being rung up.

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August 1, 2013 Flag

It's a chore that I hate, but admittedly, Meal Planning saves me the most grocery money. I use recipe sites to decide dinner for the next week or two, saving the recipes to my Bookmarks.

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August 10, 2006 Flag

Clean out and re-organize your refrigerator and cabinets the day before you go to buy groceries.

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November 17, 2006 Flag

My dear husband has found that it's easy to shop for groceries for us on Sunday evenings. Not only that, but they seem to have great specials.

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Todd King0 found this helpful
June 6, 2005 Flag

I use a three-pronged method to saving money at the grocery store and it can work for you, too. First, always cut and use coupons.

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November 24, 2004 Flag

When shopping the grocery store, keep to the outside aisles. They put the sales on end caps. The farther you delve into the store the more money you'll spend. By Laura

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February 28, 2012 Flag

This is a guide about keeping groceries cold. Sometimes we may travel quite a distance when grocery shopping.

ice chest cooler

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May 7, 2005 Flag

Asparagus, Beans, Beef, Broccoli, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggs, Fish, Lamb, Lemons, Peas, Onions, Pineapple, Pork, Potatoes, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Summer Squash, and Tomatoes.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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August 25, 2005 Flag

Tips to use when you go grocery shopping. Post your ideas.

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August 19, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

I used to go grocery shopping, then have to pick up groceries from bags that spilled during the trip home. Now, I always keep a couple of boxes in the boot of my car. When shoping, simply place the bags into the boxes and food won't roll out every time you turn a corner! Simply carry the box inside and unpack, but remember to put he boxes back in the car!

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September 27, 2016 Flag

I just read an archived post 'Organizing With Free Boxes'. A person who commented gave one of the reasons for liking Aldi's, 'they rotate coupons'.

What does it mean to rotate coupons?

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

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March 5, 2011 Flag

Tips to help you at the grocery store. Post your ideas.

Answers:

Shopping Without the Family

The next time you need to go shopping, I would suggest that you go alone. Children and even men are known to grab extra things that you don't need into the cart.

By Robin (03/11/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Grocery Shopping Tips

Go to www.google.com and do a Bakery Outlet store search for your area. We have saved so much money each month on bagels, bread and muffins by going to the local bakery outlet. (03/13/2005)

By Suzie

Grocery Shopping Tips

I bring a list and then allow myself 1 impulse buy. This way I'm not completely depriving myself, but am limiting it.
(03/13/2005)

By Mojjo

Grocery Shopping Tips

I agree that you don't take kids. They're too problematic. I've actually abandoned my shopping and walked out of some stores because stupid parents can't control their spoilt, whining, shrieking brats. Remember, when you're in a public place, it's not just you that your kids are irritating. Have some courtesy for other shoppers. It doesn't cost much to hire a babysitter for an hour or do your shopping after hubby gets home. (03/13/2005)

By Cathy

Before you leave...

Make a grocery list and eat and drink well before shopping for groceries. Believe me, it helps!

By Holly Dawson (03/19/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Grocery Shopping Tips

I think it is unreal that people have no patience! If you can't bear to go shopping and "listen" to whiney kids, then stay home, and do your shopping on-line!! Also, it is the parent's fault if the children are having temper tantrums, I never once had a problem with my children in a store. It's all in how you bring them up. The "grown ups" need to stop whining and own up to their responsibilities! (03/20/2005)

By secret agent girl

Shopping with Kids

If you've taken your kids to the grocery with you, you know they'll grab items at their eye level. If you're a brand name loyal shopper or just want to quiet your kids, you'll more than likely purchase what they grab. This is part of the store's strategy. Be strong and search for the better price for your savings, the best size package for your family. Will your children eat this product or will this be something to toss out?

By T.H. (03/25/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Grocery Shopping Tips

I will say I do not have children yet, but I have a lot of experience with them. I was a little taken back with the way a couple of people spoke about mothers and their children going to to the grocery store. Some mothers have no choice in the matter of taking the kids or not. I do agree that it is the parent(s) fault if the child is misbehaving, it shows lack of discipline, but there is no reason to call them brats. I have to say some adults with no children can get in the way of your grocery shopping just as much. I have personally learned that if I take the time to get up early on Saturday or my day off and go the grocery store is pretty much empty. I am able to take my time without many interruptions and price compare different items,etc. I plan on trying to keep this grocery shopping schedule when my husband and I have children. (04/25/2005)

By Chelle

Shopping Tip

Be up on prices when you shop, Know whether the "good deal" the store you're shopping in says you're getting, is really a good deal.

By Terri (04/26/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Shopping Tips

Never shop when depressed, hungry or tired, you'll end up spending way more money at the checkout than you had previously planned to.

By Terri H. (04/29/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Grocery Shopping Tips

I take my Mom shopping each week. I try to keep an open mind to sales and "shape" my shopping around unadvertised terrific buys. Just remember children are a blessing. Sometimes I feel cranky and whiney too! But, we have to learn patience and smile when things don't go our way. (04/29/2005)

By Tedebear

Grocery Shopping Tips

Remember that the grocery store is laid out in the best way for them to make money off of us. The essentials are all the way across the store...meat, milk, cheese, bread and vegetables. In the middle are the extras. Cheaper brands will be at the bottom of the shelves or at the top when buying canned goods. Before buying the newest (something) think if you can make it from scratch or not.

For example, in the flyer today, but not a grocery item, but applicable, advertising for hummingbird nectar in a bottle in a liquid concentrate, $2.99 for a small container. Hummingbird concentrate is sooooo easy to make. Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature and fill containers. If I want to make a concentrate I just use 1 or 2 parts water to the same amount of sugar and mark my container. I put it in the refrigerator and when I take it out I add warm water to it so I can put it out for the hummingbirds immediately. (I don't want to give their little bellies cold water.). (05/01/2005)

By valleyrimgirl

Buying Store Brands

A lot of the time, I choose a store brand. Just because it is store brand doesn't mean it isn't quality. Most of the time they are made by the same people who make the name brand stuff.

By Brandy (05/18/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Calculating Savings At The Store

Always keep a small calculator at hand when shopping so you can quickly figure the sales out.

By Brandi (06/06/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Grocery Shopping Tips

Hi Brandi, since the last time we discussed grocery shopping, I decided to use up what we had on hand. I ended up going THREE weeks before we were actually getting "low" on essentials. I hope to do this at least once more this year. Six weeks of grocery money is a true gift! (06/06/2005)

By Tedebear

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March 7, 2005 Flag

In the frozen foods department. of a grocery store, a man and his son were shopping. As the man checked something off his shopping list, he was overheard to whisper to his son, "If we mess this up, your mother won't ever ask us to do it again."

By Terri H.

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Budget & Finance ShoppingMay 2, 2013
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couple reading canned food label at the market
Grocery Shopping Strategies
Woman leaning on her cart thoughtfully at the grocery store
Frugal Tips for Grocery Shopping
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Keeping Groceries Cold
Discount Grocery Store
Shopping at Discount Grocery Stores
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