If saving money on groceries seems to be a recurring theme here on our blog, there’s a good reason for that. As noted in an earlier post about how to save with grocery coupons, groceries are a significant part of every household’s budget, ranking right up there near housing and transportation as the top three components, and costing the average family hundreds of dollars each month.
So it pays to keep grocery savings on your radar, and to devote a little time each week to planning and doing what you can to trim those grocery costs. Here are some great tips and “food for thought.”
Tip #1: More than 80% of paper coupons will come with your Sunday paper. Even in our age of online and SMS coupons, the good old fashioned Sunday newspaper, along with any weekly circulars from your favorite grocery stores, are still the best source for money saving information and deals. Most avid couponers and coupon experts agree that devoting about one half-hour per week to a thorough examination of the Sunday paper will save most folks hundreds of dollars a month in groceries. If you find a truly great bargain on a household staple, it’s sometimes even worth it to buy an additional copy of the paper for that second batch of coupons to clip. The idea here is to clip the coupons on items you’re likely to purchase anyway (or those you can definitely use), keep them organized, and match them to current sales at the store or stores where you shop. And when you do find that perfect storm of sale price and coupon on your routine purchases, it’s time to stock up. This leads us to…
Tip #2: Buy enough of something when it’s on sale to last you awhile. Keep a list of the essential items that you buy most often and their prices over time. You’ll often notice patterns in sales relating to seasonal or other considerations. When a deal comes around, stock up with enough to get you through to the next good sale. Obviously, don’t buy more of something with a limited shelf life than you can use before it expires, and don’t feel compelled to buy things that you’re unlikely to use just because it’s a “good deal.” Saving money on things that you don’t need or want anyway is no bargain.
Tip #3: Bring along your calculator. The bigger sizes, or the products with sale tags aren’t always the best bargains. Take a look at the unit price (i.e., price per ounce, etc.) after any coupon savings for the real value. Sometimes you’ll pick up a “buy one, get one” deal on the smaller size that makes it cheaper than the economy size. Combine deals and play your cards right, and you might even pick it up for free.
Tip #4: Sometimes store brands and generics really are just as good. Sometimes an alternative name brand is almost as good as your favorite, and will save you bundles. The point is, that if you’re after really big savings on groceries, you’re gonna have to loosen up a little with brands. So your mother always bought Skippy. Don’t you think you could at least try the Jif when it’s on sale? Be flexible with brands, buy the ones that are on sale, or for which you have a coupon, or both. And be sure to stock up when you do find great deals on the ones you prefer.
Tip #5: Know the rules. We covered this in another post, but it can hardly be over stressed. Knowledge is power. Know when double coupon day is. Know which stores accept competitors’ coupons and ad match. Make the most of your loyalty card. Be aware of coupon and rebate terms and policies. A little time getting familiar with the lay of the land can make your journey on the path of grocery savings all the smoother.
To help you get started on your research, here are links to coupon information for some major retailers.