One of the most expensive line items on your monthly budget is groceries. You want to provide your family with hearty, healthy meals, but they come at a cost. Each time you go to the grocery store, it seems like the prices have gone up. You have to eat, but there are ways to save money at your favorite stores. Here are a few tips to save money on this essential budget item.
Digital Coupons and Loyalty Cards
Most groceries stores and big box stores, such as Walmart and Target, offer loyalty cards and digital coupons. It's easy to sign up online by providing your information — name, address, email, phone — and then use your loyalty number at the store. In some cases, the loyalty card is an app on your phone that you can scan at the time of check out.
Most loyalty cards build points for money off or offer discounts on a current purchase. Loyalty cards make it easy to download digital coupons to your account. When you finish grocery shopping and enter your loyalty card information, the system automatically deducts the value of the discount.
Write a Grocery List
Writing a grocery list before you go to the store can help you save money. First, you can check your list against available digital coupons. Buying the correct brand and size is essential when using this discount. Also, a list helps you stay organized and keeps you from making an unnecessary purchase, such as rice when you already have a box in the pantry. If you're a disciplined person, a list helps you avoid impulse buys. You might consider adding one or two "surprise" items to your list so you can buy something you hadn't planned on before leaving home.
Shop the Sales
Before going out grocery shopping, you can look online at the weekly ads from your favorite grocery stores. You can use this information for meal planning so that the groceries buy this week are on sale. If time isn't an issue, you can consider shopping at multiple stores or find one that price matches other store's sales circulars.
Have you ever looked at your grocery store's sales ad, and it seems familiar? Most grocery stores run sales on a six-week cycle. So if your favorite cookies are on sale this week, you can expect to see it back on sale in another six weeks. You can save money with this information.
For example, every six weeks your favorite brand and flavor salad dressing goes on sale for half off. The regular price is $2.50 a bottle, and your family uses a bottle a week. When it goes on sale, buy six bottles at $1.25 each. If you plan correctly, you can buy all your salad dressing at half off, and save yourself $7.50 every six weeks. It might not seem like a lot of money, but it adds up.
Buy a Warehouse Store Membership
Warehouse stores, such as Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's and others, offer shoppers savings on groceries, furniture, electronics and a variety of other products. If you have a large family, you might consider a higher level membership that offers cashback.
You can shop at the warehouse store once or twice a month, buying in bulk the products you use every day and saving money at the same time. You can use the warehouse club to do the majority of your grocery shopping and your local grocery store for specialty items or last minute items.
With a little planning and prepping, you can save a lot on your grocery bill. You can continue to buy the food and brands your family loves without the cost that strains your budget.