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How to Shop Smart for Groceries

GroceriesGrocery shopping is something that we all do, but how many of us truly enjoy it or are “smart” at doing it. Sure, we can drive to the grocery store and pick some food off the shelves for us and our families to eat, but what kind of deal are we getting?

As we started our family and lived much more closely to a budget we found that a key part to that was being wise when it came time to go to the grocery store. If you’re looking for some ways to shop smart for groceries, the below tips should help.

Try Your Hand at Couponing

We don’t do a whole lot when it comes to couponing, though we used to. The reason? It largely goes back to lack of time and not really buying most things there are coupons for. That said, when we did clip coupons we could easily save a good bit of money at the grocery store.

There are many who will spend hours looking for coupons as a means to cut down their grocery bill as much as possible. You certainly don’t need to go to that extreme, but it can be a good way to save money on groceries.

Make Friends With Aldi or Save-a-Lot

The grocery stores might be called something different where you are, but Aldi is the grocery store to go to in my area if you want the cheapest prices. I know in other area of the country that Save-A-Lot is another similar option. These stores only employee two or three workers that either run the cash register or stock the shelves (which means putting the box on the shelf for you to see).

Their operation is very basic, which enables them to save money on useless costs and then pass on the savings to the consumer. There have been numerous studies that compare Aldi to Walmart and other grocery chains. In almost every study I have seen, Aldi always wins – they always have the cheapest prices. If you don’t like to mess around with coupons, then a store like Aldi can save you a good amount of money on groceries.

Buy in Bulk

If you have a big family and can go through a considerable amount of groceries in a month or two, then you might want to look at buying some things in bulk. Typically, when you buy more of something the per unit price goes down. So, instead of buying a single box of cereal for $3.50, you can buy a carton of 10 boxes for $25.00, which means you’re now only paying $2.50 per box.

The beauty of this technique is that there are many non-perishables that will stay fresh for quite some time, so as long as you have somewhere to store the food, you can save a fair amount of money by buying in bulk. We buy some items in bulk at Costco, but have to be careful in order to make sure it’s food we’ll be going through as otherwise we’d simply be wasting money.

Don’t Let Your Food Go to Waste

The downside to buying in bulk, or any shopping really, is the risk of food going to waste. I absolutely hate dealing with food waste as it’s pretty much like taking cash and putting it in the trash can.

Don’t believe me? I guarantee you that if you cut your food waste down you’ll see your grocery budget working that much better for you. There are many ways to help cut food waste from shopping with a list to freezing meals that can help you immensely in terms of killing that waste.

 

 

What tips do you have to shop smart for groceries? How much is your grocery budget per month? Do you coupon, and if so, how much time do you spend on it per week?

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: greggavedon. com

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

10 comments

  1. I try to not eat as much as possible. Kidding! I do my best to eat smartly and plan meals well to avoid any food wastage. It takes effort but it pays out in the end.
    How To Save Money recently posted…Saving Money with a Financial FastMy Profile

  2. We shop at Costco for some of the things we use a lot of – like toilet paper and paper towels – and then use our local grocery store for the rest. They accept competitors coupons and in the weekly flyer, the other store always has a $5 off coupon I use. From there, I just plan my purchases around what is on sale and meal plan from there. For a family of two, I spend about $200/month on groceries.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…Organize Your Bills Once And For AllMy Profile

  3. We used to waste so much money on food just because we never checked to see what we had on-hand before shopping and ended up buying what we already had and inevitably we wouldn’t use all of what we purchased. Now, we are really strict about performing a thorough inventory of what we have on-hand before we leave for the store. It not only saves us money at the store but saves us from wasting food.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – 9 to 5My Profile

  4. For me, not letting food go to waste is by far the most challenging aspect of keeping my grocery costs under control. Plans change and I find myself with too many things on hand that go off. I have put a concerted effort lately into planning our meals more efficiently, but still find myself having to toss food, which is literally throwing money out.
    Marie recently posted…I want ALL THE THINGS – Aka Lifestyle Inflation 101My Profile

  5. This is really works for me. I don’t feel the need to fill my shopping cart. Never because when I do, I spend a lot, food go to waste, and put myself in debt sometimes.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…How To Build a Niche SiteMy Profile

  6. Great tips. I do use coupons, but I’m careful to make sure that they are actually saving me money. Sometimes the store brand is cheaper than the name brand, even if it’s on sale and you have a coupon. Plus, sometimes people get hung up on using coupons and end up buying things they didn’t plan on or need.
    Kayla @ Everything Finance recently posted…Worthwhile Financial Goals: Create a BudgetMy Profile

  7. Food waste is a big one. We used to throw out a decent amount of food due to poor planning. Now that we’re on a strict $60/week grocery budget food waste is something we try to avoid if at all possible. Sometimes we do a pantry day/week where we just clean out the freezer pantry rather than buying more.
    Thomas @ i need money ASAP! recently posted…Making Money From Home: January Update $1,662My Profile

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