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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

15 Common Sense Tips while Grocery Shopping

  1. Don't go shopping on an empty stomach. Shop after you've eaten and you are less likely to pick those extra munchies or impulse items that sound good at the moment.
  2. Don't go shopping with company. While not always possible (especially if you have small children), try to shop solo. You will be more likely to stick to your grocery list and not find extra goodies in your cart at checkout.
  3. Don't always use a coupon. As an avid couponer, many find this advice surprising. However, unless I can combine a coupon with a sale or the coupon is for an item I need; I really am not saving money, but spending more of it.
  4. Make a shopping list. This simple task can save you time in the store as well as money.
  5. Plan your menus around what you already have in the pantry AND what is on sale this week. These two simple steps can save you more money in the long run. Need recipe ideas? Check out PYP's recipe forum!
  6. Stock up on sale items until they are on sale again. This is one of the best ways to build up your food storage/stockpile. Then use the items til they are on sale again.
  7. Use a pricebook to make decisions about what is a stock-up price. Pinching Your Pennies has a great pricebook from many volunteer couponers across the country, so this info is very reliable and golden.
  8. Monitor what you actually use, NOT what you think you will use. This rule is especially true for perishables that cannot freeze. Deli meat, for example. If you regularly ask for one lb, but only eat half of it, only get 1/2 lb the following week.
  9. Think nutritional value. Just because a box of granola bars is on sale for $1, remember that you can buy 6 bananas for that same $1. You get more nutritional value dollar for dollar in a side-by-side comparison.
  10. Don't pay for convenience. Unless I have a coupon and a really great sale for a pre-packaged lunchbox item, I will buy the bulk size of snacks and place them in ziploc baggies for lunches.
  11. Buy the cheaper cuts of meat. They cost less and are easy to cook, too. They can be a snap in the slow cooker.
  12. Do it yourself. Skip buying the pre-cut veggies, the pre-bagged salads and pasta sauce with all the preservatives. Instead chop your own veggies, wash your own lettuce and make your own pasta sauce with 2 cans of Hunts diced tomatoes and fresh basil. You'll never go back to Ragu, again.
  13. Buy the cheaper bulk of Ground Beef. Usually Ground Beef is cheaper in a larger butcher block, usually 5 lbs or more. Brown it all in one sitting or make meatballs or meatloafs and freeze in dinner size portions (I prefer 1/2 lb for my family of 5). You'll have one dinner step closer to being done and be saving money in the process.
  14. Join your store's loyalty reward program (if they have one). Not only do you need a store loyalty card to receive the store's sale prices, but check out the store's website for additional coupons that can be loaded onto your loyalty reward card. Currently these e-coupons can be combined with paper manufacturer's coupons for double rewards.
  15. Shop at stores that have double coupons IF available in your area. This tip is obvious, but not always a viable option. Instead, if you life in the LOND (land of no doubles), you need to work even harder to find the sale+coupon deals. Luckily for us, Pinching Your Pennies had done most of the work for us. Check out the deals in your state.

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