How to Save Money on Groceries

Years before I became a pastor or teacher or Financial Advisor; I worked at a major grocery store, Albertsons. I did so through High School and College.  I learned few things I would like to pass on to you that have saved my family thousands of dollars over the years.

Here are tried and true tips to slash your grocery store bill.

Foremost, know what you will be eating and plan out your meals accordingly. Also, be flexible in what the deals may be, then:

  • First, look at what you have before you go buy more. What is in your refrigerator and pantry? Most people assume and come back with more than they need and end up throwing out what they had before.
  • Second, make a list and check it twice. After you looked over what you have, make a list of what you need. Going by the list helps a lot in savings and keeps you from impulse buying and overspending on what you do not need or already have.
  • Third, keep an eye out for coupons. Look at the Sunday paper inserts and coupons.com. Go to your favorite companies’ websites and get on their email list to receive special offers. Like, one of my favorite places to go is Sprouts. They have excellent coupons on their app and once a month they offer a $15 off coupon that most people miss out on.
  • Fourth, the products at the end of the aisles are called “loss leaders.” The company makes a special purchase and then they advertise those products to draw you into the store. Then, they count on you to purchase more to make up for the loss. Thus, those are the deals. However, only purchase them if you are going to need them or you will not be saving any money.
  • Fifth, beware of the center aisles and shelves! The products on the center shelves of the grocery store aisles are more expensive and thus a greater profit for the store. Same with the aisles in the center of the store. Sometimes it is all about the color that allures. Buy those goods only when you need them. The best deals are at the bottom and top of the shelves as well as at the ends.
  • Sixth, you do not need all that meat. You can cut down on meat and eat more brown rice and make your own beans in a crockpot, and you will save a lot and eat healthier too. You can also substitute dried (not canned) plant proteins like lentils, quinoa, and chickpeas. You can also add potatoes (keep the skin on them, that is where the vitamins and minerals are), and cauliflower as well; they pick up the meat flavor. And to supercharge your health, add in some Chia seeds too.
  • Seventh, there is an app for that. Sign up for your store’s app, there will be the latest deals and coupons. Just remember, “buy now and save” does not work. Buy what you need and try to find the best reasonable deal does.
  • Eighth, stay away from premade and convenience foods. Usually, it is old and overpriced. Instead, look for the bins and bulk foods. Of course, pay attention to the price per unit.
  • Ninth, shop around for where you will shop. Prices will vary significantly between different types of stores as well as the different chains. Like big-box versus the drug store versus online store versus the grocery store and the various franchises and brands within. Sometimes drug stores have better prices on certain items like toiletries as do the online stores and so forth. So, monitor the sales ads, newspaper inserts, newsletters, and apps.
  • Tenth, do not go grocery shopping while you are hungry. Because you will end up buying what you do not need and just and end up throwing a lot of it out.

Here are a few more tips to slash your grocery store bill:

  • Skip bottled water, and drink lots of water too. Bottled water is full of contaminants and is more expensive than gasoline. Get a good filter and save a lot. Many people spend more than $100 a month on bottled water that they do not need.
  • Many stores have special sales days, like Wednesday or double coupon days. Take advantage of them.
  • Generic and store brands are the same as name brands and made by the same companies.
  • If you have an Aldi’s near buy (they own Trader Joe’s), that is a savers wonderland. Unless you are an impulse buyer.
  • Pay attention to the readout and the clerk ringing up your groceries. Sometimes there are mistakes like the sale price has not been inputted or the system is not working right.
  • Vegetables are cheaper and of much greater quality at farmers’ markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). Try to hit those once a week.
  • Take advantage of good sales and then freeze for later use. You can also freeze leftovers and leftover ingredients.
  • Do not shop at convenience stores unless you are in a pinch. Because of the markup on the products, there are two times or more for the convenience. Although, their coffee is usually less than half the price of the coffee places and just as good.
  • Look at the price per unit of the price on the shelf price tag; the lowest price is not always the best deal.
  • Do not waste leftovers, that is just throwing out money!
  • Skip the soda and sugary drinks. They are overpriced and are very bad for you. Instead, buy green tea bags and raw honey and make your own drinks that are tasty and good for you.
  • Try a rebate app like Rewards or Ibotta, l have not tried them yet, I have been told that people do save money on them.
  • Getting something new? Taste it first so you do not waste it. Trader Joe’s lets you sample anything in the store except alcohol and wine.
  • If you have food ready to expire and you are not going to eat it; then donate it to a local food bank. Do not throw away good food when there are hungry people in your area!
  • Pay in cash and not in the ‘magic money’ credit card and you will save more because with tangible money you will spend less.
  • Do not like crowds and lines, shop early in the day, avoid the 4 to 7 pm times.

Dr. Richard Krejcir is a pastor and a licensed and experienced Financial Consultant with over thirty years of experience. He has worked for major banks, insurance companies, nonprofits, and families too. He is also an author, Special Ed Teacher, and financial blogger and holds a doctorate in Stewardship.

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