Looking to save money without using coupons? These strategies will help you master your grocery store.
I know that saving money is something we all want to do, but coupons just don’t work for everyone. I totally understand that (and there are times when I just don’t use them myself). There are some things you can do, however, even if you don’t have time (or a desire) to clip those coupons.
Of course, if you do clip, these are just some additional things you can do to increase your overall savings!
1. Shop store brands.
There is as common misconception that store brand means lower quality. This is not true. In fact, the majority of store brands are the exact same name brand product, just with a different label on the front. Stores don’t have time to make their own processing plants and foods, so they work with major retailers and are able to market the same product under their own name.
2. Look both high and low.
When you shop, the most expensive products are usually placed at eye level. You will often find less expensive items on the very top or lower shelves. Just shop these areas to look for the best deals as they really may not be right in front of you.
3. Avoid the end caps.
Just because there are items sitting on the end caps of the aisles does not mean that it is necessarily a great deal. People are drawn here and when they see items, they often assume that because they are on display, it must mean it is a good deal. Check the original price, as well as competitor prices, to make sure that it really is a bargain before you buy it.
4. Don’t fall for gimmicks.
There are some common gimmicks stores use to help trick you into spending more. Here are 2 you will want to watch for:
- Buy quantities for a set price. For example, if you see something priced at 2/$5, you do not have to purchase 2 of them, you can buy one. You will need to watch the store ad – as if they require a multiple purchase, it must be in writing.
- Purchase limits. When you see “limit 3” next to a display, it makes you think that if there is a limit, it is a must have item and you need to get your limit. This is a common tactic used to lure you into spending more.
5. Refine dinner.
There is no rule that says you have to make a huge 3 course meal every night of the week. It is OK to have soup, sandwiches, or even salads for dinner. By making simpler meals, you can save on the food you need to purchase, thereby dropping your grocery bill.
6. Shop the right day.
Many grocery stores offer “short-sales” which are one, two or three day sales. If you shop on one of these days, you will not only get those additional discounts, you will also get the regular weekly deals as well. Doing this will put you in the store just one day a week which can absolutely help you save money over shopping several times a week.
7. Change things up.
If you have more than one store near where you live, why not try a different store? If you can split your trip into two stores and shop the sales at each of them, you can save on your overall grocery bill. Of course, if they are not close, take into consideration time and fuel to make 2 trips, as sticking with one store may actually be a better savings overall.
8. Make a menu and a shopping list.
If you don’t know what you will cook for the week, you won’t have the items you need for your meal, resulting in additional trips to the store (where you may purchase other items you don’t really need). By planning a menu and a shopping list, you not only know what you will need to purchase at the store, you’ll feel more organized and less rushed when you get home from work and need to prepare dinner. You might check out my menu plan and shopping list forms.
9. Shop on a full stomach (and alone if you can).
If you have ever shopped when you are hungry, you usually find that you toss in additional items you normally would not purchase as your stomach is in control of shopping instead of your brain. If you shop when you are full, you will be more likely to stick to your list and not grab this impulse purchases.
It is also easier to stick to your list and not purchase additional items (aka spending more money) when you shop alone. I realize that this may not be an option for a lot of families, so just make sure that you shop once everyone has already eaten (as mentioned above). You can also ask your kids to help you find certain items on the list, which will keep their minds on what you need and they will be less likely to notice other items in the store.
10. Shop in Season.
When you shop produce, only purchase the in-season items. For example, black grapes are in season during the summer months. Sure, you might find them during the winter months, but you will pay a premium as they are more difficult to get into your store.
What tips do you have to add to this list? Please share them below by leaving us a comment!