It’s a wild thing to think back to paying full price for groceries. Several years ago, I would make my list of what I wanted to cook and head to the store. I’d buy something on sale if it was there, but for the most part, I let our wants dictate what went in the cart. I still don’t have our grocery spending as low as I would like, but it definitely falls in the “thrifty” category.
In fact, when I first started shaving down our grocery budget, I consulted the USDA Report on Food Costs. This helped me have an idea of what was a legitimate amount to be spending. At least by government standards. According to the latest report, our family should/could be spending $231.40 per week on groceries. I know from experience that we can live on half that. And even less if we went back to our hard-core rice and beans diet.
And we wonder why the government has so much trouble with money. But, I digress….
That is my advice to someone just starting out. Find a benchmark budget and then work your way down. Each month, try to get by on a little less by using some savvy shopping techniques. Some that I use on a regular basis:
- Consult the grocery ads each week and identify the loss leaders that suit your family. Stock up on these.
- Scan the Sunday Coupon Preview to see if it’s worth your while to buy the paper on Sunday. Walmart sells the local newspaper for half the newsstand price, so I usually buy three copies.
- Browse the coupon offerings at Coupons.com and print the items that you know you’d use. If it’s normally a luxury item, clip the coupon anyway; just don’t use it until you see a sale for that item.
- Stock up on things when they are on sale rather than waiting until you need them. Then, they’ll be full price. Practice wise stockpiling.
- Make wise use of club warehouse stores. Our Costco membership is well worth it to us. Not only does it provide a fun, family outing and the best pizza in town, but they regularly have the best prices on dairy, breads, and some produce.
- Use free product coupons wisely.
- Cook from scratch as much as possible.
- Watch for markdowns at the store and match them with coupons where possible.
How do YOU save money at the grocery store?