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Hi everybody, it’s Katie and Alice. This is ten quick tips for saving money on groceries, beyond coupons. That’s just one strategy; here’s a few more ideas.
The first tip is to buy in bulk. I don’t mean buying in huge quantities, I mean buying things without packaging from, like bulk bins—so the kind where you would scoop them into your own container or a plastic bag. This is things like grains, coffee and tea, spices; um maybe even like honey and peanut butter you can get in bulk. You’re not paying for packaging and you’re cutting out the middle man.
Number two, buy in season produce. It’s going to be fresher, probably taste better, and it should be cheaper just because the abundance. Shopping at a farmers market is perfect if that’s an option for you.
Number three, see if it makes a difference to shop on a specific day. Where I live, on Wednesdays they honor both the sales from the previous week and the next week. So Wednesday is the cheapest day to shop here—we have double the sales. There’s also one day a week they offer a ten percent discount to military families. There may also be a specific day where your store may double or triple coupons. So it might make more sense to shop on that day.
Number four, see if you can buy things that are marked down for quick sale. I tend to get meat on manager special, which just means that they need to sell it in the next couple of days. I know we’re going to eat it either that day or the next day so that’s a good way to go for me. Also, you can get day old bakery that way. I’ve also seen bananas like this, where they start to turn brown and they sell them at a cheaper price. But they’re also perfect for banana bread or other baking, so it’s a win-win.
Number five, go meatless. Be it one meal a week, two meals a week, whatever. Meat is expensive and if you can replace it with a cheaper protein course like beans or tofu, it’s definitely going to save you money on those meals.
Number six, try frozen fruits or vegetables, especially when they’re out of season. Frozen produce is actually fairly healthy because it’s flash frozen at the peak of ripeness. A lot of the fresh produce you buy in the grocery store was picked way before it was ripe so that it wouldn’t get damaged in shipping, and so you know it’s ripe after you take it home. But frozen stuff, on the other hand, is picked when it’s ripe and frozen. So it’s something that’s cheap, healthy and it will last longer.
Number seven, bring your own bag. Most stores will offer five or ten cents a bag, for each grocery bag you bring. And I know that’s not a lot but it does add up. Some stores, Trader Joes and probably others, will give you a raffle ticket each week if you bring your own bags and you’re entered into win, like a hundred dollar gift certificate for that store. Beyond that, if more people started bringing their own bags the store would have less overhead and maybe they wouldn’t raise their prices as often. I think this is especially important for smaller stores, like mom and pop places that are really concerned with those kinds of costs.
Number eight, this is a little bit “big brother,” but sign up for your stores loyalty card, or e-newsletter, or their Facebook page. I know stores use this kind of stuff to get more information about your shopping habits and your family, but you’re going to get more discounts. You’re going to get an idea of when sales are coming up and that kind of stuff. So I think it is worth it.
Tip number nine, look at the unit price. On most store shelves you will see the price of the item, but then also in smaller print there will be the actual price per ounce for that item. This is the best way to compare one brand to another or one size box to another, and really have an idea how much you’re paying for that amount.
And number ten is to cook from scratch. I know it’s difficult because it’s hard to find the time. One way around that is to try to cook on the weekends when you may have more time. Or when you’re already cooking something, make a double batch and freeze half. Convenience foods are really expensive. And if you buy ingredients from scratch and invest a little bit more time it will definitely save you more money.
Hope this gave you some new ideas and happy saving.
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