Smart Grocery Shopping


Tightening the reigns on your budget for groceries doesn’t mean giving up everything you or your family might enjoy to have in the house. With a little work and some thrifty spending, smart grocery shopping can be easy and even fun.

First of all, be sure to narrow down where you do your shopping. Can you get the staples at the corner grocery store, and save gas? Or is it really worth it to get in the car and drive to the nearest superstore? Everyone has a different situation, so compare prices, distances, and the likelihood of a convenient shopping trip to choose where you’ll be doing your smart shopping.

Secondly, once you’ve picked these places, join their benefits program if they have one. It may not seem like much at first, but a few dollars off frequent grocery trips quickly adds up. In this economy, every penny counts.

Next, even if you join the benefit or bonus club, be sure to find fliers either online or in paper. Fliers will alert you to special sales, often operating for just a limited time, especially around the holidays. Oftentimes stores will carry special incentive periods that you won’t see on television commercials or hear about in the store.

Using these fliers, clipping coupons is the next step to a smarter grocery budget. Be sure to scan for coupons pertaining to staple items like favorite foods and toiletries. If you’re picky and stuck on having a certain brand, clipping coupons could be the key to not sacrificing it during the budget crunch. Keep coupons organized, preferably in the order you’ll need them.

When it comes to special incentive periods and coupons, don’t be afraid to stand your ground. If a sign says two for one special which causes you to purchase, check the receipt after you buy, or better yet watch closely as your items are rung up by the cashier. Sometimes the employees don’t know every single deal going on in the store, especially in a superstore. Be firm and provide proof that the deal exists, or point out the validity of your coupons. Don’t be afraid to ask for a manager’s assistance, especially with a trainee or a younger employee. You’re entitled to your discounts!

Before or during your shopping trips, evaluate what products are must haves and what are luxuries. This doesn’t automatically mean that you have to cut out the luxuries, of course. Simply having a list of what you consider to be important can be an eye-opener when compared to the household budget.

After doing this, make adjustments. Even switching a few things from name brand to generic can put dollars back into your wallet. Certain products, like cereal, have almost no discernible difference between name brand and generic except price and the container. If you or your family is really picky, try substituting and see if there’s any notice. Generally, there won’t be!

Paying more attention to brands should also draw your eye to quality. Spending money on groceries is also making an investment in health, so be sure to check labels. There’s no use in spending money on something that offers poor nutrition. This is especially easy to see in things like juices, where careful inspection of the label can determine high juice content from low juice content and tons of high fructose corn syrup. This doesn’t mean you have to buy all organic food, but understanding how to really get a healthy bang for your buck is important when examining your budget.

Following these tips can put some money into your pocket, and help you understand exactly where your grocery money goes. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change your usual routine to see what works best.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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