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How To Save on Groceries

Aug 10, 2008
A lot of factors have gone into developing our strict budget, but grocery shopping is one category where I have learned a lot of tips and tricks to save money. The most important thing is where you shop. Don't just buy from the guy closest to you, and don't do all your shopping in one place. Find out which stores in your area have the cheapest diapers, the cheapest toiletries, the cheapest bread, the cheapest milk and only shop for those products there.

Ask if those stores have frequent shopper programs or cards. For groceries, get online and find out in there is an Aldi near you. They don't carry national brands, but their generic brands are at least 20% cheaper than generic brands anywhere else, including Wal-Mart.

Generic brands get a bad rap. Most times they taste the same, and sometimes they are even better. I would buy Aldi's spaghetti sauce even if the grocery store down the street was giving away jars of Ragu. Learn to cook. Don't waste your money on prepared foods. Learning to cook is so much cheaper, and a lot of the time they don't even save you much time.

There are 5 ingredients in pancakes, yet people buy pancake mix! It makes me want to scream when I see people buying pancake mix using prepared mix saves you about 7 seconds, but costs a lot more. Buying bagged popcorn is even worse. Did you know that an entire bag of kernels costs you about $1, and lasts forever? I think I have had the same bag for a few years and no end is in sight yet.

Make weekly menus for dinner. Each week I make a dinner menu, then based on it I'll make a shopping list and only buy what we need for that week. That eliminates impulse buys, extra trips to the store, and ordering takeout because you don't know what to make for dinner that night.

When making my list I'll try to make meals that use a lot of the same ingredients, so we don't end up wasting half a bag of whatever. I'll also try to balance out a few more expensive meals with a few cheap meals every week. Make your best effort to use up anything in your fridge and not let anything, including leftovers, go to waste. You bought this stuff to eat it, not to throw it away.

Another note about shopping with a list really sit down and think of everything you'll need during the week when making your list. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Buy enough so that the adults in the home who work can bring a bag lunch to the office, and that you aren't running to the store for the kids snacks midweek.

Saving money is all about your mindset and being able to resist the urge to buy impulsively. Remember that buying something you didn't originally intend to buy is no bargain. That's why I hardly ever use coupons. If they aren't something I ordinarily use, I don't even bother clipping them. (And usually, the generic brand at regular price is still cheaper than buying a name brand with a coupon.)
About the Author
Chris Jensen is a contributing author and editor of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and views visit Jetfly Food & Good Times Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Food & Wine Shop for todays current online deals.
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