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More Grocery Shopping Saving Tips

 I'm In Debt - Posted: 2/19/2009
Did you catch the big experiment?  Grocery Shopping: Before and After is an article in the Budget section of that demonstrates shopping without coupons and sales followed by a trip using coupons and sales.  The savings were a very healthy $40+ for a week's worth of groceries - but could you increase those savings even more with a few other tips and tricks?

Yeah. You really can.

I was one of those anti-coupon people.  I'd watch my mother flip through the coupons in the Sunday paper and roll my eyes when she'd spend time cutting out something that would save her a whopping 20 cents.  I'd think - "instead of cutting these things out, you could be doing something more productive right now that's worth more than 20 cents!"

Then I grew up, had a family, and a whole lotta bills to pay and I had to figure out how to cut expenses.  The price of food is not cheap! Raising a family is costly!  You know how it goes.  So here are some other tips for saving money grocery shopping that are not difficult and will save you money.  The first few times you try these tips, it may seem like a lot of effort, or that it takes a long time - but like anything else, the more you do it the faster you'll get at it.  Before you know it, you'll have a system in place and it may even improve your grocery list planning and shopping efficiency!

Combine Sales with Coupons-  I used to shop at Walmart for everything, groceries included.  If you buy all the Walmart or Sam's Club brands, you usually end up saving over the price of the same items in name brand versions.  But what I found was I never knew what was on sale until I got to the store (they don't put grocery fliers in the paper); and because Walmart is so much more than a grocery store, I would almost always pick up other stuff at the same time and spend far more than I intended.

I switched to shopping from Price Chopper, which is our big, local grocery store.  It's not a little corner market (stay away from those for your full shopping trip, as much as you want to support small, local businesses their prices are almost always inflated over a big market.  Go there for their sale priced items or to pick up an extra gallon of milk when you forget it at the store instead of doing your weekly shopping there).

Price Chopper puts a sales flier every week with the Sunday paper.  Sometimes they print coupons inside their flier, too.  I don't make a grocery list until I have the flier in hand, because I will literally plan our meals around what's on sale. 

Once you know what's on sale at the store, you can browse the Sunday paper for coupons.  Surprisingly, many of the items that go on sale are the same ones you can clip a coupon for.  My favorites:

Buy One Get One Free offers through the store sales... combined with a coupon to save money off the purchase of one or two of that product.  So if the frozen pizzas cost $5 each and are on a Buy one get one free sale, you are getting 2 pizzas for $5.  Then when you check the coupons and discover a $1 off that brand of frozen pizza, you're getting 2 pizzas for $4.  Wow right?! 

2 For $5 offers through the store, on items that usually cost $3 or more each.... combined with a coupon to save money off the purchase of one or two of that same product.  So with the store sale, you're getting them for $2.50 each, already a decent savings, and then with the coupon to save a few more cents off, you increase your savings.

Buying Less Means More- HEY! Did you know that in most grocery stores, if they say 2 for $5 you don't have to buy 2 items to get the sale price?  So if Oreo cookies are on sale for 2 for $5, you can buy one package at $2.50.  Stores purposely set up sales for multiple items to encourage us to buy more, but you can save more by buying only as much as you need at the discounted prices (and make it even better by using a coupon with the discounted price).

Store Brands Are Not Always Cheapest - Before I became an "expert" on grocery savings (yes, I think I've earned expert status lately with the amount of money I've been learning to save on my grocery shopping!) I used to think you should just grab the store brand of everything you buy and you'll save money.  Surprisingly, this is not always true.  For example, cereal can be purchased in store brand economy bags, right?  So you get more cereal for less money when compared to the brand name version.  However, store brand cereals don't go on sale as often as the name brand cereals, and if you're not paying attention your store brand bag is going to cost you more than buying the brand name on a sale (with or without a coupon).  Watch for Buy one get one free, half price cereal sales, and buy one get one half off.  You can often get more cereal for less money buying brand names on sale and if you happen to have a coupon, you'll really be cooking with gas!


haimanyam - good article which has a lot of info in it nice one
szack - thanks for sharing
nagasri - Nice article. Thanks for your tips.
- gr8 tips .. thank you..
varushar - Coupons is just an another way to attract more customers by shop