How To: Save Money on Groceries

Saving money on groceries does not have to be super time consuming, nor does the food you buy have to be unhealthy or bland.  Here are some ways you can slash your grocery bill…

1.  Shop the loss leaders.

The loss leaders are the products your grocery store will advertise in the store circular and sell at a loss in the hopes that you will come in and buy other things at full price to make back the money.  For example, they’ll put chicken on sale for $1.69/lb with the expectation that you’ll come into the store for a pound of chicken and buy $60 worth of other full priced groceries as well.  You can make a significant reduction in your grocery bill by buying the loss leaders and keeping other purchases that week to a minimum.  Most people decide what they feel like eating, and then go to the store and buy the ingredients.  On the contrary, shopping the loss leaders means that you will need to plan your meals around the sales.  Shopping the loss leaders will likely save you the most money on fresh produce, meats, and dairy products.

2.  Build a stockpile.

When items that you use often are on sale, stock up!  For example, when chicken is on sale, buy a bunch and freeze what you don’t need immediately for use in the future.  Soon you will have a well stocked freezer with a variety of meats, and you’ll have whatever meat you need on hand for the recipes you want to make that week.  And the best part is that you will never have paid full price since you stocked up while prices were low!  By shopping the loss leaders and building a stockpile, you can easily shave off 30% of your bill without much additional time or effort.

3.  Shop the clearance sections.

This may sound odd, but there are clearance sections at the grocery store.  At my store, items are marked with a bright orange “Manager’s Special” tag in hopes of a quick sale on products that are expiring soon.  I often scoop up ground turkey, sausage, steak, etc. at less than half the normal price because they are expiring within a few days.  This is perfect for building a stockpile; since you will immediately add them to the freezer when you get home anyways, it doesn’t matter that they are only a few days away from the use by date. Another favorite item I frequently snag on clearance is the Dole salad package with the dressing packet and topping packets included; they often are clearanced to $0.99.  All the varieties I’ve had have been delicious and if you can eat them within a few nights they are a great deal!

4.  Use coupons.

If you have mastered all of the above techniques, you can add in coupon usage to really cut down that grocery bill.  This method can save you tons of money if you are willing to invest a few extra minutes each week.  Coupons are most commonly found in the coupon inserts in the Sunday newspaper or printed online.  The goal with using coupons is always to spend less money out of pocket to buy the things you need.  It does not help your grocery budget if you “save” $20 using coupons on items that you wouldn’t normally buy in the first place.  The key is to combine store sales with a manufacturers coupon {and a store coupon if applicable} to walk away paying little to no money out of pocket.

I’m not going to go in depth on how to coupon since there are plenty of coupon bloggers that teach you how to coupon and that share the weekly coupon match ups.  Some of my favorites are the Krazy Coupon Lady 10 step program to learn how to coupon and Bargains to Bounty for weekly deal match ups for the Metro Detroit area.  {There are tons of other deal bloggers out there and I’m sure you can find one in your area if you Google it.}  These sites do the time consuming work for you and allow you to simply clip your coupons, shop, and save money!

{A fun tidbit about coupons: Many people think that coupons are not worth it since you may only save $0.50 here and there, but in reality, you can save much more.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the average value of a coupon is $1.44 and the average time to clip one coupon is one minute, so you are making the equivalent of $86.40 per hour on time spent clipping coupons.  The rate is even better when you figure in taxes! To take home $86.40 per hour with a marginal tax rate of 20%, you’d have to earn $108 per hour before taxes.  In my opinion, this is a pretty decent hourly rate to make while sitting in front of the TV!}

So, there you have it.  Four simple ways to take a big chunk out of your grocery bill.

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One Response to How To: Save Money on Groceries

  1. How do I save? I make a list, I don’t bring the kids, I buying in bulk and I also use coupons. With everything so expensive right now, we want to save as much as we can, right? especially with groceries, gas and clothing.

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