So yesterday we talked about the use of coupons and whether or not they are worth clipping. I think they are but using coupons is not where I save the most money. Today we’ll talk about how to save money even if you don’t use them. At times, I’ve had to get very frugal with our money. I’ve learned a trick or two so here they are:
- Shop the bulk aisle. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve wasted money because I purchased a pound of almonds or a large container of spelt when I only needed a certain amount for one recipe. The bulk aisle eliminates this issue. If I only need 1/4 cup of pecans then I only buy a 1/4 cup of pecans. Okay so I always buy a little more because I just can’t keep the boys from stealing them out of the bag. When I do go to the store to purchase from the bulk aisle I am not afraid to say that I bring my plastic measuring cup and spoons with me. I would much rather get only what I need then once again waste money. You can find almost every kind of grain, flour, spice, nut, granola, and dried fruit you would want right there in the bulk aisle.
- Use your sales circular. Every product a store sells will go on sale at some point during the year. The majority of them will go on sale a few times a year. The best thing I can recommend that you do in order to be on top of the game with the sales cycles is to google the name of your city and “grocery deals blog”. For example, I googled “Baton Rouge grocery deals blog” and found My Baton Rouge Mommy. I follow her blog and can usually find out if an item is at it’s lowest price or just an all around good deal.
- Buy meat only when it is on sale and stock up. Become friendly with your store’s butcher. Ask the butcher what the usual sale cycle of meats is then shop accordingly. If you know chicken is at it’s lowest price at $0.89 a lb every 6 weeks then stock up six weeks worth every time the sale comes around. I just stocked up on ground chuck from our local grocery store. It goes on sale about 4 times a year at $1.89 a lb. When it does I load up. I have about 2 months worth in the freezer. I couldn’t fit any more or I would have bought more. I never, ever pay full price for meats.
- Shop your local farmer’s market. I prefer this for two reasons. First, you get good fresh produce unlike most chain stores that buy it after it is a few days old. They do that to save a buck. Sometimes at the farmer’s market I pay the same amount that I would at the grocery store but the difference is that it won’t go bad in two days. I can keep it for sometimes up to 10 days. The stuff I buy at the big chain stores is wilted, mushy, and brown before I even get it home sometimes.
- Don’t buy more than you will use or want. Don’t buy something just because it is a good deal. There are a lot of 10 for $10 deals in grocery stores but the truth of the matter is (in the majority of the stores) you don’t have to buy 10 to get the sales price. Just buy what you will need for that cycle.
- Don’t forget to check the salad bar for things you only need a little of. Just like with the bulk aisle, if you only need half of a squash or a few rings of red onion for your mans burger then don’t buy the whole thing if you know it will go to waste. Buy it for pennies from the salad bar.
- Look above and below on the grocery shelves. Think of grocery store shelves as real estate. Distributors pay top dollar to be in your face. Yes, the pay the stores for the most appealing placement. Anything eye level, on an end cap, or on display in the aisles is likely not something you want to buy. Those are typically one of two things: unhealthy and/or most expensive. For low sodium, low saturated fat, and lower priced items you will want to look at the shelves above and below eye level. Try it. I bet you will discover things you never knew existed.
- Make a list. This always makes the list for ways to save money while shopping. There is a good reason for that. It is because this one tip can save you hundreds of dollars per year. You already know the reasons why.
So do you have any tips that you can share?
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