Monday, September 30, 2013

Summer is over and for us, the colder seasons mean more meals at home. That means more grocery shopping and recipe experimentation (read: a higher grocery bill) so I am always looking for a good deal. A good deal for me is one that is easy to incorporate into my lifestyle and by “easy to incorporate” I mean I don’t want to have to order a paper newspaper (almost 100% of what I read is digital) and spend hours looking at and clipping coupons for products I wouldn’t generally buy in the first place.  So for this month’s Money Matters post, the focus is on saving on groceries.


      List Before You Shop: Maybe it’s just me but I have definitely gone out to buy ketchup when a perfectly good bottle was in the pantry. I’m bad at keeping up with what I have…especially when I am shopping for a specific recipe or just too hungry.  Make sure to either keep a running list of things you need on your fridge or make a list before you leave the house so you can make sure you really need the stuff you’re planning to shop for. Making a list also allows you to shop your pantry and perhaps cut your grocery list for the week. Use what you have, buy only what you need.

      Membership Rewards Cards: Nearly every grocery store (even small chains) has some sort of membership rewards program.  Joining will save you money on select products each month. Most larger chains will also give you coupons at checkout for items that show up in your purchase history. As a bonus, some stores (like Stop & Shop) even offer rewards points, which can save you money on everyday needs like gas. These rewards cards are super easy to sign up for and a great way to save a few bucks each time you shop.

Visit Big Box Stores (Target, Walmart): Check out deals at your local big box stores. If they have a grocery section (and most do these days), you can often find better deals than those offered at your local supermarket. Check out apps for these stores too. You can get weekly sale alerts to keep a few extra dollars in your pockets. 

Join a Wholesale Store (BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club): When Ash and I first moved to the burbs, the first thing we did was join Costco. We were enticed by being able to buy muffins the size of your head, a dozen fresh baked croissants and large apples in sets of 15 for under $8.00. We quickly realized that only two people live in our house and fresh produce and baked goods spoil quickly. So we pulled back. We generally shop at a regular grocery store BUT we use the wholesale store for things we eat/drink everyday and frozen foods. As a bonus, we also save about 30 cents a gallon on gas by pumping at the wholesale store. 

Eat Foods that are In Season: Foods that are in season are always a cheaper buy because grocery stores don’t have any extra importing fees. There is a pretty good list of what’s in season at Eat the Seasons

Go Generic: I am sure there are some brands you are totally loyal to.  I am absolutely loyal to certain products. That said, I save money where I can by buying the store brand of certain items. They work just as well and can be as much as $1 cheaper in some instances.

There’s an App for That: There are apps that will tell you the best price in your area for certain products. Take advantage. You can also find coupons using apps and have then stored on your phone. I use RedLaser but you can find a variety of price saving apps here

Go to Farmer’s Markets: Most are only in season for the warmer months but shop there for fresh produce while you can. I always find them to be cheaper for organic fruits and veggies.  Find Farmer’s Markets near you at LocalHarvest

Shop Online: Certain non-perishable or hard to find items are cheaper online and if you spend a certain amount, you can get free shipping. I use Amazon a lot for things like that. You can also save on household cleaning products, toiletries and paper goods.

Go Frozen: If you go to the grocery store with a plan to buy fresh produce on Saturday and by the following Friday, that fresh produce is still sitting in the fridge wilting and turning colors, go frozen. You can find organic frozen veggies and they are often much cheaper than their fresh counterparts. 

No comments: