Sunday, August 7, 2011

Five Ways To Save On Groceries

It seems every family is trying to cut corners anywhere they can.  Although you cannot cut out your grocery bill completely, you can take a look at how you're spending your grocery dollars.  Implementing just one or two saving strategies per week can reap big savings with a little time and effort.


1.  Sign up for a store loyalty card
It's simple, just give your name and address and they give you card that will save you money at their store.  Most are even in "key tag" form you attach it to your keys so you won't even have to think about remembering to bring it and smartphones have apps where you can input the card information and show it at the check-stand.

Besides the obvious saving money at the register, many store cards have other perks such as online coupons you can attach to your card and/or coupons they mail to your home based on your frequent purchases.

2.  Look for the Unit Price, rather than the over-all price.

Comparing unit prices can be eye-opening.  If you look at the price per ounce or per unit in a package often differ more than you think.  Sometimes packages labeled "Family Size" or "Giant" turn out to be more per unit than if you opted for the regular size.

Example:  A box of cereal in two different sizes
24 ounce $2.99 = 12 cents per ounce
36 ounce $3.99 = 11 cents per ounce

Even though you are spending more on the bigger box, you are getting more for your money.  Don't be afraid to take a calculator with you to check the unit prices by dividing the cost of the item by the number of units (or ounces).


3.  Use coupons 

You don't have to go extreme about it, but every little bit helps.  Even paying attention to the coupons they have on the shelves at the store can make a little difference.  You can find coupons in the Sunday newspaper and even online.

You can make your coupons have a bigger impact by coupling them with a sale on the item.  Don't forget to go online to your store's site and look for any coupons you can attach to your store loyalty card or to check if they have any other offers that could save on your groceries.

4.  Look for markdowns and buy the store brand

In my favorite grocery store I know just where they put the marked down meat, bakery, and other items.  I spend a lot of time in that little corner of the store, saving 25% to 50% and more.  I rarely pay full price for a loaf of bread anymore, and I have found great deals on cheese and meat.  The only catch is that these items need to be used or frozen within a few days of purchase.

Surprisingly, the store brand is as good or better than the name brand.  Many store brands are made along side the name brand (check out this Consumer Reports article).

5.  Look for a food box program in your area

Look in your community for a food box program.  We have The Treasure Box and Angel Food Ministries are wide spread.  These programs offer a box of food worth $65 to $80 for around $30.  Buying a box or two each month can stretch your grocery dollars.




Pamm

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