Grocery shopping on a budget can be a challenge, to say the least. In this economy, many families struggle to feed their families while paying the rest of their bills. The grocery bill, however, is one expense that can be trimmed down with careful planning. Here are five practical tips for grocery shopping on a budget.
1. Make a List and Stick to It
Following a list is one of the best things one can do to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store. An easy way to know exactly what you need on your next shopping trip is to keep on ongoing list. Keep a notepad handy in the kitchen—or a piece of paper posted on the fridge—to jot down items when they run out. This way, there is no guesswork in the grocery store, no wandering up and down the aisles to try to remember what is needed. Keeping your eyes looking for the items on the list will keep roaming eyes from being tempted by all the tasty-looking items that are not on the list. Having a list and sticking to it is imperative in keeping down grocery expenses.
Image Source: ninefish, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr
2. Compare Store Prices
Before you take your list to the closest store or the biggest supercenter to do your grocery shopping, take a little time to compare store prices. Look in the local paper on the day that grocery ads come out to see which stores have the best deals. Running from store to store isn’t going to cost extra gas, so look for the store where you can save the most money, as you compare their sale with the items on your list. If you don’t have access to a local paper with grocery store ads, sign up for individual stores’ weekly ads online to have their sales delivered right to your email inbox. Many stores will match advertised prices from other stores, which can save even more money—at just one store.
3. Buy Certain Items in Bulk
Buying foods in bulk generally lowers the per ounce price. Buy the larger quantities of what your family eats most. Do check the price per ounce to see that you are getting the better deal. An occasional trip to a local warehouse or club-type store to stock up on essentials could save you a lot of money on your grocery bill. Items such as paper towels and toilet paper are often cheaper in bulk and will last indefinitely. Dry foods are often cheaper bought in bulk. Meat is also cheaper in bulk and can be divided up and frozen for later meals. When buying in bulk, think smart. Don’t buy large amounts just because it is cheap. When food goes to waste, money is being wasted rather than saved. So make sure that your family will use up any items bought in bulk before the food expires.
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4. Buy Staples that Stretch Your Overall Food Budget
To really cut down your total food budget, buy cheaper staples that will be a part of many of the family’s meals. Foods such as beans, rice, potatoes, and pasta are cheap, especially when bought in bulk, and will last for a long time when properly stored. Make sure they are stored in air-tight containers if they are going to be around for long in order to prevent bugs from getting into the packages. Many daily and weekly meals can be made mostly of such staples, supplemented with small cuts of meat or sides of vegetables, fruits, breads, and other foods. Having meatless meals, with beans as a protein substitute, can cut your grocery budget substantially, especially for a large family, as meat is much more expensive than bags of beans. Beans are plentiful and healthy, too.
5. Use Coupons for Items You Already Buy
Everybody hears about using coupons, even to the point of “extreme couponing,” where couponers collect all the coupons they can, put them in a binder, continually compare store prices, and try to get items as cheap as they can—or even free. This is not a bad practice, as it can save shoppers hundreds of dollars. However, it is time-consuming and does require effort and expense to locate the coupons and continually visit various stores to get the best deals. If that appeals to you, it can certainly save you money on your grocery bill. If, however, you just don’t have the time for the extreme but want to use coupons in some way, just commit to using coupons for items you already buy. Buy a Sunday—or other—paper that has weekly coupons, or sign up on various websites that provide printable coupons. Look through the coupons, clipping only those for brands of grocery items you are already buying. You might as well save a few dollars on items already on your grocery list.
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Did you know that you can even shop for groceries online? You can save on groceries as well as gas, as your food items are delivered right to your door. Save on several sites with these grocery coupons and Amazon discount codes.
Shopping during the sales can very often be a super stressful experience. All that rush and chaos often make you do some impulse buys and when you go home you realize that you weren’t actually looking for what you have bought and you have not even made real bargains (yes, it has happened to be best of us) ! What you may not know is that, in order to make all the best deals and go home satisfied after a sales shopping spree, it requires a lot of preparation and know-how. There are so many sales period during the year, such as Back to School sales, Black Friday sales, Christmas sales and Summer sales, that working out how to make the best out of them can really save you money, so here are all the best tips you need to know to make savvy buys this year!
Tip 1: Plan everything in advance
Before the sales even start, have a look around at the shops and spot already what you would like to buy. Do a wardrobe check up too to spot the gaps and avoid buying 2 of the same. Make a precise plan on which shops you would like to go to when the sales start, but the most important thing: don’t get distracted and stick to all these plans!
Tip 2: Decide a precise budget
In order not to end up spending more than you can afford, plan your budget in advance based on what you have spotted during your researching and planning.
Tip 3: Invest in the classics
You don’t want to buy something that you are only going to wear for a few weeks before it goes out of fashion, so your best bet is to go for all the classic items that you are going to be able to wear for years and years to come.
Tip 4: Check the prices
Sometimes shops promote some “fake” sales, in the sense that they raise the retail price of a couple of dollars just to make it look like you are saving a lot of money with the sales, but in fact you are probably paying the actual retail price of that item. Check on the internet the price of the item you want to buy to see if that is actually a real bargain or not.
Tip 5: Shop online
In order to avoid all the stress and the rush of sales shopping, the internet is a great way to find the best deals from the comfort of your home. Keep checking your favorite online stores in order to catch the beginning of the sales (most online stores will start sales at different times than high-street shops). Check out also the Promocode4share‘s stores for the best deals.
Tip 6: Plan your shopping time strategically
Go early for the best selection and for more possibilities to find your size or later for the best prices, risking though not to find the clothes that you were looking for. It is your choice!
So now you know all my personal tips for shopping during sales period. Do you have any more tips and tricks to share? Leave me a comment and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!
Have you ever had the experience of going into a shop for, say, a single piece of kitchen equipment and come out pushing a loaded trolley having spent ten times what you intended? It’s so easy to do. You could call it the Target effect, and there isn’t any mystery about it. It’s what the stores want to happen. Whether it’s groceries or household items, the store’s job is to get you to spend as much money as possible… whether you intended to or not. Here are a few tips to help you stay on budget and have you heading home with a sense of victory. This time none of Zulily’s cunning tricks have caught you out.
Make a list
Know what you are going for and do not allow yourself to be distracted, no matter how tempting the offers on display may look.
Start a new list right away
Put a list in your kitchen as soon as you get home with the groceries and mark on it when you notice you are running low. That way you will keep your store cupboard stocked up and avoid an expensive unscheduled dash to convenience store.
Find inspiration elsewhere
If you don’t know what to make for dinner, then browse your recipe books or look online so you’ve made up your mind before you arrive at the parking lot. You won’t be tempted into any expensive impulse purchases.
Gather your coupons
Find all your coupons AFTER you’ve drawn up a list, and see which apply. That way you won’t be tempted to buy something you don’t need – even if it is at a discount.
As yourself some hard questions
Why do you choose a certain brand? Is it really the best? Could you trade down? Are you opting for, say, organic products because it really matters to you? You may well find your buying habits are, just that, habits that could be changed for the cheaper.
Analyse your spending Look closely at your receipts over several weeks. Are there any patterns of impulse buys, anything you spend far more than you think you do on? It might be time to have a long, hard look at how and why you do your shopping. For example, do you always buy scented soap because you need some pampering, yet don’t ever use it?
Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry
This is a fatal mistake and will lead to you loading your trolley with all manner of tasty things that your brain has convinced you that you need right now. After a meal, instead, you can make calm rational decisions.
Buy in bulk
Can you use a discount warehouse, such as Costco, to stock up on store cupboard supplies such as rice or dried pasta?
Pick the right time of day
Many grocery stores will mark down fresh produce towards the end of the day in order to make space for the next day’s items. Ask at your local grocery store they will be happy to tell you what time they do the round of marking down.
Leave the kids behind
Do you end up giving in to pester power and buying unnecessary items just to get some peace? It’s a common problem and one not helped by stores that place kid-friendly items just at their eye level. Either make it clear beforehand what, if anything, they can get or leave them somewhere else.
Bend and stretch
Obviously a store that is intending to get you to buy the most expensive items, will put them in the easiest and most visible place – at your eye-line and within reach. The better value items might be slightly harder to find. Perhaps on the highest or lowest shelves, or tucked in at the end. Take time to have a look at what’s there and how much it really costs.
Go with cash
When you pay by card, it’s much easier to sneak other items through without really feeling the pain of the extra cost. However, if you take the folding stuff knowing how much your budget is, it’ll be much more difficult to overspend.
Stay off your trolley
Don’t automatically grab a huge trolley on the way in. If you only need a few things, take a basket and if you only need one or two just hold them in your hands. You won’t be tempted to bung items into the empty space.
It’s often easier to stay in control of what you buy when you do your shopping online and have it delivered