I am one of those strange people who actually enjoys grocery shopping. I love planning out my shopping trip, checking the deals and pulling my coupons. It's a blast to see how little I can spend on the food we need and want. For me, it's all part of the grocery game.
For a quite a while I was running around to several of the grocery stores in my area every week picking up all the good deals at each store. That got to be a little too time consuming for me. So now, I check out the sale papers for all of my local grocery stores and decide who has the best deals that week. Then that is the one store I shop at. It's still possible I will hit another grocery store if I'm nearby and they have a really great deal on something we need, but it doesn't happen often. Right now this method is working very well for us.
Here are some tips I use to help limit my grocery spending. You can use these tips whether you shop at one grocery store or several of them. These tips work for me no matter which store I shop at.
- Plan your meals out before you go shopping. The meals should be based on what is on sale and what you already have on hand.
- Make a list and stick to it.
- Pull the coupons you know you will need before you go. This allows you to have the coupons you are most likely to use readily available so that you can make sure you are buying the correct item. I like to clip my coupons to my list.
- Take all your coupons with you to the store. Sometimes when you're at the store you will come across an unadvertised special of a product you use. If you also have a coupon, you can maximize your savings by combining the sale and coupon.
- Keep all the coupons you know you are using together in your cart. Once I check my coupon to make sure I have the correct item and put the item in my cart I then put the coupon in a "coupons being used pile." This saves you from having to pull your coupons right before you check out and possibly missing one.
- Check the meat and dairy sections for "manager specials." Most grocery stores mark down items that are close to their sell by date. If you find these items and they are something you will use or freeze before that date, buy it if the discount is a good one. I have seen items on manager special that I can still get cheaper at other stores, so watch the prices.
- Know the prices of items you buy regularly. This helps you know when to stock up on items you regularly use. I keep most of these prices in my head, but other people create price books. Use whichever method works for you. You do not need to track prices of every item you buy, just stick to those items that you buy and use frequently.
- Know your stores coupon and pricing policies. Know if your store doubles coupons, accepts Internet coupons, allows you to combine store and manufacturers coupons, and so on. Many stores have these policies posted. If they don't, stop at customer service and ask BEFORE you shop. Knowing the policies can help avoid problems when you're checking out. Also find out what your stores does if an item rings up at the wrong price. Some stores will give you one of the item free and some will just give you the item for the posted price.
- Keep an eye out for coupons around the store. You can find coupons in the blinkie machines and on tear pads around the stores. If these items are also on sale, you just may be able to get a good deal. Even if you aren't going to get the item today, you can grab a few of the coupon if it is for an item you use. If the coupon is a manufacturers coupon you can even use it at another store if they have the item for a better price.
- Get rain checks when sale items aren't in stock. Also find out what the store's rain check policy is. At some grocery stores the rain checks don't ever expire. At others you only have a few weeks to redeem them. If you aren't sure, ask when you're getting the rain check.
- Be friendly to the cashier. You can accomplish a lot more by being friendly if a problem comes up. Most cashiers are good people who want to do a good job, but if you make them mad, they will be much less likely to try and help you.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to cut your grocery bill. This list just covers some of the ways, you can probably come up with even more. Just keep your eyes open and watch for the deals. And the biggest tip I can give you for avoiding problems is to be aware of your store's policies and sticking to them.
If you have any of your own tips that you would like to share, feel free to post them in the comments section.
For more Frugal Friday tips, visit Biblical Womanhood.