You wanna know where most people spend most of their money? The grocery store.
It’s why your mom always had a little box or a portfolio of grocery coupons, and frankly, it’s why you probably should, too. If you’re trying to beat back your budget by cutting the latte’s out, take a look at the places where most of your spending happens and you’ll find that you are probably dumping way more on name brand cereal and at the shiny new gas station in your neighborhood than you are at Starbucks.
5 Tips to Save More at the Grocery Store
I have a routine I follow that saves me approximately $60 per week in groceries. It has to do with timing, planning, couponing and using technology to keep all that information organized. Here’s how I cut tons of extra spending on the food my family eats.
My routine starts on Wednesday. That’s one of the two days that The Market, a smaller local grocery store in my area, doubles coupons. It’s also the day I try to work less and play more to maintain my sanity as an at-home worker. So I check the specials and match up any coupons. I head on down to the dump to take care of my recycling and stop at The Market on my way back to pick up whatever specials make the most sense. This way, I get to make both stops without using much more gas. Then, I take it easy until Friday when the new specials come out at the other two grocery stores I shop, both of which are big supermarkets.
2. The Web
On Thursday, I go to several coupon websites and print any coupons that look useful or handy. I avoid coupons on things that I wouldn’t normally buy, no matter how good the deal. Occasionally I’ll clip one for a new product, but I won’t buy it unless I can get it very cheap. The following sites are the best coupon sites I have found:
Coupons.com Coupon Bar
It takes about fifteen minutes to run through these sites and print the stuff I need. I clip them and slide them into the slots of a photo album with plastic sleeves that serves as my coupon organizer. I then run through the circulars for the two biggest competing supermarkets in my area and begin my list.
I use Ziplist to keep my digital shopping list. It’s a free web app that lets me make my list, keep notes about prices at competing stores, record coupons I have, and sort lists by store. I print out a separate list for each store from Ziplist. I also have the Ziplist app on my Android phone so I can just open that up when I get to the store. Yes, I could just bring the lists, but if you are like me, the paper gets lost… a lot!
3. Making The Rounds
My Friday shopping rounds take me about two hours. (Three if I have the kids.) The time commitment makes sense for me because both the major stores I shop are on the same road, so I’m not spending any more gas than I otherwise would just visiting one of them. Three hours is a lot of time, but if you figure out the savings, I’m making $20 an hour with this routine.
It’s worth it to me, knowing I’ll have an additional $3,000 at the end of the year for my efforts.
4. Focus on Good Deals
After a while, you get to know what a really good price is. When you see those deals, stock up. Each week, there’s likely to be a different item for bulk buying. Because I get 10 jars of spaghetti sauce for $1 each, I’m saving $1.50 each week for the next 9 weeks on that one item. Each bulk purchase adds up to big savings.
I use coupons with sales whenever possible. If I can’t use a coupon with a sale, I’ll look for a cheaper generic instead. I never pay full price for anything. Ever. Also, with this shopping method, too many cooks spoil the broth. One spouse or partner should do the couponing and shopping; the other can put the groceries away.
5. Use your Cash Back Debit Card
And of course, I whip out my PerkStreet card when I get to the register and hit the “cancel” or “enter” button (depending on the store) when the “enter PIN” screen comes up. It goes through as credit, I sign my name and I get 1% back. Oh, and don’t forget to check for those bonus coupons that come out with the receipt. Grab yours and any the last person left behind. They’re often worth a free gallon of milk, dozen eggs or a few dollars off your next purchase.
What’s your secret to saving more at the grocery store? Please share with the rest of our readers below.