10 Tips for Grocery Shopping (and Couponing is Not One of them)

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Sometimes it can be a relief to take a break from coupon clipping. Other times you may find yourself at the store in need of groceries and you forgot your blessed binder at home!! Don’t worry you can still save a ton! Here are a few ways to save on your grocery bill without those paper coupons!


1) Take Inventory

Before heading out the door, check your food inventory. Maybe you have a few steaks in the freezer or lots of pasta noodles. Think of what meals you can make with the items you still have. This way you will not need to buy so many ingredients for each meal. This saves me time and money.


2) Follow Your List

Don’t get too off track. Make a list and stick to it! When browsing the aisles, it can be tempting to throw more in the cart than initially planned. If you stick to your list you will spend less for sure!


3) Check For Reduced Priced Meats

This is not something everyone feels comfortable doing. Every week, grocery stores try to “reduce for quick sale” some of their meats from earlier in the week. You can even ask your Deli Manager to give you the inside tip on which day of the week they discount their meats. My Walmart seems to get them put out on Thurs/Fri. Most of them will have a sell by date for the following day. As long as you freeze them right away, they are as good as fresh. Just be sure that the meat looks good: check for good color with very little liquid in the package. I portion my meats in plastic wrap to help reduce the amount of freezer burn. This works for all meats from sausages and pork chops to steaks and roasts.


4) Do you have the app for that?

Nowadays there is an app for everything, even grocery shopping. Receipthog is an app where you upload all of your receipts to earn rewards. Check to see if your local stores are included! Cartwheel is my absolute favorite! This is a Target Exclusive app where you add the discounts to your list , shop for the items and have the cashier scan your bar code. The more you save the more savings spots you earn. SavingStar and Cellfire are the oldest in this list of grocery shopping apps. Savingstar will save you money on various items each week. Just add your loyalty cards, add the offers you want and shop for them in store! You can also submit your receipt. All of these apps are FREE and available for the Iphone or Android Mobile devices.


5) Check the Reduced-Price Bakery Section

My kids love to help me search for a yummy bakery item. These need to be used within the two days after the sell by date. Check for mold. I have never found a moldy pack on our reduced cart, but I always keep a lookout. We have bought items like mini chocolate chip muffins and a dozen glazed donuts.


6) Compare the Price Per Ounce

When there are varied sizes of a product and a range of prices, be sure to check the price per unit or ounce. This will tell you for sure which is actually cheaper when comparing the size and price. I find this a lot, for example, with BBQ Sauces and Ketchup. There are many brands and sizes with varying prices. Compare Rice, Cereal and Coffee the same way!


7) Weigh your Produce

This may seem weird but even if the produce is pre-bagged or packaged, you may save more or just get more for your money if you weigh it. For example when I pick out a container of strawberries I want the freshest, fullest package. So I will pick two that look like the best and see which weighs more. I want the most for my money. A similar idea will work for items like grapes. Maybe you only have $2.00 for your grapes, but the bags seem pretty full. Pull a few out and weigh the bag to make sure you don’t go over your budget.


8) Deli Meat Versus Prepackaged

In some cases it is beneficial to buy prepackaged and in some cases it is better to buy deli meat. If I only want to spend a tiny amount on two different kinds of meats I will go to the deli counter. There I can pick the brand I want, the slice thickness and get as little as a 1/4lb. But if I want a larger amount of meat, a half or full pound can be cheaper in the prepackaged section. It’s all in what you need for your week ahead and how much you have alotted in your meat budget.


9) Shop Alone

I don’t know about you but when I bring my husband and/or kids with me I always spend and buy more than I had originally planned. They will ask for something or get a meal idea that you had not scheduled for the week and possibly blow the budget. If you are shopping on your own, it gives you time and space to think and compare prices.


10) If Possible, Shop During the Week

There are two times where the aisles are the easiest to maneuver, an early morning on a weekday or any late evening. When my kids were babies I loved to go grocery shopping at 9pm. I would put the kids to bed and leave them with my hubby while I headed out for groceries! Obviously, if there are amazing items in your weekly sales flyer, you may want to head out as early as you can on the first day of the ad to avoid having to get rainchecks. Be sure to check your store to see when the best times are to shop with the least amount of customers in the store!