Five Easy Tips to Reduce Your Grocery Bill
Posted on March 3, 2014
Even before Extreme Couponing hit the airwaves, manufacturers’ coupons were saving consumers money.
If you’re watching your budget, coupons are a great place to start. Be sure to look through the coupons that come with the Sunday paper, and check online at sites like Coupons.com. Here are five more easy ways to save money:
1. Compare weekly flyers
Major grocery retailers put different items on sale each week, and they vary from store to store. Each week, go through the flyers from your local stores, check what’s on sale and compare prices between the stores. Make a list of the sale items you’ll buy from each store and do the shopping in one trip to save on gas. If you’re more of an electronic buff, you can also find the flyers online, by ZIP code (King Soopers, SafeWay, Sprouts). Be sure to check the date range on the flyer so you catch the sale items you want.
2. Stock up on what’s on special
Speaking of flyers, when there’s a really good deal on any non-perishable items that you use regularly – thinks like canned goods and toilet paper – take advantage of the sale and buy a little more – as much as your budget and storage space can manage.
3. Buy fewer processed and prepared foods
The more work a company puts into processing the food, the more they charge for it. For example, a russet potato will cost less per ounce than the equivalent in frozen mashed potatoes. To save money, buy as much fresh, whole food as feasible. Even packaging can play a role: buying a container of raw oats and adding your own sugar and flavoring will be less expensive than buying individual-sized packages of oatmeal mix. All it will take is a measuring cup.
4. Choose the right size
It’s easy to be distracted the full price of an item, but often it will actually cost less over time to buy a larger package because the price-per-unit (often the unit is an ounce) is less. Make it a habit to compare the per-unit prices on the shelf tags before you grab your usual size, keeping in mind that sometimes it's the smaller package that has the better per-unit price. This is also a great way to compare prices between brands, which may come in different sized packages. If the tag isn’t there, or the tags for different items are showing different unit sizes, all you need is a little math: divide the total price by the number of units.
5. Buy generic or store brands
Consumer product companies pay millions of dollars to advertise their products, and that money comes from the price consumers pay for them. Generic and store brands are usually extremely similar to the national brands, in some cases exactly the same because they’re actually made on the same production line. If you have a strong loyalty to a particular brand, switching to a lower-cost product might not be appealing, but it’s worth trying at least some of them out – canned vegetables, cereals and crackers are great places to start.
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