Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saving Money on Groceries

Earlier this week I saw an 'intervention' on tv.  One lady was being watched by two others as she did her grocery shopping.  When she got to the check-out lane, her total was over $400.  That's when the other two ladies came out of hiding, stopped her from paying that much for her groceries, and then took her through the store showing her how to spend much less.  They used store ads and coupons and got everything she had in the first place, along with some extra things, and the total only came to about $37.

Both this lady and her husband were in complete shock and kept going on and on about how they didn't know it was possible to save so much money.  Me?  I was wondering how it was even possible to spend so much in the first place.  Over $400 in one grocery trip?  I know there have been times I had my cart at Walmart so full that I seriously considered checking out, taking everything to the van, and then finishing the rest of my shopping.  Instead, I creatively rearranged my cart and continued - and even then my total was nowhere near $400.

Every time I see things like this, television segments or magazine articles promising to show people how to save money, I get excited.  And then they just tell me things I already know, like this:

How to save money at the grocery store:
  • Read your local grocery ads and plan to buy what's on sale.
  • Make a list!  That way you keep track of what you need and what's on sale.
  • Use coupons, but only on the sale items.  Using a coupon on a regular-priced item doesn't really save you money.  Usually.
  • If your store offers double coupon days, shop on those days.  That way, your coupons are worth twice as much.
  • When you find a good deal on something, stock up!  Don't wait until you are actually out of something before you buy more.  Your goal is to have a pantry and freezer full of the things you use regularly.  That way, you should never have to pay full price.  For anything.
  • Plan your meals around the sale items you buy and the items you already have in your freezer and pantry.  Don't just run out to the store to pick up something for dinner. 
  • In fact, once you've got your freezer and pantry stocked, you won't even need to go to the grocery store every week, except maybe to grab a gallon of milk - or have the husband grab it on his way home from work like I do.
Ummm, what else?  I know there are more. The main thing is to do your homework - plan, cut out the coupons, etc.  You know if you were looking for life insurance, you'd do your homework by reading all the life insurance terms and definitions and looking for the best price for the most coverage.  Why should buying groceries and household items be any different?  It's a huge part of your household budget, but it doesn't have to be quite so huge.  I realize that all this takes time, and you may not have time to become an extreme couponer, but every little bit helps, so do what you can.  As you start saving, you might just want to do more!

How much do you usually spend on groceries?  How often do you go to the store?  Do you have any money-saving tips you can share with us?  Please do!
Enhanced by Zemanta