We are often asked how we save on groceries, so I thought I’d make it this week’s Monday’s Money Saving Tip!
A few things to note before I list the tips. We usually shop once a week. We don’t include diapers in our grocery
budget. Everything else is grocery
though (paper towels, toilet paper, vitamins, laundry detergent, trash/plastic
baggies, etc…). We’re a family of THREE! Our little one is 8 months old (I make his food, which tends to be a little cheaper). I do not expect our budget to increase much, if any, when we have more or they’re older (I refuse to make two different meals also). These are what have worked for US.
Shop at Walmart when you can:
They price match everything. I write down the price and store next to the
item on my list so when I get to the register, I can just tell them. I also like to put all those items together
when I check out so I don’t forget an item.
Pick a friendly cashier. If you’re going to price match or use
coupons, choose a clerk you know is friendly or looks friendly. There is one lady at Walmart who I LOVE. She’s so nice. There are also some not so friendly
clerks. It helps if you compliment them
or ask them a question when they first start.
For example, “How do you pronounce your name? Oh, I love that!” Hahaha…half the time I don’t know how to
pronounce their names. It’s crazy how
much this will change their attitude.
When I asked my cashier this, I saw her smile and we ended up talking about
making baby food! Try it…even if you don’t
use coupons or price match.
Try some of their produce…I refused to eat it
until I was too lazy to go to other stores and I promise, it is not bad at
all. If you “just can’t,” then the best
thing to do is find what grocery stores have meat/produce on sale and go there. This is good to do regardless (see the store ads bullet
I heard Aldi is great with prices too (and
produce/meat), but they are far and few between! Pretty sure most towns have Wally World
Don’t be a brand snob as far as stores go (I can
say that because I used to be one)!
Early Sunday shopping is the best at Walmart –
calm, quiet and stocked up! If not, any
early weekday morning is best.
Check out my friend, Allie’s blog here – this is her Walmart
experience with coupons after having shopped at other stores. This was a shopping trip for 2 weeks worth of
|They have done us well!|
Costco/Sams type stores don’t always save you
money. They actually can be killers to
your budget. In OUR experience when we
shop at Costco, we never walk out of there under $80 and it hikes up our monthly
grocery budget like crazy. You might
say, “But it will save you in the future.
You’re buying in bulk so you won’t have to buy it as often at the
typical grocery store.” True, there are
some instances when they have a really good deal that will save you in the long
run, but most of their “deals” make you spend more money than you would on a
regular basis. First of all, use their
coupon books and buy their sale items. And
secondly, compare them (price and size) to the same item at the grocery store
and see if you really are saving money.
Shopping there also does not reduce our future week’s/months’s budget,
which means we simply just spend more that month. Looking back on all our months’ grocery
budgets, the months we blew our budget, were the months we shopped at
Costco. I’m not saying don’t buy items
there (we do), but be weary when you do.
We are much better about buying items we NEED , buying only the coupon
items, and rarely go over $70 (and those items usually last 6 months)!
Plan your meals for the week. I’m pretty sure everyone does this, but had to include it. Write
them down somewhere you will see them throughout the week. Take it even further and
plan your meals so you don’t waste items…I’m horrible about this…ugh! I get a whole thing of celery and use like
two stalks and the rest usually goes to waste.
|Now we have Pintrest…meal planning is much easier and fun!|
Buy store brands when possible. This is what I have trouble with. There are some brands I just prefer to stick
with (cereal is one of them). Usually
store brands, like Walmart’s Great Value, will be cheaper, but remember to scan
the other prices too. I was in Walmart
getting some shredded cheese the other day when I noticed a non-store brand (can’t
remember the name…I already threw the package away) that was cheaper than GV. I was so used to getting GV that I never
looked. It could be new as well, but I
will be more aware of comparing from now on.
|It’s trial and error to figure out which food you can eat that are store brands.|
Go in with a list. Have two blank lines at the
bottom to allow for an “I forgot” or “ooh that looks yummy”. Keep price in mind obviously ($3.00 or less
for a want). If it’s not on the list,
don’t buy it. Cross off as you go…there
is something about crossing off those items that makes you stick to the list
|This is my FAVORITE part!|
Coupons – I am still learning this one! You can either make your list based off what’s
on sale or make your list and then see if any coupons match up. There are a TON of sites for coupons, but here
are a few I’ve used. My first legit
coupon experience, I saved $10 (on a $63 trip) and I printed them off last
minute and in a hurry.
Look through store ads in the newspaper or
online. We get newspapers free, so we’ll
go through and compare prices, see what’s on sale where, and write down the
items. This is where we set up our price
matching for Walmart. Sometimes, we’ll
go to the actual store if it’s for that store only or we like the produce/meat
better. We do this at Sprouts and Market
Street a lot.
|Ryan usually does this!|
Don’t go with kids if you can…that may mean
going at 10:00pm! To me it’s worth it –
you have time to shop and not forget anything because you just want to get out
of there, and you can examine price comparisons easier!
|Is this not true or what?|
Make a budget for the month and write down your
grocery bill when you come home from the store – either next to your budget or
on the refrigerator. If you’re getting
close and it’s the middle of the month, you better get creative and google “poor
man’s food.” Hahaha! We typically budget $300 a month now (it was
much lower when we were paying off our house), but I plan on knocking this WAY
down when we’re down to ONE paycheck this September! Hence the new couponing journey. You WILL spend as much as you budget so
budget low! I looked back at our history
and we spent whatever we budgeted, if not more (never really used coupons though).
We started at $240, then increased it to $260, then $280, then $300. When it was $240, we were spending that. Now that it’s $300, we spend that! So, what you budget, will be what you most likely spend.
comparing stores), but once you’ve done it a while, it will be second
nature. It then becomes a
challenge. I’m excited to see how much I
can save each shopping trip.