Did your groceries just cost you over $100 again for the week? You even tried cutting coupons this week and still, it’s got to stop. Are you tired of overspending on your groceries?
Maybe you have had a similar situation to mine.
“Come on kids. We have to get home before your father does.”
You are scrambling through your purse for your coupons. Your kids are throwing things up on the register belt. You gawk and yell- “the apples will bruise”
You drop your coupons, you go down to pick them up and the kids are fighting over who gets to put the last item up on the belt.
It doesn’t stop there.
Your coupons don’t scan. The people behind you are ready to pounce. Your total has somehow reached $250. You quickly start thinking “What did I buy that cost so much?’
Can you relate to the scenario?
Before we took hold of our finances I never looked at a store’s weekly ad. I thought- BORING! I looked for store brands and sale prices in the store. I grabbed the fancy end caps of items that seemed like they were a good deal- but really the sale was only $0.20 off.
I was a marketer’s dream shopper.
Let’s not be a marketer’s dream shopper. Let’s tell these big brand companies that we are tired of spending so much money on food that lasts milliseconds in our homes. Let’s be able to fill our fridges with wholesome nutritious food so our kids can go a whole 2-3 hours before the dreaded words- I’m hungry come out”
Let’s be able to fill our fridges with wholesome nutritious food so our kids can go a whole 2-3 hours before the dreaded words- I’m hungry come out”
Why? Because we are tired of overspending on groceries. If you start implementing the tips below you will be one step closer to taking back your grocery budget. You will be one step towards your greater victory.
You have a grocery budget, right? If not grab one here.
Know What you Already Have
When I am not taking the time to meal plan or shop from my pantry first I go to the store buy what looks good or is on sale come home and hope I can figure out two meals. Then in the middle of the week, I have no clue what else to make so I head back to the store for more groceries.
But really, I have enough food in the pantry to make a dish.I think we have forgotten simplicity.
We let our emotions and thoughts take over and we forget that we can serve a simple affordable dish with just beans and ground meat.
Before you, grocery shop take a look around your kitchen. See what pantry staples you have. Write down the proteins( meats) you have.
Figure out how many meals you can make with what’s in your pantry.
This is exactly how we survived our 6-month spending freeze.
Shop with a List
Self- Control. Resisting the urge to grab, throw, pay, and put away. Say goodbye to the days of going shopping without a list. Shopping with a list is a must have when the kids are with you or an empty stomach has you salivating over Pop Tarts.
Now to really maximize your savings at the grocery store you need to know what to put on your list. Start by looking at the sale flyers if you have hours upon hours on your hands or get it done quickly with my coupon matchup lists. Check the items that are free or cheap or that you know you can make meals with for the week.
Print it out or save to your phone.
I talk about this a lot because as a mom it has saved us. I believe that everything happens for a reason. While I was on maternity leave with my first child I got a call from my boss telling me my position was eliminated. There was another position that I could take for less money and more workload.I already despised the job so I prayed and declined.
Guess what? I was a 25- year old living on 75,000 a year income. When I first stayed home we were hit with many eye opening experiences. I won’t get into all the details here- another post for that but through hardships, meal planning worked.
All the tips here today and on this site is how we went from low to debt free( except for the mortgage)- paying 2 mortgages, two utility bills, through Christmas and our kids birthdays and didn’t touch our savings account; all on one construction workers income.
I would have never imagined being in the financial position we are now but it was because of these tips. I would have never thought when I graduated college with a degree in Journalism I would be here sharing with you how we are living our best life on a budget!
Always Check Unit Price
To be a smart savvy shopper you really have to discipline yourself to always be looking at unit price, cost, quantity, and then taking all that into consideration and comparing it to the store down the street.
If you are going to be a shopper who is getting the most bang for their buck, then you HAVE to get to know your prices. Compare online and in-store keep track until you have a good feel for prices on items you buy weekly.
When you are in the moment staring up at the aisle and you don’t know who has the cheapest price- you need to compare the off brand and name brand by looking at unit price. Getting to know your prices over the long run helps you quickly recognize what is a deal and what is not.
Another tip- the most expensive things are at eye-level. Healthier options are usually at the top of the aisle and the cheaper items are at the bottom.
Tops have Del Monte Fruit Cups in this box.
You get 12 -3.2 oz. pouches. They want you to pay $8.99. $0.74 a pouch for your child to suck it down in 30 seconds!
The EXACT same product offered at Target right now is $5.19 or $0.43 a pouch.
Right, there you are saving $3.80.
WOW, a whopping $3.80 you might be saying. Well, hold on.
Just imagine if almost all your items in your cart were an average $2-$3 more. Say you buy 50 items in a week. You just paid $150 extra if every item you bought was an average of $3 higher.
Wait for a Sale
Wait for a sale. I mean a real sale not just a $0.30 off sale. A good $1+ sale. When you wait for a sale and pair it with a coupon it makes those once pathetic looking values of $0.60/1 coupons so appealing. (And even better when you use them at a store that doubles its value! )
I live in western New York and we have a Tops Markets. It is by far my favorite store next to BJ’s to coupon at for groceries. Every region has the grocery store that is the most coupon friendly.
Tops Markets products are outrageous if you are buying name brand items that are NOT ON SALE. If you need an item that is not on sale at Tops, and they do not carry an off-brand, then you should find the best price elsewhere.
Aldi and Save a lot are great places to check out to start cutting back on your grocery bill without any extra work. Yet I must add in be careful at Aldi- almost 90% of the name brand items they do carry are more expensive than other retailers. Remember don’t be a marketer’s dream shopper. Be the smart savvy shopper you are!
Buying only certain name brands will cost you more. If you are a generic buyer you will for sure save money. Take a look at these 18 generic brand items to get an idea of how to get the best deal on generics.
No time to read the article above? Look at this example.
Tuna at Tops Markets (common store in Western NY).
Valu Time is $0.69
Tops brand Tuna is-$0.89
Which one would you choose? Why?
These two items are EXACTLY THE SAME! They are distributed by the same company. Topco! When I worked at Target, Byrne Dairy supplied our milk. ( I was the manager at Starbucks so we went through a lot of milk. Byrne dairy slaps a Target sticker on the milk. This was in 2010, so maybe a different carrier now.)
My husband was doing work at a food plant. He saw all the Welch’s grape Jelly jars going down the line getting the Welch’s label on, then the same jars coming down and boom a Wegman’s label goes on.
Do not be fooled! Many products are the same thing! And don’t be fooled by the Loss Leader Marketing either.
Stockpiling for today’s resource shopper is to stock up on an item when it is a very sweet deal. I may have gone overboard in the beginning! Instead of buying just one or two of the same thing you buy as many coupons you have for the item or the amount allowed. Don’t have to get crazy, but enough to last you until the next sale cycle.
Here’s an example.
Cereal with a coupon is on sale at your local grocery store and you will pay $1 for a box. You can print two coupons from your computer and two coupons from your smartphone. You have four coupons potentially to use.
Should you buy just the two boxes because that’s what your kids will eat in a week or all four so you have some for next week?
All four because if your kids eat the two boxes in one week, next week you will need cereal again and it won’t be $1 it will be $4. You will have spent double the amount and if you do this for all your grocery items you are spending DOUBLE on EVERYTHING! Yikes!
Remember when you stockpile, you are able to use what you have and not be forced to go buy an item you need at the full price. I
If you have an image of a basement full of items and that turns you off let me encourage you that couponing and shopping the sales doesn’t mean you will end up with a room full of “stuff”. We all know we have plenty of stuff that slows us down. I am not an extreme couponer- yet I save 50% on my grocery bill EVERY WEEK! I can feed a family of four for less than $100 a week and so can you!
Produce is the one area that gets me every time because it’s healthier and the kids eat it in a day! Yet there are ways to save on this budget breaker. We save by only buying produce that is in- season. You will pay double the amount when you buy fruits and veggies in their offseason.
If you have a local farmer’s market I encourage you to buy your fruits and veggies there. The items are in season and you can get deals. Try talking a price down or grabbing the “seconds”. These are items that are the second picking and are great for preserving.
Since I do not buy produce weekly that is not in season I utilize the second’s at our farmer’s market and preserve it by canning or freezing. Then in the winter when we are craving asparagus I pull it out of the freezer. It’s like meal planning, you always have to be one step ahead in how can you make this last. Stocking up on fruits and veggies is possible and it’s a must to pay less during the winter months.
Let me encourage you. YOU CAN DO THIS! Together we can do this!
“From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.” Psalm 61:2