Your grocery bill is one of your family’s largest expenses. Yet when it comes to shopping, many of us leave big money on the table.
But you can outsmart the grocery stores at their own game and easily save your family $1,000, $2,000, even $3,000 or more every single year. Here are eight ways you can become a supermarket ninja.
Plan your meals around the sales
Want an easy way to save money quickly? Simply plan your family’s meals around whatever is on sale for the week. If whole chicken is on sale for .99/lb, your family will be eating chicken for dinner. Plan your meals. Make a list. Stick to it and you’ll laugh all the way to the bank.
Throw store loyalty out the window
I love cherry picking. Each week supermarkets offer amazing deals on a few products, hoping to make up the difference as you fill your basket with non-sale items.
I’m not having it. That’s right, I throw store loyalty out the window. I pick only the best deals from each supermarket chain.
But what about the gas costs, you argue? With the cutthroat supermarket business you can often find different chains located within a few blocks of each other. Where I shop, for instance, three major grocery chains are located within 800 yards of each other, and each week I cherry pick each and every one.
Become an infrequent shopper
Save money by becoming a once a week shopper. Depending on the study cited, nearly 40% to 50% of all of our supermarket purchases are impulse purchases ““ items we had no intention of buying when we entered the store.
The fewer trips we make to the grocery store during the week, the fewer opportunities there are for costly impulse purchases to wreck our shopping budgets.
Make stockpiling your best friend
Sometimes a sale is not just a sale. Sometimes it’s a super sale. Let me give you an example. Marie Callender’s frozen meals generally can be found in the Chicago area on sale for $3.69, $3.29, $2.99 and even $2.50.
But about once every eight weeks they go on sale for 5/$10. That’s when I pounce and lock in the savings by buying several weeks worth.
Knowing when an item is at its rock bottom price and stockpiling at that moment is the perfect way to reduce your grocery bill by 40% or more.
Check out the store brands
Store brands have gone upscale while retaining their discount pricing. The reason? Supermarkets can now make more money producing and selling their own brands than they can “renting” store space for national brands. Consequently, they have a vested interest in making sure their store brands are up to snuff. I should know. I’m addicted to Jewel-Osco chocolate chip cookies and other store brands. For the average consumer just purchasing a fraction of your groceries as generics can save you hundreds each year.
Get a little German help
Aldi supermarkets may be one of the best kept secrets in the grocery world. Based in Germany, Aldi is one of the world’s largest grocery chains. Their no frills approach keeps costs low, and the savings are passed on to the consumer. Shoppers can save up to 50% compared to traditional stores.
Slash the waste
A 2006 study found that we waste nearly 14% of all the food we purchase. This costs the typical family of four at least $600 a year. To save money, follow your supermarket’s lead and rotate the items in your fridge and cupboards.
When we place new groceries at the front of the refrigerator it simply pushes older items to the back. This virtually guarantees that the half used stick of butter, two lone eggs, or quarter carton of milk never gets used.
Instead, take a few extra minutes to rotate your food. Place new groceries in back and move your older items to the front.
Use your coupons like a pro
You don’t want good savings with your coupons. You want great savings. Always try to combine your manufacturer’s coupons with a store sale to get the maximum benefit.
If your store runs out of a sale item, don’t get mad. Get even. Make sure to obtain a rain check. This will allow you to combine the rain check with a manufacturer’s coupon in the future for super-sized savings.
Times are tough. But if you learn to shop like a pro you’ll put hard earned cash back into your family’s pockets.
BMWK, what are some of the strategies you use to lighten your grocery bill?
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