The Gateway to Grocery Savings

I am more than happy to admit it- I am a flyer shopper.
My husband has many a time watched me haul 50 (give or take) cans of tuna into our apartment at one time because they were on sale ($0.89- that’s like more than a dollar off each one!). And does he look at me like I’m crazy? Sure does! Do I care? Not one little bit
Working with parents, something that I hear time and again is that grocery shopping can get very expensive quicker than you think. And I see it for myself everytime I get rung up at the grocery store! Around the time my kids turned one I realized we had seen a significant increase in our weekly grocery bill with their eating habits and it’s only continued to go up from there!
So I wanted to share some of my tips on how to cut costs when it comes to grocery shopping! We’re going to cover how to save at the store, and how to use products at home to ensure you get the most out of your weekly shopping!

1. Map out a weekly budget: I know that sometimes this can be a challenge for families. One week you’re hosting a dinner party, another week the kids are away for a couple of nights. It can be a challenge to pick out weeks that are “regular” to base a budget on. I understand all of that. But from experience, when you go in with a number in mind you’re more mindful of how you spend your money- even if it’s not always the exact same number. The times that I have gone grocery shopping with no plan (or better yet in a country whose currency I have to translate) I have found that I have spent much more money than when I knew how much around I was planning for. Some weeks you might spend more and some weeks you might spend less, it’s true but by walking in week after week with a number it’s now helped me start to “eyeball” the price of my grocery cart. Now I can almost tell that if I’m spending more on one thing but saving on another how it’ll end up working itself out in the end

2. Look at your store’s flyer beforehand. I know there are certain grocery items I will buy every week without fail (think milk, bread, eggs) so whether or not these items are on sale can make a significant difference in the amount I end up spending on groceries. If there is nothing that fits on your regular list that is on sale it might be worth having a “plan B” store. I have two grocery stores ten minutes away from my house. One is generally more expensive than the other BUT when my regular purchases (milk, eggs, apples, cereal etc) are all on sale at that store…sometimes it actually works out to be cheaper to shop there on that week! It’s always worth spending 5 minutes of your lunch break taking a look at some online flyers before you drive all the way to the store.

3. Manage the allure of the new product. I LOVE new products. mustard and ketchup in the same bottle? Sign me up! Squeezable peanut butter (if that’s not patented yet no one steal my idea!) yes please! But sometimes before you know it you’ve picked up $50 of extras just to try new products (not that that’s ever happened to me). New products are amazing and I always encourage trying everything new under the sun. But pick one or two per week that you want to try and plan accordingly. When you know you will be buying many of your bigger ticket items, pick another week to try out your bigger ticket newbies.

4. Ask your store manager when certain items go on sale and when the shipment date is. My local grocery store always has a 50% off rack for produce. Now I know that there are some who don’t like the idea of the sale rack- but seriously…when your zucchini is blended into a soup do you really know that it might not have been the freshest it could have been when you bought it? I’m not telling you to buy produce that is BAD..but if its marginally closer on its way there and you’re cooking it anyway- who really cares? For other items that you might not use every day ask when the shipment date is. The worst feeling is spending money on something only to have it go bad in your fridge at home. Items such as chicken or even some vegetables or fruit. If your family tends not to finish them in a couple of days then buying closer to the date they were shipped gives you more flexibility in your timing at home.

5. Think about how much time you have before you go shopping. We all want to maximize our productivity throughout the day and I know that sometimes that means running into the grocery store when you find twenty minutes to spare. If and when possible I always like to think of how much time I have in “unloading time” also. That way you have the time and flexibility to put your groceries away in a way that ensures they will end up getting used. Putting the chicken mentioned above in the back of the fridge and out of sight basically ensures you will end up throwing it away at the end of the week and placing your new vegetables on top of or in front of old vegetables means you’ll probably end up using the new ones first and forgetting about the old ones. Leave yourself enough time to organize your space in a way that ensures you get as much bang for your buck as possible!

What are your top tips to saving at the grocery store??