No matter how I find ways to cut my grocery bill, it always seems too high. Sound familiar? I put together a list of my favorite ways to save on groceries in hopes of digging up a few more dollars. Please add your tips by leaving a comment.
1. Shop on a full stomach and with a list so you’re less inclined to buy extras.
2. Buy ahead of need. If it’s on super sale get an extra cart. Who cares if other people give you the stink eye?
3. Be a freezer diva. Like, I can totally stuff more meat into my freezer than you can!
4. If you stock up, make sure the items you buy freeze well. Bargain hunting can bite you in the bum.
5. Coupons, coupons, coupons. Clip them from the mail and print them online.
6. Don’t be fooled into thinking any one store – even Costco – has the best prices on everything. (If they did, we would all shop there and everyone else would go out of biz.)
7. Compare prices on the 20-30 things you buy most often. Once you know which stores typically have the best prices on each of those items, you’re set. (In my neck of the woods, Trader Joe’s has the best prices on milk, eggs and butter. Albertsons super sales have the best prices on meat, and ethnic grocers have the best prices for fruit and veggies. Everything else is a toss up.)
8. At the end of the month if you run out of grocery money, eat out of your pantry and freezer. Get create with recipes or turn to leftoverchef.com.
9. Check meat prices with the butcher. The pre-packaged stuff is not always the lowest priced.
10. Eat veggies in season. They are more likely to be on sale.
11. Check out your local farmers. How important is price v. benefit of eating locally grown food v. value of organic produce to you?
12. Grow your own herbs, which can be super expensive.
13. Write the manufacturer of products you love, explain how loyal you are and ask for coupons.
14. Check your receipt. Clerks and machines make mistakes all the time. If you catch an error ask them nicely to make it up to you.
15. Go vegetarian when possible. Protein from vegetarian sources like soy and beans is about a $1 cheaper per person per meal than animal protein.
16. Join the loyalty program at every grocery store.
17. Treat food as a discretionary item, not a necessity. Grocery stores are packed with luxuries. Hello organic milk? Fancy cheese? Prime rib?
18. Snoop around until you find the day-old bread rack. Freeze/eat within 12 hours or prepare for an invasion of green mold.
19. Shop based around meals you plan to make that week. Mid-week trips to grab one missing item can result in many extra purchases. Gum is on sale!
20. Invest in re-usable grocery bags. Many stores give you a discount for bringing your own bags.