I am a huge fan of using coupons to save money on groceries. In fact, when I lived in Connecticut, I used to teach classes on saving money with coupons. If you are someone who loves using coupons and would like some extra tips, I added a link to an article I wrote about saving money with coupons at the bottom of this article.
But I also know there are many people who find the whole coupon thing too time-consuming and don’t use them. This article is for you so please keep reading!
Below are my top eight tips for saving money without using coupons.
Check out the Sales at all of the Stores you Plan to Shop at Before you Leave your House
Who wants to pay full price for an item when you can get it at a discount? Certainly not me, and hopefully not you. If you purchase the Sunday paper, go over all of the sales fliers and make a list of what you want to buy before you go to the store. Being organized helps you save money at the grocery store because you are not aimlessly wandering around looking for things you might need.
If you don’t buy the Sunday paper, go online and check out the weekly store flyer (s) and make your list from that so you will be prepared.
And to save money: stick to your list!
2) Buy Items Only When They Are on Sale
If you make a habit of purchasing items at the grocery store only when they are on sale, you will find that you never have to pay full price for most of what goes in your grocery cart! Now, this is not always true for perishable items that you can’t freeze well, such as produce. But for the most part, if you buy items only when they are on sale, you will save money.
3) Stock Up
This is true for coupon users as well, but it you can purchase enough products when they are on sale to tide you over to the next sale, then you will have cupboards full of items that you never paid full price for.
Example: The IGA near my home had Coke on sale for 4 for $4.44 this week. My husband drinks Coke and sometimes it is hard to find it on sale. Without a sale, Coke is usually $1.59 to $1.69. So, knowing that there should be another sale on Coke SOMEWHERE near me in the next 8 weeks, we purchase enough to get us through 8
IMPORTANT: Did you know if there is a sale on something where you get 4 for $4.44, or 2 for $5.00, etc. you usually don’t have to buy the number they suggest??? Many people get caught by this. Unless the specific sale signage says,”Must buy 4 or 2″ to get that price, you can buy 1 single item and still get the sale price. Or in the case of 4 in a sale, you can buy 2 or 3 if you want.
The store advertises it that way to trick consumers into thinking they HAVE to buy that many in order to get that price. They are sneaky that way because it brings in more money for them. Make sure you check with the cashier or store manager if you have any doubts, but grocery stores rake in a lot of extra money by suggesting a certain number of items that consumers think they have to buy.
4) Plan Your Menus Around What’s on Sale
I once read a statistic that said you could save 30% off of your grocery bill each week just by planning your weekly meals based on what’s on sale at the grocery stores.
For instance, if you were planning a beef roast for your family one week, but can’t find it on sale, buy another form of beef instead that you can find on sale. Thinking of serving lamb chops but find a sale on pork chops that week? You will save money if you buy what’s on sale and serve that instead.
The same holds true for other products that would go with your main dish…if you want a salad, see which is less expensive: romaine lettuce or head lettuce. How about tomatoes: is there a sale on a certain kind? Planning for mashed potatoes? Check sales on Idaho, Red or Yukon Gold. Every penny you can save really adds up when you get to the checkout lane.
5) Be Willing to Shop at A Few Stores Instead of Just One
I know this is hard for many people, but each week the different stores in your town have different sales. By being willing to check out the sales at more than one store and shop in two or more each week for their sale items, you will save money.
You don’t want to spend a lot of extra money on gas though because that would defeat the purpose of saving money on your groceries. So this will only work in areas where there is more than one grocery store to choose from.
If you do live in a town where shopping us limited, but there is a certain store with something you use on your way to work, or on the way to drop your child off at a dance class or swimming lessons, use that trip to stop and grab the sale item(s) so that you aren’t going out of your way.
6) Shop at the Stores That have the Least Expensive Prices on Items You Buy if you Run Out
The easiest way to do this is to make a price notebook of things you usually buy and write down the price the item usually sells for at each store when it is not on sale. Your price notebook page could look like this:
Item Stop & Shop Walmart Shop Rite Big Y
Maxwell House Coffee 24 oz. $6.77 $5.98 $6.24 $6.99
Knorr Noodles and Sauce $1.25 $1.00 $1.00 $1.39
Secret Deodorant 1.7 oz. $2.09 $1.74 $1.79 $2.19
Soft Soap Liquid Soap 7.5 oz. $1.49 $.99 $1.29 $1.59
The list should continue like this for every item you buy on a regular basis. Then, on the weeks you run out of a certain item, you know the store that carries that item for the least amount of money and you can go there to purchase it or add it to your list when you shop there for sales if that item isn’t on sale that week anywhere else. This list should be updated every six months.
7) Check the Markdown Shelves
Most supermarkets and Walmart Superstores have a markdown shelf or bin. You can get amazing deals by getting in the habit of checking them every time you shop. Stopping by the markdown area every time you shop will save you money, especially on items like bread, pastries and grocery items that will store well or can be frozen.
8) Don’t Shop with Your Credit Card
Carrying cash and using only cash to shop for your groceries will keep you within your budget better than if you pay with a credit card. Paying with credit, especially if you have a lot of credit available on your credit card, means you won’t be all that concerned about how much money you will spend at the store. So, that beautiful looking chocolate cake with chocolate chips on it may find its way into your cart.
But paying with a limited amount of cash, and preferably just enough to cover your groceries will keep you focused on your goal. You won’t be as tempted to purchase that cake, or any one of a number of extra goodies if you pay only with cash and don’t want to be embarrassed by not having enough when you get to the checkout lane.
Tips on how to Save Money with Coupons…
Hopefully, these tips will help you rethink your grocery shopping strategy and save money at the grocery store. If you use coupons or would like to start, here’s an article that will help you with that:
Do you have any other ideas on how to save at the grocery store without using coupons? Please leave a comment below.
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