Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Grocery Shopping "Wins" Without Going Crazy for Couponing

So, I will preface this post with this:  I don't do extreme coupon-ing.  I just don't.  I do realize that it could save me more money with my grocery bill, but that's just not something I'm willing to spend a lot of time on right now.  It's not that I don't use coupons when I have them; it's just that I don't go out of my way to collect them.  

So that being said, I have been working on saving a little money in my grocery shopping recently.  And I have some (non-coupon) tips that I'd like to share for anyone else out there who's trying to pinch a few pennies.

1.  The less you shop, the less you buy.  This one is pretty simple: If you go to the grocery store fewer times per month, you have less chances to succumb to the ever enticing impulse buy.  I have started trying to go to the grocery store once every two weeks (with the occasional extra trip for milk), and I have noticed a huge difference in the amount I spend at the store.  It's just so simple to think that if you're not walking around the store every three days, you won't see things you're tempted to buy but don't need.

2.  Meal Plan and Make a List.  This one is a definite must to save some cash.  If you know what meals you'll be eating for the month, you know exactly what you need to buy and when you need to buy it.  I have started planning out the entire month's worth of meals at the end of the previous month.  Though it's a chore, if you get the whole family involved in requesting their favorite meals and brainstorming, you can have it completed in no time.  After that, make a big list so that you can buy most of it in one big trip.  But also, don't fret too much when the schedule changes and you have to move one or two things around; life happens.

3.  Shop with a Buddy.  This one might or might not work for you.  I have noticed that when I shop with Thomas, I'm much less likely to buy things we don't need.  He's not critical or anything, but I think twice about putting something unnecessary in the cart in case he asks what we need it for and I don't have an answer.  I also like him there because I can send him down an aisle that tends to be extra temptation for me (the bakery area).  Then I get the one item I need without the temptation of everything else in the aisle.  However, if your buddy is an impulse buyer, this one might not work out so well for you.

4.  Watch for Deals on Items You Use a Lot.  Unless I cook something special for breakfast, Thomas has cereal almost every morning.  So I know that I always need to have cereal that he likes in the pantry.  That means that I walk down the cereal aisle every time I go to the store.  If things he likes are on sale, I stock up on them so that I don't have to buy them when they aren't on sale. This is the same with the frozen vegetables I buy.  (I'm a brand snob on those.)  We eat a lot of them, so I buy as much as I can when they're on sale because I know we'll use them before the go bad.

5.  Pay Attention to the 'Price Per Ounce'.  When buying items where you have a choice of size, look at the price per ounce on the price tag.  A lot of times, if you buy the bigger box of cereal, rice, etc. you get a better deal.  Sometimes, it can be a huge difference!  But make sure you only buy the bigger size if you know you'll use it before it goes bad.  The same thing goes for deciding between two different brands, etc.

So those are a few small tips for your grocery budget.  They won't make an enormous dent, but you will definitely find yourself with a little extra cash at the end of the month!

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