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I have been food shopping forever. At least since 1972 and that’s a long time ago. Back in those days I really didn’t pay much attention to prices or brands or how the store was set up or anything. I just went in, bought what I needed and paid the bill, which totaled about $30.00 for a week’s worth of stuff.
Try walking out of the supermarket these days with 10 items and NO WAY will your bill be under $50. Prices have crept up over the years, and manufacturers as well as grocery chains are always raising prices. Yes, they give you “club savings” and coupons, but how much of that do you really partake of?
Food shopping shouldn’t be this hard.
I know your food bill is probably one of the highest bills you pay monthly in your house. Especially if you have babies, children and pets. It’s a B-I-G bill. And all month long, there are extra trips to the supermarket for milk, bread, paper towels, dog food, diapers, ketchup, cold cuts, soda, french fries, batteries, potato chips, ice cream and on and on and on it goes.
Why does this matter?
Because you CAN save money $ $ $ $ $ $ $ when you go food shopping. There are specific ways to save money on groceries. Every time you waltz through their doors. Because that’s exactly what supermarkets want you to do; come right in, and shop!
Ever notice how big and deep those shopping carts are? That’s done for a reason as is the entire interior setup, and there’s more on that in reason #5.
Here are 5 BEST ways to save money on groceries:
#1. Make a list.
This may sound old-fashioned, but it’s one of the BEST ways to save money when you food shop. Buying everything in sight is just what the store wants you to do; that’s why they have items strategically placed all over the store.
As you run out of items at home, have a place (mine is on the refrigerator) where everyone can list what they need and what is running out. Then before you food shop, rearrange that list to suit how your store is laid out. I shop at Shop Rite and the minute you walk through the door there’s the baked goods, the deli, foods to pick up and then you move to all the toiletries, health items and so on. Bread and milk for me are all the way down the other side of the store. Funny that.
You need ammunition when you go food shopping. Bringing a shopping list is your best defense. Add to that, coupons. You can find these in Sunday papers, online, and there are also digital coupons you can load to your supermarket card. Take advantage of every chance you get to SAVE MONEY!
#2. Buy generics.
For every item you purchase, there is a generic form of it. Why pick up Claritin when you can buy Shop Rite loratadine for half price? And it’s the SAME THING! Learn to understand that companies are making you pay for their brand name. No thanks.
Generic or store-brand vegetables, paper goods, bakery, breads, condiments, frozen foods, and health items can save you LOTS of money every time you buy them. What’s the difference between canned green beans if one can is Shop Rite brand and the other is DelMonte? I mean, are there different areas of a farm field where one side is deficient so that’s the store-name stuff? C’mon!!
Once you begin buying more generics, you will see that they taste and work just like most brands. Granted, I still buy Bounty paper towels because to my mind they ARE the best, and you don’t go through them quickly. Be willing to spend a few minutes more down each aisle, looking at what you get for the money. You might just be surprised.
I use mostly generic medicine; for instance instead of Synthroid, which is a thyroid medication, I take Levothyroxine, which is the generic; same goes for Singulair, which I take in the form of Montelukast Sodium. These products work AS WELL as the “real” thing. It’s done to save me money and that’s okay with me. 🙂
So, generics are NOT a bad thing. Quite the contrary.
#3. Know how fast you use items.
This is also known as ‘your burn rate’ or how fast you go through what you buy. If you need toilet paper and other paper goods every week or so, then it would make more sense to sign up for a place like Jet. (which is discussed in reason #5.)
You might even have someone in your family make a chart where items are posted and you can see how fast (or not) you use your grocery items. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Extreme Couponing, you’ll know to what lengths some people go to save money. I don’t have the time for that and you probably don’t either.
#4. Understand how supermarkets are set up.
All the sweet-smelling and aromatic scents hit you the minute you walk thru the door. Most of what you want is placed at eye level. Get smarter than that.
Learn to shop the perimeters of your supermarket. There’s plenty to see there and this is where all of the FRESH food is located. You could fill a shopping cart with everything available.
If you do need items in the aisles, buy what is on your list and no other. Cookies, crackers, potato chips, your basic junk food is really not healthy for you and you shouldn’t be giving it to your family in heavy doses, either. Get them to eat the fruit you bring home. Just recently, my son and family went to a “u-pick-it” farm in Plumstead Township NJ and picked their own blueberries. Sounds good to me!
Supermarkets want you to buy something in every department. That’s one quick way to bankrupt yourself. You know your family’s likes and dislikes when it comes to food, so plan meals accordingly and buy in bulk. More and more stores are offering “club-size” portions of just about everything these days. Or for real club savings . . .
#5. Consider a wholesale membership.
There is Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and Jet. If you have a growing family, oftentimes buying club-sized everything is well worth it. And each store offers you discounts on just about everything else you buy, too. They are something to consider, but remember this; when you visit you will need to bring some serious money with you, or it just won’t be worth your trip. One couple I know shops faithfully at Costco every month and they never walk out with less than a $400. bill. But, then again, much of their food shopping is DONE for the month.
There is an alternative to the clubs and it’s called Jet. Everything from pet food to human food, clothing for you and your children, everything you use in your house, in your backyard, in your bathroom, everywhere, you can buy on Jet. With Jet there is:
- Free shipping on orders over $35.
- 2-day delivery
- Customer service is 24/7, based in Utah.
- The more items you add to your cart, the lower your prices will go.
This is just how Jet operates. It’s certainly worth checking them out. Especially if you’re getting tired of driving and shopping endlessly in stores.
Also, there is a food service which I used to use called Schwans. They home deliver delicious meats, fruits, poultry, fish, meals, sides, pizza, snacks, breakfasts, desserts, all frozen and so convenient! I used them when we lived in Pennsylvania and loved the way it kept me OUT of the supermarket.
One last place to check out is Thrive Market. If you love shopping organic, but are put off by the higher prices, this is your place to be! Register for free and have a free 30-day membership trial. Shop their many categories; food, beauty, health, kids, pets, home, etc. And you have your pick of vegan, paleo, gluten-free, raw, staples and moms. Then for $59.95 you can be a Thrive member for the entire year! That’s a deal.
Part of your yearly membership goes towards funding a low-income family for the year, so you can feel good about being charitable without even knowing it. It really is nice to know there are so many ways to food shop these days.
Nowadays, we can all relax at home, watch tv, and food shop all at the same time! While your kids are doing their homework, you’re right there with them, only you’re shopping online. How cool is that!
These are my 5 favorite ways to save money on groceries! They are very do-able, they work and you DO save money. Another way of
“Homekeeping Inspirations for Knitting Your Best Life!”