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1. Never Shop Hungry
It's been proven time and again that you will spend more when you are hungry. Whenever possible, include in your grocery saving tips to eat a lite meal before going shopping and it will help you save money. By shopping after you have eaten, you ’will find that you will be more likely to pass up the junk food and items that you don't need.
2. Plan Ahead
Always plan out your meals and your shopping list before going to the store. You will end up spending two to three times more if you go shopping without a plan. Creating a shopping list from planned meals will also help you to be more organized about daily meals and help you see where you can combine some items to use on a variety of meals. It also helps to create a standards list of items that you use regularly.
3. Know the Sales Days
Know what days particular stores have their sales. Most stores will post weekly sales on Wednesdays. Look over the ads before going to the store and base your shopping on the sales items. As an example: if you see that chicken is on sale one week, plan a chicken dinner for that week or purchase multiple packages of chicken and freeze them for future meals.
4. In-Season Produce
It's always a good thing to include fruits and vegetables in your meal planning, but if you only want certain items, you will find yourself paying much more for those items when they are out of season. By purchasing in-season fruits and vegetables, it not only do you saves you money, but you will also get used to eating a wide variety of items so you are not getting burned out on a particular fruit or vegetable.
5. Know the Store Policy
Many stores will accept competitors’ coupons, but not all of them do. You don't want to get to the checkout stand with all your shopping items and find out that your coupons are not going to be accepted. Know ahead of time whether the store accepts competitors’ coupons and it will help save you a lot of frustration.
6. Monthly Shopping
You can save money by purchasing staples like paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc by the bulk on a monthly or even a three-month basis. Bulk supply stores are great for saving money on items that can be stored without spoiling. Check the ads for these stores to find even more savings on bulk items that you can store away.
7. Consider Dollar Stores
Many people are helping to stretch their budgets by including dollar stores in their shopping routine. Several dollar stores includes items like kitchen utensils and school supplies that could cost you two to three times more at a regular grocery or department store. Check dollar store ads for items that you might need. Many also carry canned foods and sandwich items.
8. Time Your Shopping
Frustration and crowds can cause you to end up spending more at the store. Time your shopping to avoid the crowds. By shopping between 8am and 10am, you can avoid most crowds that typically shop in the afternoon, especially after work. Many store bakeries also put out discounted items like bread and pastries in the morning, providing another way of saving money.
9. Consider Generic Brands
Brand names do not always mean it’s the best. You can save a lot of money by purchasing generic items. Buying generic doesn't mean that you have to give up on quality. If you prefer a name brand food item, you might be able to save on other items like prescription medications or paper goods and household items.
10. Save More by Buying More
Sometimes buying an item like paper towels or toilet paper can save you money if you buy in larger packages. If you are able to afford it, buying a package of twenty-four can sometimes save you more money than buying a package of eight. Check the current prices and see if you will not save more money by buying larger quantities that can be stored.
11. Expiration Dates Don't Necessarily Mean The Product is Bad
Check items that are close to the expiration date. Stores will often greatly reduced items like meat and dairy that are set to expire the next day, in order to get the item sold. By checking expiration dates you can save a lot of money. Obviously, don't buy items that are past their date by weeks unless it’s dry goods that you know won’t spoil.
12. Watch Your Items During Scanning
It happens a lot. Usually by mistake or computer error, but it does happen. Watch your items as they are being scanned to verify that the right price is being rung up and it is only for the number of items you have purchased. This will save you money from any accidental or computer error charges. Also watch for items that are marked on sale or have special sticker prices to verify they’re rung up properly.
13. Use Cash
Set aside a budget and stick to it. If you only want to spend $100 on shopping, put aside a $100 and don't make it possible to spend more. It's easy to spend more than you intended unless you stick by your budget. Grocery saving tips can help you to save money, but only if you stick to your budget. If you're someone who has to have some impulse money, include a certain amount in your budget for those purchases and stick to the amount.
14. Shop Without Kids if Possible
If possible, go shopping without the kids. Anyone who has ever shopped with their children knows that they want everything they see and will keep asking until you give in. If you’re able to go shopping without them, it will help you to save money and stick to your budget. As a way of compromise, work a special item or gift into your budget if you can. It takes a great deal of discipline to stick with a budget, but it will be worth it in the long run.
15. Look Above and Below Eye Level
Grocery and department stores will use a variety of marketing methods to get customers to purchase the higher ticket items. One of those methods is to place the higher priced items at eye level so it is easier to see. In order to save money, check out the items on the upper and lower shelves. These are often the more budget-friendly and inexpensive items. Take a little extra time to look over all the items in order to save money.
16. Use Coupons
Using store coupons is a great way to save money. Coupons can save you a lot of money when used the right way. Before using a coupon, make sure the store you are using them in accepts the coupon and check with the store to see if they accept double coupons. Extreme couponing has been known to allow some customers to get hundreds of dollars of merchandise for pennies, if not for free.
17. Know the Store Layout
Most stores are laid out so that you end up in the back of the store if you go up and down each aisle. This means you have to walk back up the aisle to get to the checkout stands, requiring you to walk by more items that can tempt you to buy more. Know where to start and where you need to finish to save the most money.
18. Check with Store Employees for Special Deals
It never hurts to ask employees if there are any special deals available or any deals coming up. Employees are often aware of special deals that can help you save some money when you're shopping.
19. Rethink Endcap Deals
Items that are placed on endcaps are made to look as if they are special deals. While many of the items on endcaps may be lower priced than they normally are, checking other items on the shelves will show you that you might be able to find a better deal for the same item. Other brands or different amounts could be a better deal than what is advertised on the endcaps.
20. Get Larger Meat Cuts and Ask the Butcher for Help
Rather than buying pre-sliced or cut meat, you can save a lot of money by buying a larger piece of meat, like a roast, and asking the butcher to cut it up for you. A roast can be ground into hamburgers or cut into smaller pieces to be used for things like a pot roast.
21. Avoid Inner Aisles if Possible
Not only are there ways to save money by practicing grocery saving tips, but you can also eat healthier by knowing how the store is arranged. The healthy items such as fruits and vegetables along with dairy items and meats are all arranged along the outer walls. Canned foods and many unnecessary items are in the center aisles where shoppers spend most of their time. Canned foods and snack items are typically marked up higher than healthier foods, causing you to spend more on items that aren't always healthy for you.
22. Use Rain Checks
When stores advertise deals in the paper, it can attract a lot of attention, especially if it’s a really good deal. It is not uncommon for you to get to the store and find out that they're sold out of the item you want. They offer you a rain check, but you want the item or a similar item now. By accepting or asking for a rain check, you can still save money on the item, just at a later date. Always be careful of spending more money on an item just because you want it today rather than waiting.
23. Make Items from Scratch
You can save a lot of money by learning to make items from scratch rather than buying pre-made packaging. It might be easier to make baked goods and breads from pre-packaged items that only require adding water or a few ingredients, but you pay more for the convenience of doing that. By learning how to make items from basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, etc, you can save yourself a lot of money and end up eating healthier since there are not any preservatives in the natural ingredients you use.
24. Make Your Own Spice Mixes
Most pre-packaged spice mixes, while convenient, are also filled with preservatives and other items to keep them available on the store shelves. By learning to combine natural flavors you can make your own spice mixes that taste much better and add to the flavor of your food. There are a number of recipes available that can help you make spice mixes from basic ingredients like chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, ground pepper and more. You can find many of these basic ingredients at local dollar stores, saving you a lot of money.
25. Grate Your Own Cheese
Convenience ends up costing you a lot of money. In order to have convenience, the cheese industry has created pre-packaged grated cheese, but it costs you more for the convenience. By purchasing a block of cheese and grating it yourself you can save a lot of money. You can also buy a block of cheese and have the deli clerk cut it up into slices for you to use in sandwiches ,etc. By taking the time to perform small jobs like grating cheese yourself, you can save a lot of money throughout the year.