Posted by: Kelsey Avers | March 15, 2010

More ways to save at the grocery store

Adding to the list that I had going in my post, Grocery Shopping Tips and Tricks for College Students, here are some more grocery shopping strategies that will help keep some change rattling in your pocket and your tummy full.

So many products! How could one resist overspending?

Clip the Coups!
Yes, I mentioned this in my other post, but I only mention it again because it’s a vital tip to saving money and people often overlook it. Clipping coupons might seem old-fashioned, but I’m telling you, it works. There are many web sites like The Grocery Game that have great coupons for stores all across the United States. Also go to your local store’s web site and check their online specials and printable coupons.

Become a member
See if your local grocery store offers membership savings cards. Membership is usually free and can sometimes save you almost 40 percent on your groceries if you shop for the right stuff. Walk down the aisles and look for special tags on certain items you can use your membership card on. The tags will show the regular price and the member price.

Look for hidden savings
Look on the back of your grocery receipt. Many people never notice that on the back of most of these receipts are not only coupons for the store itself, but also businesses located near the store such as a Laundromat or hair salon.

This bright sticker indicates big savings

Look for Manager’s Specials
While you might have to look a little further to find these deals, take advantage of them when they are present. Most stores have these specials, and can often save you up to 70 percent on items like meats, breads, produce and bakery desserts, which will probably be marked with a bright sticker indicating the sale. These items are usually ones that have a “sell by” date that is soon approaching, or you got lucky and visited the store on the last day that they are selling it.
TIP: One mistake I make is to be hesitant when it comes to the “sell by” date and the expiration date. Items marked with a “sell by” date will usually last at home for several days.

Be careful about which “ON SALE!” items you’re choosing
That large pyramid of a cereal display may look fancy with its towering boxes and bright signs, but don’t be fooled. Grocery stores organize themselves in a specific way to get you to spend more than you should. These display items aren’t always necessarily the best deal, since the manufacturers or distributors of the product are likely handing over some cash for that display to be there in the first place, on sale or not.

Cash or credit? CASH.
Bringing a credit or debt card can result in you buying more than you can afford. Bringing the money you intend to spend means you can’t buy unnecessary items.
If you carry $50 bills or higher, you will be less tempted to spend more money versus if you had $5 or $10 bills in your pocket.

Avoid convenience items
Already prepared sandwiches and veggies may look more convenient, but they are actually more costly. You’re better of buying the individual ingredients and making them yourself. A bonus to this is that a variety of recipes comes with buying the ingredients individually.

Scan the shelf
Grocery stores don’t necessarily want you to save more and pay less. So they often will place higher-priced items at eye level. Don’t put yourself in a rush; scan the shelf for better bargains. The healthier (and less expensive) are also more difficult to find, so keep your eyes peeled.
Always take into consideration “unit price” tips!

Track prices
Keep a list of the prices you pay for items that you often purchase (staple items). Bring this list with you when you shop, so that way when you see an item that is displayed as “on sale,” you can compare prices and see if there is actually an existing discount, or if it’s a classic case of grocery store trickery.
If you find a good discount on items that don’t spoil, buy enough extras before the discount disappears.

Shop happy, shop warm
I already said a few posts back not to shop on an empty stomach, but here’s a new trick I found out about: Prepare to dress in warmer clothing. Odd, I know, but supermarkets tend to be cold, and your appetite might increase with the low temperatures.
Also, moods tend to affect how you shop. But in order to save money, keep your emotions in check. Stick to that budget and that list!



  1. I’d heard of a lot of these before, but it’s definitely good to have them in a list.

    But the one that was totally new was colder temperatures actually making you hungrier. Those sly foxes…

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