Ways To Save On Your Grocery Bill

With the prices of goods skyrocketing, we always find ways to save on everything from clothing to groceries. I always check the weeky grocery ads and make notes of the items I use that are on sale. I try to use coupons whenever I can and also signed up for the grocery loyalty card to get discounts. My favorite sales are the 'Buy One Get One Free' deals, of course I also check the price. There are stores that will try to trick you into thinking that you get one free but what you do not know is that they jacked-up the price. Thankfully, the grocery I go to has not done that (not that I know of anyway).

I sometimes buy store brand too but there are things wherein the brand name is still better. If that's the case, I stick with the brand name. But for things like broth, sugar, flour, etc. you can get away with using the store brand. I also prefer to go to a store with efficient scanners and cash registers, it makes shopping faster and more efficient. If you work in a retail business, then you understand how important things such as a cashdrawer and even a touchscreen monitor truly are to a retail store. Buying a barcode scanner online can save you a bundle of money as well as provide you with more choices of products to pick from.

Here are some tips I stumbled upon on Yahoo. It's worth a read. :)

Most items are discounted just once during a 10-to-12-week sales cycle.
Seasonal items (think barbecue sauce in summer, soup in winter) show up every one to two weeks, while highly-competitive categories (cereal, soft drinks) cycle in every three to four. While it's not necessary to buy, say, eight jars of peanut butter, it's better to buy one jar while your favorite brand is on sale now than one at full price after you run out in two weeks.

Explore the store
Saving at the supermarket requires more effort than a quick dash and grab. Some of the best deals aren't obvious unless you take the time to price compare. Cheese, for example, can be purchased from the cheese counter, the deli and the dairy case. But the price may be cheaper in one section than in another.
Keep an eye out, too, for sales. There are twice as many unadvertised sale items in the store as there are in the weekly circular. But be cautious. The longer you spend in stores, the more susceptible you are to sneaky supermarket tricks that entice you to spend more. Make a list, and stick to it.

Try store brands
It's unlikely you'll notice a quality difference between ShopRite's frozen chopped broccoli and Birds Eye's. In fact, most store labels are produced by the same manufacturers that make the brands you know and love. (The maker of Birds' Eye frozen vegetables, for example, also makes store-label frozen veggies.) But there's a big difference in price. A 14-ounce package of the store-brand broccoli is 44% cheaper than the brand name. Of course, some store-label products make better deals than others.

Buy "must go" foods
Ask the staff at your supermarket what time they mark items down.
Stores routinely discount dairy, baked goods, produce and meat by 50% or more as these items approach their sell-by date or become less attractive (think bruised apples or crushed bread). Make no mistake: These items are perfectly safe to eat, even several days after purchase. You're not buying old food. There's a big difference between the sell-by date — which is what the stores are required to go by — and the expiration date.

Shop on Sundays
It's the best day to buy groceries. Armed with the fresh batch of coupons from your Sunday newspaper and the weekly sales circular, you can maximize your savings. Consumers who combined the two reported saving an average $678 annually, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey.

Think outside the supermarket.
Supermarkets aren't the only place to go for groceries.

Here's where to look:
Drugstores and pharmacies for milk, over-the-counter medications and personal-care items. At supermarkets, there's no coupons for milk, and there are rarely sales. Drugstores are hoping you'll grab some milk, and on your way to the register, some higher-priced stuff, too. At CVS in San Francisco, a gallon of skim milk is $3.99; at Safeway, it's $4.59.

Superstores for snacks, cereals and cleaning supplies. The added bonus: Target, Wal-Mart and Kmart are likely to accept competitor's coupons and match sale prices.

Amazon.com is gaining traction as a grocer, thanks to its free shipping policy and discount prices on bulk quantities. At the Hy-Vee grocery chain, a box of 100-calorie Oreo packs is $2.89. At Amazon.com, a bulk pack of six is $16.25 — a 6% discount.

Warehouse clubs for alcohol, prescription medications and pantry staples. You can easily recoup the annual membership fee.

Discount grocers for anything. Aldi and Save-A-Lot primarily sell products bearing their own label, instead of brand names. There's less selection but prices are usually at least 20% lower than at the supermarket.

Surplus stores for dry goods. Chains like Amelia's, SharpShopper and Grocery Outlet cut prices by up to 70% on damaged, near-expired and expired food obtained directly from the manufacturer. The deals are excellent, but you'll have to be extremely cautious. Check for quality before you buy.

Check unit prices. Buying the bigger size isn't always the best deal. The Federal Trade Commission found that bigger sizes of tuna fish, peanut butter, ketchup, coffee and frozen orange juice were often pricier per unit than smaller counterparts. Crunch the numbers before you buy.

Become a coupon connoisseur. Take your Sunday morning coupon clipping one step further. Join your supermarket's loyalty club because many offer bonus sales. Grocery chain Fry's, for example, automatically doubles the value of its members' manufacturers' coupons. Also check online coupon sites — because technology limits you to one print-out coupon per computer (as opposed to buying five weekend papers) manufacturers are often more generous with the coupon amounts. Try
The Grocery Game, Coupons.com and Red Plum.

Source: Yahoo

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