I must make a confession here before we begin: I am a horrible grocery shopper. I go to the store for one or two items and end up running down the aisles like an excited school boy, throwing buy-one-get-one free deals into my cart. One time, I got home with two restaurant-sized bags of self rising yeast, a birthday cake with someone else’s name on it, and two copies of “Southern Weddings” magazine.
Now my wife sends me to the store with exact change. It’s emasculating but it had to be done until I can be trusted. So, on my road to recovery from grocery-aholic to supermarket monk, I’ve picked up these sneaky little tips that will help you save money at the grocery store every time.
If you buy fresh greens by weight, shake them before you put them in your grocery cart. An amazing amount of excess water (and weight) can be hidden between the leaves. – I have a friend that works in a grocery store produce section that told me they spray the veggies frequently to increase the amount of water weight.
If you are there for a few items, don’t get a cart. Get a handbasket. It will only fit a few items and your straining arm will beg you to get in and out quickly, reducing the risk of impulse buys.
Don’t buy individual snacks. Buy the super sized bag and divide the snacks into little plastic baggies. It will help you control the portions and you’ll save money too.
Compare prices by using cost per unit, not the price tag. The “Unit Price” is usually listed on the grocery shelf. The unit price is the cost of the item per ounce, quart, gallon, pound, or any other unit of measure.
Don’t shop tired or angry. Tired, you’ll buy more sweets, more high-carbohydrates; when you’re angry you go for junk food.
Avoid the main aisles. A grocery store’s main aisles, like the paths to milk and bread, are usually strewn with high-priced land mines. Avoiding those pricey areas will really help.
Eat before you go. This is one of those cardinal rules of grocery shopping for a reason. You’ll spend 30% less by shopping with your brain and not your stomach.
Shop with a list. Make a list of the things you need and stick to it.
Bring exact change. If you are prone to impulse buys, leave your cards at home; just bring the amount of cash you will use and you’ll be forced to stick to it. While you fiddle with your change, say a little prayer for me and know that, somewhere out there, I am doing the same thing.
What tricks do you use to save on groceries? Let us know by leaving a comment below: