Insider Market Tips! Super Ways to Save on Groceries
Do you ever think what about what is eating up your budget? Actually, you are. Did you know that the average family of four spends more than $600 a month in groceries? If you are anything like me you feel like you sometimes live in the grocery store. Having a new baby as I do can add over $1000 to your annual grocery bill and will increase the number of trips you make to your favorite stores. 1,000 is about the same number of meals that parents serve annually not including snacks.
Having worked with retailers around the country and the top consumer packaged goods companies I have some insider money saving market tips to help cut your bills and bring home the best for your family.
Cash or Card? Both.
Do use loyalty cards at your favorite stores. It’s true retailers are working hard to find out about you. However, the info you provide each time you use your store’s loyalty card will help them to learn your preferences and to tailor merchandise to better suit your needs. Items featured on the loyalty card are generally a savings so it is beneficial to sign up for them. It’s also fast and free. Try to use cash when shopping for food. It will help you control your spending better and stick to a dedicated budget.
I used to dread standing in line behind a woman with a million coupons. It drove me crazy. But I have since learned I was the crazy one not to have them. It’s the closest thing to money growing on trees that you are going to find. Clipping coupons can save hundreds of dollars on your grocery bill annually. Why pay full price when you don’t have to? Having the Sunday paper is a must for finding valuable money saving coupons. In addition, there are online resources where you can get coupons on your favorite brands. As a new mom I was unable to breastfeed due to taking medication. I needed some pills when I found out how expensive formula is. You can go online to your favorite formula provider and sign up for free offers and coupons they will send you via the mail. Keep a coupon section in your purse. Ensure that you redeem coupons and rebate offers. We often qualify for offers but leave the coupons at home when it’s time to redeem them on a future shopping trip.
Recycling your old soda cans and water bottles is good on the environment and your wallet.
Work Your Assets
So you have a loyalty card and you frequent a certain store. It’s time to maximize what your store has to offer. Use the assets found in store to help make your shopping experience quicker, more fun and helpful to your meal planning. Use recipe kiosks to get fast and free food ideas in store. Some retailers allow you to shop, bag and scan your food at the same time. This makes checkout a breeze once you get used to doing it. It also will alert you to money saving offers on items you typically buy. Get more than groceries by taking advantage of free health clinics, food education, cooking lessons and even the entertainment that your store has to offer.
Figure out if you are on a quick fill-in trip, if you are stocking up, getting something for immediate consumption, a special occasion or something in between. Identifying what the trip mission is will help keep you focused and reduce the number of impulse buys. Keep an ongoing shopping list at home. It seems like a lot of work but it will actually shorten the time you spend in the store and the prep time the day of your shopping trip. Shopping without a list often means we buy duplicate items that we already have at home.
Instead of spending extra money on prepackaged convenience items, purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk size and prep/bag them yourself. Wash and cut the items as soon as you get home, then they'll be ready to go when you're making dinner during the week.
Plan Your Attack
A market and no meal plan equals a melt down. You’ve got the Sunday Paper for the coupons, now review your store flyer for sale items in advance. Use the sale items to anchor your weekly meal plan. Write down and shop for the staples in your go-to meals so that you can have items on hand in a pinch. Take advantage of meal solution ideas from iPhone applications, internet or the family recipe book in advance of your shopping trip.
Organize your pantry and fridge and review what you have in your home prior to shopping. Avoid buying duplicate items that have a limited shelf life and then having items expire.
If your budget permits, stock up on sale items that can be used for many meals and have a good shelf life. These are items that you and your family will eat if they are on hand. This will allow you to save money on future trips when you would have to buy the same item at regular price.
Specially marked packages that offer you a free bonus size, free package or free serving are items to look out for.
The perimeter of the store is usually packed with sale items. However, don’t miss out on deals that can be found in the aisles as well. The center of the store often has unique offerings that may be a smart deal. On trips when you have more time, peruse the aisles you don't normally explore. Comparison shop brands to ensure sale items are really a true value.
This may seem like the opposite of keeping you on budget, but in fact it will help you. Identify an amount of money per stock up trip that you can allocate to impulse purchases. This will allow you to take advantage of sale items that you did not plan for in advance or offerings that will work for your family. It will also keep you on budget. If you allow $10 for an unplanned purchase you are likely to stick to that amount and not exceed it.