Okay so let's finally finish up this Grocery Savings Tip Series...
Tip #18 - Avoid
When you go to the store do you walk up and down every aisle???
Do you sometimes run out of things during the week and then run to the store for a "quick trip"???
This is accounts for a huge amount of extra money spent on unnecessary items!
- As you write your shopping list, try grouping your items together by categories. This way you will know what aisles you don't need to go down and which ones to skip. This will not only help you to avoid buying extra unneeded items, but also shorten your shopping trips!
- Avoid the store all together! Do you really need to go to the store? Can you make due without for a few days, until your regular shopping trip? Can you substitute what you're missing with something else? Statistics prove you will buy more than what you originally go in for. Stores are designed to entice you to make impulse purchases! (Read more HERE)
It's simple math... If you don't go into a store = You won't spend money!
Tip #19 - Don’t buy boxed and packaged
It’s expensive! Why? Because you're paying for convenience! Often times I honestly find that the "convenience" you're paying for really isn't worth it! A lot of times frozen items take a lot longer to cook and the portions are very small.
By learning to make things yourself you will save a lot of money AND be serving your family more nutritious food. Or a good alternative to buy prepackaged snacks is to divide the food up right when you unpack your groceries. This way they are convenient to grab when you need them.
Tip #20 - Don't buy "Trash"
Plastic bags, foil, paper products, saran wrap, etc.... These things are all essentially trash. They are made for a one time use, so that you will go back and buy more! Once again, you're paying for convenience.
Keep in mind that these things are not necessary! You can easily use other reusable items:
- Washable towels and napkins instead of paper towels napkins
- Plastic/glass containers instead of plastic bags, saran wrap, foil, etc.
Tip #21 - Rain Checks
These are key in adding to your savings! There are going to be times when you go shopping and the sale items you want are already gone! It can be very frustrating, but no worries... There is still a way to get the same sale, just at a different time.
Simply go to the customer service desk and ask for a rain check! This means you can still buy the same item at the same sales price, just at a different date! (Sometimes they put expiration dates on them, so be sure to not let it expire before you use it.)
Tip #22 - Don't shop hungry!
This doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it can be a fatal flaw! Ok, so maybe a little dramatic... But if you're hungry, you will be easily swayed by your cravings to buy extra and full priced items!
Go when you are full and focused. Think of it as a mission to save the most money, by filling your cart with as many of the healthiest products you can! You can do it!
Tip #23 - Stick to the list
How many times have you gone into the store with your list in hand and then when you get home and put the groceries away you realize half of the things on your receipt were never on your list? You pick up one extra thing here and there. It's only a few dollars right???
It can be shocking how fast these "few dollars" add up. Now, I'm not saying that you should never divert from your list. Of course there are times when you forget something that should have been on the list or you will see a good deal that you just can't pass up. What I'm referring to is those extra things you just decide for no good reason that you want to grab! Say NO!
Tip #24 - Buy Seasonal produce
When you buy out of season produce it is more expensive, because it costs more for the store to obtain. They have to use more chemicals to keep it preserved longer. Also, you're paying for the cost of shipping.
Not only is buying seasonal produce cheaper, it's also better for the environment! HERE is where you can find a list of what is seasonal!
Tip #25 - Shop without kids
This should be a no-brainer. Now, you may wonder why I would put this as a tip, since I often post about shopping with my kids.... But my kids are frugal-minded! And until yours are you need to leave them at home. (We'll talk soon about how to get them there.)
Kids often find things that they "need" and will beg for. Or they may just distract you from finding the items on your list. Also, I know we've all had those shopping trips when you're only halfway through the store and you just want to be out of the store, so you grab a few more things, forget about your coupons and get home as fast as possible.
Why set yourself up for failure??? Especially if you are new to shopping with a budget, you need to be able to focus! Leave the kids at home or take your spouse or friend to help occupy the kids or go while they are at school. Even if you still have one child left at home, while the rest are in school, this would be a better option than to take all of them.
Tip #26 - Buy "old" produce and meat
If you ever look at my shopping trips, then you've seen the evidence in my savings! this is one of the best and easiest grocery savings tips ever!!!
This is food that they need to sell asap, so they mark down in order to make some money, instead of having to throw it out! Most stores put sticker coupons for dollars off or will mark down the price per pound. They normally stand out, because they are marked with a bright sticker. Also, some stores will have a separate shelf for "old" produce.
Don't be scared of this food! The meat cannot be sold after certain dates, that is why they are trying to sell it fast! The freshness is still guaranteed. You do need to use is asap, though. So make sure you keep this in mind when you buy. Be prepared to either cook, eat or freeze right away! Produce is a little less guaranteed... I've never seen anything with mold or anything, but it could be bad by the next day. So I would suggest not buying more than what will be consumed in about 2-3 days. (Maybe a little longer with some things.)
Tip #27 - Watch your items ring up.
The register is an easy place to check out and just hand over your money. But sadly this is also the easiest place to rack up the price. It is not uncommon for things to ring up wrong. You have to watch that everything rings up at the right price. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Also, make sure all your coupons ring up. A good idea is to count the coupons before you hand them over. This way you can count as you see them ring up. It can happen that they stick together or that the cashier thinks they scanned, but they didn't. Also, if your store doubles, watch for this too. Sometimes they may need to be keyed in.
Tip #28 - Don't buy your groceries at the gas station/drugstore
I know, I know this sounds like a dumb tip. But hear me out... How many times have you ran out of bread, milk or some other essential? Or your on your way to a cookout and need to grab a soda or chips? You just want to be in and out, so you stop by the gas station.
They count on people doing this and that is why their prices are waaay high! They can be twice as high as a grocery store.
Does it really take that much extra time to run into the grocery store? In my opinion, it's worth the extra minute to run in and save! Plus, most stores have an express lane and self check out!