Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saving Money While Grocery Shopping

Yesterday in my Small Successes post I wrote that I had cut down on my grocery bill. It occurred to me that this is something we all struggle with and maybe we can exchange tips on how to cut down on that darn grocery bill.  Here is a list of tips I have heard/applied.

1) Go grocery shopping once a week. If you run out of something write it down but go without until the next weeks grocery shopping trip. This has helped me a great deal!

2) Make a menu plan. I try to make a menu. Most places I have read on saving money say make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack menu plan for the week and stick to it. I normally only do dinner and breakfast. In my house we have the same thing for breakfast for a week or two at a time. Snacks is usually fruit and maybe some crackers or homemade bread/cookies. Lunch is normally leftovers from dinner. I have been attempting to implement menu plans. Some weeks I do a good job and some weeks I fail.

3) Make a list of everything you buy on a regular basis and keep it on the fridge. That way you can mark next to an item as you run out of it. Then when you go grocery shopping you can make your menu and look at what you have run out of on your list. It makes it quicker and easier to keep track of everything. That way you don't over buy or under buy. I have started making a list but have yet to put it on the fridge and use it.

4) Cutting coupons. I must admit I don't do this. I have a SIL who is a pro at this! One day she came in and said that she had matched a coupon with a sale and had bought a tube of toothpaste for free! I have never been able to do that.

5) Shop at alternative and cheaper places such as Aldi's or Sam's Club or a farmer's market. Two of my SIL's have had great success at finding what they need from the grocery store for much cheaper from Aldi's. Tom does not like Aldi's so I have chosen to shop from Sam's Club. This means buying in bulk and once a month but I kind of prefer that anyways. I go to the grocery store for a very limited number of things. I also love shopping farmer's markets! You can get fresh fruit and vegetables for much cheaper and much fresher than the grocery store. I buy all my meat from a farmer's co-op meat market once a month. I spend $40 on meat and have plenty for a whole month! It is MUCH healthier, leaner, and fresher than anything I have ever seen at the grocery store.

6) Set an amount that you can spend on groceries each week and don't exceed it. I try to only spend $25 each week. I know some people who take only cash with them to the grocery store so that they cannot exceed budget. I haven't done that yet. I am pretty successful so far at keeping the bill $20 to $25 a week.

What have you tried that has helped you cut down the grocery bill?

24 comments:

  1. I need a lot of help in this area as well! I used to be very good at savings on groceries, but not so much lately!

    Menues--I plan dinners for the week, but I do not get so specific as to what goes with what night. I just keep a list and we can pick and choose as we go through the week and our schedule allows. Lunches are leftovers at our house as well. When I was working, I would even take leftovers for lunch. Someone asked my husband one time if I cooked everynight!

    Staples--I like the idea for staples. I have made a list of what I have and put it on the fridge and referred to it when planning my menues. I have also taken the time to prepare a spreadsheet of the things I buy on a regular basis and how much they cost at the stores where I shop. You can input formulas so that it will calculate the price per ounce/pound. Yes, it's time consuming, but in the long run it could save you money and helps me determine which stores to shop.

    Coupons--I used to be very good at using coupons and stocking up and saving HUGE, but I've had a difficult time since we have moved. I have found websites that show stores weekly deals and then cross-reference these deals to available coupons. This has helped me to take advantage of those FREE deals and save money.

    How do you find a local meat co-op?

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  2. curious about the meat co-op too!

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  3. Hannah - I am SHOCKED at how low you keep your grocery bill to!! Way to go! Mine is usually 3 to 4 times that, and that is not including my meat run at Costco. And I only go once a week and keep a list. I think expensive meats and fresh produce account for a lot. But yikes!

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  4. $25!!! It's just me and my Hubby and we spend between $50-$100/wk! We also shop at Whole Foods though which isn't the cheapest place. I make a big pot of two different soups and I freeze them in either individual serving sizes or a big bowl I know the two of can get through before it goes bad. That's our lunch and it works well and those freezing servings will last us almost a month. One thing that I learned recently is buying the fruit/vegetable in it's original form and washing and cutting it at home. Buying the pre-washed/cut ones are like triple the price. I use coupons too but more for the paper products and such...

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  5. We're at that stage in life where the only way to cut down on a grocery bill is to sell a child. Or buy a cow. Or both. I've always had kids with good appetites. I also am on very friendly terms and some first name bases with the local grocery store clerks b/c we're always in there. If it's not milk, it's bread. Of course, the boys have each grown about 5-6 inches in the past year. Ah, life with boys...

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  6. I don't know how Tom found it to be honest. He says he can find them all over the nation. I will ask him for more specifics.

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  7. Kelly and Stephanie,
    Thank you for making me smile! I feel good about myself now!
    Stephanie--- I love your idea for lunch! I will have to do that during winter! I have found that making stuff yourself is MUCH cheaper. (Hence making my own granola rather than buying a cereal.) Whole Foods is EXTREMELY expensive! I would love to shop there because they have such great food and many gluten free options but I get economically ill each time I look at the price tags.

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  8. Phoebe with four children including two growing teenage boys I would be SHOCKED if you kept a low grocery bill. I would be interested to know what you cut back on or how you plan meals for your family?

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  9. Well, I'll admit, we've been horrible about dinners lately and get carry out too much. We save a ton when we cook at home. I find that it's cheaper to buy stuff at Whole Foods than to eat out. Though when I shop WF's, I keep to the edges (just produce and meats, almost no pre-packaged stuff, and I choose stuff that's on sale.) I also buy a lot of our convenience foods at Target for way cheaper than the grocery store - especially cereal (which is Sean's and Maura's favorite thing to munch on.) The main thing I do is rarely buy junk food, mainly b/c I'd eat the junk!

    When we get to Ireland, I'm going to have to get stricter to save money, b/c things cost more there. Last night, I was plotting prices online and trying to come up with a budget. Yipes.

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  10. I am amazed. I definitely don't cut coupons. We go shopping twice a month and spend no more than $150. I'd love to shop at Sam's but with only two kids, I feel like we're not big enough yet to go there. It's also difficult to plan meals when Tim's schedule changes every three weeks. You have great ideas on how to save when shopping!

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