Loving The Northwest

Loving The Northwest

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remember the basics when saving on groceries

This is a good website to cruise through. Here is a nice article on the basics about saving on groceries. Go to GalTime for more interesting articles. When you sign up you can register for a Free Bottle of Sunscreen.

7 Simple Ways to Save on Groceries
By: Elizabeth McGuirk of Frugally Blonde, Living the Good Life on Less

Today I am sharing some very simple, easy ways to start reducing your grocery bill. These ideas are great for beginners, because they take a minimal amount of time and effort, and they are also a great reminder for anyone of the basics of saving money.

1) Choose a grocery budget and stick to it. This is probably the number one way to save on really anything: deciding that you won’t spend more than a certain amount. Start with a very realistic budget, just a little lower than what you usually spend. Then keep track of your shopping each week or month and don't spend over that amount, even if you have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the last few days of the month!

2) Plan meals. Don't go to the grocery store and just buy whatever looks good. Actually sit down and go over your schedule and see what meals you'll be eating and what ingredients you need. When I started seriously doing this, I was amazed to find how little I actually needed to buy for each week. If planning all your meals seems daunting, just write down dinners for one Monday through Friday and work up from there.

3) Shop with a list and stick to it. After you've planned your meals, make a detailed list and stick to it. Don't forget items for breakfast, lunches, and snacks, as well as beverages, paper products, cleaning products - anything you normally buy at a grocery or big box store. This practice has the added benefit of reducing trips to the store for forgotten items, which further reduces the chance of impulse buying.

4) Start clipping coupons. I could write a lot about couponing, but getting started really doesn't take much effort or explanation. Simply buy a Sunday newspaper each week and start looking for coupons on items you were going to buy anyway. If you find a $.50 coupon on the brand of cereal you always buy, and your store doubles it (which many do), then that little slip of paper is a dollar in your pocket. Once you are comfortable using a few coupons here and there, you can move on to matching them with sales and other coupon strategies.

5) Stock up on sales. Most people have probably done this at some time or other. You've noticed that your favorite cereal is on sale, so you've bought three boxes. It's definitely a good idea to do this, with a couple of caveats. First, don't buy ten boxes of cereal if it's not in your budget. It will save you more money in the long run to stick to a budget than to save a couple of dollars on cereal one month. Also, remember that many items go on sale regularly, so there's no need to buy ten if it will go on sale again in six weeks.

6) Consider generics - In my opinion, it is definitely worth it to try the generic brand on pretty much anything. You can always switch back, but you might save a considerable amount of money without even noticing by, for instance, buying generic canned tomatoes.

7) Think outside the box - Challenge the way you have been thinking about shopping and spending money. I have always been a frugal person, but when I examined my grocery budget last summer I found that I was acting on a lot of premises that could be challenged. For instance, did my husband have to have name brand chips and salsa, or would he be perfectly fine with the generic brand? (It was the latter.) Did I need to keep my pantry stocked with certain items, or should I just buy them when I was planning to use them in a recipe? Should I buy this item just because it's on sale or is it better to just spend less money this week?


Tina said...

Hi, I just found your blog. I live in Tri-Cities too. You mention stores doubling coupons. Do you know of any stores in this area that double coupons? I know Albertsons had a coupon in their ad a couple weeks ago that could be used to double a coupon but I was wondering if there was a store that doubled all the time. Thanks!

NW Coupon Lady said...

They only one right now is Albertsons. When you go into Albertsons look for addition fliers and use the double coupons a couple times. You have to use them in separate transactions. We have to work a little harder here in the Tri-Cities for our deals.

Julie said...

I think that cooking from scratch is a great idea along with investing in good freezer storage containers.