Guest Post from Annie Johnson:
Every magazine and website seems to have some sort of article along the lines of “10 Grocery Savings Tips,” or “27 Ways To Save Money on Groceries.” But many of these tips and tricks are really just what works for the author and not a hard-and-fast rule that everyone should follow to have the most efficient grocery budget.
Today, we are going to bust seven of those commonly-spouted myths.
1. Always Shop With a List and Only Buy What is On Your List
Having a plan and shopping with a list is a good strategy. However, be prepared to be flexible. While you are at the store you may find asparagus marked down more cheaply than broccoli. Then you might choose to change your menu. Maybe you check the meat specials and find your husband’s favorite pork chops marked down for quick sale. It is time to change your menu and spend less than you would have for your original plan!
2. Grocery Shop Once Weekly
This is truly a personal preference. If planning a weekly menu is working well for your family, keep doing it. Shopping once a month or every other week have their benefits as well. Shopping weekly lets you take advantage of all the sales, but fewer trips to the grocery store can also mean less impulse spending. Experiment until you find the way that works for you and your family.
3. Keep a spreadsheet or savings book so you will know when you find a
There is nothing wrong with keeping a small document of prices, but writing down the prices of everything you buy is more work than you are going to get back in savings. Sales tend to run in 3-6 week cycles. You may want to jot down prices of some of the more expensive things you buy for that time period until you get an idea of what THE good sale price is. For example, skinless boneless chicken usually goes on sale here for just under $2 every three weeks. I am not too worried about whether I pay $1.88 or $1.77 a pound for it. Just having a general idea is good enough and takes much less time.
4. Buy Frozen Vegetables Instead of Fresh
Yes, frozen vegetables are usually a good buy over fresh, out-of-season ones, but fresh in-season vegetables are often a better deal. Check the fresh produce for what is in-season (it will usually be what is on sale) and then fill in the gaps with frozen.
5. Eat Store Brands
You know what, if your family won’t eat it, it isn’t a good deal…no matter how cheap you got it. Yes, some of the store brands taste fine, but some of them…not so much.
6. Shop at Several Stores to Get All of the Good Deals
Going to every store to make sure you get every little deal may cost you more in gas than it saves you in groceries. Go to the store that has the most good deals first. Then, my rule of thumb is that any additional stores need to save me at least $20 to be worth another stop.
7. Save money by shopping at the big bulk stores.
Prices at my big bulk store are usually a little cheaper than the everyday price at my local supermarket, but they aren’t usually a good deal compared to regular sales prices at my grocery store. It is also easier to over-spend with a couple of impulse buys just because the packages are so much bigger.
Don’t hesitate to read all the grocery tips and articles you find, but the best idea I can give you is to use the ones that work for you and your family. With a little bit of trial and error, you will have a set of strategies that will work for years to come.
Annie Johnson is a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mom of six beautiful children ranging in ages from 1 to 14. Annie teaches simple, easy-to-follow principles that will help you learn to stretch your grocery budget without working yourself to death. Visit her at www.JuneCleaverImNot.com
Have you fallen for any grocery shopping myths? Feel free to share in the comments! Also, find more hints and helps for trimming your budget and using coupons here.