Whether you’re in college and just starting out budgeting your money, working part time, or just trying to save some money, one great place to save some cash is the grocery store. From clipping coupons to bargain bins there are some great ways to save some cash by being a smart shopper. Here are nine tips to make your next trip to the grocery store more bank account friendly.
This is one that I forget on a regular basis and then wonder later why I have almost too much food to fit into my house. Shopping while hungry increases the chance your going to pick up a ton of items that you don’t really need. When heading out the door grab a piece of fruit or pack of crackers to help push back any cravings that may take hold once you get to the store.
One thing that I didn’t know about until recently are close out deals. This generally happens when a product is discontinued, recipes change, or a store isn’t selling the product anymore. Look for a special sticker that tells you that the item you’re looking at is a close out deal. An average deal will save you anywhere from 50-75% off the retail price but it’s not uncommon, in my experience, to find up to 90% off deals semi-regularly.
Buy In Bulk
One of the easiest ways to save money is to buy your food in bulk. I have a membership to 2 saving clubs in my area and with a 20$ membership it saves me hundreds per year. If you don’t like using a membership club to shop for bulk items then try online shopping as there are many websites like BulkFoods and even Amazon that offer the great bulk food deals without needing a membership. While non-perishable bulk foods can last a very long time, keep in mind that with fresher foods only buy what you can use before it goes bad.
One that I’ve implemented with the most success is comparing brands. While most people compare things like milk, eggs, and bread they usually stop there. Compare the ingredients of the full priced brand names like Kraft and General Mills with the store brand. You’d be surprised how many items are exactly the same in ingredients and nutrition value, while the store product usually comes at a much lower price.
If you simply ask for it there are several ways to get the most out of your product with some free services. Some of these add-on deals include tenderizing meat, giving you filler material for flowers that you just purchased, and even slicing that whole loaf of bread or block of cheese you just bought. If you see a fresh product that is about to expire I’ve found that if you ask about a discount you can usually get one. By selling the product to you they have an opportunity to not lose money by having to throw it away.
Check and Double Check Deals
This is one that when I found out about it really blew me away. Deals aren’t always what they seem. For example, make sure that the 5 for 5$ type deals are actually an increase in value. For a long time I was a big buyer of the dollar deals until one day I saw that the normal price of a drink I had paid 1$ each for was actually just 0.69$. Because of people not making this connection stores can actually increase the price because most shoppers won’t take the time to look into these “deals”.
Next time you go shopping bring a calculator with you to the store. This will let you know exactly how much your spending. Not only will this help keep you on budget but this will also allow you to know about how much you spend in each section as you move through the store.
Make It At Home
One thing that many people don’t consider is the possibility to make their own food at home. This is cost effective and you can easily make home-made popcorn and bread which will usually be just as delicious and probably more nutritious than that in stores. If you eat a lot of produce consider starting your own garden like I did. Growing your own veggies and fruit give you the opportunity to have fres or even organic food whenever you want it.
Watch The Scan
From working at a grocery store I can tell you that one of the biggest things to watch for is an error on your receipt. Look for double scans, missed sale prices, and unusual prices. At the particular store I worked at it was not uncommon to have thousands of dollars in register errors per month.
Following these tips are a great way to shop smarter and put a little more money back into your pockets. Remember, the little things add up so pay attention to details and there’s no end to the amount of money you could save. Happy bargain hunting everyone!