My big plans for 2010 include more inventive cooking, organizing and getting back to my scrap booking. While I am getting back into the swing of things, I want to be more resourceful and budget-friendly! Being married to a resourceful man that also moonlights as an awesome cook, I think that I am in luck :) I've been working on recipes that utilize fresh ingredients as well as items that I can buy/cook in bulk to use later on down the road. I think that this is also a great time to start sharing meal times with our families. It usually only costs pennies more to include one of our families in our meal, so why not? So, I have decided to talk about my journey and include gourmet budget and time saving tips! Today, I have decided to talk about my grocery store tips that will save you time and money!
HOW TO SURVIVE...GROCERY STORE EDITION
1. Keep a layout or an aisle listing of your favorite or most frequented stores. This will help you write a grocery list in the order of how you travel the store. In some cases, larger stores will have maps on their website or at the customer service desk, so go ahead and check it out. If not, make a list of your own the next time you visit. It may help you from running back and forth!
2. We all need the staples from the inner aisles of the store, but fresh produce, meat and dairy are almost always around the perimeter. Try only going down the aisles that house products that you absolutely need and you are bound to save a few dollars.
3. Check the circulars for your area and see if your favorite store does a price match on items that you use frequently. It is also best to do a quick check of their price match policy. Some stores only offer price match on items that say the actual price, not buy one get one or 2 for a certain price. Some also require that you have the circular or sale bill in hand, so make sure to take it. I place post-its for each item on the front of the ad and hand them the little note. If they need the ad, I have it, but they don't have to flip around that big circular! Trust me, the cashier will be happy if you are organized.
4. Coupons and store savings clubs are also great ways to save. Most stores are now accepting online coupons, but it is best to check their policy. I check a variety of websites, such as those of my favorite stores, redplum and other coupon sites. The Sunday paper offers coupons, but most of them are becoming few and far between. Some in store savings clubs also print coupons at the register for items that you normally purchase, which can be very helpful for future trips. Get a coupon at one store but want to use it at another? Ask the store if it can be counted as a price match. If they are eager to get your business, they will more than likely oblige. If you are swapping coupons, make sure you belong to a legitimate group or know those that you are trading with...many people print out coupons or copy them and try to sell them on auction sites at a decent price. With a bit of work, you can save on your own, with no up front costs.
Just keep a few tips in mind and you are sure to save. Keep track of your grocery expenses and see how they shrink! Happy shopping!