6 Ways to Save More on Groceries

These methods aren't extreme, but they'll save you a lot.

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6 Ways to Save More on Groceries
Jim West/Alamy
By Karen Cordaway

If you have promised to do a better job slashing your grocery budget, you don't have to do anything extreme to improve on your supermarket saving skills. Try implementing these simple tips to keep money in your wallet.

1. The early bird catches the sales. Maybe you looked through the store circular, planned your meals, wrote a grocery list and even cut a few coupons to plot out your future savings. There's nothing worse than taking time to do that only to have other shoppers beat you to the store and buy up all the stock. To beat serious shoppers at their own game, get there early so you can get the deals. It's also easier to shop when it's less crowded and it permits you to get in and out faster.

2. Shop without distractions. Don't text or talk while shopping unless the conversation has to do with grocery shopping, especially at the checkout. It's easy for an item to ring up differently than you had expected. If you are chatting or texting away, you and the cashier may not catch the error. If you have kids that tend to derail your best-laid plans, shop when you can go alone.

3. Staring can save you money. If possible, try to put all of your groceries down on the conveyor belt before the cashier starts to ring items up.
This way you won't have to load the items while the cashier is scanning. This frees you up to watch the price of each item flash on the register during checkout. Monitor each item as it is scanned. Limit small talk and pay attention to the screen. A prolonged gaze at the register can help you spot potential mistakes and keep you from throwing off your spending.

4. Give yourself a limit. You may have picked up a few items that aren't a real priority for this grocery trip. Though you might have done some mental calculations and thought you had enough, you might quickly discover that you made an error and the bill is now higher than you thought. Put these items that I call the "maybes" toward the back of the conveyor belt. You can even rest them on the metal at the end of lane so they don't move ring up accidentally. Based on the subtotal, decide at that time if they stay or go. In an effort to not go over budget, hand those items over to the cashier if you run over.

5. No zigzagging allowed. Have you ever aimlessly wandered up and down each aisle of the grocery store only to end up with a cart full of items you weren't planning on getting? This can throw your budget into a tailspin. If you don't need anything in a certain aisle, then skip it. Also, analyze the grocery store layout when shopping to discover the most budget-friendly areas. Marketers know how to get you to grab things that you otherwise weren't planning to buy. If you want to place it safe, the perimeter of the store is usually safer and healthier.

6. Beware of multiple deals. Consumer expert Andrea Woroch explains, "When you see a sign promoting '10 for $10' or 'five for $4.50,' you are often tempted to load up on the bulk savings. However, these aren't necessarily the best deals available and such offers can trick you into thinking you are getting a great deal. Get your calculator out to test the per unit cost and compare with other brands to find the cheapest price. You don't need to buy all 10 or all five as promoted to get the savings. Supermarkets know that shoppers feel they are getting a better deal. The bigger the number, the better the value appears. But, one for $1 is still as good as 10 for $10, so limit it!"

Karen Cordaway is a teacher, website owner and writer who currently teaches personal finance to children.


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11 Comments

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Vijetha Grocery

Nice Article to save money on Groceries .Best Online Grocery Shopping Store

November 06 2014 at 2:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kay

One if our local stores uses the 10 for 10 but it is usually for something like bagged salads, cheese, things that can go bad. They used to allow the shopper to buy just a couple of the items and still get the sale price, but now we have to buy the ten items. So tell me just what is a single person to do with 10 bags of salad that may only be good for one week at the most, or 10 packages of cheese or carrots? Needless to say I don't shop at this store anymore, plus their prices are higher than the store I do shop at.

April 08 2014 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
MRFOOT....LABAS!

..NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER...EVERYONE HAS A STORY AND THIER OWN PROBLEMS...MS. GEORGETTE IS VERY RIGHT...AS BADLY AS I WANT TO WORK, I CANNOT...HURT WORKING, CANCER, ILL MOTHER(RIP)... AND MORE......TRYING TO LIVE ON $1100.00 A MONTH...WE ALL HAVE STORIES...ACTIVATE BRAIN, BEFORE PUTTING MOUTH INTO GEAR....

April 08 2014 at 12:31 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to MRFOOT....LABAS!'s comment
georgettec28

If you have access to a computer and printer, may I suggest that you visit this site at least once daily: http://www.livingrichwithcoupons.com/. They offer terrific coupons and point out great deals to save money. Good luck!

April 08 2014 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Howdy, Susie

Quit shouting and we may read your info.

April 08 2014 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
georgettec28

Your comment is one that has been repeated ad nauseum. First of all you can't tell whan a customer is using food stamps or another form of payment. They use an ordinary looking debit card. So right there you're caught in a lie. SNAP (food stamp) recipients can barely afford the basics let alone steak and lobster. Comments like yours are meant solely to inflame the general public into thinking that SNAP recipients are riding a gravy train. Walk a mile in their boots Tom and you will be singing a different tune. Let me make one other observation. If food stamps were used for expensive items by the second week of the month, there would be no more money left in the account for anything. And just why are you so nosey as to want to know what food stamp recipients are buying for food? They are allowed to buy ANY food item they choose except prepared food like restaurant food. Heck, they can't even buy toilet paper with food stamps.

April 08 2014 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Tom

I have seen poeple buy items on food stamps that I cann't afford. This one lady bought rib eye steaks and lobster tails and other expensive foods on food stamps. There should be bar codes on items that cannot be bought on food stamps.I thimk this is wrong.

April 08 2014 at 10:13 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tom's comment
larry

I too have seen people on food stamps buy food items I cannot afford. I worked at the same company for 35 years and feel i have always made good, conservative decisions, but it irks me when food stamps allow people to buy steak, pot roast, lobster and lean cuts of meat and then they spend their cash on cigarettes, beer and twinkies. Welfare fraud is running rampant and after working in a grocery store and for the State government that authorizes or denies State services, I see it every day.

April 08 2014 at 12:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to larry's comment
georgettec28

I had to laugh with "lean cuts of meat." So because they are poor they're supposed to eat fatty cuts of meat? Food stamps are for food - any kind of food the recipients want. If they are so dumb as to use THEIR stamp allotment on expensive food and starve for the balance of the month, then that is their problem, not yours!

April 08 2014 at 1:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
georgettec28

By the way, it's not nice to ridicule folks who need and use Food Stamps. Pray that you are never in that situation.

April 08 2014 at 9:40 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
georgettec28

It's almost impossible for me to shop at the supermarket because I'm physically handicapped, While those electic carts help, they only hold a small amount of groceries and certainly not a week's work of groceries for my family. So I take advantage of my store's shop-from-home program. Yes, there is a fee but I more than make up for that fee by shopping carefully from a list and using coupons. My shop-at-home program recently ran a special - spend $900 over 6 weeks and get back coupons usuable on any items of my choice valued at 30% off an order. Since I routinely spend $300 weekly, earning $900 was a piece of cake. I saved almost $300 off my next order. I took that as an opportunity to stock up on frequently used and sometimes expensive items. The point is that many supermarkets offer all kinds of specials but you need to look for them and use them wisely.

April 08 2014 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply