22 Ways to Slash the Grocery Bill
With our busy lives and harried schedules, it's easy to forget the basics of wise grocery shopping. Here is a quick collection of the best tips I know for slashing your grocery bill:
1. Don't shop hungry. Studies find you will spend at least 17 percent more.
2. Shop with a list. Use the store's weekly sale ads found in the newspaper or the store's website as a guide and build your menus from there.
3. Go for loss-leaders. These are the items that are deeply discounted in order to get you through the door.
4. Don't buy anything that is not a sale item.
5. Know your prices. Keep a written record of the regular per-unit prices of the items you buy most often so you'll know whether a "special" is really a bargain.
6. Buy in season. Fruits and vegetables will be the best quality and the lowest price when they are in season.
7. Shop with cash. Take only the amount of cash you have decided to spend on one grocery trip. If you come across a fabulous bargain and don't have enough cash, you can always return to the store to stock up.
8. Carry a calculator. Keep a running total of the items in your cart so you won't be embarrassed at the checkout.
9. Shop at larger stores. While their regular prices might be higher, a supermarket will have the best sales.
10. Find a bakery outlet. These kinds of thrift stores offer wonderful bargains if you can be highly disciplined.
11. Buy in bulk. But remember: If you can't use it before it goes bad, it's a bad deal no matter how good the bargain was.
12. Don't overbuy your storage space.
13. "On sale" without a coupon is sometimes cheaper than the regular price with a coupon.
14. Buy the smallest size or quantity that the coupon allows for the greatest percentage of savings.
15. Always check expiration dates on food items. If you have a choice, choose the date farthest into the future.
16. Consider generic and store brands. Many times, the product is identical to the brand name except for the lower price.
17. Shop solo. Distractions can be costly.
18. Look high and low. Expensive brand names are purposely positioned at eye level.
19. Avoid individual-size packages. Buy the big container and divide into smaller portions at home.
20. Learn sale cycles. Study sale flyers until you recognize predictable cycles. Buy enough when it's on sale to last until the next sale.
21. Look for "two for one." These days, scanners always ring up each individual item, so if the deal is "two for one" you will likely be able to buy one for half-price. Check the store's policy.
22. Keep moving! One study reveals that the typical shopper spends about $1.75 for every minute spent in the store. Know why you're there, get what you need and get out!
23. Keep to the outer edges of the store. The prepared food is usually on the inner isles.
24. Learn your grocery store's habits. When do they usually put out marked down meats? Plan your shopping accordingly.
©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt
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