Simple Steps Save Thousands of Dollars

October 14, 2010

Simple Steps Save Thousands of Dollars

Several simple grocery shopping techniques will help to save you thousands of dollars at the register.

A focused, planned approach to grocery shopping and a Sunday circular will save most people hundreds of dollars each month, equaling thousands of dollars each year.

Here’s a quick guide to savings:

Check out the store’s circular before you go shopping. Use it to make your list. Plan some of your meals around what’s on sale. Make your shopping list with each week’s circular nearby, and stick to your plan.

Know your store’s coupon policies and rebate programs. Check out the rebate programs your supermarket chain has on its Web site.

Know what you spend the most on. Keep a list of the items you buy regularly and track the prices over a three-month period. Then you can, buy when they reach the bottom of the range.

Keep your eyes open for unadvertised deals and coupons in the store. By combining sales and coupons, you can often get many things on your list for pennies on the dollar or even free.

Store brands are one of the best - and most underutilized - benefits of a supermarket. Today their quality is comparable to the leading brands with few exceptions. Comparing a full week’s grocery list, typically you can buy store brands for about 60 percent of the items on your list. On average, you can save 20 percent, but in some cases, you can save even more. These store-brand products get you the best value (price and quality): breakfast cereals, jams/jellies, cookies/crackers, paper goods, pasta and sauces, and cheese and dairy products.

When fresh produce is not in season, the price goes up and the quality down - but not when you shop frozen. Frozen fruits and veggies are preserved at their peak of nutritional value and in season. Read the package label carefully, some do add sugar or sodium, but overall the price will be far below that in the produce department. Read the ads and you will discover that when produce is in season, the frozen counterparts may be on sale, and that is the time to stock up. Check the expiration dates before you fill your cart; and remember, most frozen foods, when stored properly, can last up to a year in your home freezer.

Don’t assume the bigger package is a better deal. Consider the unit price on the shelf tag and buy what goes on sale. Often, a smaller size costs pennies or is free with a coupon.

Don’t think that you can buy it cheaper at a warehouse club. Most name-brand merchandise can be had even cheaper on sale at a major grocery chain.