I once shopped for a family of seven, but now it's just for my husband and myself. However, I still practice many of these cost-cutting steps today because I still like to save money!
1. Invest in a freezer! Keep it stocked with sale meats, frozen foods and bakery items.
2. Check your pantry shelves, refrigerator and freezer before making your shopping list.
3. Read the weekly food ads, and make a list of the grocery items and costs (I tape a post-it note list on the front of each store's ad)
4. Cut coupons from the newspaper, but only those you know you'll use. I generally cut only those with a 50-cent value or more. Cull the expired coupons before shopping. Separate the coupons into two envelopes marked "Food" and "Non-food," taking them with your list.
5. If a WalMart is in your neighborhood, they "AD MATCH," so take advantage of this terrific opportunity to save on everything, including brand names, meats, sundries, and even house brands. You must take your food ads with you. You can match the ad specials from any market (even Sprouts and Trader Joe's), as long as it is a food market (not a drugstore, department store, etc.). The only food items which cannot be "matched" are 2 for 1, and percentage discounts (the price must be shown in the ad). Remember to buy the exact brand and size. Other stores' house brands can be matched with the WalMart house brands, too. Separate your "AD MATCH" items from the rest of your groceries to save time at the check-out. Before "AD MATCH" was used, I visited as many as three or four stores to get the best prices for my family. No more....just find a WalMart! . It saves you gas, more than pays for your newspaper, and cuts your food budget!
5. If a discount bakery is in your neighborhood, it is cost-effective to stock up monthly and freeze the goods, double-wrapping everything.
7. Warehouse stores aren't always a bargain. If you have to store the giant-sized goods in a pantry, or super-sized perishables in the refrigerator, you'll soon notice that you have no space available, and a lot of perishable goods will be wasted. However, this way to shop is great when shopping for large groups, parties and gatherings.
8. If WalMart doesn't carry your specialty items and you can't do without them, then...and only then...pick them up from another store when you're in the vicinity, but buy two or three, if possible.
9. Whether you buy sale produce, or grow your own, by canning or freezing them, you'll save a lot of money. Also, cooking and baking from scratch is much more cost-effective than buying "convenience" food, and tastes better, too.
10. Refrain from frequent trips to the store because the more often you go, the more you tend to spend. Your money will go farther, and you'll be happier by following these steps!
Consider grocery shopping a "game." It's your money being spent. Try to plan ahead, and challenge yourself to do better each time!