Slashing the Grocery Bill

The grocery bill seems to be inching up lately, and I’m resolved to reverse that trend. It seems like I find fabulous deals every time I go to the market… until the next week, when I realize my “fabulous deal” was just a marketing trick that I had fallen for. Some of my recent realizations:

  • Endcaps do not equal savings. Look for an item in it’s regular location – then you can truly see if it’s a deal.
  • A larger package may not be the best deal. The unit price is the most important number to look at – a small container may have the same unit price, and may not go bad as quickly.
  • Do the math. The store I shop at has the unit price printed on most price labels. Unfortunatley, I’ve seen a misprinted unit price several times now, so it makes sense to do the math.
  • Get a basket or small cart. This limits the amount that you can buy!
  • Pick up the flyer. The best deals in the store are typically located on the front and back pages, so it’s worth checking out. Scan the middle too, but be wary… just because it’s in the flyer does not mean it’s a deal.
  • Wasted food is wasted money. Don’t buy more than you’ll eat.
  • Clip coupons, and use them wisely. Go to the market on double coupon day. Even if you only save $4 per trip, you’ll save over $200 per year.

Coupon Mom is one of the best resources I’ve found for grocery tips and tricks. Download her tutorial, “Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half,” at her website for an overview of her program. It’s based on the following principles:

  1. Strategic shoppers know how to get low prices: They know what the lowest prices for their most common grocery items are, where to find them, and how to pay the lowest prices every time.
  2. They know when to use coupons: They know when to use their coupons to get the lowest prices and even get some grocery items absolutely free with coupons!
  3. They know where to find coupons: They know the best sources of coupons and they know how to use the Internet to get great printable and electronic coupons.

I’ve started working on number one – knowing the lowest prices for my frequently purchased items. I already know what prices to buy cereal, apples, and lunch meat at – but I can never seem to remember what a good deal for peanut butter is, or at what price I should stock up on granola bars. I’m keeping track of the prices of grocery prices that either I buy on a regular basis or are on the more expensive end of the scale. You can see my first attempt here:

Grocery Prices

I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use this information yet – I know I’ll have a hard time remembering all of these prices unless I bring the spreadsheet with me, which I’m unlikely to do. I may somehow add my “stockup price” onto my grocery list. It’ll be a bit of trial and error, but I’m sure I’ll be blogging about my system in the near future!

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