Trimming the excess fat from your budget is much easier than you think. Although you may have little control over your mortgage or property taxes, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year on groceries, utilities, health and beauty aids, back-to-school expenses, a new car or computer, home furnishings, cell phone bills, dental and vision care, gasoline, insurance, bank fees, prescriptions, and much more. This article teaches you 25 practical ways to save money on groceries.
1. Combine manufacturer’s coupons with advertised specials. If your supermarket doubles coupons up to 99¢, combining them with weekly specials can save you even more money.
Here’s an example:
Suppose that the regular price for a 6 oz. size of brand-name yogurt is 75¢. It goes on sale for 50¢, a savings of 25¢ per cup.
You have 4 manufacturer’s coupons, each for 40¢ off when you buy 4 yogurt cups. Let’s say that you buy 16 cups and use all 4 coupons.
At the regular price, you would pay $12.00 for the 16 yogurt cups (16 x 75¢ = $12.00). With the weekly special of 25¢ off per yogurt, you save $4.00 when you buy 16 cups (25¢ x 16 = $4.00).
Then, your supermarket doubles each 40¢ coupon to 80¢. You now have an additional $3.20 in savings (4 x 80¢ = $3.20).
Your total savings with the weekly special and doubled coupons are $7.20 ($4.00 + $3.20).
2. The average American household wastes about $500 worth of food every year. What are the best ways to cut back on food waste?
First, always check the expiration dates on perishable foods before you buy them. Even if the dates expire during home storage, perishable foods should be safe for several days or longer if they are stored properly in the refrigerator.
Next, don’t procrastinate about putting bulk meat into the freezer.
Finally, organize your pantry. From time to time, perishable items might be lost in unorganized pantries.
3. If your supermarket is out of an advertised special, always get a rain check. Even if you have to wait for several minutes in the customer service line, you will feel better about doing it in the end.
4. Less expensive grocery and household supplies are sometimes found on the top or bottom shelves. Stretch a little and save a few dollars.
5. Always comparison shop. Consider reading two or more advertising circulars before you go grocery shopping. You might want to do part of your shopping at one store and finish it up at another.
6. Get to the supermarket as early in the day as possible. You will find a better selection of advertised specials which lessens the need for rain checks. You might also spend less time in the checkout line.
7. Join a warehouse club like Costco because the membership fees pay for themselves.
8. Invest in a crock pot. According to TheSimpleDollar.com, a crock pot “is perhaps the best deal on earth for reducing cooking costs in a busy family. You can just dump in your ingredients before work, put it on simmer, and dinner is done when you get home.”
9. Never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach or when you are tired. You are more likely to buy high-priced deli items and snack foods you don’t need. You might also ignore your shopping list because you’re in a hurry.
10. Instead of buying expensive glass cleaner, buy windshield washer fluid. We compared prices:
The 28 oz. size of brand-name glass cleaner costs as much as $4.49 at the supermarket or drug store, while the 64 oz. size of windshield washer fluid costs as little as $2.09 at Target.com.
That’s a difference of $8.17 plus applicable sales tax.
11. Stay away from vending machines because the merchandise is generally overpriced. For example, a 6 oz. size of brand-name yogurt costs up to $1.50 at a vending machine. You can pay as little as 40¢ for the exact same yogurt when it goes on sale at the supermarket.
12. Buy bone-in and skin-on meat because it is usually cheaper per pound than the boneless and skinless varieties. You can always remove the skin and bones prior to freezing or cooking.
13. Instead of using a high-priced whitening mouthwash, consider using a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. We checked the prices on both. At the drug store, you can pay as much as $7.99 for a 32 oz. bottle of brand-name whitening mouthwash. At Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle®, you can pay as little as $1.19 for a 16 oz. bottle of generic hydrogen peroxide.
14. Use manufacturer’s coupons only when it’s cost-effective. If you can buy a 15 oz. bottle of brand-name shampoo for 99¢ when it goes on sale, don’t use a $1.00 coupon for a more expensive brand.
15. Always buy paper towels and toilet tissue in bulk. It’s much cheaper than buying them by the single roll. Why pay $1.19 for a single roll of paper towels when you can buy 8 rolls for $4.99?
16. Don’t purchase frozen dinner entrees that you microwave because you are paying extra for convenience.
17. Avoid twenty-four hour convenience stores. The merchandise is generally overpriced.
18. Clean your windows with newspaper instead of paper towels.
19. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets.
20. When buying dairy products, select items in the back. They are usually fresher.
21. Use rags whenever possible. This cuts back on using paper towels.
22. Make your own salad dressing. For example, thousand island dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, salt, and pepper.
23. Some supermarkets give you credit for using your own bags. Here are eight retailers that reward you for bringing your own bags:
– Brookshire’s – Bring in reusable grocery bags and receive a $0.05 discount per bag with no bag number limit.
– Foodland – Bring in reusable grocery bags and receive a $0.05 discount per bag with no bag number limit.
– Kroger (Ralphs, Tom Thumb, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, QFC, and Fry’s) – Some locations give you 5 fuel points for every reusable bag you bring in to use with a 10 bag limit per shopping trip.
– Lowe’s Foods – Bring in reusable grocery bags and receive a $0.05 discount per bag with a 20 bag limit.
– Reasor’s Foods – Bring in reusable grocery bags and receive a $0.06 discount per bag with no bag number limit.
– Target – Bring in reusable bags and receive a $0.05 discount per bag.
– Trader Joe’s – Some locations give you a $0.05 discount for each reusable bag you bring in to use.
– Whole Foods – Bring in reusable bags and receive a $0.05 discount per bag.
24. Make a 50/50 combination of fresh milk and powdered milk for everyday use.
25. Eat more cabbage. It’s one of the healthiest and most economical vegetables on the planet. Make cabbage soup, coleslaw, cabbage rolls, stuffed cabbage, etc.
This article has taught you 25 practical ways to save money on your grocery bill. To live fiscally fit, you must learn how to live below your means. You must create a lifestyle that conforms to your income and stop associating with “lavish, high-roller” friends who have careless spending habits. Your financial well-being is more important than trying to impress Mr. and Mrs. Jones with a $1,299 sofa or a $249 blender.