Lower your Grocery Bill WITHOUT Coupons
30 Ways to Lower your Grocery Bill WITHOUT Coupons
As you can tell, I'm a pretty big fan of coupons! But some people just canít seem to find the time or figure it out, so I decided to write about some techniques you can use to save money without using coupons.
1.Never shop without a list
Making a list and sticking to it is probably one of the most effective ways to save money at the grocery store. By creating a list before you go, you can avoid non-essential items that drive your bill up.
2.Never go to the store hungry
This is just common sense. Iíve gone to the store starving, and of course I walk in and smell the deli cooking an amazing smelling chicken. I seem to make my way over for a sample, then I get a pound. Oh and donít forget the chips and salsa, and then I walk by the ice cream. I grab a candy bar on the way out. You get the picture, by not going to the store hungry I save myself from unnecessary expense. I didnít need the chips, they werenít on my list but I got them anyway. Eat something before you shop!!
3.Avoid impulse buying
Grocery stores are smart. They place things in the checkout area that we donít need and are rarely on a list, but people seem to buy them. Those little impulses add up quick. Iím not saying never get a candy bar, but plan on getting just one, instead of two or three!!!
4.Loose your brand loyalty
Why buy tide, when all, cheer or the store brand are cheaper? They all clean!! One may do a slightly, and I stress slightly better job, but they all have essentially the same active ingredients. When you always buy the same product regardless of price or sales, you are throwing away your money.
5.Plan a weekly meal menu
This works well with list planning. If you know what youíre going to eat, you buy less at the grocery store and consequently waste less. Food spoils, and so I you buy what you need and only what you need for that week, you donít loose your food to time. By planning weekly meals, and sticking to them, you will be amazed at how much you save. How many times have you asked your spouseÖ ďWhat do you want for dinner tonight?Ē They respond by saying, ďI donít know, letís go out!Ē Being prepared can reduce your trips to those expensive eateries and may even trim your waste line.
6.Shop only once a week
If youíre only in the store once a week, you will save money, simply because you canít spend it. Get what you need for the week, and donít go back!!! Retailers are savvy, and will try everything to get you into their store. Shop once!
7.Eat what is on sale
This tip is good for everyone, list makers or not. By eating whatís on sale that week you could easily save over twenty dollars. Letís say chicken is buy one get one free at the store, but ground beef is normal price. Iíll be eating chicken that week! By catching the chicken on sale, I saved a good amount of money, simply by being aware.
8.Explore the Dollar Stores
Are you a store snob? Donít be, by expanding your horizons youíd be surprised that the dollar stores have many essential items for extremely cheap! Check them out and see if they have anything that you could use for cheaper that you could buy it in your grocery store.
9.Buy what is cheapest, generally generic
This is common sense 101. If you want to save money at the grocery store, by the cheapest comparable item. If you want rice Crispies, but the Wal-Mart brand is half the price, by the generic brand! Buying generic is one of the simplest ways to save money off your grocery bill.
10.Avoid $25 shopping sprees
I absolutely hate Ďrunningí to the corner store and having to pick up milk, chips and tomato paste because we are out, then grabbing some eggs to tide us over, maybe a two-liter or two and a snack. That little trip to the convenient store was $25! Avoid those! By planning your meals and making lists of what you need, these little side trips will be reduced!
Who doesnít comparison shop on big items? If youíre going to buy a TV or computer, you search high and low for a good price, different models etc, so why not food? You will spend so much money this year on food, and by simply doing a little comparison shopping using the sale ads and your experience, you will save lots of money!
12.Use your freezer
Few things canít be frozen!! We freeze almost everything. If meat is on sale at a good price, we will overbuy as long as itís in our budget and freeze most of it. Stock your freezer when you can! A well stocked freezer can easily carry a family to payday. Milk, bread, cheese, meat lots of things can be frozen. Just make sure to use them!!
13.Value sizes arenít always a value
I applaud marketing executives on the Ďvalueí size. By simply calling it the Ďvalueí size, millions of people have become convinced that itís a better deal! Plainly put, value sizes are not always a value. Sometimes the smaller size goes on sale, and by the unit price itís cheaper. Make sure to always check to see which size is the best unit price.
14.Pay attention to prices
Everywhere but Wal-Mart prices go up and down. Stores have sales and try to get you in the store using these sales. If you are paying attention to weekly prices, youíll be able to take advantage of a good sale, stock up and then not have to purchase it at a higher price.
15.Whatís in your cart?
Ever find yourself putting little extras in your cart as you shop? Have a helper that seeís her favorite SpongeBob candy? To avoid buying things that arenít on your list, arenít in the budget, or simply arenít necessities, always stop and survey your cart. Do you really need that bag of chips this week? I also always recommend that you keep a running total of the value of your groceries in your cart. If you know around how much are going to spend, you will catch something that doesnít ring correctly. Pennies count!
16.Pay attention to marketing strategies
Along with the value size pay attention to what is at eye level. Items that are at eye level generally cost more. Always check all sizes and prices. Also beware of the end caps. Although each store is different, most stores will place displays of food at the end caps, and these spots are used for quick, easy buys that are generally more expensive.
17.Check your receipt
This is an absolute rule. Always check your receipt and try to do it while in the store. I generally go over mine as Iím walking out. If something miss-rings I make my way over to the service desk. Itís a hassle to go back once everything is in the car, or unloaded at your home! Note beware of store loyalty cards. Make sure to scan and then double check!! Sometimes, the card may not scan and you will end up paying full price on everything!
18.Buy two instead of four
Have you ever seen the signs in the stores ďFour for $8Ē? Most people donít know that you donít have to buy 4. You could buy one for $2, or two for $4. In other words, you donít have to purchase four items to get the sale price! Check to see if your store employs this pricing model!
WalMart is probably the most famous for doing this, although some other stores also price match. Price matching is a simple concept, if Kroger has milk on sale for $2, WalMart will match that price. I would recommend taking the store flyer to WalMart, and pick your cashier carefully. (If I went to WalMart, Iíd have 20 things to price match, Iíd need a patient cashier!) This is a great savings tool, if youíre a WalMart Shopper!
Rain checks are a great way to save lots of money. If a product is on sale, but the store doesnít have any in stock, go to the service desk and ask for a rain check. Rain checks give you the ability to buy the product at the sale price at a later date, when the product is in stock.
21.Eat your left-overís
This is more in line with common sense. Freeze or eat your left-overís! Every so often we have left-over night, and grab whatís in the refrigerator or freezer. Itís quick, easy and cheap!
22.Shop in the ethnic food aisle
Rice and beans anyone? You would be surprised at what you will find in the ethnic food aisle! On top of adding some variety to your life, (without going out to eat) you could save a good amount of money.
23.Check meatís sell by dates
I always check for reduced or meat that is near itís Ďsell byí date. If you find meat that isnít discounted, ask for the butcher. If he isnít available, ask for a manager. My guess is they would rather sell it at a reduced price than take a total loss! I always freeze this meat immediately.
Who isnít in a hurry these days! Instead of stopping at McDonalds and spending $15-20 on a family of four, why not run to the grocery store! You would be surprised what you can get for $15-20 that is extremely cheap and ready to eat! Some ideas Iíve thought of are a rotisserie chicken and a couple cans or veggies. Deli sandwiches and chips, spaghetti, even premade hamburger patties. Lots of grocery stories also have salad bars that are cheap.
25.Check out the clearance section
This has become one of my favorite things at the grocery store! Now I use coupons and can get lots of stuff on the clearance tables for free. But if you can get items for half price, why wouldnít you? The clearance section is a must stop for the frugal minded.
26.Use your Crockpot!
I love Crockpot days! I walk in and smell dinner, and itís ready to eat! Spend about 20 minutes in the morning on a day that will be filled with activities and you wonít have to stop at a fast food restaurant! Being prepared is a big money saver!
27.Keep it simple
Chicken and green beans is cheaper than Chicken Alfredo. Keeping your dishes simple is another way to reduce your grocery bill. You would be surprised that a little spice packet can add just as much flavor as a bottle of wine!
28.Cook from scratch
Okay, I know this one can sound intimidating and painful, but cooking from scratch is a simple way to drastically cut down on your monthly grocery bill and can even improve the health of you and your family. Itís a well established fact that convenience foods simply costs more than if you were to prepare them yourself. Many people have told me to plan a long weekend day to prepare meals that you can freeze in advance for the following week. This way you can take advantage of the cost savings of cooking from scratch without inconveniencing yourself when your family is busy during the week. However you do it, cooking from scratch will save you money!
This is a no brainer. If you use Hamburger Helper four times a month, and it goes on sale for a $1 (itís regular price is $2.29) STOCK UP! Buy 10 boxes if you think you will be able to use them before they expire. By stocking up on a sale price you will save a lot of money. This is one of the biggest principles in couponing and I would encourage you to read more about stockpiling in the articles section.
30. Be aware!!
Keep your eyes open! Learn how much things generally cost. By being aware at your stores and paying attention when you shop, you can really reduce your grocery bill.
If you have any other tips....feel free to share them!!!
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Couponing Acronyms & Abbreviations
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Last edited by MrCoupon; 03-02-2009 at 05:07 PM..
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|The Following User(s) Says Thanks to MrCoupon, for the Good Laugh!:|
Great post. I recently made us all stop eating breakfast out on the way to school (we commute almost an hour). I pack baggies of cereal the night before (allergic to milk) and we're off! Healthier too! I also keep a snack bag in the car for that long ride back home. My daughter fills up her water bottle at school and brings it in the car with her. She can pick things like Ritz Bits with cheese, chips ahoy, or baked chips. Those snack packs are not the most economical, but much better than a drive thru or convenience store stop.
I just want to add that you can check the unit price at pet stores too. My turtle could care less what brand of food I get him and almost every time I get some there's a new kind out. So if the new one is on sale or the unit price makes it cheaper I'll get it. He has never turned down any thing that I have given him. lol
Something you could do is take link sausages cook them up, then take a can of bicuits and wrap a sausage in each one then bake at whatever temp and time the can says. Then in the morning toss a couple into the microwave just to heat it up for her to eat. Just a thought.
|The Following 25 Users Say Thank You to Candy For This Useful Post:|
I think planning our meals in advance would help my family out the most. I get so busy with the girls during the day, that I don't think about what I'm going to plan for dinner until DH is calling, saying he's on his way home. Oops!
I really didn't get the concept of buying in the clearance section at the grocery and using coupons on the items until recently. I bet most newbies don't realize this either. When you do this.......most things are free or darn near free. I had been using Q's for months before the aha moment!!! Just thought this might help.
|The Following 19 Users Say Thank You to spidermonkey For This Useful Post:|
Thank's alot for the info-it will help me alot. I am new to couponing and trying to get coupons and having a hard time getting some.
But I got them REALLY cheap with coupons!! lol
|The Following 21 Users Say Thank You to malexanderfam For This Good Laugh!|
Thanks for the ideas...I just bought a calendar for the fridge so we can plan out our meals
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