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If you are not in the store, you cannot spend money, you can't fall prey to slick marketing and "buy more, save more" types of incentives. With the exception of baby items (formula, diapers) I have found that the once a week schedule works just fine. If we run out of milk or eggs, I just become more creative by using other stuff and patiently wait until "shopping day".
Now I am taking a huge step forward. I sat down one day and looked at the calendar. I realized that if I go grocery shopping on certain days, I will not spend much time in the store. For me it's Mondays. I work late on Monday and just want to get home as soon as possible.
If my "once a week" shopping trip will take place on Monday after work, I will speed in and out of the grocery store and follow my list. No more meandering down each aisle. I tried it this week and only spent $32. Compared to more than twice that the prior weeks.
Try it; it works great. Requires discipline and creativity (substituting ingredients or postponing certain recipes until shopping day).
By Bella Swan from Forks, WA
To keep my groceries organized so I know what I have and don't have, I have been doing the following:
I designated certain rows or shelves in cabinets or even the freezer for distinct items, like the soup, vegetable, or canned fruit row, meat drawer in the freezer or the quick meal shelf.
I create a list of what potential meals I already have in the house and distinguish lunch or dinner meals so any of us can check it quickly know what's available and what we have to make a meal.
Example of list:
Lunch- peanut butter, tuna, soups, grilled cheese, ravioli, veggie burgers, ramen noodles, lunch meat/burritos.
Dinner- 6 hamburger patties, 8 drumsticks, 2 lbs. ground beef, turkey breast, pizza dough, and 2 lb. ham
This helps me to rotate my foods and not let something sit in the freezer while I continue to purchase meals.
I have been a very frugal person most of my adult life. I shop at the Dollar Tree, Grocery Outlet and the 99 cent Store. I buy produce and make the best garden salads from the 99 cent store.
I tend to do my shopping in bulk, except for milk and fresh fruits. I feel I save more money this way. I make my list, attach the weekly ad and coupons to it and go.
Shop alone. It cuts down on distractions and curbs impulse buying. Make a list and stick to it. Allow yourself only a certain amount of unplanned purchases.
I've recently learned to use Recipe-By-Ingredient websites, which help you cook something up with what you've already got in your kitchen or make good use of items on sale.
I saved grocery receipts for 1 month, then created a spread sheet with the prices of the items I buy frequently. I continue to add to it each time I shop.
I grow my own vegetables in the summer and freeze them, I cook from scratch, and I go every 2-3 weeks to buy groceries. I go to generic stores and stock up on meat.
Good and easy ways to save money at the grocery store.
At most supermarkets, using reusable bags can earn you 5 cents per bag. With 4 bags, that's a 20 cent savings each time you shop.
I usually have my grocery list and check off items as I put them in my basket. Instead of a calculator, I just put a slash mark on my grocery list, for the price of the item, rounded out to the dollar.
Some of our grocery stores have a gourmet food section in their deli. This is a great place to pick up some things that you normally wouldn't be able to afford
When shopping for groceries and household supplies, having a well organized list is one of the best money savers (and time savers) that we've tried.
Through the years, I've read at least one hundred different articles with tips and tricks on how to cut your grocery bill. With a large family, I've followed most of the advice at one time or another.
If you are paid weekly, shop every 8 days instead of every 7. Every seventh week, you will have twice as much available to spend.
Remember to shop at grocery stores after the holidays. They will sell the seasonal foods for cheap. -- breads, cakes, cookies, meats, etc. (and of course seasonal candy.)
Watch the store sales and take the time to cut your coupons. I usually save between $30-40 each trip to the grocery store. It is worth the time.
Here in the Great White North life is not always easier. But one area that helps out is the scanner "code". When I go grocery shopping - I check every receipt - every time.
The number one way I save money on my groceries is menu planning. I write out what we will have for dinner the whole week, make up the grocery list, and add to it any necessity items such as toilet paper, detergent, etc.
Buy cranberries early in the season and put them straight into the freezer. The closer you get to the holidays the more expensive they get.
Do not overlook the value of using stores that match their competitor's ads. This is seldom advertised so you have to ask. Because I live in a rural area it is not always practical nor do I have the time to do extreme couponing.
I've found that when grocery shopping, it pays to check the price per ounce. Sometimes a sale item isn't the cheapest product. Kids love to help with grocery shopping. While shopping, asking them to compare prices and price(s) per ounce for various foods.
Do your grocery shopping a day later each week, Monday one week, Tuesday the next etc. You save a week's grocery bill every seven weeks. Eat before you shop. If you are hungry, you will be tempted to buy items you don't need.
Keep a small list of what you pay for items that you buy often. Then, when you're at another grocery/department store, you'll know if their special is really a special.
This is a fun (and scary) experiment. Take your typical weekly sale paper for a grocery store or retail store. Choose one page and add up the $ cost for every item on ONE page (things on sale).
Before heading out to shop, make a list. Put a list of items you want, plus the sale price and any coupons you have. Total the costs before leaving the house and only bring that much money.
Check with your grocer from time to time to see about any greatly reduced meats or fruits that he'd be getting rid of. You could put those fruits to good use making batches of homemade jams, jellies, preserves ...
Take advantage of a store's "loss leaders." These are sale items the store is selling at such a low cost they may even be losing money on them. These items are priced so low to get you into the store, with the hope that you will keep shopping for regularly priced items.
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It seems like our grocery bill (family of 2) is growing out of control. We shop off a list and get only what is needed, generic mostly, and also split our time between the surplus store, farm market, discount stores and our regular grocery. We've also gotten into a great habit of eating our leftovers and not wasting. However, it all adds up at the check out line!
Do any of you have a suggestion for looking at this problem differently? Right now we look at the receipts and spend the time justifying why each item was needed. We need a way to take down the total costs, but need a flexible budget in case legitimate "needs" do pop up. Does anyone have a budget that works like this?
Kelly from NH
I love going to the grocery store, just wish someone else would want to pay for it!! Isn't it getting outrageous??
I, like you, go to surplus stores, Dollar General, Save-A-Lot, and the local flea market and farmer's market.
Used to be able to rough figure how much you would spend before you left the house, but not anymore.
Do you use coupon's at all? Our grocery store here, once in a while, will triple the mfg. coupons. We also have sometimes, a special in the meat dep't. where you get a big brown bag, and all of the meat that you put in it will be like 10-20% off at the register.
I generally buy a lot for like 2 weeks in a row, then I'm pretty well set for about the next month, with the exception of milk, bread, etc.
There are 4 of us here (soon to be 5) and just my husband works, but his work (factory) is very unsteady. I work private-duty caregiver just 2 days a week, 4 hrs. each day. Then my son and his girlfriend live with us and they are expecting in October.
I have a family of 5, and have learned a lot of strategies over the years. Probably the one that is most helpful in regard to groceries is making a lot of casseroles, and ground beef recipes. I also try to have eggs or omelets one night on the weekend. Not only is that easy to make and nutritious, but it's much less costly than meat. The added advantage of casseroles is that you can freeze the leftovers and have an easy supper ready some night in the future.
Kelly, are you near a Trader Joe's in New Hampshire? I know that there are some in the Boston area. They have some very good deals, especially on produce. I also like to buy meats, cheese and canned goods at Costco and plan ahead. This is only a good deal if you get stuff you would buy anyways and avoid the frozen convenience foods and snacky stuff. I usually get home and prep meals: cut meat up for meals and freeze them, freeze cheese in usable packets (I get shredded as it is even cheaper than the big block), etc.
I also try to cut up and freeze any veggies that I get but don't have time to use them up before they go bad. I usually make up stir fry veggie packets and ones ready for soup. I also freeze leftovers if I don't think I can get the family to use them while they are still good.
There are a lot of great tips on this site as food and the grocery budget are a favorite discussion topic. Keep it up and good luck.
Since the New Year is only a couple of days away, I need help saving money and really becoming frugal, especially when it comes to food shopping. Any ideas? I am only shopping for one, but money is really tight!
By Lynda from Kearny, NJ