Money Saving Tips for Food Shopping
Guest Post: This post was written and provided by guest post writer, James Lander. Lander is a regular contributor for couponing and deals site, Couponing. Turn to this website for top-retailer coupon information, couponing etiquette and more.
Every year Americans spend an impressive 478 billion on groceries alone. The average household stuffs at least 100 dollars a week into the cavernous pocket of their local store – relying on them for everything from diapers to midnight snacks. When it comes to the relationship between grocer and consumer, we are the embarrassingly dependent partner. It’s safe to say that if our local grocery store were our significant other, our friends would tell us to leave it. There are ways, however, to ensure you are not taken advantage of. You just need to commit to a bit more work than you may be used to. Nevertheless, when you realize that you could be saving up to three thousand dollars per year by shopping smart, you’ll probably change your tune.
Don’t go in half-prepared.
You know the flyers you wrinkle your nose up at and toss away? The grocery advertisements you line your birdcage with? If you are seriously interested in saving money on food, these previously ignored papers need to become your study material. You simply won’t be able to save money if you don’t know how much your products are worth. Reading these flyers will give you a clear idea of how much your chosen items are retailing for across the board and prepare you to recognize when it’s really a sale, not a scam.
Arm yourself with lists.
Before you go through those glass doors, before you are assaulted by pretty displays and delicious smells – know what you really need. As soon as you set foot in the store, you are at the mercy of in-store marketing and manipulation. Don’t let advertising erode your resolve. Having a carefully planned list, detailing the things you actually need and will use, has been proven to help curb your spending. It is so easy to fill your cart with things you ‘didn’t realize you need’ only to come home with a grocery bill almost double what you had budgeted for.
Attack with Coupons.
The use of coupons has reached an unheard of level of popularity due to an odd mix of the current financial crisis and TLC’s half hour of ‘Extreme Couponing’ hysteria. People are realizing that the little papers they had shunned previously can save significant amounts of money when used properly. Many consumers are ‘stacking’ their coupons by waiting for the product to go on sale in the store and then combining the sale price with a manufacturer’s coupon. This can result in savings of 80% or more for seasoned couponers. As you are perusing the flyers, take the time to clip any coupons that are relevant to your lifestyle.
Hit them where they’re weakest
Although you may be disturbed by the idea of a ‘discount’ grocer, there is no need to turn your nose up and spend the extra money for status. Discount grocery stores such as Grocery Outlet, Food Basics and Price Chopper offer the same food you’d purchase at mainstream stores with a 30% discount or more. The product is still perfectly fine, but may have been overstocked by other stores or slightly damaged in transit (it’s like the Nordstrom Rack of grocery stores!). When the produce is in season it is just as lovely as in other establishments and if you don’t mind a cheaper cut of meat, you can enjoy massive savings on your protein portion.
Take no prisoners.
If you don’t fancy the idea of cheap meat and produce, you can always ‘work the system’ at a conventional or high-end grocery store. Most meat is still fresh and edible for up to five days after the expiry date listed on the package. If you purchase the discounted meats, there’s an excellent chance that with a quick freeze, it will still be delectable a few weeks down the line. If you choose to take advantage of these steep discounts, be sure you transfer your meat into a freezer bag before storing it away. Actually handling (and smelling) your purchase is the best indication of whether your dinner needs to be fried up right away or if it can last for a few extra days.
Unless you are one of the lucky (and industrious) few with a vegetable garden in your backyard and a barn full of animals, you are largely at the mercy of the grocery store. If they were to close their doors, the majority of us would eventually starve. If they were to raise their prices to a ridiculous amount, the majority of us would eventually pay it. More and more, consumers are learning the importance of being proactive when it comes to shopping. After all, if saving 50 a week eventually puts 2600 back in your wallet, is there really another option?
Thank you James Lander and Couponing.com. Great tips to remember! Don’t forget, if you are a volunteer (in Kansas, Nebraska or Oklahoma), in any respect, you qualify for The Prairieland Food Discount Food Program. Happy Couponing!