Michael Kismet is a freelance writer and has a passion for finances and true financial freedom.
How to Save in Groceries
Grocery Shopping with my Mom
When we're young we aren't generally burdened by many things, such as saving money on groceries. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved going to the supermarket with my Mother. However, my Mother never seemed to enjoy it though. As I've grown and matured, I can appreciate my Mother's mindset and frustrations with grocery shopping on a tight budget.
As children we simply didn't understand what it meant to be on a budget or shopping for the deals, saving as much money as we could. Now that I've been grocery shopping on my own for the better half of a decade, I have grown quite savvy with how most grocery stores operate.
I had car payments, school loans to pay off, and many other assorted bills. Saving where you can is crucial, especially for people just trying to stay afloat. Week by week I got a lot better at saving as much money at the register as I could. Here are a few simple ways to save more money on your groceries.
Smart Saver Grocery
1. Supermarket Layout Strategy
The majority of supermarkets are designed to have the most expensive items in the middle of the store. Up and down the aisles will be laden with pricey items that are most unhealthy. Unless it's something I need for a particular celebration, I try to pathologically abstain from the middle aisles.
Price savvy and health conscious consumers will stay on the outer areas in a market, where healthy items such as dairy, meats, bread, eggs are kept. If you're not too familiar with your local supermarkets surrounding, find some extra time to explore it a little further, this will ultimately save you time on all your grocery outings.
Also, avoid the items near the register, they're generally impulse items that are fairly overpriced and most importantly unnecessary. To successfully live on a budget, it all boils down to one's willpower and goal orientation. That's exactly how I see adhering to a small budget, maintaining my will power to accomplish a goal.
It may seem like a small goal, but small goals leave to larger goals. It was a good life lesson in humility and self-control for me, and I hope you also view it as such. Definitely make an attempt to avoid spending money on items that are just a luxury, not a necessity.
2. Supermarket Printable Coupons
There's no shame in saving money using coupons. In fact, anyone on a budget and isn't utilizing coupons that result in significant savings is just plain asinine. These days you can just get your coupons over the internet and printed from home.
You can find a coupon for practically anything. On one occasion I saved over 20 dollars on one trip, from 5 minutes of coupon printing. It might not sound like much to some, but it all adds up at the end of the month. That's another $20 I can spend on my girlfriend, put toward my student loan, another half a tank of gas, etc.
Often, stores have special sales on fish, chicken, beef, etc. Plan your meals around what you can get on specials. You can also get coupons for many services, such as an oil change, a manicure, a massage, even a coupon for lawn care service. If there's something being sold out there, there's a discount for it!
3. Grocery Store Brands
At first, I was quite hesitant on the quality of the store brands I've seen, such as the CVS brands for example. Not until I really had to micro manage my money did I decide to finally give these brands a whirl. Honestly, there was no appreciable difference between the two.
The only difference was actually the brand name label, which I've been paying 25-35% more money. Ridiculous. I calculated my personal annual savings on switching to the store brands, and I saved over $600 dollars. Think of what an extra $600 dollars a year could do for you, simply buying a brand with the store label.
If you're looking for ways to reduce your grocery cost, it's a safe assumption that you're trying to stick to a budget. Budgeting is not easy, and it can be occasionally frustrating and a hit to your ego. But an ego has no place where you're trying to manage your living expenses, especially if you're cutting back.
Save on Grocery Bill
4. Save Money by Cooking Your own Meals
When I had less financial responsibilities, I would buy all my favorite processed junk foods and never gave a second thought to its actual value. Planning and cooking your own meals do not only result in huge savings, but it's really fun and stress relieving. It's usually healthier eating to boot!
Frozen dinners are tempting for their convenience, but are a horrible value with even worse nutritional value. Although there are some frozen foods that are quite a steal and isn't as unhealthy as other frozen dinners. Cooking healthy meals at home will save you more money on grocery shopping.
5. Save Money Buying In Bulk
Take your time and shop around, often there will be better deals at another market down the street. I hate to admit it, but Walmart has some eyebrow raising deals. If you know beforehand that another market down the street will have better deals for your current grocery list, go there instead. Don't commit yourself to just one market chain.
Much like everything else, whatever you buy more of, you'll be substantially spending less for.. Items such as paper towels, beverages, and other staples of the household should be purchase in bulk, especially items that are not perishable(have no expiration date) Costco is great for practical bulk items.
Even people who are well off will buy in bulk, it's just a smart move. Additionally you'll be saving even more money and time by reducing your trips back to the store. Save more money, save more time, and get more product! This all adds up to a very appreciable amount of money being saved.
Cheap Grocery List for a Week
6. Grocery Store Loyalty Programs
Every store you've been shopping at is in a constant tug of war for your business and loyalty. Signing up for membership programs are just a no brainier. I usually save an extra 8-12% on the receipt at the register. Takes only minutes to sign up and you'll be saving more money on your items the very same day.
I have actually seen people refuse to be signed up for a loyalty program when the cashier offers. It's usually done so quickly and can save you 7-12% on your bill. There's no scam going on, they just want to encourage your revisit to their store, and they're willing to reward your loyalty. This is another perfect example of letting your pride and ego mitigate your budget on groceries.
You can glean all the tips and tricks to saving more money on your groceries, but you won't make it far carrying your ego with you. I still collect all my recyclables and at the end of two months and have an extra $50-$60, just lugging it to the recycling center.
It took some practice to get over my own pride, but once I started to see the savings, I could now care less about how "it" looks. Thank you for reading through my article, if you have any suggestions, comments or additions you feel should be part of this article, please don't hesitate to leave your opinion.
© 2014 Michael Kismet
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 11, 2014:
Very informative hub and I learn much from you. We must be able to manage finances, especially when shopping. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Voted up!
Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on November 11, 2014:
What a rude awakening it is to be on your own paying bills. All of a sudden, your parent's distress over prices and the cost of everything makes sense. How gratifying to read of your learning experiences in the past half decade. Oh how I remember those days. Even when I started making a better salary, my thrifty habits paid off. As a result of budget control and discipline, we've made it through several layoffs and never had to do without a good meal.
Michael Kismet (author) from Northern California on August 01, 2014:
Greetings Sachin, thank you for your input. I know it's a bit short, I haven't completed it yet. Definitely will update this with way more information. Thanks for visiting!
Sachin from India on August 01, 2014:
You have listed down some great tips Michael. Really useful for my next shopping.