I was excited to see my guest post in All You Magazine today, 15 Easy Ways to Save Money (and Time) at the Grocery Store Without Going Extreme.
“I am not an “extreme coupon user,” but I have found many time- and money-saving ways to lower your food bill. In order to save the most money, you will need to clip some coupons though in addition to trying some of the other tricks and tips outlined here. Cutting down on your grocery bill can be done, but there is not a “one size fits all” solution.
The average family spends about $7,000 a year on food and groceries and the cost continues to rapidly rise! How much do you spend? Take a few minutes to tally this up and you will be extremely motivated to try some new money-saving strategies! A casual coupon clipper can save $1,000 a year, while an organized one can save so much more. What would you do with a few thousand extra?
Try these 15 tips to chip away at that grocery bill of yours, then tell us which ones work best for you!
1. Make a meal plan for the week based upon what is going to be on sale at your grocery store. Try going meatless one night a week.
2. Cook from your pantry and plan one or two meals a week with just the items you have on hand.
3. Keep track of what meals your family likes that are quick and frugal. Try using a calendar to plan your meals based on your schedule and the kids’ schedule. Find some slow cooker recipes to put into the rotation. If you have leftovers, search online for recipes by searching “easy recipe for [insert your leftover].”
4. Get organized at home before you go grocery shopping. The quicker you can get in and out of the store, the more money you will save. Don’t wait until you are in the grocery store to wander the aisles and figure out what you need.
5. Use technology to help you to plan your shopping trip. Start a master list on a Word document or on your cellphone. Don’t rewrite your list every time you shop. Improve your master list continually by adding a “buy now” price when you know you should be stocking up. If you have a coupon, jot down the coupon details next to the item on your list so you don’t have to shuffle through your coupons in the store.
6. Learn the layout of your grocery store. Often you can print a map from the store’s website. Make your master shopping list by aisles of your store for faster and more organized shopping.
7. Don’t clip coupons for items that you don’t buy. Be selective. You can start with one area of the shopping list like cleaning supplies or toiletries and just clip coupons for those items. See how this works for you and then add another category when you get more proficient.
8. Find an organizing system for your coupons that works for you. I use one envelope for each aisle of the store and put the matching coupons in that envelope. Some people prefer a binder or a coupon holder. I keep my coupons in the car so I always have them for those quick trips. I reorganize and purge them when I need to wait. This keeps the coupons that I have on hand fresh in my mind.
9. Put your kids in charge! If your kids are old enough, pawn off the job of clipping and organizing the coupons. Split the savings with them and call it their allowance. Think of all the lessons you can incorporate by including them in the meal planning, price comparing, and the money-stretching needed to run a household.
10. Learn the coupon policies at the stores that you shop at. Do they double or triple coupons? Do they accept competitors coupons? Can you combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon? Do they have a rain check policy? Is there a limit to how many coupons that you can use in one transaction? If the coupon policy is found on their website, print it out and always have it with you in case you try to check out with a store employee who does not know the store policy. Trust me, this does happen.
11. Stockpile the non-perishable items that you will use for the next 3 months. When you see a great deal, get your coupons and buy 3 months worth of toothpaste, deodorant, pasta, etc. You can keep a running list of what you have in your stockpile on your master list. Note the price you paid on your master list so you can refer back to it.
12. Pick one drugstore — CVS, RiteAid or Walgreens — and follow their sales and use coupons to match up with a sale. You can save so much money on your toiletries, beauty products, paper products, OTC medicines, and more when you shop this way. Every week, I do the work for you on my blog, MoreWithLessToday.com.
13. If shop at a big box wholesale club and feel like you are spending too much money, you must take the time to see if you can save more money by buying some of these items elsewhere. Not everything purchased at these warehouse stores is a bargain.
14. Try, if at all possible, to leave the kids at home unless they have become highly trained bargain shoppers with a vested interest in saving money. You need to focus and have your wits about you.
15. Set a goal for saving a certain amount of money on your grocery bill and then plan a special family activity with the some of the savings. I recommend getting everyone involved in the process. Make a prop to continually track your progress to keep everyone motivated.”
If you are not familiar with All You Magazine, you can purchase it at Walmart at the check stands or online for only $1.66 an issue. The coupons inside make this a money-maker, plus they have such practical ideas. If I had to pick one woman’s magazine to buy it would be ALL YOU.
You can grab a subscription here (these make great gifts too!) All You magazine – plus your FREE GIFT
What You Can Expect in Each Issue:
- Coupons: Every issue of All You contains valuable coupons for fashion, food, makeup and household basics. With high coupon totals each month (more than $60 recently), this magazine pays for itself many times over.
- Advice on living well for less: Throughout every issue are exclusive money-saving ideas for every area of your life. You’ll benefit from invaluable tips on couponing, smart shopping, bargain hunting, price negotiating, home decorating, discovering inexpensive beauty and fashion products, and much more.
- Realistic health and fitness ideas: Most of us should improve our health or diet or exercise routine somehow. But change is hard. So All You gives the hard facts and concise plans you need to make better lifestyle choices. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, firm up or create more healthful meals, our stories have the up-to-date, proven information you need, presented in a format that’s easy to understand.
- Affordable, delicious family-friendly recipes: Grocery costs make up a huge part of every household budget. That’s why All You offers an unparalleled selection of inventive and inexpensive recipes for daily dinners, special occasions and tempting treats—many for just pennies a serving! Better yet: All the ingredients are readily available at local markets.
- The “Reality-Check” promise: The heart of All You is our “Reality Check” promise. We reach out to our exclusive network of more than 40,000 women to get their advice—and we feature them and their ideas prominently throughout every issue. The magazine also goes in-depth every month, bringing you inspiring first-person stories of women who have overcome challenges in their lives, from financial burdens that seemed impossible to surmount to life-threatening illness and natural disasters.
- Your most important questions answered: In each issue an All You recruits experts (all of them women) in key areas—health, relationships, pet care, fitness, nutrition and money savings—and asks them the most pressing questions in their fields. You get unbeatable access to clear thinking on thorny issues, like how to pay off your credit cards, deal with a fussy in-law and lose that baby weight.