22 Apr

Spring Cleaning your Spending: Save on Groceries

If you have a teenager, you’ve probably noticed that your refrigerator is more money-pit than food storage space. Groceries can disappear almost as fast as you bring them in–which is why it is so important to your budget that you save as much at the store cash register as you can.

Plan Ahead

Do you see dollar signs when you find half-eaten leftovers or spoiling produce tucked away in your fridge? One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to plan ahead. Meal planning will help you buy only what you need at the grocery store, because you’ll have your week of cooking already mapped out. It will also help you be sure that you use everything you buy–you can even plan a night for leftovers so you get the extra lasagna out of its Tupperware before its too late.

Planning with your local store’s sale flyer can also help trim grocery bills. Planning your meals around current sales instead of the whim of your family’s palate can really help lower the total on the cash register receipt. Eating in-season fruits and vegetables, which usually cost much less than out-of-season ones (think greenhouses or shipping costs from warmer or cooler climates) can also save you money.

Shop Less

Let’s face it: the more often we go to the store, the more chance we’ll fall prey to impulse buys (especially if you shop hungry–avoid that at all costs!), and those can add up fast.

Cutting back your shopping trips will help you stay within your budget and be more likely to try to use what you already have at home–and that helps cut out waste.

Join the Club

Most stores have free “club cards” that will automatically save you money on their specially marked items. The cards often keep track of your purchase preferences so that you are more likely to get useful coupons with your receipt.

Use Coupons and Sales Together

Using coupons for groceries is such a popular money-saving right now that dozens of useful “couponing” blogs have popped up all over the blogosphere. These sites teach their readers to do several things to help them pay much less than retail for groceries:

  • Watch the sales. Stores tend to operate on a 6 week cycle, with the lowest price of an item coming on sale about every 6 weeks. Many couponing websites will tell you when this is, or you can try to keep an eye out for yourself. Stock up on non-perishables or freezable items when they are at their lowest price.
  • “Stack” coupons. Most stores allow you to use several coupons for one item, as long as it isn’t the same exact coupon. For example, if you have a $1.00 cereal coupon and a $0.55 coupon for the same cereal, you may be able to “stack” them to save $1.55.
  • Combine coupons and sales. For the best price, you’ll want to use coupons on items that are already on sale.

Interested in learning more about coupons? Try this couponing tutorial at hip2save for some good starting points.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

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