My goal going into the year has been to simplify and organize. Top priority on my list…lower what I spend on groceries each month. I have learned a few things over the past year.Â With a great deal of planning I was able to make small changes weekly and monthly to reach my goal.
Shop Around for the Best Deals:
The beginning of every month I typically shop for the whole month at a Warehouse store. I buy all my dairy, fish and meats, canned goods, breads, and baby stuff. Cereals and condiments I purchase at the discount stores. Once a week I have been hitting the local flea market or 99-cent store for produce. I occasionally stop by an ethnic foods market for the best deals on grains and spices and catering warehouses for a few specialty items.
Keep A Price Journal:
I refer to my price journal often to ascertain if I am getting a good deal. A price journal is basically notes on the items we use most and prices from various stores. I cannot recall how many times I ask myself, when I see an item I buy regularly, “Now, how much did I pay at the other store?”
Sales and Coupons:
I learned from the experts to take advantage of sales and stock up.Â Sales typically run in a 12-week cycle dropping to the lowest point by the 12th week. Coupons genuinely coincide with those sales for double the savings. If it is not on sale I wait.
Stick To Your List:
Really think about what goes into the cart. If I do have to stop by a grocery store I write a list and stick to it. The only exception would be if I saw something I forgot to write on my list that is a on sale and, according to my price journal, is a good buy. I also skip the grocery cart and grab a hand basket. It puts impulse buys at bay.
Shop The Store Brands:
For even bigger savings, I shop the store brands. Years ago I would never suggest using the store brand. However things have a way of improving over time. Somethings I will not skimp on.
Shop On A Full Stomach:
Shopping for groceries when you are hungry is an invitation to the impulse buy items to jump in your cart.
Eat Better/Avoid The Packaged Stuff:
I was spending hundreds of dollars a month on prepackaged foods and snacks. While they may be convenient most prepacked items can be made at home where I know what goes into it. We revamped how we eat. Mostly trying to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, cheese and nuts. I quit buying all the carbs and fake fruit. We do have some crackers, trail mix and fruit leather around for on the go. Once a week I whip up a few baked goods and freeze them. The kids learn to make their favorite snacks and I am saving money. Packed school lunches can get quite pricey. Substitute the boxed juices and snack packs with water (or flavored water), homemade energy bars, nuts, banana bread, muffins, fresh fruit and veggies.
When I have my kids in tow I am guaranteed many surprises at the check out stand. My son thinks we need every type of gadget and food item in the store. They have come to expect the “No, you cannot have that.” Now they bypass me and hope I do not notice their treasure sitting in the cart. Industry studies say youâ€™ll spend 10 to 40 percent more if you have kids in tow.