I remember being a kid and my mom dragging me around town to 3 or 4 different stores hunting for a deal. She was so knowledgeable on what things cost and what was expensive, I can still envision her picking up an item at the store, furrowing her brown in complete disgust and saying, “oh no this I too expensive.” Or embarrassing me by haggling aggressively with the cashier, insisting that the orange juice was $.50 less.
Even now when she stays over to help me with my kids, the first thing she does is ask whether I need groceries. She definitely loves saving and helping others save. Considering groceries make up a major expense right after mortgage/rent and transit, saving groceries and saving money on food shopping is big deal. It’s a controllable expense that fluctuates.
So here are our best tips on saving:
Price comparison shopping
The key is to know what’s on the market that week. The best way to find out is through the circular or save on food weekly flyer. You usually get the weekly circular on Sunday in the Pennysaver. Nowadays most stores also post it online. She’d get CVS, Walgreens, and a bunch of local supermarket circulars and compare pricing. I was never really that great at this since you need a strong memory to write down the lowest price and where the item you want to buy is. She would compare 4-5 stores and just know which one had the best sale.
Her keychain is full of those shopper club cards. Her goal is to get those in store discounts. She signs up for all of them. So after combing through each and every circular, determining what to buy from each store and creating a list, she sets out to make her purchase. There’s no greater satisfaction than swiping your shopper club card at the register and seeing all the saving deducted from your total. She can easily save $10-$15 by comparison shopping. My mom even goes as far as returning items, if she finds out another place offers a better deal. It’s one of the best ways to save money grocery shopping.
Couponing is another way to save on groceries if you’re able to do it consistently. The weekend Pennysaver would include the PG saver which included exclusive coupons from Proctor Gamble. She would collect all her manufacturers coupons and keep it in a binder organized in folders by expiration date and ALWAYS remember to use them before that date. You can find most of these coupons online too. Checkout these websites for grocery coupons, just click and print.
My mom also knew which stores would double coupons, meaning the actual store would match the coupons savings. That way she could double the savings. If you’re unsure of which stores do this just ask at the register.
Some pitfalls to couponing would be buying more than you need or buying things you didn’t need just because you had a free coupon. I remember eating the most random food because she had a coupon for it. It would sit in our refrigerator because no one wanted to eat it. Or we would have stocked up on certain items because she had several coupons for them and they go bad or expire before they’re used. You kind of have to keep an eye to avoid wastefulness and not get too coupon happy for things you don’t need.
Shop off brand
For things you don’t have coupons for, you can always shop off brand to save here and there. Things like cereal, ice-cream, household products etc. My Husband hates when I shop off brand. There’s always been an association that off brand items are lessor quality and that’s not necessarily true. A lot of them are of equal quality to the branded items. Really, they are the same but something like Frosted Flakes has gone through a lot of marketing to make it more profitable but also more expensive. And even if it is a little lesser quality, you generally get more quantity for what you pay for. Considering how much less off brand is, buying it consistently will save you a lot over time.
I love Cosco and BJs. Buying in bulk is literally my favorite thing to do. I can get lost in those stores. For a small membership ($59) a year, you can buy wholesale size everything. I really don’t think you can ever have too many paper towels and toilet paper. Usually the wholesale shopper clubs also have the monthly coupon books, so between the coupons and the wholesale value, there’s a lot of savings to be had. One caveat is that you can easily find yourself overbuying or buying things you don’t need at these stores. Self control and budgeting is a must. Besides that, definitely a good option to shop non-perishables.
I love Amazon a little too much and am part of their prime membership like most people. Recently they launched a subscription service for repeat purchases. Certain household items you can buy in repeat with a 5% discount. If a shipping order has 5 items that you subscribed to, then you get 15% off. For baby items ??, you get 20% off if they are in a shipment with 5 other subscription. So I pretty much use this service for most of my household stuff, dish detergent, lotion, shaving cream, baby wipes etc. And considering that Amazon pricing is already competitive, these subscription prices are basically a steal. The subscription order comes once a month and you can adjust how often the products come, whether they come every month or every 2 months, etc. I absolutely love this service and would highly recommend it for moms unable to make it to Target or Cosco. Click the link below to try a 30 day trial and get started on subscriptions.
This one is a huge way to save. And if you can’t do any of the other cost saving techniques, I would advise to follow this one. Because if you don’t plan your meals, you won’t have food and you’ll be more tempted to eat out. Eating out frequently becomes very expensive. Trust me. Meal planning is basically cooking in bulk once or twice a week so that there is always dinner to choose from. You might make a big crock pot meal and a big pasta meal. You can store it in the fridge and then divide it into portions for dinner and lunch the rest of the week. Planning for your meals rather than cooking on the fly is much more productive and less frustrating than waiting until the last minute to cook when you’re already hungry. Perfect things to make in bulk: stews, chili, and pasta. You can roast a whole chicken and then pair it with rice and vegetables the rest of the week, then take the chicken scraps or dark meat at the end and turn it into a soup. You can make lentil soup or split pea soup in bulk. The possibilities are endless but planning your meals will save energy, time and money
It’s amazing how much money you can save. Groceries make up 10% of a household’s expenses. Me and my husband we easily spend $7200-$8500 a year on groceries alone. It doesn’t feel like that much when your spending $60 here and there over the weeks, but we can definitely use the savings.
But you can also use saving time and investing in Instacart as an option for the time strapped mom. Couponing and comparison shopping is not for the weary but for those in a financial pinch, you can use these tips and watch the savings stack up.
Tags: Bulk buy food, bulk shopping online, where to buy in bulk, grocery coupons, discount codes, save a lot prices, how to extreme coupon.