I think that it is safe to say that for most people or most households, groceries are probably the second biggest monthly expense, falling in right behind your mortgage/rent and right in front of your car payment(s) or somewhere close. Therefore, it stands to reason that this is one of the areas that if you concentrate, organize yourself, and do a little planning, that you can have a pretty big impact for your wallet. Make sense?
Before we begin, yes I am a guy and yes, I really do the majority of the grocery shopping for our household. Let’s just say I took it on as a little project and it became a challenge.
So, you probably don’t need to limit yourself to doing ALL of your shopping at one outlet. Personally, I use 4. Trust me, this will not take your grocery shopping from an hour or so a weekday night to a 6-7 hour marathon–I still do not spend much more time doing it on a weekly basis.
Basically, what I do is to use one outlet (I won’t name them) for the majority of my stuff and a second outlet who has items for a cheaper price. Third, I utilize a local farmer’s market as much as possible. There should probably be one close enough by you and they are definitely worth checking out. Major savings!!! You may have to spend a little bit more time picking through some stuff, but it is on the whole quality produce at substantially cheaper prices. And finally, I do use a specialty store to treat myself every once in awhile. You have to do every so often throughout this process of revamping your finances, or you’re liable to give up.
Most grocery stores track your purchases a lot more closely than you might think. The one I use the most started sending me coupons a few years ago for $4 off if I purchase $40 or more. Pretty good deal, right? Several months later, they started sending me the same coupon, but for $6 off when I spend $60 or more. I actually got up to an $8 off coupon when I spend $80 or more. I finally figured out the process. I was probably averaging $25-$30 per week when the first coupon came out. Then, they got me to the next level and so on and so on. The key is to NEVER buy anything just because you have a coupon, unless it’s free.
Next, you want to find a second outlet for items that you buy consistently that has them for less. This will take some time in the beginning but becomes easier with time. Also, pay attention to sales. I usually know each outlet’s sale items by listening to the radio, but if not, they almost always post their weekly sales flyer on their website. Browse through that quickly each week before your shopping day, to catch if you need to go to one store or the other for a special sale on the items you buy.
Another thing-for items that are non-perishable or can fit in you freezer-when you see that they are on sale—stock up! Canned goods, fresh chicken, etc. That way, you NEVER have to pay full price for these items. Another golden rule of shopping-NEVER pay full price when you don’t have to.
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